Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lucas Has Some Wyoming Connections To Both Of These Books

Still as exciting and meaningful as when it was written in 1902, Owen Wister's epic tale of one man's journey into the untamed territory of Wyoming, where he is caught between his love for a woman and his quest for justice, has exemplified one of the most significant and enduring themes in all of American culture. With remarkable character depth and vivid descriptive passages, The Virginian stands not only as the first great novel of American Western literature, but as a testament to the eternal struggle between good and evil in humanity, and a revealing study of the forces that guide the combatants on both sides.

Lucas says:
"When you call me that, SMILE!"
(from "The Virginian" by Wister)
"As a former resident of Medicine Bow, WY, I felt I owed it to my previous home to read the novel that made it famous.
Set in Wyoming ranch country where calling your friends a "Son-of-a-b****" is considered friendly, this is a story about a tall, dark, and handsome cowpuncher from Virginia who is the epitome of the western cowboy. The Virginian is a fair, honest, and level headed man who's spirit is as free as the wide open spaces of Wyoming. He is the envy and desire of the ranching community in which he lives. Can his spirit be tamed by an educated woman from the East? Can the Virginian keep his foes at bay long enough for us to find out?

Even if you haven't lived in Medicine Bow, this is a worthwhile read. This book gives insight to the origin of the American West's ideal of the independent spirit; the idea of being able to stand on your own two feet in any situation. The Virginian as a character was the beginning of a trend that influenced American media to the greatest degree, and for that, he is worth getting to know better."

Today’s gay man enjoys unprecedented, hard-won social acceptance. Despite this victory, however, serious problems still exist. Substance abuse, depression, suicide, and sex addiction among gay men are at an all-time high, causing many to ask, “Are we really better off?” Drawing on contemporary research, psychologist Alan Downs’s own struggle with shame and anger, and stories from his patients, The Velvet Rage passionately describes the stages of a gay man’s journey out of shame and offers practical and inspired strategies to stop the cycle of avoidance and self-defeating behavior. Updated to reflect the effects of the many recent social, cultural, and political changes, The Velvet Rage is an empowering book that has already changed the public discourse on gay culture and helped shape the identity of an entire generation of gay men.

Lucas says:
"If you are a gay man, you have probably noticed that there are some trends (good and bad) within our community that almost seem universal: tumultuous relationships, hypersexuality, unhappiness (even when it appears we should be happy), a good presentation of the self, high levels of educational achievement, addiction problems, good physical health, etc. The purpose of The Velvet Rage is to explain why these trends have appeared within the gay male population in the United States.
This was a particularly hard book for me to read because it pointed out behaviors that I have exhibited and touched on painful parts of my past to help me understand and overcome some of the damage I endured growing up as a gay person in rural Wyoming. I think that this is a helpful book for any gay man to read who was raised in a less-than-open environment."


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