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Dark, with a couple chuckles underneath.

"...the friendship of these girls and their mysterious society was the salve I needed to cope, if not survive."

Friendship, when it can be found, often is a salvation.

So, though, obviously, were your inner resources.

News about Dating and related topics  Archive  On the George Washington Bridge Project: Adventures in Fifth-Grade

[...] You Been Blinded - Now in Dazzling HD put an intriguing blog post on On the George Washington Bridge Project: Adventures in Fifth-Grade…Here’s a quick excerptMy fifth grade teacher, Mr. W, was a large, macho man with a mustache and a tight perm. [...]

James van Maanen

Ah, fifth grade! It all seems so innocent now, though it seemed pretty awful at the time. Wish I'd had a group of girls to befriend ME! You had a pretty weird teacher in Mr. W, however. In my own fifth grade (back in 1951), the teachers were nothing like that. In fact, it was odd to encounter any male teaching elementary school.

Rottin' in Denmark

"I managed to catch a glimpse of a note being prepared by one in which a list was being prepared declaring who was or wasn’t a “Cheddaball,” which I soon gathered was a slightly pejorative term "

There was a girl on my school bus who used to yell 'you ain't got no biscuit!' to fellow students she didn't like. I remember this being incredibly cutting at the time, and since I was a member of the be-bussed ingroup, being thankful that I had biscuits.

Francis S.

Fifth grade was the beginning of the worst years of my life... it really didn't become awful until sixth grade though. But when I started fifth grade, I was determined to slough off my old teacher's pet image, so I decided to be, um, bad. I taught myself to swear, starting with "damn." And I ended up getting in trouble in most of my classes, including having to spend the year in music class sitting by myself on the other side of the room from the rest of the class, which in fact allowed me to make fun of the music teacher without being seen. And my social studies teacher, Miss Bendix, used to corner my mother in the grocery store and cry, complaining that I was the ringleader of the class. None of which had any affect on my schoolmates' view of me - I remained a wussy little teacher's pet to them no matter what I did.

The Gay Recluse

Thanks for the comment, Francis -- there's obv something really agonizing about the beginning of adolescence for most people, but it's particularly traumatic when you start to understand that your non-hetero leanings will place you beyond the ability to make people like you. I think your reaction makes as much sense as mine...ultimately it goes to show how damaged the 'lil gayz' are by the oppressive weight of societal expectation (and how we overcompensate to the point of self-destruction).

The Gay Recluse

Thanks, Rottin! What was interesting about my crew was that they kept it to themselves, so that I felt like I was entering another world when I was around them.

Alex G DeWitt

Ahhh. Fifth grade. Growing up in Westchestuh. I had a wonderful teacher. Mrs. Howard. We had "slam books." These instruments of torture were made up of a single 3-hole-punched page for each person in the class (around 30) and carefully attached with those little brass doo-dads that expand/pull apart when you put them through the hole (too thick for staples.) After the title page [SLAM BOOK--Class 5C] followed the student pages, names centered on top, in alphabetical order. The book secretly went around the class and everyone wrote the worst things they could think of about each of their fellow students. Naturally, one could see what everyone else thought of you (sort of a precursor to an anonymous facebook wall) and you had the opportunity to "slam" your colleagues in revengeful ink. I was the tallest and one of the brightest in my class--my page was filled with 'fckn faggot,' 'homo,' 'sissy,' etc. Words of hate meant to demean and hurt.

40 years later...This Valentine's Day I was away from my partner on business. I went into an iHop to eat with a gay colleague. Our waiter was an undergrad freshman or sophomore, this being a college town. We ordered. He brought our food. When we stood up to leave after paying the check he smiled broadly at us and sweetly said, "Happy Valentine's Day!" He clearly thought we were a couple.

It takes time, but how far we've come...

P.S. The teachers invariably found the slam books and confiscated them...one assumes they read them. What did they ever do with this pre-pubescent information?

The Gay Recluse

Thanks for the comment, AGD. I feel like there should be a museum filled with hate-filled artifacts like this to demonstrate to the world exactly how often geighs are impacted/terrorized/shamed by those around them at a very young and vulnerable age.


I recall slam books also being called slang books -- in kentucky in 1959. they were usually stenographer's notebooks, as they were then called, and consisted of a sign-in page followed by a series of questions, one per page, questions such as "who's your favorite" this or that, "who has the worst" this or that -- you get the picture. they were usually designed by the most popular girls, who tended to be very mean. and i remember a guy in jr high [who later came out and moved away] who "published" a book of virgins -- certain girls were terrified that they weren't on it.


Alex G DeWitt wrote above:

"P.S. The teachers invariably found the slam books and confiscated them…one assumes they read them. What did they ever do with this pre-pubescent information?"
If they were anything like the adults during my public school education, they pretended nothing was wrong, and threw the books away.


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Gods final



A young boy wanders into the woods of Harlem and witnesses the abduction of his sister by a glowing creature. Forty years later, now working as a New York City homicide detective, Gus is assigned to a case in which he unexpectedly succumbs to a vision that Helen is still alive. To find her, he embarks on an uorthodox investigation that leads to an ancient civilization of gods and the people determined to bring them back.

In this colossal new novel from the author of The Metropolis Case, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice collides with a new religion founded by three corporate office workers, creating something beautiful, illogical, and overwhelming. Part sex manifesto, part religious text, part Manhattan noir—with a dose of deadly serious, internet inspired satire—#gods is a sprawling inquest into the nature of faith and resistance in the modern world. With each turn of the page, #gods will leave you increasingly reborn.

Praise for #gods

“#gods is a mystery, an excavation of myths, an index of modern life, a gay coming-of-age story, an office satire, a lyrical fever dream, a conspiracy. One of the most ambitious novels in recent memory—and a wild, possibly transformative addition to the canon of gay literature—it contains multitudes, and seethes with brilliance.” —Mark Doten, author of The Infernal

“Matthew Gallaway’s #gods is a novel so brilliant, so funny, so full of strange and marvelous things, I couldn’t stop writing OMG WTF I <3 THIS SO MUCH in its margins. It’s rare to find a novel that so dazzlingly reinvigorates age-old meditations on faith and f&!*ing, art and eros. Luminous, enterprising, and sublimely cheeky, #gods tells the story, the myth, the dream of the human soul in all its glorious complexity.” —Suzanne Morrison, author of Yoga Bitch

“Matthew Gallaway’s storytelling manages to be both dreamy and serious; lean and luxurious. His words carry an incantatory power of mythic storytelling where beauty and savagery wrap around each other like bright threads in a gorgeous tapestry.” —Natasha Vargas-Cooper, author of Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s America

“If the ancient gods were just like us, only more so, then the same could be said for this strange, wonderful book, in which the mundane sorrows and small triumphs of very ordinary lives glow ever so slightly around the edges, sometimes quite literally. At once an oddly romantic send-up of dead-end office culture and an offbeat supernatural procedural, #gods is terrifically weird, melancholy, sexy, and charming.” —Jacob Bacharach, author of The Bend of the World

The Metropolis Case

'It’s to the credit of Matthew Gallaway’s enchanting, often funny first novel that it doesn’t require a corresponding degree of obsession from readers, but may leave them similarly transported: the book is so well written — there’s hardly a lazy sentence here — and filled with such memorable lead and supporting players that it quickly absorbs you into its worlds.'

-- The New York Times

Music: Death Culture at Sea and Saturnine

Listen or download songs and records from my indie-rock past with Saturnine here and Death Culture at Sea here.

Music Video: Remembrance of Things Past

Watch the rock opera Remembrance of Things Past written and performed by Saturnine and Frances Gibson, starring Bennett Madison and Sheila McClear.

Video: The Chaos Detective

The Chaos Detective is a series about a man searching for 'identity' as he completes assignments from a mysterious organization. Watch the first episode (five parts) on YouTube.
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