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My Domestic Partner saw it on his own when we were in Reno recently and came stumbling back to the hotel room shattered. He looked like a 12-year-old girl who had just seen "Titanic" for the first time.

Tell Uncle Merlin I hope he finds his version of a quiet cowboy.


For Uncle Merlin -

I haven't seen the movie, but I have read the story on which it is based. The text is making the rounds pretty aggressively, and that's good for an 8-year-old tale - it's robust, and it's powerful enough to explain why it would have become a project in the first place, and why it might move a broad audience.

Still, you and I have to take it more personally. It's about people very like us - as you say, "a living moment for me...I see scenes from my life and I can't stop looking back over my life." As isolated in mountain and plain (and driven, and brave and scared) as these two guys are, they are not that distant from your buddies in NYC, or mine in PDX. Word I was getting here was,"Good, not Great," which is fine with me as a critical judgment, but nobody was talking about much beyond that.

Let's face it. We are a minority, always have been and always will be, and this will make our lives difficult, no matter how tolerant the majority culture becomes. I came out late (and with great sighs of relief on the part of my dear straight friends - they'd been twiddling their thumbs for years), but doing so gave me some perspective on that, "Are you really gay?" question from my gay brothers who had announced much earlier. Well, yeah, of course, I can say, but are you trying to stereotype me, honey?

This can become a pain.

But it is nothing compared to the pain and joy of love, and there may have been more than the ordinary obstacles for gay men (I speak for no one else) to have overcome them. I have enough close straight men and women friends to know that the landscape of love and commitment and possible fracture are just as imminent for them as they are with us. If Brokeback Mountain resonates with them, that's why. What is not universal is how you and I got there, stumbled there, in the first place, and what the stumbling and struggling did to us - doubt, defiance, bravado - and that's just assuming no severe trauma along the way. And then maybe we got some perspective, some wisdom, some balance, and - hmm - still tipped over. Lots of very attractive, deeply insecure guys out there - just very bad for us.

Merlin, just do not give up hope on this score - and don't start adding saltpetre to your oatmeal.

BTW - I drove over some of that country when I moved west from Chicago - it is as spectacular and astonishing as Annie Proulx's list suggests:

"Years on years they worked their way through the high meadows and mountain drainages, horse packing into the Big Horns, the Medicine Bows, the south end of the Gallatins, the Absarokas, the Granites, the Owl Creeks, the Bridger Teton Range, the Freezeouts and the Shirleys, the Ferrises and the Rattlesnakes, the Salt River range, into the Wind Rivers over and again, the Sierra Madres, the Gros Ventres, the Washakies, the Laramies, but never
returning to Brokeback."

Never returning. Moving on.

Uncle Merlin

SFMike, thank you for your sentiments, I am blessed with the most wonderful friends a guy can have and that will keep me well until I find my quiet cowboy.

Grishaxxx--"Merlin, just do not give up hope on this score - and don't start adding saltpetre to your oatmeal." Real words to the wise. I like that.

I have also driven some of that country, not enough, but what blew me away was your quote from Annie's story. I have backpacked Owl Creek at the Four Corners!! It is georgeous country, I have always been taken by the southwest.

My Dad was reared on the prairie so he took me across two years ago. His hometown was 4 blocks big!, smack in the middle of the most fertile land you ever saw deep in Saskatchewan.

Brokeback has brought me to learn I still love one of those men and like Ennis that's a good thing.

Grish, go see the movie you will love the country the cinematography is well..go see it.

Yesterday I dug out my cowboy boots and took them to the cobbler to get buffed up, he rolled his eyes when he saw them. "Those are some boots!" Bought them 20 years ago in Phoenix. It's long time overdue they got some real good wear on them.

mac macgillicuddy

I found this to be very moving. That's all I can write right now.

Shakespeare's Sister

For some reason I can't quite express, this reminded me of my favorite aunt. She is a lover of people; a deeply passionate and warm liberal who has no affectation or contrivance, and seemingly no conscious awareness of her own intuition. I have seen her, in a moment of need, approach not the person who seems best suited to help, but the person who most needs to feel that they helped. It's a strange talent she has for using even her own vulnerability to strengthen others.

She lost her husband, my dad's brother, when their three children were under 12. His kind heart failed him, and he was gone.

For over a decade, she was told, "You're still young; you're still beautiful; you need to find someone else." She had no interest. She didn't feel particularly young or particularly beautiful, and she wasn't ready to love someone else.

The last time I saw her, she took me aside and asked me in a conspiratorial whisper to tell her about meeting people on the internet. "I think I might want to try this internet dating thing," she said excitedly. I gave her tips and cautions. In her usual academic way, she took notes.

I think sometimes a certain kind of love, when lost, takes with it our ability to love that way again, or walk any path that might lead us in its direction, at least for awhile.


Uncle Merlin- what a beautifully sad or sadly beautiful post. I don't presume to know what your life is like, but I know many friends who are at the same juncture... There are other quiet cowboys out there.


Lance, when we watched Ken Burns' Civil War thing together, you noted the spirituals on the soundtrack and said, "Imagine. People could hear this and then turn around and say the people who made that music weren't fully human."

Imagine. People can read notes like this and say the men who write them are "objectively disordered" and "called to celibacy."


I went to see Brokeback Mountain over the weekend. It was one of the most profoundly moving films I've ever seen.

(***spoiler below****)

The final 30 minutes of the film was almost unbearable to watch. I believed in the love of these two characters. It's the kind of love we all want to have in our lives but so few manage to get.

This is a story on par with Romeo and Juliet. The fact that its between two men and doubly difficult because of society's scorn..magnifies it so much.

The most shocking part of the film isn't the sexual things that happen between the two male characters. Its the fact that as a heterosexual female, I could relate and empathize with them.

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