First Gay Novelist?

Image result for james bayard taylor

James Bayard Taylor was born Jan 11th 1825.  A poet, a writer, travel writer, diplomat and a most fantastically travelled man.  Many of his travels were made on foot.  He explored the White Nile, he reported on the Californian Gold Rush and he was at the opening of Japan with Perry’s fleet.  Mark Twain was envious of the quality of Taylors German when they travelled together to Prussia.

A highly successful writer in his own lifetime he has seen a rebirth of sorts.  His book “Joseph and his friend: a story of Pennsylvania” is by many considered to be the first American Gay Novel.

Storm Song; by James Bayard Taylor

The clouds are scudding across the moon;
a misty light is on the sea;
the wind in the shrouds has a wintry tune,
and the foam is flying free.

Brothers, a night of terror and gloom
speaks in the cloud and gathering roar;
thank God, He has given us broad sea-room,
a thousand miles from shore.

Down with the hatches on those who sleep!
The wild and whistling deck have we;
good watch, my brothers, to-night we’ll keep,
while the tempest is on the sea!

Though the rigging shriek in his terrible grip,
and the naked spars be snapped away,
lashed to the helm, we’ll drive our ship
in the teeth of the whelming spray!

Hark! how the surges o’erleap the deck!
Hark! how the pitiless tempest raves!
Ah, daylight will look upon many a wreck
drifting over the desert waves.

Yet, courage, brothers! we trust the wave,
with God above us, our guiding chart.
So, whether to harbor or ocean-grave,
be it still with a cheery heart!

Telling Lies #4: Confabulation

hydra

Heracles slays the Hydra one head at a time

Sometimes called “An Honest Lie” the confabulation is an unintended lie.  It is an inaccurate statement believed by the protagonist with no intent to deceive.  For this reason some people do not consider a confabulation as a lie.

It is neatly summed up by Mark Twain in the statement “It ain’t what you don’t know will kill you, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”.

A confabulation is something I call a “script” and a script is a narrative that has been passed to you, usually from parents, older siblings, grandparents or teachers.  It is a script you accept because it comes from a source you respect.  But it is just plain wrong when it is tested against the cold hard facts.

Even after the confabulation has been demonstrated to be wrong there are many people who find it difficult to drop the script.  It forms a deep foundation of their weltanschauung.  So many other scripts hang off the proven confabulation that it has become a Hydra in their belief system.  Cutting off one or two heads has little or no impact.

 

Enough confabulation, let’s talk facts:  Howard Moss was born this day in 1922 if you can believe that.

The Lie; by Howard Moss

Some bloodied sea-bird’s hovering decay
assails us where we lie, and lie
to make that symbol go away,
to mock the true north of the eye.
But lie to me, lie next to me;
the world is an infirmity.

Too much of sun’s been said, too much
of sea, and of the lover’s touch,
whole volumes that old men debauch.
But we, at the sea’s edge curled,
hurl back their bloody world.
Lie to me, like next to me,

for there is nothing here to see
but the mirrors of ourselves, the day,
clear with the odors of the sea.
Lie to me. And lie to me.