Some Peace and Community for Queer Ghosts: Queer Ghost Hunters Series


I’ve been charmed by a Youtube docu-series: Queer Ghost Hunters. It is unlike anything else in the genre of ghost hunting reality series.

Yes, it’s remarkably well-produced and edited.  It’s funny, and it’s poignant, deeply moving at times.

The Stonewall Columbus Queer Ghost Hunters accomplishes these things because it’s doing everything so differently than other ghost hunter shows.

  1.  They aren’t reacting to a disturbance or a sighting.  The ghost hunters don’t (so far) go to a place because they’ve been called by folks disturbed by ghost activity.  They are seeking out where they believe queers would have gone in cities and rural areas.  Theatres, prisons, convents.
  2.   The goal is not to get the ghost on tape, or to prove that ghosts exist.  The show takes as a premise that ghosts exist.  Their goal: to provide a safe space for queer ghosts to talk about what it was like living queer in different moments of history.
  3. They’re looking for QUEER ghosts specifically.  Their focus drives their narrative.  They are looking to bring a safe community to a group of queers who can’t move out of their places to find other queers. ( It’s not like ghosts can pack up and go to San Francisco or Greenwich Village.)  The show’s aim is to chat amiably with queer ghosts who may not have had anyone to talk to in their lives about being queer.
  4. All of the ghost hunters fall on the Queer spectrum: genderfluid, lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgendered, pansexual, even a bear.🙂   This is about diversity in the cast as well as diversity in the ghosts, but they are talking about LGBT issues.
  5. This is MORE than just ghost hunting: it is an examination of the history of LGBT people and, in some ways, how people lived, hid, coped with being queer in different places.  In that, it is a reflection–and a chance–for people to talk about what it is to live as queer in any time.

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The Book of Birmingham: Adding Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” to the Bible

Minister Martin Luther King, Jr. preaching at an eventI would like to see Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (1963) added to all new Bibles.

I don’t propose this lightly.  Three times in the Bible, in three different places, listeners (and they wouldn’t have been readers) are exhorted not to add to, or take away, from specific books.  One is about Revelation, one is specifically to the Israelites in Deuteronomy to listen to the law, and the other is in Proverbs: “Every word of God is true….do not add to his words, lest you be proved a liar.”  I think it’s safe to say that I won’t propose adding any new words of God to the Bible.  I’m advocating something less radical.  If we can have letters from Paul, we can have letters from Martin.

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Pat Rousseau Fought Hard for Everyone

img_2912The woman in the middle is Pat Rousseau and this past Sunday, she died. This photo was our first, with Mary Malone, and only meeting of the Sunday Afternoon Neon Movies Watching Group, called The Neon Nexus, which was going to be a summer long movie watching group.  But Pat went in and out of the hospital for most of the summer, and then quite unexpectedly to me, and to many, she didn’t recover from this last trip. She’d come to me a month ago with her wishes for me to sing at her funeral, and I was appalled that she was talking like that, especially since she seemed fine after one of her hospital visits–but she said, “I just have a feeling.”

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Redecorating the Website and Bearing Witness


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Hello friends! You might notice a few things have changed on my website.  Actually, all the decor has changed, but the content really hasn’t.  It still has all the articles I’ve written before.

As I got closer to the release of my first collection, I thought my website could use a makeover, so I chose a new easier to read design.  The former white text on a slate blue background hurt my eyes—and was too small to read, so I’ve enlarged the font a bit (perhaps that a sign I’m getting old) and streamlined it, and put it on white.

It has a new title too, which I think you’ll notice first.  It used to say Yukon Science Fiction Writer and now it says Bearing Witness.  Quite simply I wanted to give the blog its own title, and not just reflect myself.  I’m a Yukon Science Fiction Writer, but the blog is not.

I lived in the Yukon for nearly 10 years and a part of me is still there and I will return many times and hopefully even stay one day soon.  I will always be a Yukoner.  I became a Canadian citizen there.  I climbed those hills and mountains and swam naked in those lakes (okay, in one lake–but it was very very cold).  I went on Moose hunts and sheep hunts and I laid on the dirt and collected low bush cranberries with friends.  I sang on cold cold nights with people who love the north, sometimes while sitting in a hot tub, watching our hair freeze, and I still have their songs in my heart.  But I needed a title for the page that said something about my whole work, not just about me, and I felt, too, like Science Fiction was only part of it.  My interest in faith and spirituality in both fiction and nonfiction should be in there too.

The former title of the page never really captured all that I was doing.  It didn’t tell you I’m gay, or that I write about faith sometimes, or that I’m an American transplant in the Yukon who went over the mountain back to Ohio.  It doesn’t tell you I’m a Navy brat, a Texas Tech grad, or adopted.  So I thought–instead of saying all the stuff I am, why not give the blog an identity?

So I did.  Bearing Witness is something you do for those who need to be seen.  It’s also a term used in faith, to bear witness to the things God has done, or to bear witness to each other through hard times.  It is about keeping our eyes open.  It’s also got “bear” in it, which winks to my love of the gay bear subculture, and the colours are pretty… cheerful, if you think about it.  The glass from the Chihuly exhibit feels like a nebula in space—and so it has a science fiction feel to it too.

Now the blog becomes it’s own collection of work, bearing witness to what I’m trying to do and what others are trying to do too.

So get ready, I’m about to start writing much more on this blog and the Wrestling with Gods blog too.  There are good things happening out there! We need to see them.

Write with Me at The BRAINERY workshop!


Would you like to write a few stories this summer and work with me for ten weeks?  The Brainery Workshop has several spots still open to work with me or Valerie Valdes in times that are convenient for you!

EVERYTHING IS ONLINE.  So you can participate no matter WHERE you are in the world, as long as you have a good internet connection.

We get together once a week and work on your stories.  We also go through Ursula K. LeGuin’s workshop guide, Steering the Craft, and we use the Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremey Zerfoss’ Wonderbook.  We’ll also be reading stories from Lightspeed and other magazines.

Come join a small group online—using GoToMeeting and WetInk–to create a great place for writing!

Want to know more?:  Follow this link to the BRAINERY WORKSHOP.

My first collection of stories, The Angels of Our Better Beasts, from ChiZine





My first collection of short fiction comes out in October 2016 (from ChiZine) and will debut at World Fantasy in Columbus, Ohio.  Very excited because WF is next door this time.  (I think in 2017 it’s in DC.)

That cover!  Another amazing cover by Erik Mohr.

This collection of 13 stories and two poems is “beast” themed (many with actual beasts, but some with metaphorical beasts or monsters) with the idea that we have the power to influence others, and be influenced by them.

Below is the Table of Contents.  Many of these have been published in Canadian anthologies, a few in American magazines, and several have their first publishing here in this collection.  For example, the first, a poem, was never published but only read aloud at Arts in the Park, a daily summer performance by musicians and artists in a beautiful corner of a block with a stage, some microphones and dedicated people running it five days a week.  This poem was part of a “Heritage Day” themed performance where writers and musicians were asked to take a Yukon Historical Society walking tour around the city and develop a piece of music or writing from that tour.

Anyway, I’ll tell more stories as we go about the different pieces, if you’re interested in reading, in further posts.  But here’s the whole shebang–the first time they’ve all been in one place.


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Jesus in Science Fiction

I started teaching a course that looks at the character of Jesus when he shows up in SJombsfcience Fiction.  Currently the course is only 6 weeks long and only taught at the UDLLI, the University of Dayton’s Lifelong Learning Centre for Senior Adults.  We are using the following short stories and novels in the course, and I will be placing the blogposts of the course over on Wrestling With Gods website because it’s become a great place to talk about religion and faith as it appears in science fiction and fantasy.

What happens to Biblical Jesus when the narrative is continued into the future?  Is it subverted?  Are writers appropriating Christianity to rewrite it and rob the narrative of its miracle, or do they instead seek to expand the notion of Jesus to its infinite possibility?  How does Jesus fare in science fiction and what can we learn about faith when science fiction writers write about him?  We look first at the life of Jesus in the Gospels to ground us in the ur-text, try to gather the importance of him as a character and iconic figure in history, culture and religion.  How is Jesus relevant in the future?  Then we look at how authors extrapolate the future of faith, or seek to tweak history, just a bit, to get the savior they want, and perhaps we can better see what kind of culture we are in the face of our chosen Saviour.

Come follow along over on the Wrestling with Gods site.  Already the class has been exciting as these students know a lot about religion, specifically Judaism and Christianity (UD is a Catholic institution) and many retired professors attend these classes for fun (they also can be quite mischievous).

The works we’re going to explore, and I will detail in blogposts are these:

To get us oriented on Jesus the character in the Bible:

Jesus: the Face of God    Jay Parini

“The Man”     Ray Bradbury from The Illustrated Man

“Mecha-Jesus”     Derwin Mak from Wrestling With Gods

“So Loved”           Matt Hughes from Wrestling With Gods

“The Rescuer”      Arthur Porges

“The Traveler”          Richard Matheson

“The Real Thing”       Carolyn Ives Gilman

 “Let’s Go to Golgotha!”      Garry Kilworth

“The Gospel According to Gamaliel Crucis”   Michael Bishop (a longer work I may not use)

“Jesus Christ in Texas” W.E.B Dubois  (which isn’t exactly Science Fiction, but may prove useful in this study)

Then two novels:

Behold the Man, Michael Moorcock, 

Jesus on Mars   Philip Jose Farmer

 If we have time, “Farewell to the Master,” Harry Bates—Which becomes The Day the Earth Stood Still.  This would be delightful to show to students in a longer class.  To read the short story and then watch both films.  

I can also see adding these works to the syllabus for a longer class:

The Man Who Died         DH Lawrence

Jesus Christ, Animator   Ken MacLeod

All Star Superman       Grant Morrison

Jesus Christs                AJ Langguth

Only Begotten Daughter     James Morrow

If you have suggestions on stories, poems, or novels to add to this list, let me know. Specifically we are NOT covering characters who merely have a “savior-esque” quality to them, or those that have a martyr motif.  I want to look at places where characters are for all intents and purposes supposed to BE Jesus.