Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling

by Toby Johnson, Steve Berman | Gay & Lesbian |
ISBN: 1590210166 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 3/10/2017
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, March 10, 2017
Got this fair-condition softcover online. It's a collection of fiction and personal essays about gay men, with subjects ranging from family issues to spirituality to romance. Among my favorite entries here:

"The Canals of Mars" by Victor J. Banis, in which a young man is badly scarred in an accident and is rejected by his lover on that account; he retreats from life, but is befriended by an older man who tries to gradually draw him out. Touching story with elements of magic.

"After Edward" by Michael Gouda has its protagonist mourning the death of his beloved, only to find solace in his lost love's old childhood teddy bear - which may or may not include some ghostly nudges from Edward himself.

"Great Uncle Ned" by J. R. G. DeMarco has the titular Ned meeting his end after a long and mostly-closeted life. Seems he's bitterly prejudiced against effeminate gay men, which cost him at least one lover and is making his attempts to help his gay great-nephew with his own romantic troubles. Nice tale of lessons learned.

It occurs to me that I'm making the book sound as if it's all about magical and/or ghostly intervention, which is not the case; my preferences bias me a bit. Less-ghostly entries include:

"The Verse" by Jay Michaelson, in which the verse from Leviticus about men not lying with other men is miraculously expunged from all Torah scrolls worldwide. Oh, wait, more magic {wry grin}. But the main focus of the story is on the reactions of rabbis and gay couples to the situation.

"Reversing Vandalism" by Jim van Buskirk, an essay about the damage done to many gay-themed books in the San Francisco public library in 2001 - and the art project that transformed the damaged books into art. (See more about that on the SF Public Library site here.)

"Lines" by John McFarland is a charming little anecdote about a few well-chosen quips by store clerks and patrons that disarmed grumpy patrons; made me smile.

"Neighborhood Walk" by Steven A. Hoffman is a story about a gay couple living in a suburban neighborhood where there are lots of tensions - a tragic drunk-driving accident left one family bereft and another man maimed; the parents of the dead youth are increasingly angry and abusive; and one of the gay couple is suffering extreme depression, to the point of buying a gun... This one ratchets up the tension of real-world pressures and tragedies, and against this it pits the support of friends and neighbors.

And there's more; a handsome young were-cat, a tale based on a Japanese legend, essays on spirituality and activism... Nice collection!

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, April 27, 2018

Released 1 yr ago (4/27/2018 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA

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I'm adding this to the LGBTQ+ Mini-Bookbox, which will be on its way to its next stop soon. Hope someone enjoys it!

Journal Entry 3 by wingReallyBookishwing at Horsham, Pennsylvania USA on Friday, May 04, 2018
This one came home in the LGBTQ+ Mini-Bookbox. Thank you! I think I will probably read this before releasing it. The title and subtitle made me think it was going to be extremely paranormal, which is not actually my thing. However, there seems to be a wide range of material in this anthology -- enough to pique my curiosity.

Journal Entry 4 by wingReallyBookishwing at Horsham, Pennsylvania USA on Friday, August 17, 2018
I enjoyed this anthology! Sometimes I could tell that the selections were written by amateur (rather than professional) writers, but that did not lessen the charm or my enjoyment. I appreciated the wide variety of perspectives on the overarching theme of spirituality.

As with all anthologies, I enjoyed some pieces more than others. My favorites in the collection included "Ella, Kelly, and Me," "The Canals of Mars," "My Last Visits with Harry," "Left with Love," "Manifest Love," and "The Bell of St. Michael's." Most of the contributors were gay men, but one was a straight woman!

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