This Just In: Relationships Fail.

This is a pretty miraculous little article about relationships but moreso, about love, and about the limits of intimacy. It blew me away. She starts at a place that most people would consider pessimistic, but the older I get, and the more couples I have known, the more I feel that she is just stating the obvious.

So let’s take a hard look at why relationships never seem to pan out. I mean, really—have you ever seen a functional relationship? There are some that seem to be functional, or possibly even very good, but we never really get to know too much about them. Then later, we discover the seedy underbelly—often when the couple splits—and are disillusioned all over again.

This one had domestic violence in it. That one has been a sexless marriage for the past 10 years. This one had one partner lying and cheating on the other. That one was more of a business arrangement, waiting patiently until the kids were out of the house. The list goes on and on.

So, um, yeah. There’s that.

Then she talks more about the why, and here’s it’s not hard to tell I found this in a buddhist journal:

Relationships are based on the fallacy that I exist, you exist, and that my happiness, connection and fulfillment can be met by something from the outside—that there even is an outside.

That might sound esoteric, but stick with me.

When we look at our experience we can’t actually find a “person,” or even a “self.” In any experience we can find what we call color, the sound of a voice, the experience of a touch, etc. Without a belief in a self, other or time—which are all just thoughts and images in the mind and have no substance—all we have is this moment. Continue reading “This Just In: Relationships Fail.”

Catholic Throwdown

I have all kinds of new respect for Jack White after this.

Mary’s mother’s name was Anne, by the way. & This is a scapular – which they pronounce kind of more like scapula, which is actually the Latin term for the shoulder bone.

& Yes, I am Jesuit-educated. All hail the black Pope. (I’m kidding, though I do like this new guy.)

This post is dedicated to my friend from 6th grade, Brian Winkowski. We used to have a contest every year on Ash Wednesday to see which one of us could count more people with the ash smudge. We are both youngests from huge Catholic families, as apparently Colbert & White are too.

Chickens & Rifles

Some men have been carrying AR-15 rifles to the Appleton Farmer’s Market. They are making a Point about open carry laws and 2nd Amendment rights, etc.

Other people – and yes, these are people I know – decided to carry chickens to the Farmer’s Market instead, because you can’t openly carry a chicken to the Farmer’s Market but you can carry a rifle.

So you can see why some people are upset and protesting the rifles.

The problem is that there’s a weird intersection of city and state laws here. The municipal code bars the chicken. The state law allows the rifles. What you wind up with is a wholly stupid situation, where people will be boycotting the farmer’s market because they don’t want rifles there, you know, near their children and parents and friends, which means the city, or the county, or someone, will have to do something instead of letting a really cool local institution fail.

Continue reading “Chickens & Rifles”

A Trans Only Workshop with Lynda Barry

What Transpires?

A Trans and GenderQueer Writer’s Workshop with acclaimed author and artist Lynda Barry

It’s for everyone who loves to write or do spoken word or draw or any other medium of expression, and who identifies with some version of trans. The idea isn’t for writing about being trans, but rather, to see what will happen when 15 gendercreative people get together to create from various parts of of our brains, under the amazing guidance of Lynda Barry.

Tuesday, 6-8pm, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, 2013
at the ImageLab in Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Madison, WI

The two-session workshop is free of charge.

Applications due October 14th.

For applications or more information: Finn Enke, aenke(at)wisc(dot)edu. Please put “Transgender Writer’s Workshop” in subject heading.

From All Quarters

It seems some in the leather community have decided trans men aren’t men – again. This was the case years ago, but then, five years ago, the rules were changed to be trans inclusive, & now they’re back to being exclusive of trans men.

They’re even using that sorry old version of cis, “bio male”, which hasn’t been acceptable to use in, oh, I don’t know, a decade?

“For any person who wants to run for International Leather SIR, Leatherboy you must be a bio male in order to run. Even the Transgender Leather Community has an International title now. ILSb used to be bio male only and we will be returning it back to the Drummer days. We are not turning our back on any segment of the community. It is okay for an international title to belong to a gay man. But we welcome everyone to the party as far as the weekend events and so on. As far as the Leather Sir and Leatherboy, it will belong to the gay male community. ICBB will again have no change there because it is a community title that is open to anyone.”


Many in the leather community are saddened by this atavistic decision.

Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions

Transgress Press is publishing an collection of wisdom, Letters For My Sisters, written by and for trans women and co-edited by Andrea James and Deanne Thornton.

The anthology will be published as part of the press’ Letters series and is envisioned as a companion piece inspired by Letters For My Brothers (edited by Megan M. Rohrer and Zander Keig), a collection of wisdom written for/by trans men. For more description of the series (and other titles) go to,

The editors are interested in letters that are:
• Written to yourself or others at the start of your transition.
• Discussions of why transition was the best choice.
• Things you found out about yourself through transition.
Other relevant topics on transitional wisdom in retrospect will be considered. Just follow these guidelines:
• Letters should be 1,000 words or fewer.
• Be searching and fearless.
• Be honest about your mistakes and heartaches as well as your surprises and joys.
• Consider writing about things you did right as well as things you could have done differently.
• Do not specifically name service providers, good or bad.
• If you include people in your life make sure that they approve (in writing) or use aliases not real names.
• Humor is greatly appreciated, but we are not seeking vulgar or sexually explicit material.
• Include your name and title for your letter. If you do not wish to be identified, we may publish your work under a pen name, but we will require that you verify your identity.

The ideal letter will be about you, but it should be something to which others in the community can relate.

For more information, or to make a submission, please contact:
Deanne Thornton
Email: sister_letters(at)
Phone: 620-332-6638

Or check out TS Road Map for more details.

One Date Only

I’m struck by this short piece about a woman who went out on a date with an amazing man only to have him die before they could go on a second one.

Maybe because it is so much about the promise of what love is supposed to be and then wasn’t. Or because it exactly fulfilled the the best possible outcome of a first date and because it was all there would be, it stayed exactly that. No relationship. No arguments. No boredom.

It had to be a profound experience, and a haunting one, and I kind of wish someone like Margaret Atwood would write a poem about it.

Or maybe I appreciate it because so many people were posting this other story about a guy who didn’t know what love was until he had been married for a while, and who now looks on his first affections for his wife as not-love. Every time someone I knew posted that on Facebook I wanted to respond “I call bullshit” so I’m going to do that here instead. Love is only long-term commitment? Love is only changing diapers? Ugh, please. Just what we all need: more smug coupledom from people who need to tell themselves that they have the Real Thing even though they’re busy compromising pretty much everything in order to have it.

I hate that. & I hate that even more as a person who has been in a committed relationship for 15 years, precisely because the early days of wonder and joy really were days of wonder and joy. It’s okay that the start of a relationship is more exciting than conversations about who’s going to empty the dishwasher a decade later. Nobody would ever get married if a relationship started the way it will be in 15 years. You need the days of wonder and joy to be blinded to the compromises that are coming.

And I say that, too, as someone who really does believe in long-term commitments. I think many, many people are happier in them than not. But I also know a lot of people try to stay in a relationship that bores them to tears and frustrates their desires and hems them in on all sides because of schmarmy essays that like that one by the husband.

Call me a romantic, but I prefer the idea of being in love with someone because I am, not because they do the dishes. Call me crazy.

Condoms Required

It seems like a no-brainer to me after 3 porn stars tested positive for HIV and a recent outbreak of syphilis, but when Tristan Taormino recently announced she will have all male stars use condoms in her porn movies, all hell broke loose. Here’s a CNN clip about it, if you prefer video.

Here, she explains why she made the decision she did and also explains that she is still not for mandatory use of them for everyone. This is her own decision, for her films, and in keeping with her own (feminist) labor practices.

If you support her decision, do go like her Facebook page & post a message of support.

This New Pope

I’m liking him more & more every time he speaks or does an interview.

Pope Francis, in the first extensive interview of his six-month-old papacy, said that the Roman Catholic Church had grown “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics.
An Interview with Pope Francis

In remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel” focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings.

And that’s after he was asked about gay priests and said “Who am I to judge?” Kind of mind-blowing, and a welcome change.