Category Archives: Relataionships

current and past relationships

I Couldn’t Sing…

I’ve had many great loves in my life, most of them ending so badly that I learned to put up a protective barrier around myself in which I could contain my emotions.  It doesn’t mean that I gave up on loving it just become more cautious with it.  I am a person who leaps with all of his might and I still believe in the magical power of romance.  I have always believed in loving hard and when it was over recognize the differences and move on.  The first one is always the hardest and as I think back it had the most impact on shaping the person I have become.  First of all to be gay and live in a place like Montana, to love a man meant we battled a host of odds just to dare being together.  We met in Montana in the cold of winter in a porn shop.  It took us to Illinois in the spring and Dallas in the summer.  Ironically Dallas is not noted for its cold winters, but the coldness between us grew to a devastating icy chill that became one of the hardest winters of my life.  Eventually I was abandoned in a strange city, left alone with nothing but a heap of debt and a broken spirit.  I was foolish enough to believe in a dream and while the dream lasted I floated on a sort of heaven.  They always say find them in a porn shop, lose them in a porn shop.  I was too naive to know any difference.  He loved sex with everyone but me, and the pain of not being good enough caused an emotional breakdown that still aches in the back of my heart.  One cold morning I abandon everything and jumped on a Greyhound bound back to my home in Montana.

When I returned I still felt displaced and it took me a year just to recover.  Just when I thought I was over it I feel in love with a fraternity boy who was a student from North Dakota.  This was sensational and this time I utterly fell head over heels.  Neither of us had a place to go so we had to find public places to engage each other so Missoula and it’s surrounding mountains become a dreamy paradise.  When school ended for the semester he returned to North Dakota to work for the summer on a construction job.  We wrote and called each other every day making plans to actually move in together when he returned in the fall for school.  Then three weeks before he was supposed to return, I called one night and his mother told me he had been killed in an accident on the site where he worked, crushed by a bulldozer blade.  My body and mind went numb for months afterwards.  I thought I would never recover that feeling.

My next leap was about getting high and sexual addiction, again being abandoned in the end as he moved on to someone else.

At this point I was seduced by a married man whom I didn’t want to have any thing to do with but had lots of money and was quite persistent.  This gave me a sense of power and made me fearless to go after the things I wanted.  After a year of secrecy I began to look for something more meaningful and then found what should have been the love of my life.

This time I knew it was love and I had finally found happiness.  We both loved theater and spent a great part of our lives making each other laugh.  It was fantastic sex, a total connection, as my heart leapt for about 8 years.  But then something began to grow wrong.  It seemed he was consumed with a raging jealousy and began to sabotage everything things I did that was creative.  My life was just beginning to take off in theater and he being a talented, but failed artist himself began to destroy all the things I worked to create.  Eventually it become so unhealthy that I finally had to get out and it took me three years to end.  I began to realize my life had become a Tennessee Williams story and indeed had experienced so much pain that it was ether time to write a country song or become an artist in which I could express all that feeling.  I couldn’t sing so I turned to photography and in the end found myself and happiness with a man who finally accepted me for what I was and did.  And here it all is in the images of my life.  That pain, that isolation, the fear, and the doubt!  I have always heard that all artists must suffer in order to become great artists.  If this is true, perhaps I am ready to become that artist.


What the Heart Has Once Known…

I saw a video on Facebook that actually moved me and got me thinking about this whole concept of gay marriage.  I have been very mixed on the subject, not sure where I stand on either side of the debate.  I sense my own security in my own relationship seems to be enough to bind us.  Everyone around us on both sides of our families acknowledge and respect our relationship and know what our ultimate desires are if something happens to the other.  Being gay and growing up in Montana I had never even considered the possibility of being able to marry someone of my same sex.  Working for UPS, they have a strong policy supporting same sex partnerships, and though I only work part time in the evenings for the company they acknowledge Glenn as my partner and give him full benefits along with me.  Of course we have had to prove our relationship and actually establish we were in a partnership.  But over the years as we have attended the weddings of all our straight friends our age, joining in union, and photographing the marriage of all my nieces, and then to see my father at one of the happiest moments I have seen him in decades remarry after my mother’s death, there is a tug in my heart to unite with a man I have adored for so much of my adult life now that I can’t imagine a life without him.  We committed in our early thirty something’s to watch each other grow old and that we have done.  This video captures all the stages of our relationships, with warmth and tenderness and told the story of my own life.  It reminded me of where I have been and I must say brought a tear to my eye to see the reflection of my life and know in the end I have been loved.

My fears are now more for the future now that we grow older.  We have built a life together sharing in everything.  But fiscally we are not bound.   Glenn was a student, when we built the studio and I could not put his name on anything because at the time he was more of a liability and it would have been detrimental to secure financing.  But together we have equally shared in the dream, labor, and completion of the project.  My fear is if something happens to me where will he stand?  Our hearts may say we are together but the laws of Montana may say we are not.  Will he possibly have to pay an inheritance on something he has spent his entire life working to build?  I saw this happen over and over years ago with partners when one passed away and the families kicking the remaining one into the cold, leaving them with nothing but adding to the already great sense of loss.

We know in our hearts what we feel is right and we have chosen to love, adore, and cherish each other already, shouldn’t this somehow be enough?   Here’s to you my love.  If the question ever becomes available “I do…” with all my heart and soul you have been the courage and strength of my existence that I have been thankful for since that fateful night in May so many, many years ago.  What the heart has once known it shall never forget!!!!

Porn: as a Mirror of Ourselves

I recently bought a book called “Porn: from Andy Warhol to X-Tube” edited by Kevin Clarke which is a visual guide following the history of gay porn both in publication and multi-media formats and it’s evolution.  It’s actually quite a wonderful book that is put together quite nicely with lots of images of porn stars, cover art, advertising, quotes, and fascinating well written articles by people in the business.  It begins with an opening quote by IC Adams from the Gay Porn Times “Porn is an interesting reflection of what goes on in our culture”.  The book is then divided into four sections “Porn as Pop Art”, “The Golden Age of Promiscuity”, “Boom Years: Porn as Safe Sex”, and finally ending with “Grab Your Dick and Double Click”.  Reading and reviewing this history I see how sexual and sensual pornography was at one time.  I think it’s what drew me to do the work I am currently doing from the beginning.  It was about defying normal and celebration of our freedom as a culture.  This book reminds me of all the things I found sensual in my youth and how the leaders of porn industry really seem to have a soul at one point.  I have only read the first half of the book when it was in its golden age, where any and everything seemed possible. It was more of a mind set and truly was a reflection of our humanity and growth as a culture.  It just seems recently in the past decade or so, I am thinking possibly with the advent of video and over saturation of product and its evolution as a cash cow has lead to its fall.  It seems to me this is the point I remember it becoming so homogenized, where suddenly everyone was looking the same, doing the same, becoming the same.  It became a cookie cutter formula that was bankable.  This is the point where I seem to have lost interest and it failed to arouse any kind of reaction within me.  What made the early porn so fascinating was that it was literally a cinema verite in which the subjects where actually engaging in the actual act of sex, where as now the emphasis has been put on them as performers who are acting, and showing us what they think we want to see, which doesn’t engage us at all.  I mean the act of sex is about the connection, bonding and intimate sharing of one’s self physically with another person.  We learn from the art we are exposed to and if all we see or experience become superficial, performing instead of engaging, the imitation of life from that art begins to lack its genuine connection to the actual humans with which we are engaging.  It is this lack of connection from which my own personal quest for art grows.  I still love the idealism of old fashioned romance, of gazing in to my partner’s eyes and seeing his desire for being with me.  To watch a man undress, to reveal himself, the see their vulnerability exposed, trusting someone with your intimacy, and that intimacy becoming a sacred gift.  The emerging and mingling from and within the darkness where desire and intimacy bind us.

Lack of Intimacy In A Creative World

Sorry no blog yesterday, every time I sat down to do it I would get distracted by something else. It was one of those extraordinary fall days outside that was sunny and unusually warm for this time of the year. I had my nephew Brenden come over and help me clean the property and prep it for the winter. I somehow thought I would be able to put him to work and I would get to write and work on my computer. But he is not very experienced and I began to realize the work of pruning and cleaning the beds was only specific to me. It was so beautiful out that I just decided to stay and get everything caught up. Then we had Glenn’s mother for dinner in the afternoon, because I had a wedding consult at 5:00, to shoot a wedding next month, and had to attend the dress rehearsal for a University production at 7:00, for a shoot on Wednesday night. When I got home it seems a bit late to blog so I settled in with Glenn. This seems to be the extent of all of my days.

The production I saw the rehearsal for was called Grace And The Art Of Climbing and seemed to focus on a woman dealing with intimacy issues. It really got me thinking about my own life and I began to question if perhaps I too have intimacy issues of my own. I began to think about relationships in my past and how perhaps I have pushed so many people away. When I began to ask Glenn about his perceptions of me and how I function within our relationship? He genuinely said he was happy and realized I had lots to accomplish. Most of the time I feel so focused that I know I am not really present to him and our relationship, and often times it feels like I notice him in the distance watching me. From my past experiences it seems the points of my life where I have been highly creative are the points where the relationship begins to falter. I cannot equally focus my attention in both directions at the same time. That’s why in the fall when Glenn goes off for two months to work somewhere else I try to focus on huge creative projects and seem to get the most productive work accomplished. I think artists in general are people who suffer from relationships more then anyone else because we have to disconnect and rechannel our passion toward what we create. Life in art is not easy and I think this is why many artists are single and probably drink and or use drugs. When we are creative our intimacy is our art. I am lucky, Glenn recognizes this and allows me that creative flexibility with little demand in return, in fact supports, it by taking care of the everyday things that distract me from the creative process.

I am reminded of an incident when I first met Glenn and I was asked to work as an associate director for a large film festival we used to have here in Missoula. I was responsible for logistically pulling the entire festival together. I worked with a woman named Cinda Holt who had help Robert Redford organize the Sundance festival in it’s early stages and we created a similar festival here in Missoula for and with artisans behind the camera: art directors, cinematographer, writers, directors. We screened films for a week and brought in all the filmmakers including Kenneth Turan from the LA Times to facilitate the event. For this project I had to book the films, that spaces, contact all the people and logistically get them to and from Montana, arrange accommodations and coordinate the mass army of volunteers to make the project happen. For several weeks it was all consuming for 24/7 to pull the project off. The project was a huge success, but it about destroyed my relationship with Glenn at the time. He was so angry that he refused to attend any of the events I had just spent every ounce of my being orchestrating. This hurt me so deeply that my own partner would not stand beside me at a moment of my greatest achievement. I now recognize it was a defining moment in the relationship where I disconnected, perhaps we both disconnected. Our relationship has since grown. Now Glenn is my creative partner in all my wacky self-absorbed endeavors. My projects and creative life has since grown and some how we have all adapted. My days do not get any easier and my need or sense of accomplishment never seems to cease. I don’t promise it will get any easier, because I know that would be a lie all I can recommend it that you “fasten your seat belts because you are in for a bumpy ride” as Bette Davis says in All About Eve.

Our Perceived Remembrance of Things Past

Glenn and Forest didn’t arrive back in Missoula until about 11:00 last night. It was so good to have him home again. It’s amazing the things we for get about each other after such an absence. I think in may ways we always think of the people we love by the way we remember meeting them, thinner, younger, so filled with passion and energy. We remember that look in their eye and the way they first look at us those first couple of weeks when we fall in love. Perhaps this is just life in general. A remembrance of our mothers, fathers, brothers, and other people who become important in our lives. I think sometimes we don’t really see the people who what they actually are and just project the impression we want to believe or remember about them. My mother passed away about 6 years ago from a prolonged illness of self-abuse and smoking. She died fairly young, and when she passed she looked like a very old woman, most people would have guessed twenty years beyond her actual age. I ran across a file of images of her in those later years and I barely recognized her. It’s not what I remember. I feel fortunate because my mother was wonderful in my youth and gave us so much love, and yes often to the point of suffocation as a teen. I always thought my mother looked so much like Ingrid Bergman, with such a lovely warm personality and my father like a very young Charles Heston. So we are the offspring that what those two’s love children would have looked like if they had gotten together. I digress. Needless to say I had a strange night and tossing and turning getting used to new stranger in my bed. He was so tired he fell asleep instantly and snoring commenced, I don’t ever really remember snoring before. But this morning was bliss as I had the warmth of his soft body snuggled against me and all those old feelings came flooding back and I realized this was really what I missed the most. His smile as he looked over at me and said “Good Morning Sunshine” as he has done for the past fourteen years and I knew he was finally home. Today’s image is of Glenn, I searched all day to use for yesterday and finally found it this morning.

I love this quote from the opening of Tennessee Williams play The Glass Menagerie:
“The scene is memory and therefore nonrealistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart. The interior is therefore rather dim and poetic”

I guess you could say most of my imagery is therefore rather dim and poetic for I know it is seated predominantly in my heart.