The First Review of My Novella YOUNG AND IN LOVE?

“Hardy is working his way through that difficult journey of discovering not only who he is and what he wants out of life– but also finding, or better, defining what love means for him. ‘Young and In Love?’ is a very sexy, fun reading experience. I like that author Gary Garth McCann doesn’t allow his characters to get too bogged down with self-loathing and guilt but instead takes charge of, and responsibility for their lives and actions. I really enjoyed all the characters: Hardy is very real and adorable, Eli is a real trip and Jay and Wyatt are all out sexy. I thought Hardy’s — how do you say – obsession? with his father was oddly tantalizing. I sure hope there are more adventures in the future because I would love to follow Hardy’s journey though sex, love and life.” –Jeff Linamen, author of  September’s Heroes: A Play Honoring the Heroes of 9/11 and The House of Evil: A New Play.

Jeff is a stranger to me.

Thanks for the review, Jeff.

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HOW MUCH SWEETER DOES IT GET?

 

From https://gifsgayss.tumblr.com/

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AM I THAT UNLIKABLE?

I smile when I read the above inscription in my high school yearbook.

Recently in a friend’s novel, a tall, thin, male librarian is the angel of death. I happen to be a tall, thin librarian. In another friend’s novel the villain husband has the last name McCann.

Not too long ago I attended a party for us retirees who had worked in my academic depart. Startled that one former department secretary couldn’t remember me, owing to her memory loss, I effusively reminded her that we never had as much fun as when she was secretary. I had nicknamed her angel because of the parties she planned. I later received a card from another former department secretary saying she had thought she had been my favorite-ever department secretary and felt betrayed to hear what I said to her predecessor. I loved the second woman as much as the first, but hadn’t been prepared to be confronted with the progression of the first woman’s memory loss. I certainly intended to express no diminution of my feelings for the second woman and our years of working together. As I pondered what to write in a card to my offended friend, she died of a stroke. Ah, me. Maybe I am the angel of death.

I ponder the inscription in my fifty-year-old high school year book. “Gary, Lots of luck. To the most detestable, terrible person of the class of 66. Enjoy yourself this summer anyway.”

I beg your pardon? “The most detestable, terrible person of the senior class?” I try to remember some running joke between us that would explain this inscription, but come up with nothing. We weren’t close friends. I don’t remember ever doing anything social together. In high school I was in my self-righteous, fundamentalist Christian phase, believing everyone was immoral and needed to be saved. I was also terrified of the prospect that I was secretly homosexual in a social world that derided homosexuals as the worst possible thing a human being could be. Perhaps I wasn’t at my best.

Yet I remember having fun in high school with a few close friends who had no idea who I really was.

In my dotage I wish most people well. But does McCann, the villainous tall, thin, retired librarian, angel of death, roam at large offending?

More power to the old son-of-a-bitch if he does. That’s one of the benefits of age. You can be nasty with grace.

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IF THERE’S A REALM BEYOND THIS LIFE…

In Paris Gare de Lyon train station, I stood next to a well-dressed young man who didn’t appear drunk. He leaned over and threw up.

Late that evening in Zurich I had a very large bratwurst, beer, and went to bed (reminiscent of my years-earlier running-around life, only in those days I would have had the beer, gone to bed, and then had the large bratwurst attached to a guy I met in a bar). I didn’t sleep well, and the next day was tired and felt like all I wanted to do was sit down: exactly how I felt during my second heart attack. Fifty percent of me said I should go to an emergency hospital, and the other fifty percent said, no, this was something I picked up, possibly from the guy who threw up, or a reaction to eating too much fat right before bed.

I had little appetite that day but ate a wonderful white asparagus soup in the evening. I threw it up during the night, the first time I’d thrown up in decades. Since nausea is another sign of heart attack, I worried.

In the morning I mentioned to Todd that I dreamed about a neighbor who’d lived across the hall for twenty years in our condo building in Washington, DC. For twelve years since we moved out, we’d avoided seeing Stephanie, who could be fantastically clever and fun, but more often could be manically bitchy and unbearable. As we grew older, she became a self-isolating Anita Brookner woman, according to the word from mutual acquaintances. My dream about Stephanie was pleasant, she in her good little girl mode, which also could grate on a person after long enough, but in the dream didn’t.

The next morning I woke and again told Todd I dreamed about Stephanie. On the following morning, likewise. “How strange,” I said. “I’ve never dreamed about Stephanie before that I can remember, we haven’t seen her for twelve years, and here in Switzerland I’ve dreamed about her three nights in a row.”

I recovered from whatever illness plagued me, and we arrived home. Todd checked his email and said, “Gary, I have some strange news for you. You’d better sit down for this. Stephanie died while we were in Switzerland.”

The truth was a little different. Stephanie likely died before we went to Switzerland. She was dead in her apartment for a while before being found.

I believe in no religious fantasy and have faced death a time or two myself finding no compulsion to think of anything more than an end. But as I went through my sister’s recent death, I didn’t dismiss the possibility of an unknowable realm beyond this life. Not a realm to which some awful god transitions people through agonizing deaths and then casts into hell those who haven’t kissed his ass in this life, but some more twilight-like dimension, without the silliness of organized religion’s imprint. And when I contemplate Stephanie being found dead in her apartment and my three dreams, I think of Todd’s great aunt’s conviction that people don’t go far at first after death. I imagine my three dreams were a coincidence, yet I remain open-minded. Might Stephanie have been transitioning into some other realm and sending a message to my subconscious, I being one of the few people who ever loomed large in her life? No one can know. That’s why I’m an agnostic.

Photo above from en.parisinfo.com

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THEY DON’T TALK ON THEIR CELL PHONES, BUT THEY DON’T DANCE ON THE PLATFORMS, EITHER.

On French trains passengers must move into the vestibule, where the restrooms are, to talk on their cell phones. They do this without exception, without fault. So mannerly, so polite the French.

They don’t, however, dance on the platform, as the SNCF railroad promotion above suggests.

Note that the boy isn’t wearing socks. Few young Frenchmen seem to wear socks, a subtle favor if you love every inch of the male body. (Of course, one loves some inches more  than others.)

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THE MATTERHORN

As a kid living in Fullerton, adjacent to Anaheim, I saw the Disneyland Matterhorn a lot.

Although I traveled in Switzerland a few times as an adult, I never thought of going to see the real Matterhorn. Todd and I went to Zermatt this summer only because the Glacier Express train ends its journey there.

I didn’t expect to have my breath taken away by the splendor of the Matterhorn.

Zermatt was a pleasure too. A beautiful setting full of fellow-tourists enjoying the grandeur.

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MY STORY “A HOUSE WHERE WE BOTH COULD LIVE” IN CHELSEA STATION MAGAZINE

Vacationing on a houseboat, Craig falls for a swimmer who might not be the innocent drifter he seems. Read “A House Where We Both Could Live” in Chelsea Station Magazine. 

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