At the start of my blogging days, I’d felt a need to get back to writing and the sort of thoughtful pause writing demands. Inching my way out of the closet at 49 (my closest friend and confidante would tell you the start was more like 46), it was hard to imagine that I would ever lack for anything to say on the topic. But long about the Michelle Rhee scandal, followed by the Bradley Manning crucifixion then NSA and the TransPacific Partnership… my blog writing dried up. Why? Because my thoughts were no longer singularly focused on the issues of the gay community. And bloggers in the know warned those of us in the novice group that readers might leave us if we drifted off topic. Here’s the deal: they leave you if you quit writing.
But am I really off topic when I speak to the issues and abuses of power? In About Mothlit (below), I gave nod to Virginia Woolf and cited her essay “Death of a Moth.” In that essay, the moth knows the struggle to fly free—a struggle that Virginia knew well herself; she knew the struggles of women in a patriarchal world and she knew the struggles of men in that world as well. She knew that where the patriarchal values of domination and control ruled the day, few would ever know any genuine freedom of spirit; humanity would be forever caught in role definitions and systems of entitlement.
Sadly, the moth dies, but living, for the moth, existed in the struggle—a struggle that, one could argue, the moth lost, were it not for Woolf’s beautiful depiction of the moth’s life. I suppose that’s where I live—in the struggle. And living there I have met a sweet, vulnerable humanity that is each of us. Writing for this little blog is a daring of hope that by penning a story, an essay–usually a combination of the two–I manage in small increments and in mothy zigzag patterns to find a way past the social ills of patriarchy, into the freedoms of creation and connection that each and every one of us was born to.
Thanks for reading.
About Mothlit, I
The moth of “Mothlit” is simply a nod to my favorite writer and inspiration, Virginia Woolf, and to my very moth-like journey “out” at age 49. In Woolf’s essay “The Death of a Moth,” the moth is represented in its heroic last flight of life, culminating in a strength and beauty of death. That beauty, for Virginia, was creation itself with its effect of freezing time in a moment. For me, I think the ultimate end would be something more akin to honesty or authenticity, though I wonder if there’s any real distance between Virginia’s ideal and mine. To my imagination, if I placed authenticity and creation on some sort of color wheel of human values, the two would sit side by side, orange into red-orange or blue-green to green, moving back and forth, each in service to the other.
At 50, I’d like to think I’m not in any last flight of life, but having turned to the latter half (I’m lucky if that didn’t happen a while ago), I find myself asking more and more questions about what it means to live this honest life that I crave. “Mothlit” is an effort of its discovery by way of reflection… on the zigzag flutter flights that precede a moment and inform it, to make more genuine the ones that follow.