So, I was once again very tempted to pull from my past writings for this group to have something to offer around this topic. The group directive has always been to use the weekly prompt as a jumping-off point for telling some facet of our own life story. Having done this now for the past 8-9 years I feel I have exhausted my really rather mundane and pedestrian life or perhaps I am just not a very good storyteller.
I can though at times write a coherent sentence but credit for that goes directly to the Holy Cross nuns who taught me throughout my grade school years. We had to diagram sentences, and this was done by being called on to the front of the class and stumbling often blindly through the process with chalk in hand. I would usually get the subject and verb correct but would skid off the chalkboard with adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions.
I was always an average speller but that has deteriorated in recent years and I could blame early onset dementia but much more likely it is because of my over-reliance on spell-check. I can only imagine those nuns in the 1950s as viewing spell check as truly the devil’s work and tie it to Sloth one of the 7 deadly sins.
I do wonder though if I am not suffering from writer’s block. I do suppose though that this noticeable decrease in my imagination could also be blamed on cognitive decline. Maybe though the past year of quarantine and relative isolation is playing at least some role in my not being able to come up with something new to write on every topic. I have greatly missed the social stimulation I would get almost daily at the gym and the frequent outings for shared meals with friends.
Story Telling also resulted in new friendships and outings with a small but joyful cadre of fellow travelers. Getting and staying involved with this group has been really my sole effort at expanding my queer social network post the AIDS apocalypse. It has been a true credit to the strength of this group that we have been able to maintain it through Zoom, but there remains the loss of direct social contact and that seems to have taken a toll at least for me.
Two aspects of this group and my participation in it have been particularly beneficial to me. The first being the participation of a significant number of women. Listening weekly to their stories has been very enlightening for me and has confirmed the many universal components of the queer experience we all share. The second component of the group I have found immensely helpful is the format itself. We all listen to the stories and except for polite applause, much of that now silent due to Zoom muting, no further commentary is provided. Many thanks to Phil for fostering and maintaining that format since the group’s inception over 10 years ago now.
So, one skill I seem to have retained is my ability to veer far afield from the designated topic. My first thought about “When I Activated” was about my coming out. I do believe that process to be rather life-long and besides, I have written extensively about it already. I do hope that the process of activation in many forms and avenues is life-long. Hopefully, as I reemerge from quarantine I will find myself activating and re-activating in many different ways both old and new.