Monthly Archives: August 2012

Still Sick

With a fever of 102, I’m going to see my doctor.  Hopefully, he can get me well.  Other than the doctor visit, I plan to stay in bed today.

I’ve Got a Cold

Hopefully, it’s just my sinuses being all messed up because of the change in air pressure due to the hurricane.  We haven’t gotten much from Hurricane Isaac, but we do have some of the outer bands and of course some of the low pressure.  Whatever it is, I’m very stopped up.  I hate head colds, but maybe it won’t last long.

The ‘That’s So Gay’ Impact

Now, there are times when saying “That’s so gay” is entirely accurate and appropriate, for example when a gay man is describing hand making curtains with silk fabric and trim.  Or, like when I was watching “Warehouse 14” on Syfy Monday night and Agent Jinks, a gay character on the show, does a double take when seeing the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” in the warehouse. Most of the time, however, this is not the kind of situation that this phrase is most often muttered.

“That’s so gay” has been part of the adolescent lexicon for some time, but a new University of Michigan study has revealed the phrase could have deep consequences for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.

Published in the current issue of the Journal of American College Health, the study reportedly examined the impact of hearing “that’s so gay” among 114 LGBT students between the ages of 18 and 25, CBS Detroit is reporting.
The resulting data found that LGBT students who heard the phrase frequently were more likely to feel isolated and experience headaches, poor appetite or eating problems than those who didn’t. Still, the study also revealed another troubling statistic: a mere 14 respondents (13 percent) hadn’t heard “that’s so gay” at all throughout the duration of the survey.
“Given the nature of gay-lesbian-bisexual stigma, sexual minority students could already perceive themselves to be excluded on campus and hearing ‘that’s so gay’ may elevate such perceptions,” Michael Woodford, an assistant professor of social work and co-author of the new study, said in a statement. “‘That’s so gay’ conveys that there is something wrong with being gay.”
Woodford went on to suggest, “Policies and educational programs are needed to help students, staff and faculty to understand that such language can be harmful to gay students. Hopefully, these initiatives will help to eliminate the phrase from campuses.”
In 2007, the phrase was at the epicenter of a controversial lawsuit, after a California teen’s parents claimed their daughter’s First Amendment rights had been violated after she was disciplined by her high school for uttering the phrase, which “enjoys widespread currency in youth culture,” to classmates who were allegedly taunting her for her Mormon upbringing, according to court documents cited by the Associated Press.
Still, retired teacher Rick Ayers, who helped compile and publish the “Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary,” told the AP, “I wouldn’t be surprised if this girl didn’t even know the origin of that term. The kids who get caught saying it will claim it’s been decontextualized, but others will say, `No, you know what that means.’ It’s quite talked about.”

Source:  Huffington Post (Gay Voices), “‘That’s So Gay’ Impact,” by Curtis M. Wong 

America by Robert Creely


Robert Creeley

America, you ode for reality!
Give back the people you took.
Let the sun shine again
on the four corners of the world
you thought of first but do not
own, or keep like a convenience.
People are your own word, you
invented that locus and term.
Here, you said and say, is
where we are. Give back
what we are, these people you made,
us, and nowhere but you to be.
From Selected Poems by Robert Creeley. 
Copyright © 1991 by The Regents of the University of California. 
All rights reserved. 
Used with permission. 
Originally published in Pieces (1969).
For a biography of Creeley, click “read more” below.

Robert Creeley

Creeley was born in Arlington, Massachusetts in 1926. When his father died in 1930, he was raised by his mother and sister in Acton. An accident when he was four left him blind in one eye. He attended Holderness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire, on a scholarship, and his articles and stories appeared regularly in the school’s literary magazine. Creeley was admitted to Harvard in 1943, but admitted later that he had felt discouraged by “the sardonic stance of my elders.” He left Harvard to serve in the American Field Service in 1944 and 1945, and drove an ambulance in India and South-East Asia. Creeley returned to Harvard after the war, though he never graduated. He began corresponding with William Carlos Williams, who seems to have put him in touch with Charles Olson, a poet who was to have a substantial influence on the direction of his future work. Excited especially by Olson’s ideas about literature, Creeley began to develop a distinctive and unique poetic style.Once known primarily for his association with the group called the “Black Mountain Poets,” at the time of his death in 2005, Robert Creeley was widely recognized as one of the most important and influential American poets of the twentieth century. His poetry is noted for both its concision and emotional power. Albert Mobilio, writing in the Voice Literary Supplement, observed: “Creeley has shaped his own audience. The much imitated, often diluted minimalism, the compression of emotion into verse in which scarcely a syllable is wasted, has decisively marked a generation of poets.”
Throughout the 1950s, Creeley was associated with the “Black Mountain Poets,” a group of writers including Denise Levertov, Ed Dorn, Fielding Dawson, and others who had some connection with Black Mountain College, an experimental, communal college in North Carolina that was a haven for many innovative writers and artists of the period. Creeley edited the Black Mountain Review and developed a close and lasting relationship with Olson, who was the rector of the college. The two engaged in a lengthy, intensive correspondence about literary matters that has been collected and published in ten volumes as Charles Olson and Robert Creeley: The Complete Correspondence (Volume 1, 1980). Olson and Creeley together developed the concept of “projective verse,” a kind of poetry that abandoned traditional forms in favor of a freely constructed verse that took shape as the process of composing it was underway. Olson called this process “composition by field,” and his famous essay on the subject, “Projective Verse,” was as important for the poets of the emerging generation as T. S. Eliot‘s “Tradition and the Individual Talent” was to the poets of the previous generation. Olson credited Creeley with formulating one of the basic principles of this new poetry: the idea that “form is never more than an extension of content.”
Creeley was a leader in the generational shift that veered away from history and tradition as primary poetic sources and gave new prominence to the ongoing experiences of an individual’s life. Because of this emphasis, the major events of his life loom large in his literary work. Creeley’s marriage to Ann MacKinnon ended in divorce in 1955. The breakup of that relationship is chronicled in fictional form in his only novel, The Island(1963), which drew upon his experiences on the island of Mallorca, off the coast of Spain, where he lived with MacKinnon and their three children in 1953 and 1954. After the divorce Creeley returned to Black Mountain College for a brief time before moving west. He was in San Francisco during the flowering of the “San Francisco Poetry Renaissance” and became associated for a time with the writers of the Beat Generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Michael McClure, and others. His work appeared in the influential “beat” anthology The New American Poetry: 1945-1960 (1960), edited by Donald Allen.
In 1956 Creeley accepted a teaching position at a boys’ school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he met his second wife, Bobbie Louise Hall. Though Creeley published poetry and fiction throughout the 1950s and 1960s and had even established his own imprint, the Divers Press, in 1952, his work did not receive important national recognition until Scribner published his first major collection, For Love: Poems 1950-1960, in 1962. This book collected work that he had been issuing in small editions and magazines during the previous decade. When For Love debuted, Mobilio wrote, “it was recognized at once as a pivotal contribution to the alternative poetics reshaping the American tradition. . . . The muted, delicately contrived lyrics . . . were personal and self-contained; while they drew their life from the everyday, their techniques of dislocation sprang from the mind’s naturally stumbled syntax.”
The very first poem in For Love, “Hart Crane,” with its unorthodox, Williams-like line breaks, its nearly hidden internal rhymes, and its subtle assonance and sibilance, announces the Creeley style—a style defined by an intense concentration on the sounds and rhythms of language as well as the placement of the words on the page. In a piece for the London Review of Books, Stephen Burt wrote that “We recognise Creeley’s poems first by what they leave out: he uses few long or rare words, no regular metres and almost no metaphors,” and, noting how little that style changed, “Creeley kept for five decades a way of writing whose markers include parsimonious diction, strong enjambment, two to four-line stanzas and occasional rhyme. What changed over his career was not his language but the use he made of it, the attitudes and goals around which the small, clear crystals of his verse might form.”
Though For Love and Words (1967) both received critical acclaim, by the late ’60s Creeley was already abandoning the spare style which had made him famous. In Pieces, A Day Book, Thirty Things, and Hello: A Journal, February 29-May 3, 1976, all published between 1968 and 1978, Creeley attempts to break down the concept of a “single poem” by offering his readers sequential, associated fragments of poems with indeterminate beginnings and endings. All of these works are energized by the same heightened attention to the present that characterizes Creeley’s earlier work, and many of the poems in Hello (1976) refer to the last days of Creeley’s relationship with his second wife, Bobbie. That marriage ended in divorce in 1976, the same year he met Penelope Highton, his third wife, while traveling in New Zealand. For all of Creeley’s experimentation, he has always been in some ways an exceedingly domestic poet; his mother, children, wives, and close friends are the subjects of his best work. Because Creeley’s second marriage lasted nearly twenty years, the sense of a major chunk of his life drifting away from him is very strong in Hello. Creeley here conveys the traumatic emotional state that almost always accompanies the breakup of long-term relationships.
Creeley’s next major collection, Later (1979), is characterized by a greater emphasis on memory, a new sense of life’s discrete phases, and an intense preoccupation with aging. In “Myself,” the first poem in Later, he writes: “I want, if older, / still to know / why, human, men / and women are / so torn, so lost / why hopes cannot / find a better world / than this.” This futile but deeply human quest captures the spirit of Creeley’s later work. It embodies a commonly shared realization: one becomes older but still knows very little about essential aspects of life, particularly the mysteries of human relationships. The ten-part title poem was written over a period of ten days in September of 1977. The poem begins by evoking lost youth—youth, in later life, can only become a palpable part of the present through the power of memory—and presents a kaleidoscopic view of Creeley’s life, both past and present: a lost childhood dog and memories of his mother, friends and neighbors are all mapped onto the poetry he is composing in an attic room in Buffalo, September, 1977.
The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975 was published in 1982. The poems Creeley wrote in the last decades of his life increasingly remember and reflect on memory and the past. As Stephen Burt described them: “The later poems are more traditional than their predecessors, in their sounds and in their goals. They rhyme more often. They have recognisable closure. Few are so short as to pose conceptual puzzles about what a poem is. When they are bad they are prosy or repetitive, not insubstantial or nonsensical. They never sound like Olson (much less like Ginsberg), and at their best they recall Thomas Hardy: they are, in the end, mostly poems of old age.” Life and Death (1998) examines the poet’s increasing age and mortality. Reviewing the book, Forrest Gander acknowledged Creeley’s lasting importance to American poetry: “Robert Creeley has forged a signature style in American poetry, an idiosyncratic, highly elliptical, syntactical compression by which the character of his mind’s concentrated and stumbling proposals might be expressed . . . Reading his poems, we experience the gnash of arriving through feeling at thought and word.”
Creeley was a prolific poet, even late in life: the volumes after Life and Death came in regular succession, including Loops: Ten Poems (1995); Ligeia: A Libretto (1996); So There: Poems 1976-83 (1998); En Famille: A Poem by Robert Creeley (1999); Thinking (2000); Just In Time: Poems, 1984-1994 (2001); and If I Were Writing This (2003). R. D. Pohl in the Buffalo News, praised If I Were Writing This, declaring that it “contains some of the starkest and most memorable poems Creeley has written.” Pohl and a Publishers Weekly reviewer both saw If I Were Writing This as a companion volume to Life and Death, each of them “composed primarily of poems dedicated to family and friends (dead and living), collaborative verses, and such poems as ‘For You’ in which intimacy of tone coincides with cryptic, lyrical abstraction.” Pohl noted that If I Were Writing This is the first major volume to appear since Creeley joined the ranks of such poetic giants as Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery by winning the prestigious Yale University Bollingen Prize in 1999. He continued: “The fragility of our common experience in language and the world resonates through every line of Creeley’s recent work.”
Creeley also wrote a considerable amount of prose and was editor of a number of volumes, including Best American Poetry 2002. Creeley’s prose includes a novel, essays, and short stories, as well as a play, collected letters, and an autobiography, published in 1990. Creeley taught for over 30 years at the State University of New York-Buffalo, helping to turn its English and Poetics program into one of the most famous havens for avant-garde writing in the world. In 2003 he was appointed distinguished professor of English at Brown University. In an appreciation of Creeley written for the Poetry Project Newsletter, Peter Gizzi said, “He was a devoted teacher, undeterred by the persistent critique of the role of poets in universities. Conversely, on the Black Mountain model, he was more interested in bending institutions to support poetry. That was one of his labors.Also noted for his enthusiastic support of other poets, Robert Creeley served as a mentor and friend to many, many poets. Charles Bernstein, a colleague of Creeley’s at SUNY-Buffalo wrote in the Brooklyn Rail: “So many poets had an intimate relation with Creeley; he had a way of connecting with each of us in particular and, through that connection with him, to a company of poets in the U.S. and around the world.” Creeley died in 2005 in Odessa, Texas, of complications resulting from lung disease. He had been completing a residency for the Lannan Foundation in Marfa, Texas.

Don Byrd quoted him in Contemporary Poets: “I write to realize the world as one has come to live in it, thus to give testament. I write to move inwords, a human delight. I write when no other act is possible.” Asked about “good” poems, Creeley, who had written in the introduction to Best American Poetry 2002 that the poem is “that place we are finally safe in” where “understanding is not a requirement. You don’t have to know why. Being there is the one requirement,” responded, “If one only wrote ‘good’ poems, what a dreary world it would be.”
(Biography updated by the Poetry Foundation, 2009)

Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon

Book Description:

One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening. Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien’s shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself. Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer’s list.

When I wrote my answers for Sean’s TMI about books, I read some of the other responses. One of the authors that kept popping up on those TMI,s and from suggestions from my readers, was Josh Lanyon, particularly his Adrien English series.  I had recently read his book Fair Game and by coincidence had bought Fatal Shadows: The Adrien English Mystery Series, the first book in the Adrien English series.  So the next logical step was to read it.  Over the weekend I did in my moments of free time.  I really enjoyed the book and now can’t wait to read the other four. Josh Lannyon writes in an even, unpretentious, relaxed style. There is very good character development, ingenuity of plot, believability, dialogue, and pacing.  Once you start reading it, you will find it difficult to put down.

We Are God’s Children

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the details of being a Christian.  There are theological issues to resolve, questions we don’t have answers to, and disagreements that have existed since the beginning.  Sometimes, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees.

So this week, let’s step back and get back to the basics.

If you’re frustrated in your life, confused by issues, or way too busy for your own good, take a moment to relax.  Take a deep breath.  Ask God for a refreshing spiritual breeze in your life.
Then read the following two passages for a reminder of why we’re Christians.

1 John 4:7-19

King James Version (KJV)
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.

1 John 3:1-3

King James Version (KJV)
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

You are a child of God.

May that be the single thing that sticks in your mind as you tackle whatever life throws at you this week.

God loves you, exactly as you are.  So take that love and share it!

Moment of Zen: ZZZs

MEDIA RELEASE: New Exhibitions Reveal Untold Stories of Queer History

New Exhibitions at GLBT History Museum to Highlight Queer

Asian Pacific Islander Women, Early AIDS Prevention Efforts       

San Francisco — Two new shows opening in September at The GLBT History Museum highlight  evocative untold stories from the recent history of San Francisco. An exhibition in the Front Gallery will trace the emergence of organizing by queer and transgender women in the city’s Asian Pacific Islander communities. In addition, a small, focused exhibit in the museum’s Corner Gallery will focus on the pioneering role of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in promoting safer sex during the early years of the AIDS crisis.  

“For Love and Community: Queer Asian Pacific Islanders Take Action, 1960-1990s” recounts the creation of the Asian Pacific Islander queer women’s and transgender community. Many of its members were born in the city, with deep roots in San Francisco Chinatown. Others moved to the Bay Area as adults, working to build support networks and advocate for change. The exhibition features photographs from these organizers that tell a story of family, community, activism and love, and audio clips from oral history interviews that give voice to a history that has never been heard.  
“API queer women and transfolks have been out and working towards social change in San Francisco since at least the 1960s,” notes curator Amy Sueyoshi. “What’s most incredible is that this movement reflects activism en masse. It’s inspiring to see so many people taking action to make a more compassionate world accepting of difference. In a city of rich legacies from both API and queer communities, this exhibition finally reveals the organizing at their intersection.”   
“For Love and Community” opens Tuesday, September 18, with a public reception from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Many of the women whose stories are told in the exhibition will attend. Partial funding for the exhibition was provided by the Cesar Chavez Institute at San Francisco State University. 
“Play Fair! The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Make Sex Safer” sheds light on a modest brochure that broke new ground by launching the gay community’s sex-positive response to the AIDS crisis. Since 1979, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have transformed GLBT politics, activism and volunteerism. One major contribution is the long-running Play Fair campaign, one of the first gay safe-sex initiatives.

In 1982, six sisters produced the initial Play Fair brochure, designed to get the gay community talking about prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections in a language free of judgment and guilt. The first edition came out just as GLBT people began to grapple with what would become the AIDS epidemic. In the 30 years since, the brochure has been updated twice while retaining all its original potency, humor and vitality.

Produced in partnership with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Inc., the “Play Fair!” exhibit will open with a public reception on Friday, September 28, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States. The museum is a project of the GLBT Historical Society, a research center and archives founded in 1985 that houses one of the world’s largest collections of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender historical materials.

Admission to the museum is $5.00 general; $3.00 for California students; and free for members. For more information, visit

For more details on “For Love and Community,” download the PDF of the curators statement and exhibition credits by clicking here.

For more information on the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Inc., visit the Sisters’ website.

The following photographs may be reproduced in conjunction with coverage of the exhibitions at The GLBT History Museum. The full photo credits given in the captions are required.    

Asian/Pacific Lesbians marching in the 1989 San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade. Photo: Cathy Cade at; courtesy of the Bancroft Library.

Produced by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in 1982, the “Play Fair!” brochure launched the safer sex movement. Photo courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society.

Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Colleges And Universities

Stanford University, Minnesota’s Carleton College and Georgia’s Emory Universitymay all be vastly different institutions in terms of size of their student body and variety of degree programs offered. Yet all three have been named to Campus Pride’s list of the top 25 most LGBT-friendly colleges and universities in the U.S.
As part of an exclusive partnership with HuffPost Gay Voices, Campus Pride officials have just released the full list, which also includes universities in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Michigan. The rankings are based on data from the Campus Pride Index, which rates both colleges and universities on LGBT policy inclusion, student life, academic life as well as other relevant practices using a five (highest) to one (lowest) star rating system. The full index comprises a total of 339 campuses across the country.
Praising the top 25 list was Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer. “Every student deserves to feel safe on campus, and all of these colleges are committed to creating a more LGBT-friendly campus,” he said in a statement.
Calling it “the most reliable, trusted source” of its kind, Windmeyer noted that the index differed from others in that its ratings were “done for and by” LGBT people. He also stated that there was still room for improvement across the board, particularly in rural areas and Midwest and Southern regions.
“It is also important to recognize the 300 plus additional colleges that have ‘come out’ as LGBT-friendly on the Campus Pride Index, regardless of their star-rating,” he added.
See the top 25 LGBT-friendly colleges and universities (featured in no specific order) in the slideshow below. For more information on the Campus Pride Index, click here.
How LGBT-friendly is your college or alma mater? Sound off in the comments section below.
Here’s the full rundown of the Top 25. (All 339 school rankings can be found on the Campus Pride Index)

– Carleton College
– Cornell University
– Emory University
– Indiana University
– Ithaca College
– Oberlin College
– Portland State University
– Stanford University
– The Ohio State University
– The Pennsylvania State University
– University of California, Berkeley
– University of California, Los Angeles
– University of California, Riverside
– University of California, Santa Barbara
– University of Chicago
– University of Illinois at Chicago
– University of Maryland, College Park
– University of Massachusetts, Amherst
– University of Michigan
– University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
– University of Oregon
– University of Pennsylvania
– University of Utah
– University of Vermont
– University of Washington

“Every student deserves to feel safe on campus, and all of these colleges are committed to creating a more LGBT-friendly campus,” said Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer.

Full story here:

Finding Zach by Rowan Speedwell

Book Desceiption:

For five years, Zach Tyler, son of one of the world’s richest software moguls, was held hostage, tortured, and abused. When he is rescued at last from the Venezuelan jungle, he is physically and psychologically shattered, but he slowly begins to rebuild the life he should have had before an innocent kiss sent him into hell. His childhood best friend David has lived those years with overwhelming guilt and grief. Every relationship David has tried has fallen apart because of his feelings for a boy he thought dead. When Zach is rescued, David is overjoyed—and then crushed when Zach shuts him out. Two years later, David returns home, and he and Zach must come to terms with the rift between them, what they feel for each other, and what their future could hold. But Zach has secrets, and one of them might well destroy their fragile love.

Finding Zach is for sure one of those novels that uses angst to involve people in the story, but it also has its moments of tenderness and sweetness: in the end, the romance is so strong that it outbalances the sadness. This book was amazing. It started off and I was hooked immediately. My first thought was that I was afraid it was going to be a super quick read, but the author continues to spin the story, feelings and emotions together and around, pulling in new pieces seemingly forever.  In some books, that might be incredibly frustrating, but this is a book that you don’t want to end.

Finding Zach is a novel that pulls at your heart strings.  This novel takes you through a roller coaster of emotions: sadness, lust, love, frustration, etc.  In parts, the book is very erotic, but not pornographic.  In an article I recently read, the author Greg Herren (one of my absolute favorite writers) wrote about the difference between erotica and pornography:

To me, pornography is writing about sex itself; the characters really don’t matter, the setting doesn’t matter, and there really is no story. Two men (or two women) meet, are attracted to each other, have some blistering hot sex, and then go their merry ways. We don’t know anything more about them than we did when we first met them.
Erotica, on the other hand, is about the characters; and needs to actually tell a story. Erotic fiction, to me, has to meet the standards of fiction—there has to be a change of some sort in the main character by the end of the story; the sex itself needs to be revelatory to the character in some way. (When I teach workshops, I say “If you can change the sex scene in your story to nothing more than and then they fucked, and the story still works, then it’s erotica.”)
I have to disagree when it comes to Finding Zach.  The sex scenes are an integral part of the book.  It helps the reader understand the characters in a more intimate way.
A little warning to the reader: don’t feel discouraged from the first pages; at first the story appears dark and without hope. This feeling will dissipate soon, and as I said, on the average there is more sweetness than angst; the relationship between Zach and David starts almost as soon as they meet again, and even if it will be not an easy ride, it will be something they will do together.
I hope that some of you will read this book.  It is well worth it.