And yet again, 11 months later, I remember this blog exists! One day I’m going to reach the end of this tale…preferably while I still remember what it was like, after two and a half years.
We last left the story on the Friday evening, after my first day in Brunswick after finding out that I was in a town of writers.
I apologize in advance: this is going to be the boring entry. It doesn’t really cover journey or discovery, just tie up assorted loose bits and ends of the story from my time in Brunswick.
Continuing right on, for a change, we shall now examine the town of Brunswick, Maine. Unless you’ve lived from the area or visit Maine regularly, you may well have never heard of it. It’s a small town, twenty thousand, no bigger than my hometown of Beloeil back in Canada. Such a small town, in fact, that Matt, when I was making my travel plans, that I might not find much of interest in Brunswick.
He was, to put it lightly, way off the mark.
GASP! I have returned, and with the next part of my long-delayed Boston saga.
Last I posted, over a year ago, I had reached the far end of the Freedom Trail and climbed to the top of the Bunker Hill monument. (As an aside, I expect at least another four entries to cover the whole rest of the journey – at least two for the three days spent in Brunswick, and another two for the return trip).
EDIT: Obviously, this was written – and posted, just narrowly – before today’s news from Boston reached me. My thoughts go to anyone affected by the events.
(I realize I should go back and complete the Boston saga. I will, eventually)
Among my many hobbies, I’m one of the top staff member of a major online fansite (“major” as in one of the most popular video gaming fansites in the world per Alexa rankings, imperfect as they are). Like the vast majority of fansites, it has its own forums, and, like the vast majority of forums, that forum allows for discussion of off-topic subjects, such as social and political issues, including, of course, gay rights and gay discrimination.
In the past, like most fan sites in the world, we used to treat discussion of homosexuality as a political debate. We allowed conservatives and liberals to state their views on the matter, so long as they did so without personal attacks. We felt that this was fair; that both side got to argue their view, and give their reasonings.
It wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t right.
At the end of the day, homosexuality is people. It’s what they are (or an inalienable part of it). Homosexuality, to teenagers and young adults, means beginning to realize you’re “different”, with all that it entails. Homosexuality, to them, far too often means living afraid of anyone else finding out who they are; afraid that if anyone find out, they will get shunned, mocked, beaten. In some cases, afraid for their lives even. Homosexuality is about fearing you will lose your family, or have already lost it, over finding out who you are. Homosexuality often mean not daring to go to school anymore, because of how you will betreated there. Too often, it means suicide.
Homosexuality, on fansites, means coming online to enjoy your favorite entertainment, only find that even here, on a website dedicated to the shows they watch, the games they play, they can’t escape the hatred, the mockery, and, especially the condemntation. That even here they can’t escape being told they don’t deserve equal rights. That even here, the word that define them is used as an insult, to the point that many fansites actually censor the term: that “gay” come out as “***”.
Is it politics to say that those fans deserve to enjoy the site as much as any other fan? Is it politics to say that people won’t enjoy the site as much if a fundamental part of who they are get called immoral or a disease? No. There’s nothing political about either of these. It’s simple empathy, and common sense.
But what about going out of your way, on a fansite, to hound teenagers who are struggling with who they are to tell them they are going to hell; that they shouldn’t be able to marry; that they suffer from a disease? That’s not about being who you are, it’s not about trying to live your life – it’s about trying to tell others who they have a right to be, and how they should live their lives. That is politics. Letting it happen is politics.
At the end of the day, choosing between these two sides isn’t playing politics. Obama will win, or Romney will win. Harper will get another majority, or he won’t. Gay marriage will be legalized, or it won’t. There’s precious little we, as a fansite, could do to influence these issues, so no point in us taking a side one way or another.
What we can do, is put a little bit more good in their world. Not much. Maybe, perhaps probably, not enough.
But still more than there was yesterday. That alone is worth it.
(This is largely an edited version of the editorial I wrote to explain the change on the fansite in question. I felt like it deserved reposting)
My last entry left thing on the morning of september 29, on arrival in Boston. As a general observation, Boston is both somewhere I had never seen before, and somewhere that, as far as cities go, has always been fairly high up on my to-visit list (well ahead, for example, of New York). I remember, as a thirteen years old when my family went to Cape Cod, asking my parents to stop by Boston quite a few times, but that never happened.
The result of which being that my visit to Boston, though short, was packed, and that I don’t know if I can fit it all in one entry (also, unlike my visit to New Haven two years ago, I wasn’t limping on a still-sprained ankle the whole visit).
Anyway. A cloudy day in Boston…
As noted, I have more travel stories (with photos, although this first part will be light on photos, for reasons implicit in the title).
As with Fayeteville back in 2008, the reason for the journey was a friend’s wedding, on the coast of Maine. Not a friend I had never met before (he came up to Montreal to visit me in early 2011, with his fiancée), but a long-time online friend all the same, Matt. (one of many Matts around me these days). Plane (price) and train (doesn’t go there) were not options, so it was time to try yet another way of long-distance travel, the bus.
Since the only bus from Boston to Brunswick run in the evening, and since on the whole I prefer leaving at eight PM than leaving at four AM, I decided to spend a day in Boston along the way. (on the return trip, I spent only a few short hours, because I thought a daytime journey through the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont would be good thinking. Which I was right about.
For obvious reasons, the first several hours of the trip are going to be light on pictures. Aside from the stopover at White River Junction, and a few pictures taken in the gray, rainy light of dawn, I just couldn’t take much. On the flip side, I could probably fill several entries with Boston alone, and the return journey (in broad daylight from Maine til the valley of the Winooski (see : half a dozen other entries)) also has a great deal going for it.
So after a hiatus of a year (and what a year it has been), I’ve decided to start blogging again. Because I realized I needed somewhere to put the tale of my latest journey (Boston and Maine in late september/early october), to talk about writing, and generally to share my thoughts on a variety of topics.
First observation: a year ago, as of my last blog posted here, I was a visitor in Ottawa. I loved the place, but it was a detached, visitor sort of love. That’s no longer true. My life’s here now, something that becomes more obvious each time I go back to my parents’ in Beloeil for a visit. This is where my friends are, where my home is (I’m now renting an apartment with two friends instead of renting a room in a stranger’s house), where my haunts are. While life still has a way to go with me before I can settle down, I’d strongly consider remaining here for good if I can find a job.
Second observation: I’m good at Law. Without going into details, as of the last two sets of grades I got in (the two terms of my first year), I’m every inch as good a student as my sister ever was. Given how much of an inferiority complex I used to have toward my sister results-wise, that’s huge for me.
Third observation: I can write.I mean, I’ve won NaNoWriMo a few times before, true, but hitting 50 000 words within the first week, finishing the novel before the end of the second, and despite the insane speed ending up with (of all my NaNo works to date) the one I’m most comfortable sharing with others (though it still needs work)…that’s a new one.
Fourth observation: I lost track of letting go of frustrations (that is, forgiving and putting them behind rather than letting them pile up until they come off as snide bitching) a few times in the last several years, mostly involving American politics. It cost me my dearest friend (although said friend added me back on Google+ several months after the incident, so go figure. I am mildly perplexed). It’s something I should be good at (God knows I wouldn’t have gotten through high school without being good at it), and I need to remember to do it.
Fifth observation: there was, about last month, a huge outcry about bullying in Quebec following a suicide. Lots of people came out with videos and what not denouncing bullying, and many of them stating they had themselves been bullying victims. A lot of (other) people, including some quite close to me, dismissed many of those videos as stars trying to get some sympathy capital by joining the “cause”, and people who really had no clue what bullying is. I was a bullying victim (big time – not in a “jocks picking on nerd” sense, in a “the guy the nerds thought was godawful) and frankly, I don’t give a damn why they are doing it. They could be taking up the cause for money for all I care. So long as they speak about it. It’s too easy a topic to forget about.
(Fifth and a half observation. I went to my high school reunion, as discussed in a post way down the archive.At times during the evening there was virtually a line-up to apologize to me, including both bullies themselves and the people who stood aside and did nothing)
Sixth observation: a lot of teens and young adults of Quebec reacted to the above suicide by hounding the bullies on facebook and bullying them in turn.
As I phrased it on facebook then: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and it won’t be long before all that’s left is assholes.
Nobody, ever, deserves bullied.
Last, and not least observation: my soon to be eight months old niece is awesome :D.