And What of Differences
By Christina Carson
All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind,
because oneness is the secret of everything.
In the VG Authors Collection—a group of talented writers who blog for Venture Galleries, a site offering a tasteful, curated source of excellent books, as well as being dedicated to assisting authors in becoming more proficient marketers—I serve in the capacity of what I call, nag. I am the one who reminds the group members about upcoming blogs. But in the process, I get to read all the blogs as they come through, a treat indeed. Well this week, a blog came in from Robert Lowe, a Harvard Law School educated lawyer, also author, who was writing this time on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions last week on same-sex marriage, a piece entitled “Shot Heard Round the Courthouse.” As I read his thought-provoking piece, I thought it might be an excellent lead-in to a recently published work I became involved with late last winter entitled The Gay Spectrum Project.
This anthology, put together by Ella Sandwell, contains well written, articulate accounts of various women’s experience as members of the LGBT community. The collection has an international flavor with stories from Tunisia, France, Canada, Australia as well as the U.S., brave accounts of life as these women have experienced it growing up and living as lesbians. The book is educational, informative and often touching.
Strangely, I too have a chapter in the book. I am not a lesbian, but I made the acquaintance of Ella last year on her radio show, and we enjoyed one another’s company. When she decided to go ahead with this literary project, she asked me to write a piece for it. Even though the guidelines for the chapters were very open-ended, I initially couldn’t figure out what I had to offer, since I had no direct experience with the topic or the LGBT community. But as I stated in the opening paragraph of my essay:
“Who Ella does know me as, however, is one who ponders, who looks into human nature seeking answers as to why we do what we do.”
This opened my eyes as to what I did have to offer, and I wrote:
“…one aspect of that nature that held my curiosity for years is our human response to differences, particularly our strange penchant for focusing on what holds us apart rather than the equally available choice of what brings us together….a behavior which runs counter to the innate curiosity that characterizes our early years. Somewhere along the way we change. We stop inquiring and begin to judge.”
The essay I wrote appears as Chapter 4 with the title: “And What of Differences,” where I take the reader along a path that demonstrates how we change from inquiry to judgment and why.
“Always at this point in the dilemma, people raise their hands and ask the inevitable question: Then, what should we do? The unstated demand is for a fix, a cure, a miracle, because the other aspect of living a lie, living from a conditioned view that informs us minute to minute that we are alone in the world, is to see ourselves as impotent, powerless in the face of the daunting, problematic, and violent world our view has birthed. Of course we want something remedied as fast as possible, so we opt for addressing symptoms rather than the dis-ease.
“To change this approach is a hard message to sell to a crowd that comes to life as if it were an auction. We want to take something with us now, merely for having the highest bid and laying our cash down. Add to that, a continuously referenced sense of self, and we all but clinch our entrapment, our sense of being separate and apart. But always in the miracle that we are, is the ever present essence of… and yet.”
The remainder of the essay speaks to the power of and yet where answers do abide.
If you have no knowledge of same-sex life styles, their challenges, struggles and trials, walk along with these women as they bravely open their lives to the world. Ms. Sandwell engaged the project for a number of reasons but one that includes us all is that sales of the book serve as a source for funds to be given to two notable charities: the Rosie Theater Kids established by Rosie O’Donnell, and Cyndi Lauper’s Forty to None Project to help homeless kids of which 20-40% represent homeless young people from the LGTB community. No child, through incompatible family situations, should be forced to the street as their only option. Know your money will go to a much needed cause if you decide to read The Gay Spectrum Project.
Ella Sandwell’s anthology spoke to my heart personally when I realized how much of the suffering that LGBT kids and their parent experience is due to our not knowing how to live successfully and lovingly among differences. A renewed commitment to making families work would bless us all. Much of what I write reflects my own deep commitment to showing people what such harmony can look like. My novel Suffer the Little Children speaks not only to why children runaway but also how it could be different.