I write to you as a resident of York, PA, transplanted here from Chicago in 1990 when my wife found a job in York after her graduation from Northwestern University, where we met. Once again, we as a nation are at a crisis point for the rights of LGBTQ citizens and I would like to speak to you about that. I am including excerpts from blog posts I wrote at other national crisis points. The first is from 2008, when California was voting on Proposition 8, which was eventually declared unconstitutional. I tweeted links to my full posts to your official Twitter account, should you wish to read them in their entirety.
‘back to, well Proposition 8. I wasn’t really thinking about it last night; I think I didn’t really expect it to pass…
I’m not out with the purple lambda everyday or the rainbow bumpersticker on my car; I think it’s more important to proceed everyday the same as the rest of the folks who just go about their business, raise kids, work, read, play, love, say stupid things, say brilliant things, worry, get angry, go to church, don’t go to church, respect other people, try to set a good example for others and all the rest. I don’t believe in evangelizing, I believe in leadership by example. I believe in creating a life you can be proud of on many levels so that if there is a young gay person watching how you live, they see you live just like everybody else. That’s the trouble with claiming an identity or an adjective, you get put in a box and people only start to see one thing. I believe in the individual and the extraordinary things a person can do when they stop trying to meet other people’s expectations. I think the Founding Fathers did too and that’s why we have one of the most flexible constitutions in the world.
From 2012, on the brink of a very divisive Presidential election:
“Let’s make it personal. Hi, my name is Michelle Denise Norton. I want to get married. To the very specific person I fell in love with, Gayle Eubank. Now. I will be engaged for 24 years this December and if it had been possible, I would have met Gayle somewhere in Evanston or Chicago for a civil ceremony before she moved into my apartment at the end of January 1989. I had a roommate (let’s call her D) freak out when she found out Gayle and I had started dating. This involved D demanding she move into university housing in Gayle’s place and Gayle move into our apartment. I had maybe planned to move in together after Gayle got back for the summer. So that timeline suddenly got accelerated. At this point, I had finished at Northwestern and was working as an Admissions Clerk at a hospital and Gayle had just started her senior year as a Journalism Major.
The United States Presidential election is happening Tuesday. We are at a point of cultural shift. The Republican and Democratic National Parties (oh, they are so not a party, either of them) and the GLBTQ media and community have turned the “can the gay community marry” question into a high contrast, highly volatile, yes or no, no compromise issue. Vote Romney, be anti gay marriage and families; vote Obama, equal rights are supported in speeches and interviews, mechanics to be worked out later…
maybe some day soon, I’ll be able to flash you a picture of that wedding ring* ; )
*Gayle did accept my initial proposal that December night, but has refused to go through with it twice…once at a protest during a March on Washington and once when I suggested we go to Canada. My feelings were hurt. A little. But her theory: do it once, legally and in church. Ours is Episcopalian so that part is possible. Take a New Jersey Irish Catholic and a Kentucky Southern Baptist and after seventeen years or so, the church they agree on turns out to be Episcopalian.”
And here we are now in 2017. Gayle and I were married on June 21st, 2014, in the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in downtown York City, where we have been members of the congregation for nearly a decade. Even if Obergefell v. Hodges is reversed, my name and my wife’s will always be listed together, with our witnesses, in the marriage register of a church older than the United States of America. Because progress moves forward. Being married is not only a public affirmation of the seriousness we have always treated our partnership with but has also simplified explaining that relationship to others. People understand that you do not enter into a marriage lightly. It has also enabled me, an artist, to be included on my wife’s healthcare plan and for Gayle to file her taxes as the head of our household.
Gayle and I grew up in the 80’s, when people could pretend they didn’t know what ‘gay’ was. But today, in 2017, with LGBTQ citizens out, living, working and contributing to society EXACTLY the same as their straight fellow citizens, if you, Representative Perry, abuse your position of responsibility to pull back rights from vulnerable LGBTQ youth, effectively branding them as a lesser class of citizen, history and I will have nothing but contempt for you.
Thank you for your time.
Have been Tumblring more than blogging here. I have also been having fun building playlists to write to. Here’s my latest:
And a bit of art for you.
Why yes, I have taken up knitting like a fiend. Now let’s see if I can find you a poem.
— MichelleDeniseNorton (@mdnightmaverick) January 31, 2017
And good night!
New NicoMaki story up. Listening to the playlist I posted earlier this month while I consider the playlist for the next. Playlists are a huge part of my creative process. This summer, in between As You Like it rehearsals, I drove around blasting Prince, when I did LONELY POND MONSTER(looking for love), I looped 3 songs. I still have a list somewhere on my desk of songs I want to write something to. Last playlist I made was to help me understand Nico and Maki (watch Love Live, people) and for something to loop when I wasn’t just playing songs from the anime (love Snow Halation, people.) My next playlist is to help me crack the Rin and Hanayo dynamic.
Trying to update my Etsy store, but have yet to find the optimal lighting for metallic pencils on black tiles. Think I need a mini lighting rig to put in the utility kit that carries my portable office. Also updating my Threadless store, but need to design a fall Robot and Turtle design digitally. I don’t think scanning in pencils will make for an optimal (word of the night) experience.
Having an optimal(yes, stopping now) October experience? Today was hoodie weather, so long walk followed by hot drink, followed by trying to draw candy corn on white paper (fail) so I switched to the lightpen in Procreate. I love the lightpen, lightbrush and etc. in Procreate. Neon graffiti is so much fun.
Saw Shin Godzilla. The monster was gorgeous, the action scenes lit up the screen, literally and the pacing was so tight, especially considering so much time was spent in government meetings.
Have acquired Ghostbusters on BluRay. Looking forward to watching the extended footage, the behind the scenes stuff and the gag reels.
Politics is in a dark place, but vote anyway.
Moon flirting in clouds
Fall in love again, as if
Pierced by her arrow
It’s been a long summer full of late nights. To be completely up to date, catch up with me on Twitter. It gets exciting sometimes ; )
Have been experimenting with poetry forms other than the haiku while continuing to haiku. Robot and Turtle continue their adventures. As You Like It was a success, although the weather cut down on the number of shows we managed to do. But I once again fell in love with the thought of wandering through Arden and recreating myself, so that was a plus.
Still watching Love Live as it cheers up Flash, who we hope is in a recovery phase from a bad patch. Good leadership lessons and I’m always interested in the backstage dynamics of performers. Plus, Nico x Maki really does have irresistible chemistry.
Want to catch Kubo at the movies but Gayle’s schedule has changed so everything’s a little off. Weather almost leans cool some nights.
Haven’t been reading much that isn’t fan fiction although I did hit the library. Found a book of award winning short short plays from 2014-2015 (I believe). Made me appreciate Shakespeare’s gift for setting a scene, internally or externally, and left me with the urge to read something written by Fannie Flagg, who has a flair for detail and conversation.
And that should tide you over for tonight. Enjoy your Tuesday.
When not reading Love Live fan fiction(story for another blog post that starts with needing new manga to read plus trying to cheer up a sick cat who likes listening to anime and goes from there…but at least we’ve broken Flash’s Korra every night habit), not sleeping, rehearsing As You Like It or getting lost in rainy green gulches, poetry happens.
Haiku The Metaphor
Green tree grey storm meet
No merge, push, no pause, clash, no
Break the air whips clear
Last night’s poem
Light steals Her, not Night
Night steals Sleep, Not Dark
Dark steals Calm, Not Worry
Worry steals Breath, Not Dawn
Dawn steals Her, Not Light
Reposted from my Tumblr:
Howdy. I have already found a song titled “Restless & Reckless” so that’s a haiku that’s not being written tonight (and I once wrote a poem titled “Naked, with scissors, curling” that captures that mood, so I might as well rant.
Hmmm…topic Had the read-through for As You Like It this evening. Busy week of Shakespeare, which means I can’t think about writing and have to sneak in cartooning. But the thing I was thinking about writing is problematic anyway so maybe a good rant will clear it out of the space it’s currently screaming around in,
I think manga and anime may have ruined me for the writing of novels. Since I started reading mostly yuri manga last summer, my brain has been connecting things in new ways.
1. I discovered girls have feelings. I don’t just have feelings; the other party in a relationship does too. Simplified version, yes, but I feel a little sorry for anyone with a crush on younger me who thought they were being completely ignored. Because they were. It worked out. If I’d discovered I liked girls or starting reading yuri manga in high school, I’m not sure how that would have worked out. The SAT scores probably would have been ok, that’s a one off test. Of course, I did read Camelot 3000 when it came out and pretty completely missed the duh moment when Tristan and Isolde meet the trail of roses. Obliviousness, thy name is my youth. More people should try it. It’s charms are underrated. And it’s wonderful sometimes when the right person blasts through everything with a ‘notice ME.’
2. I’ve always loved comics, but they were superhero comics so mostly FIGHTING, And saving the world. And since I read the Legion of Superheroes, some dating. And I liked the dating stuff. I would have never said that to you at the time, but I had my favorite Legion couples all picked out and the issues with interactions were my favorite issues.
But manga, at least what I’ve been reading, is less save the world and more get to that first date. There are some categories I will not read and some I would rather not know existed, but there are some great love stories contained within some that clarified how both parties in a romance could think entirely different things, all feelings could be valid and there were inner lives that I HAD NO IDEA ABOUT. Because nobody had matched words and pictures for me before.
Well, movies had, and Fred Astaire musicals. Gesture mattered. Movement unlocks levels and labyrinths of meaning. Duh. Something I have always known and yet just now realized.
Which means that manga and anime has not ruined me for theatre. It has focused my appreciation of small moments, hands reaching, glances, physically expressing words, bringing them into being, creating atmosphere with how an actor moves in and through space. It’s exciting to think of possibilities.
It’s been troublesome to wonder what this is going to do to long form storytelling for me. I am considering both returning to pastel animations in the Fall or giving something comic-like a decent effort. I’ve been using too much spectrum letting myself worry and yet not write. Writing is still a vital tool in my arsenal of expression, but what future paths it may follow is a contemplation for an afternoon cloud watching not a 3 a.m. rant.
Off the top of my head manga list: Notes From The Garden Of Lilies, Candy, Collectors, Their Story, Fluttering Feelings (sadly on hiatus), Lily Love, Karuha’s makiXnico stories, Girlfriends. And many of Takemiya Jin’s works. Oh and Nozaki-kun. Nozaki-kun is a hoot both in it’s manga and anime form.
Ah, exhaustion. Plan worked. Good night. Dream well.