An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 2, Section 1: “But I’m still Gay.”

Part two of the Interview opens with Harold’s discussing his relationship to his peers, many of whom achieved fame and a place in literary history.

Norse describes them as outcasts and I reply that they are hardly outcasts now.

Norse feels like an outcast and I hearken back to Auden’s comment by suggesting that perhaps a saint is an outcast who survives as an outcast.

Survival in this context is surviving as an artist.

Norse says he wrote because, “I wanted to write about my deepest feelings about being Gay.”

He goes on to tell a story about conversation he had with James Baldwin who was new to fame  and Norse said, “Jimmy, you’ve got nothing to worry about, you’ve got it made.”

“Jimmy turned and said, ‘Whattaya mean I got it made! I’m still Black!'”

The cover of Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin
Giovanni’s Room 1956, by James Baldwin

Norse goes on to say that no matter what he does, he’s still gay, he’s
still marginalized.

Norse describes how he met with Baldwin again, after Baldwin was wealthy.

Baldwin looks in a mirror and says, “After all, I’m still James Baldwin.”

Norse stopped himself from saying, “And who is James Baldwin.”

Norse describes it as a ‘Zen’ moment when he realized that we are what we’re conscious of being.

Interview with Harold Norse Section 2, part 1.

Please note:

When I turned the tape over I unknowingly enabled a ridiculous option
that stops the machine when it senses silence. The result is a little choppy.
I did my best to smooth it out.

To hear the beginning go to An interview with Harold Norse, Part 1, Section 1

(C) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

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Rage and Panic

With most chronic illness there are times when one lives in the symptoms.

If DID was chronic back pain then this past month has been all about managing  breakthrough pain.

In therapy we are talking about the AIDS Epidemic.

Part of me remembers the 1980’s as a time when the ‘establishment’ passively and purposely did nothing about AIDS while gay men died.

Part of me remembers the 1980’s as a time when I belonged to the radical gay literary scene in San Francisco.

Part of me remembers all the 1980’s but has no feelings about it.

I’m that part.

Am I the host personality?

I have a sense of the whole and something is different and it hurts and feeling it feels like dying.

My therapist thinks that panic attacks are the way I cope with rage; I was not allowed to have anger as a child so I have fear instead.

These panic attacks used to happen only when I left my apartment, now they happen anywhere, and always without warning.

My heart pounds, the room spins and starts to go dark and I think that this must surely be my death,  but it passes.

I wake up in dread; my mind turns to thoughts of old friends but the friend I see is long dead.

I see the face of my wonderful William who was only 25 and too full of life to die.

He was so frightened.

His hands were so cold.

He would only be in his late 50’s if he had lived.

Rage and panic.

What is now and what is then?

Sometimes I don’t know.

 

Rob Goldstein (c) 2016 all rights reserved

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