Friday, September 28, 2012

Opening My Mind - by B.G. Thomas

Goodness I love to read. I’ve read since I was little. Mom got me a subscription to the “I Can Read Books,” so I was one fish, two fish, red fish, and blue fishing it from an early age. Thank you, Mom!
Books taught me to question and to expand my mind – raised in a quite Christian home, mom nevertheless read me all kinds of books. When I was very young, one of those books was about the coelacanth, the ancient fish that was supposed to be extinct millions of years ago but was found to still be living. Millions of years ago, I wondered. But the Earth is only supposed to be six thousand years old. Mom unintentionally opened my mind to far more than a dogmatic view of the world. Without meaning to, she caused me to question, to wonder, and to look for answers that weren’t often contained in her Bible. Thank you Mom!
Trapped at a very menial job that doesn’t in any way take my gifts and use them, it is books that save my sanity. They take me (for 15 minutes at a time) away from work and to other countries, different circumstances, other planets, other times and more. They entertainment, they teach me, they expand my spirit. I love to read! It stuns me when someone tells me they’ve tried, but they just can’t get into reading. O.M. Gosh!
Of course books can get us into trouble.
They taught me I was gay.
I was in my late teens and I was working at a bookstore that no longer exists called Kroch's and Brentano's and it was coming into the holiday season and we were getting tons of boxed books sets. Everything from a dictionary/thesaurus set, to the “All Things Great and Small” series, “Star Trek” sets and so much more.
It was the so much more that got me. To my shock we got a set with these two men on the box looking longingly into each other’s eyes. My heart started beating faster. What the hell was this?  When no one was looking I grabbed a set and checked them out. It was the “beloved” and “New York Time’s Bestselling” Peter and Charlie Trilogy.
I wound up sorta stealing them. I found a set that was the same price, bought them, and put that set back on the shelf and took the Peter & Charlie books instead. So I did pay the bookstore! I just didn’t pay for what I said I was paying for. I took those books home and opened the first page of the first book to a quote that said: “I say it’s love and the Lord won’t mind, there’s too much hate in the world.”
I then read Charlie’s slow seduction of Peter and the amazing sex they had. I got that far, stopped, looked out my bedroom window onto a sunny day…
…and cried.
I knew that I was like Peter and Charlie. And I didn’t want to be!
It took me a lot longer to really come out. A six year relationship with a woman, lots of struggles with God and religion issues, and more. But I did it. I had a set back—a very long term and quite mentally and emotionally abusive relationship. But today? I have a grown and fabulous daughter and I am about to hit the twelve year mark with my wonderful and amazing and male spouse.
Along the way there were so many books that helped me on my path. Thank God for books!
“The Front Runner,” “The Persian Boy,” “The Stand,” “Stranger in a Strange Land,” “The Four Agreements,” “Awakening the Buddha Within ,” “Eat, Pray, Love,” and so many others. These books entertained me, they taught me, and they expanded my spirit.  And they taught me to respect other people’s opinions and beliefs.
I love to read. I walk and read at the same time so I can get in more reading time. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t read. A nightmare was that episode of “The Twilight Zone,” where Ernest Borgnine breaks his glasses after some kind of Apocalypse and can no longer read! Heavens!
I would love to know what some of your favorite books are or were. How they changed you. Thrilled you. Taught you.
Books. Can you get much better than that?
BG Thomas

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the Cafe, BG! I'm looking forward to many, many posts from you! :D

    I also read a truly amazing amount of Gordon Merrick, back in the day (and got odd looks at the bookstore when paying, though I think that may have been due to my age -- 13 when I bought my first -- rather than anything else! Haha!), but I also read a lot of Marion Zimmer bradley, Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, Roger Zelazny... can you tell I was (am) a sci-fi geek? Hahaha!

    I don't know as the things I read changed my life, really. I think I was just lucky that the very open mind we all have as children was allowed to remain that way. I never had to worry about what was acceptable (aside from the expectation that I would find a guy, get married, and start squeezing out puppies or whatever, which never happened, thank fuck).

    Reading provided me with so many different ways of seeing things. It let me stay aware of the fact that we're not all the same, and showed me that even those who do things I don't understand have their reasons... reasons that I CAN understand, when apprised of them.

    The most frightening thing to me these days is that libraries are so underfunded and that so many are closing. Just the thought of so many minds losing the opportunity to expand through reading is horrible.

    Yes, I still have my old Merrick books. Haven't read them in ages, but they're in my storage unit with many of my treasures from childhood. Every now and again, I go visit, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    And now, I will cease rambling. :)