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Eyes wide open …


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What story would you choose?

Which door


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Transitions … a short story by Marian

Good evening ladies and gen­tle­men. I am hon­ored to be your guest this evening, espe­cially since I am not a doc­tor or a sci­en­tist, but merely a curi­ous cit­i­zen and patriot. I am an observer of the polit­i­cal waves that wash over our lives in cycli­cal rhythms. Per­haps I seem a poet, but I would describe myself as an “asker” of ques­tions, an inves­ti­ga­tor and a voice for fair argu­ment. I am hum­bled to be in the pres­ence of such an esteemed body. The trans­gen­der com­mu­nity, made up of coura­geous indi­vid­u­als and med­ical and psy­cho­log­i­cal experts, has cap­tured my imag­i­na­tion and offered a glimpse into a pre­vi­ously little-known fac­tion of soci­ety. It was my intent to learn about the chal­lenges trans­gen­dered peo­ple face; in the process, I dis­cov­ered a new love for this coun­try, and an appre­ci­a­tion for the honor that is present in our daily lives.

I never expected “Tran­si­tions, The Amer­i­can Soci­ety” to become a best seller. It was my sim­ple desire to sup­port the first woman to serve as Pres­i­dent; to lav­ish praise upon a wor­thy soul who, by her very exis­tence, changed the world of pol­i­tics, ide­ol­ogy, and per­sonal rela­tion­ships. Pres­i­dent Julia Pat­ter­son is the embod­i­ment of per­sonal and pro­fes­sional suc­cess. She is uni­ver­sally hailed as the great­est uni­fier of nations, a healer of sorts, who changed the world as we know it. The fact that she began life as a male is sec­ondary to her achieve­ments … but of pri­mary impor­tance to my book and read­ers. The goal of the work was not to tit­il­late the curios­ity of the pub­lic, but to illus­trate the human­ity we pos­sess and the intel­lec­tual sophis­ti­ca­tion to embrace undis­cov­ered qual­i­ties … and to do so in a con­text of freedom.

I began my work soon after Pres­i­dent Pat­ter­son revealed her past. In the storm that could have become the great­est scan­dal of mod­ern times, it was the grace and com­pas­sion of our pres­i­dent, that calmed the seas. Her will­ing­ness to share per­sonal jour­nals with a rel­a­tively unknown writer was an oppor­tu­nity to ration a wealth of knowl­edge with the pub­lic. Ms. Patterson’s care­ful doc­u­men­ta­tion of her expe­ri­ences, from teen years through the suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion from male to female, was a source of unpar­al­leled illu­mi­na­tion. The resources pro­vided by The Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion and the doc­tors and patients at Trans­gen­der­Care, and indi­vid­u­als who will­ingly shared their sto­ries, made my jour­ney one of fas­ci­na­tion and insight. I will be for­ever grate­ful for the sup­port of trans­gen­dered peo­ple through­out the coun­try who poured their per­sonal sto­ries out in let­ters, faxes and emails.

I researched the psy­cho­log­i­cal and med­ical aspects of trans­gen­der issues, and the reli­gious and legal impli­ca­tions. I will share the details of this research dur­ing our Q and A por­tion of the pre­sen­ta­tion, but I can sum­ma­rize my over­all impression.

Ms. Pat­ter­son pre­sented her legal birth cer­tifi­cate to her lawyers and Con­gress. There was no deny­ing that it was a legit­i­mate doc­u­ment; gen­der change did not alter the fact that the cer­tifi­cate rep­re­sented the same indi­vid­ual. The peo­ple of the United States elected a per­son to the high­est office, not a gen­der. She is the Pres­i­dent in every legal sense, and there is no prece­dent that can be argued that would change the fact.

The reli­gious argu­ments were not as sim­ple. There are some who will opine that God does not make mis­takes in gen­der assign­ment … but there are oth­ers who sup­port re-assignment as a God-given right. I spoke at length with reli­gious lead­ers of all denom­i­na­tions; the con­sen­sus is that it is God who will judge Pres­i­dent Pat­ter­son and all trans­gen­dered peo­ple, when the time is right. It is not the onus of man to ren­der such judge­ments, for how can we know the mind of God?

My research into the legal, eth­i­cal and reli­gious impli­ca­tions of trans­gen­dered peo­ple, led me to study the doc­u­ments of the found­ing fathers. The Her­itage Foun­da­tion was instru­men­tal in answer­ing ques­tions and pro­vid­ing mate­ri­als. I am proud to be a cit­i­zen of this coun­try which stands for free­dom: to live as we choose, to seek hap­pi­ness, to cre­ate a soci­ety which val­ues indi­vid­u­al­ism and embraces dif­fer­ences. Pres­i­dent Pat­ter­son embod­ies the Amer­i­can ideal through her lead­er­ship and exem­plary life. She was the per­fect can­di­date for the office of pres­i­dent and for the accep­tance of trans­gen­dered peo­ple.
Thank you for invit­ing me to be a speaker and pan­elist for tonight’s pre­sen­ta­tion. I wel­come your ques­tions and com­ments. Thank you.


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The Ginormous Dive … a short story by Marian

It dom­i­nated the land­scape, over­shad­ow­ing every­thing. It could be seen from the entrance, and the entire aquatic cen­ter. It looked down on the swim­mers with their caps and surfer shorts. It reigned over the snack bar where candy bars cost 5 cents; a soda 10. It was unaf­fected by the sum­mer sounds of the Beach Boys and Bea­t­les. It snubbed the kid­die pool and the par­ents with zinc cov­ered noses. It was the cen­ter of all that was holy to a 10 year old; old enough to expe­ri­ence the ulti­mate chal­lenge … the high dive.

The div­ing tank was the pri­or­ity of every kid who had come of age. 13 steps to the tank deck, the spring board was to the side. OK for show­ing off fancy moves, it was the domin­ion of big kids. The high dive was the goal for the pre­pu­bes­cent … the 5th graders. The high dive was 10 feet tall with an adjustable board. The boys set it “just so” to prove they knew what they were doing. The girls walked to the edge and jumped with pointed toes, delight­ing in the descent into the 13 foot depths. The high dive was gigan­tic, enor­mous … the right of pas­sage to be con­quered before summer’s end.

The girl in the bright yel­low suit pulled the strap on her bathing cap. It was white with yel­low flow­ers and com­pli­mented her per­son­al­ity. She was sun-kissed a golden brown, with a splash of freck­les across her nose. At 4’5” inches and 68 pounds, she was a force to be reck­oned with. Sarah was not afraid of the dive tank. She climbed the steps to the tank and marched to the sparkling lad­der of the high dive. She hes­i­tated for a sec­ond before she started the ascent. At the edge, she took in the sights below. Heart pound­ing, she smiled at the life­guard, stuck her tongue out at her big brother who watched from the deck, and took the leap that trans­ported her into a new world.

She hit the water and kicked up to the sur­face that seemed miles above, then swam to the steps and climbed out as if she had been doing it for years.

Not bad sis, I didn’t think you would do it.” Her brother and his fol­low­ers laughed and headed for the spring board to show off for the girls. Some day he’ll stop teas­ing me. Con­fi­dently, she walked to the snack bar to meet her friends.

Every day that sum­mer, the kids in the neigh­bor­hood headed for the pool. 15 cents was the price of admis­sion for a day to escape the heat. Each day, 5th graders lined up at the high dive.  Sarah’s friend Robin had been tak­ing swim and dive lessons, so she was the first to do the impos­si­ble. The other kids were awestruck when Robin took the head-first plunge off the high dive.

That was groovy, Robin, how did you do it?” They crowded on the steps, where Robin was enjoy­ing the atten­tion. Sarah scowled at Robin’s attitude.

No big deal, you can do it if you’re brave enough. Sarah, why don’t you try?” The chal­lenge in Robin’s eyes was obvi­ous and Sarah wasn’t about to let her get away with it.

I’ll show them, and Robin will finally keep her big mouth shut. Sarah smiled and headed straight for the lad­der. At the top she got into dive posi­tion. She sur­prised every­one by plac­ing her hands on the board and cart­wheel­ing grace­fully into the water. When she came up, the group was clap­ping and cheer­ing. The life­guard was not pleased, but it didn’t mat­ter because Sarah had done some­thing Robin couldn’t do. Robin didn’t know that Sarah was afraid to dive from the top; she couldn’t imag­ine going head first into that deep pool.

The last week of sum­mer every kid in Sarah’s group jumped off the high dive. Robin was still the only head-first diver and the cart­wheel trick wasn’t new any­more. Sarah was deter­mined to try a dive before sum­mer was over.

You don’t need to do it, ya know, if you’re scared,” Sarah’s brother said on the last day at the pool. “Robin isn’t worth it.”

I’m just wait­ing ‘til the right moment.” Sarah wasn’t sure if he could see she was fak­ing it. Today is the day.

Some­how word had got­ten out that Sarah, the cart­wheel­ing 10 year old, was going to dive. There were more kids than usual at the tank. Robin and all the other 5th graders were watch­ing with Sarah’s brother and the big kids. Great, I can’t chicken out with every­one watching.

You can do it Sarah.” The kids were try­ing to give her the courage they didn’t have.

Don’t look down!” Robin laughed but never took her eyes off Sarah.

Sarah felt small as she looked into the deep turquoise of the div­ing pool. What am I doing? This high dive is ginor­mous!  Sarah called the high dive her favorite word of the sum­mer. It seemed less scary to give it a funny name. Here goes. Sarah got into posi­tion, hands clasped in front and reach­ing over the board. The life­guard shaded his eyes, squint­ing up at her. The whole world was hold­ing its breath as Sarah pushed off and soared through the air.

It was said that the sound of Sarah’s belly flop could be heard all the way to the kid­die pool. Every­one at the tank groaned and peered over the edge. The life­guard scram­bled off his tower and grabbed the long pole with the hook, ready to scoop Sarah out. It was quiet as every­one waited and watched.

Sarah was still as the bub­bles effer­vesced around her. She held her breath and felt the pain and sting of her unfor­tu­nate splash down. She wished she could dis­ap­pear into the depths. How embar­rass­ing. I must look like a com­plete queeb. She saw the res­cue pole and kicked as hard as she could. As bad as the belly flop hurt, she didn’t want the life­guard to res­cue her … that would be way too humil­i­at­ing. Sarah burst through the sur­face and waved and grinned at the life­guard.
“Im OK.” With a casual stroke she got to the steps and watched the crowd move away.

You really are the only one who can do a cart­wheel off the high dive. I hope that didn’t hurt too much.” Robin turned to leave.

Sarah’s brother whis­pered, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell Mom. Let’s go home.”

Next sum­mer I’ll learn to dive off that ginor­mous high dive.” Sarah grabbed her towel and headed toward the exit. The pool was clos­ing and school would start in two days. Every­one would for­get the belly flop, though Sarah would always remem­ber. She was glad the sum­mer of the ginor­mous dive was over.


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Grown-ups Are Yucky … a short story by Marian

He was huge. I mean, really huge. Door frame huge. He was as wide as he was tall. He lurched into the room when my Mom answered the door. He smiled at her, then pat­ted my head and made some goofy com­ment like, “What a cute lit­tle thing you are.” I hated that … it made me even smaller and more mean­ing­less than I already was. I knew I was small, but I was a pray­ing man­tis; scary and mys­te­ri­ous … small but mighty. Until I saw this gigan­tic man in my fam­ily room. He had touched me with his pud­ding fin­gers … his whole body was pud­ding. I wanted to poke him to see if he was squishy feel­ing like he looked. Would he be choco­late or vanilla-filled?

He sat on the old couch next to my movie-star-gorgeous Mom with her long, slim legs and blonde pony-tail hair. I tried sit­ting next to him, but my pray­ing man­tis didn’t want to dis­ap­pear in the col­lapse. So I sat on the floor. I leaned way over to look under the couch to see if the bot­tom touched the floor. Almost. Why was he here? I looked at my Mom as she smiled and chat­tered mer­rily about who knew what? He was watch­ing her hun­grily … maybe he wanted pud­ding? I was afraid to look at his huge­ness, so I watched his eyes. They smiled, which wasn’t so scary … that is all I would look at, but I still wor­ried about the couch. The pud­ding man never came back and the couch lived through the tor­ture. My pray­ing man­tis sur­vived to see another day … and another man who came to visit.

This man was fun. He had a hot dog cart like the state fair, with ketchup and pickle rel­ish, but with­out the flies and funny smells. He had a swim­ming pool house way out in the desert. The roof of the house was cov­ered with snow-white rocks even in the sum­mer. I learned to swim in that pool when my Mom pushed me in the deep end and yelled, “KICK!” I did. I came up spit­ting and cough­ing and clawed my way to the side of the pool. I think the fin­ger dents lasted for a long time. At least that is what every­one said for the rest of the sum­mer. “Haha­ha­haha,” they laughed when they talked about my swim­ming les­son, but I didn’t. Swirling water, flail­ing, skinny arms and flut­ter­ing feet. Fear and deter­mi­na­tion. Chlo­rine clears your nose and leaves a sharp smell that lasts for hours. The man was nice. My Mom … not so nice. Then there was one more man.

The last man …  skinny like a saguaro and just as tall. He nod­ded at me, but never said much. He came in and in a whirl of squaw dress glit­ter and danc­ing shoes, took my Mom away, night after night. The baby sit­ter smelled of licorice and cof­fee. Her hugs were even worse … crabby arms and baby talk. I didn’t like her at all.
The man said he would stay. The wed­ding was blurry and I had a hair­cut that reminded me of a mix­ing bowl with blender blades that chopped bangs into short cater­pil­lars above the brows. Ugly … like an egg with teeth when I smiled. The man came to live with us and then he made THE RULES. No more pj’s in the fam­ily room. Kisses good night before bed. Licorice fla­vored baby sit­ters with unwanted hugs. I started to be a pray­ing man­tis again . .  strong, fierce and mys­te­ri­ous. I found out they eat their mates. Grown ups are yucky. They don’t think about their kids … I never want to be one.

mantis


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Once upon a time …

In a place far, far away … long, long ago … in the begin­ning … it was a dark and stormy night … it all started like this …

What sto­ries inspire you, cause you to remem­ber, to think and to feel? Sto­ries define our lives and remind us of who we are and where we came from and where we are going. What’s your story today?Tranquil horses


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From wonder into wonder existence opens. Lao Tzu

Hang on to your sense of won­der … as if see­ing the world through the eyes of a child. Every day, there is someEveryday holds magicthing that will catch your eye, inspire a new thought, enhance your cre­ative think­ing and bring you joy.


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What symbols “speak” to you?


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Don’t allow yourself to suffer from negative emotions … do it for your own peace of mind … forgive.

forgivenessThe poi­son of anger and hatred can ruin your life. For­give­ness is not weak­ness, it takes great courage.


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I am a mythaholic!

My incred­i­ble teacher at South Moun­tain Com­mu­nity Col­lege, Mar­i­lyn Tor­res, is a mas­ter sto­ry­teller. She con­vinced me to test my sto­ry­telling chops at a Mythic Throw­down at the school. OMG … I don’t mind speak­ing in front of a class­room, but in front of an audi­to­rium full of sto­ry­tellers, stu­dents and teach­ers? Holy moly! 24 great sto­ry­tellers and every Greek and Roman myth you’ve ever heard and then some. I told of Echo and Nar­cis­sus. Guess what? I won! I was even crowned with a golden lau­rel wreath. Cool, yes? Next was the finals where the top 7 tellers got to share a 10 minute ver­sion of their story. Yikes!! No pres­sure … I was the last to tell after 6 fan­tas­tic sto­ries. Oh yeah … it was a great experience.


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Storytelling is an art form …

LIVE WITH ARTWhat­ever form you choose … art soothes the soul, releases cre­ative ener­gies and makes life more meaningful.


next page next page close After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world."
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thumbnail My Daughter and Penny zoom
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What Are Your Stories?

Share your sto­ries with me here…

Addicted to stories


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Myths

I think that we need mythol­ogy. We need a bedrock of story and leg­end in order to live our lives coher­ently.
Alan Moore

Unbelievable horse


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Where will your story take you?

Sto­ries = restora­tion, for mankind and for the world in which we live. Our mod­ern world has seen a dev­as­tat­ing loss of imag­i­na­tion. Peo­ple seem more and more inca­pable of believ­ing in the magic, the imag­ined and the myth­i­cal realm that exists all around us. Spend time in any pub­lic school, in a class­room above kinder­garten level … you will see this loss gain momen­tum as the kids get older. Gone is the quest for imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­ity. In its place are cold, dry facts and stan­dard­ized ques­tions and answers. Con­spic­u­ously absent is joy. It is dev­as­tat­ing for the future … not only in eco­nomic terms and in the progress we so revere, but the great­est toll comes in the loss of an individual’s true capac­ity to live, fully and authen­ti­cally. It is the tragedy of our time. Myths can be our sal­va­tion. Sim­ply lis­ten­ing to sto­ries can save us from the pres­sures of time, release us from our his­tor­i­cal con­di­tion and regen­er­ate life by offer­ing a path to fol­low … to regain mean­ing in our daily exis­tence. We must not lose the sto­ries, the mythic glue that binds us all and reminds us that inside Pandora’s Box, there is Hope. Where will your story take you?

The road from Bisbee to Benson.


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Eyes wide open …

He who can no longer pause to won­der and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his...
article post

What story would you choose?

...
article post

Transitions … a short story by Marian

Good evening ladies and gen­tle­men. I am hon­ored to be your guest this evening,...
article post

The Ginormous Dive … a short story by Marian

It dom­i­nated the land­scape, over­shad­ow­ing every­thing. It could be seen from the...
article post

Grown-ups Are Yucky … a short story by Marian

He was huge. I mean, really huge. Door frame huge. He was as wide as he was tall. He...
article post

Once upon a time …

In a place far, far away … long, long ago … in the begin­ning … it was a dark and stormy...
article post

From wonder into wonder existence opens. Lao Tzu

Hang on to your sense of won­der … as if see­ing the world through the eyes of a child....
article post

What symbols “speak” to you?

I am intrigued with the shapes peo­ple choose as their sym­bols to cre­ate a lan­guage....
article post

Don’t allow yourself to suffer from negative emotions … do it for your own peace of mind … forgive.

The poi­son of anger and hatred can ruin your life. For­give­ness is not weak­ness, it...
article post

I am a mythaholic!

My incred­i­ble teacher at South Moun­tain Com­mu­nity Col­lege, Mar­i­lyn Tor­res, is...
article post

Storytelling is an art form …

What­ever form you choose … art soothes the soul, releases cre­ative ener­gies and makes...
article post
"After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world."
article post
thumbnail My Daughter and Penny article post

What Are Your Stories?

Share your sto­ries with...
article post

Myths

I think that we need mythol­ogy. We need a bedrock of story and leg­end in order to live...
article post

Where will your story take you?

Sto­ries = restora­tion, for mankind and for the world in which we live. Our mod­ern...
article post