We’ve now been zoom bombed three times. The first time it was a short clip of a boxer, on repeat. We looked in surprise- what is it? What is the point? The second was a man masturbating on screen. Ew! I clicked to remove him. The third time, it was four people, probably young men. They came in an hour late. One put in the chat, “Yo. Anyone here play Minecraft?” I removed him. I waited until each revealed they were not here to discuss Quakers and Truth, then removed them. Their disruption seemed innocent to me: what did they expect?

After, people were keen to talk about the zoom bombing, and I wanted to talk about, well, Quakers and Truth. So I told the story of the monks. You know the one, surely. I typed “monk carr” into the search, and the first suggestion was “monk carrying woman across river”, which led me to Alpha Home. I had to tell the story, not well- I could not think why a monk would carry a woman across a river. Anyway, he does. And they said, they needed to process it. But that’s giving the bombers what they want! The group praised my care and respect, not judging the zoom bombers without clear evidence against each individually, and I wondered if I should have ejected the bombers sooner. They were clearly bombers. Attenders had the unpleasant feeling of lack of control: what will they do? Why does she not just exclude the bombers?

I love you being you. I love it when you show what you call, unselfconsciously, merely truthfully, your radiance. It is very beautiful. We agreed that if I controlled you, you would be nothing: less than human, merely a figment of my imagination. Still I want to control. My whole life is about seeking control. You said you had had a headache, and I felt one, briefly. Is it my extreme sensitivity, or am I attuned to you?

We talked of my fundamental inner conflict: I reflexively hold all my actions and characteristics in contempt. I carry this huge burden of contempt. No wonder I hide away and do so little. As you suggested, I talked from the contemptuous part. Well, the other is contemptible! She does Nothing, proving it.

I know my softness is beautiful, and that increases my frustration. Oh well. My physical life is almost inert, but my spiritual life is intense. I do not forgive myself, but barely tolerate my inactivity and contemptibility because it seems unavoidable.

Another has no partner right now, and is fantasising about Jodie Comer- perhaps Jodie Comer in role as Villanelle. Wow. Well, I can see the attraction. Sexy, effortlessly effective- just a bit frightening. Oh, yeah! And she feels guilty about it. It is objectifying. It is using another person. I feel she is too harsh on herself. It hardly affects Jodie Comer, and she is probably not the only one fantasising about Villanelle- being her, or being with her. You can work out in fantasy all sorts of things- if they are impossible, you process your desire, and might see other possibilities. I see her guilt, and want to assuage it. I have mercy on everyone but myself.

My fbfnd is a staunch ally, and her profile picture is the words “Trans people belong here!” Being right on, she added a Ukrainian flag. I love both sentiments, but they don’t really go together: Britain is enough of a war zone for trans people, for me.

People are using the invasion of Ukraine to make all sorts of points. Why care about Ukrainians, but not Yemenis or Ethiopians? Ooh. Normally I would want to analyse and understand, but perhaps even Anthony Blinken with all his analysts does not know what it might mean for the world. The details will only shock me without doing any good at all, so I wish to avoid reading or arguing about it, and simply pray for Ukraine and its people.

Encountering others

How could we stop depersoning each other?

-Why did you edit yourself?
-Because she wanted affirmation, and I didn’t, actually. I didn’t need anything from that conversation and I don’t think she could have given it to me.

I hate to claim wisdom. I feel if I am claiming wisdom I am missing something. Surely I could not be in such a mature place. But. With respect to the local meeting I think, well that was that. There were bits which were really wonderful. There were bits which were painful. I think it’s their loss, but I really don’t think I could convince them of that. I told people what had happened without self-justification, and that felt liberating.

Oh God it hurts, and I have to live with it. There will be other delights.

We say we want the I-thou encounter, and just like other human beings we note the class and status indicators and see people by stereotype. These are shortcuts, which get in the way of knowing. As apes, part of our initial impression is of the other’s hair, as an indicator of health.

I feel I made a step forward and as always it’s hard to know what the step forward is because in some sense I have been like this forever, and in some sense this is entirely new. I feel my undressing, my exposure of myself, has value, increasing understanding for myself and others. I have not particularly felt it has a cost, either because I don’t understand how people see me, or can’t see that it might make them see me less positively. Tout comprendre est tout pardonner.

And before I was not concerned with reality, but how I could manage its appearance to a part of me that judged me. I may be considering reality more. My aim is to respond to reality rather than manage my own fantasies about reality. I would do something to manage the fantasy rather than achieve something in the real world. But my situation is such that I don’t know what I want to achieve in the real world, or how I might go about starting.

There’s the deep hurt, fear, perplexity. I don’t think there’s a great deal of resentment, this is just where I am. I have achieved a great deal, and it may help me to earn a living in the long run.

TERFs are often people I would really like, and might relate to well, were it not for this dispute. I like them, yet I know my loyalty is to me in 2001 desperate to transition and completely terrified of it, and to people in exactly that position now.

There is one thing I could do to get more human contact and the experience of a working routine, and do something worthwhile, and I just don’t want to. I found it too unpleasant. Why did people vote for Brexit? Because it was couched emotionally rather than rationally, in terms of taking back control, not being bothered by immigrants seeing things differently and getting things we don’t get, and a cheery wave from the milkman in the morning. A simpler world, where everyone was comprehensible.

Everyone and no-one is like me. We meet wearing masks, and the masks prevent us from meeting, but shared experience may let us share real parts of ourselves. I self-disclose here, endlessly, because I want to take off my mask.

We voted for Brexit because we are thirsty, and someone showed us a mirage. Big Ben won’t bong on Friday, as there was no plan to ring it until it was too late. However Mark Francois blames the deep state, writing on his Gofundme page that it was much cheaper than £500,000 to ring it before: £14,200 on Remembrance Day.

So, Leavers get to feel a bit of resentment at being thwarted, even on their day of greatest triumph as they fondle their commemorative 50p’s and anticipate their blue passports. That bongs could have been as cheap on Brexit day had Francois and Johnson planned to bong is brushed aside.

The propaganda value of this is enormous. Leavers never get their triumph, they are always tantalised that great things are around the corner and can be gained but for the Bad People. So their anger and fear and resentment are kept stoked, for political purposes.

all that there is of me

I was acting as if I still had male privilege- as if, after seventeen years, I did not know what transition means.

It is a vicious spiral. Once I lost my temper, that became the only important thing for them. I would not promise not to do it again, because having done it once I am not sure I am capable. This is humility rather than arrogance: I am saying “I don’t know I can” not “I don’t feel the need to try”. However it stops them listening, and makes it more difficult for me to feel understood, which is the thing most likely in the world to get me worked up.

Then, I am not sure. “I will try not to do it again” might not be good enough for them. I could ask them to think of it in terms of behavioural psychology: after I lost my temper, do they think behavioural psychology, preventing that response in the future by applying a sanction, works with me?

Mmm. I don’t think they trust me. I may be projecting.

“If I still had male privilege”? I have seen bullying amongst Quakers, and people refusing to be corrected even after others have pointed out where they are wrong. It’s always been by men, of high status in and out of Quakers.

So I offered to resign, and the next stage should be two people visiting me to try to restore unity. I suppose it depends what unity means. If they don’t think unity is restored, then they accept my resignation.

They could use my blog against me, I suppose. Even if I think, I have a high concept of truth, truth is complex and I cannot understand it so I write to find facets of it, they might ignore that and say, she wrote this so she must believe it, like a normal person, and therefore she is unacceptable. I write to try to find out what I think, or even to put an idea in words to push it as far as it will go, even to contradiction, and still.

I want- of course- to get away with as much as possible, I thought, but that is not quite it. I had the idea of the cardboard Quaker, who sits quietly in worship, is calm and polite, and never says or does anything that surprises or offends anyone else in the slightest. I think that is pointless.

I still see myself as a Quaker, so I take part in Quaker gatherings- I even hope to go to the yearly meeting gathering. I probably won’t be organising the Quaker worship at Greenbelt this year, but I wrote to a few people with the intent of ensuring it happens. Possibly, someone will organise it just so as to ensure I don’t.

I see myself as a good person! It is a good thing, and if someone else organises it all I get is some confirmation of my judgment. I think my judgment has value, that what I work on has value. I serve, and I want to continue serving. I fear that will indicate to them that I have not sufficiently taken to heart how bad I am.

My hurt was hard for my Friends to bear, but it was unbearable for me. And then in autumn 2016 I thought I should be bearing it, and not putting it on my Friends; and in autumn 2018 I made huge steps towards bearing it; and then I lost control, yet again, and that was the last straw.

I have apologised.

Should they have to bear the possibility that I get angry again? But then, can I guarantee not to?

I would rather be right than happy. What do you hope for? Possibly the wrong thing, because I can’t hope for anything better: isolated moments when I feel really, really right, even if isolated even more, rather than ongoing relationship. I am not sure what ongoing relationship would look like.

Again this is blogging! I say things to see where they go. This is not a final statement.

I think the problem with that Quaker meeting could be said to be another person, probably more than one, but I seem to have provoked a widespread agreement that the problem is me. I don’t know how not to be that which they find uncomfortable and problematic. I feel if they really knew me they would know I was worth all the aggravation.

I could have that on a t-shirt. I’m worth the aggravation! But they don’t want aggravation at all. I would say it is an inescapable part of human relationship.

There are degrees of connection, of relationship. Some people see each other very deeply and rawly, but most people don’t want that and couldn’t cope with it.

Can they cope with my authentic self? Am I ever my authentic self? I am always in some mask or other, perhaps. Am I ever not my authentic self? I can hardly step out of myself and hand over control of my body to something which is not an aspect of me.

I can come out with phrases which I call wisdom-bollocks: short enough for a meme or facebook share. For example, One should take time to respond rather than reacting. That is simply true, and it is not always helpful to point it out. It misses something.

I can say that I know losing control is a bad thing and I don’t want to do it.

I know I cannot promise never to feel wronged. I might find better ways of dealing with it, more effective for me as well as more acceptable for others.

-You are too much for some people. You must find the ones that can actually hold the diverse parts of you.
-I can’t do that myself. But I will reject none of it.

I am drawn to the wisdom of much younger women sharing wisdom with their own age group. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.

The wisdom to know the difference

You know the serenity prayer. It encapsulates the human condition so elegantly.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

I might imagine that “know” to be instantaneous. How often I carry on banging my head against a wall, though there is no crack in it, no way I will break through in that way. I should “know” it is fruitless, I should perceive immediately that it will do no good, but often I have to learn that. I carry on banging my head against the wall because I have not accumulated enough evidence to convince myself that it will do no good.

Or, I sit amongst wonderful opportunities, taking none of them, because I do not see them. I should know they are there, and choose one, and pursue it. I should know, now, not have to work at learning of their existence.

So, perhaps we should change the word “know” to “learn”. I did not know, I say. I thought the wall would crack eventually. I had not seen the possibilities.

But I am insane, not seeing because I do not want to see. I want to believe that what I am doing has value. I want to believe my choices and decisions so far have been good enough, and my perception clear. Admitting I am wrong is painful. And so I carry on beating my head against the wall, because it is better than admitting I have been wrong.

So another word for “know”, there, is “accept” or even “admit”. There is blood streaming down my face, sweat stinging my eyes, and my trembling fingers find no cracks in that wall. There is a moment when I must admit all my virtue- courage, tenacity, intelligence, strength of will- has been insufficient to break it down.

But I know, really. I can carry on

banging my head against the wall

or stop. I can carry on

ignoring the possibilities

or consider them.

That wisdom entails admitting all the pain I carry into my immediate awareness. All the choices I have made that have not gone well. All the false hope and illusion. All the times I claim to desire something but take no steps to bring it to fruition. It involves choosing what I actually am over what I wish myself to be, and choosing reality over fantasy. It involves staring unblinkingly, and acting. This is who I am, here, now, with these characteristics, with this fixed past, with these possible futures. Wisdom is terrifying, the face of God.

I am going to die. My chance of life after death is in the memories of people who know me, and the lives of people I influence. My life will be finished: before then, it is for me to complete it, to make it a whole.

I have not actually been reading existentialist philosophy, just an introduction to some of its concepts. Some of them chime with me, though. Even when I do not admit, I still know.

Toddler II

I was delighted to find this gender analyser, which says my blog is written by a feminine person- this post was 84% female. It was 94% negative, but I was stating the problem. You need to see the problem before you can solve it. Though even after the election, writing about fun, I am only 50% positive. That text was aged 31% over 65, 21% 51-65. I am not insulted by this: wisdom comes with age. It was leavened with 12% aged 18-25.

Do I care? Do I look like I care? I thought I was re-doing teenage, but a lot of what I do is toddler lessons. I find what joy, anger, fear, complex mixes of emotions not immediately nameable are like. They bubble up within. If I do not hear and acknowledge them- yes, something is Feeling, somewhere else in the brain is Acknowledging or Accepting- they manifest in delighted wriggling or a clenching of the back muscles, or other movements; highly affecting memories which I may have processed but which are symbols for feeling Now; or deadening, when I suppress them and therefore suffer loss of energy, inability to perceive Now clearly, and nameless disquiet.

You need the wisdom of age to write about these things.

I fear the deadening the most. It is my old tactic, what I learned when I failed at Toddlerhood, setting me up to fail at life. It locks me into prescribed responses and steadily increasing pressure until nothing is bearable any more. Or, it worked for a time, it kept me alive, scrabbling to survive, suicidal and self-hating but sometimes effectual. The first time I could prove a doctor was crooked I got him sacked. The second time I might have proved it I ran away screaming.

Historically, we have taught children at all costs to avoid the visible, physical manifestations. They are even a mental health symptom: in strong emotion, rocking can help some people process it, but rocking, or screaming at the floor, is deprecated. When you tolerate it in yourself you are clearly mentally ill. Suppression achieves that, motionlessness rather than stillness, at worst robotic learned responses to all situations. How am I supposed to respond? We knew “Children should be seen and not heard” was wrongful, because repressive, when I was a child, yet my family practiced a less severe form of it.

I find myself trusting myself, but only in part. I had vegetarian lunches with Quakers and in the evening craved a bacon butty. So, I thought, though factory farming is monstrously cruel, especially of pigs, I cannot be vegetarian because I crave meat. Then I find that if I use a lot of olive oil I do not need meat. I want fat. I want less sugar. Is my desire for chocolate an addictive (bad) or nutritional (good, but unlikely) craving? Or could wanting a mild stimulant be good? I am exploring my world, but slowly and too carefully, having lost trust. That is another thing you can teach a toddler, and it is more difficult to learn for yourself, later: I am trustworthy. I have experiences which might tend to indicate that, but others which do the opposite. Or, I have to trust because not trusting makes things worse. Could I-

My toddler lesson is that feeling the emotion fully, using its strength to respond, is the best, most mature adult skill; but wriggling, cringing or rocking can be an aid towards that. It embarrasses me; it is a hard lesson.



I matter. While happiness simply for its own sake may not be the best primary goal, all other things being equal I am better happy. My happiness matters. It is so good for me to be reminded of this today, because it is not my conscious understanding, a lot of the time.

I imagine there are some people who feel the opposite- pebbles rather than clods– for whom it would be salutary to be reminded to take consideration of the feelings of others, from time to time. I know which I am. Knowing I am a clod, and being Blake’s clod is what I wish to be, what I respect, whereas being a pebble I find repellent and hard to imagine, I approach this Dalai Lama quote which I found on Alaina Mabaso’s lovely blog. I don’t know whether the Dalai Lama said it, either, but bestdalailamaquotes alleges he did:

When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.

Perhaps from Buddhism I could learn enlightenment, but not from facebook memes even if they quote the wisest man in the world. Sometimes other people are thoughtless and careless, and put me out. Even Ingres, Venus Anadyomene- rising from the seaif they should not have been so careless, it may be easier just to sort the situation than to persuade that person s/he is wrong and should make amends. This is part of accurately seeing what one can change and having the courage to change it. At the CAB, I dreaded hearing “It’s the principle of the thing” or that it was not for herself the client was concerned, but for all the others who might suffer similar injustice: because in both cases I thought the client was deluding themself. I was never as cynical as my lecturer who said “Principles are to be encouraged, because they make money for lawyers”.

I am not saying Alaina is wrong, merely riffing on the subject because I had nothing else to blog about, thinking as I type. On her second quote,

If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.” ~ Yogi Bhajan

it may just be a semantic point that it is better to respond in conscious awareness rather than to react emotionally, especially in a potential conflict situation. Etty Hillesum- I keep thinking of this story– having no way of responding to the anger of the shouting man, pitied him. Sometimes there are “things we cannot change”, though temperamentally you may be more likely to think that, or more likely to hurl yourself against every immovable object, or chaotically to get it wrong both ways. While “Think it possible you may be mistaken” is good advice, some people do that too much too. Virtue is the golden mean.

And I matter. Oh Christ, thank God for the reminders of it!

Arabian Nights

The Arabian Nights are full of changes in fate and fortune. The bull finds the donkey in a clean stable with good food, and congratulates him. The donkey advises the bull to pretend to be sick when brought out to plough. The bull does, and the owner uses the donkey to plough all day instead. So the donkey tells the bull that he heard the owner say, if the bull is sick again he should be given to the butcher. So when the bull is taken from the stable next, he runs away. I love the cynicism of the donkey, and the way the outcomes baffle his objectives.

The wise man does a favour to the king, and the king distrusts him: for if he could do me good so cleverly, he could harm me as easily. “Betray him before he betrays you” advises the vizier, and they have the wise man beheaded. The head speaks, and advises the king to read a book: in turning the pages with his licked finger, the king ingests poison from the impregnated pages, and dies.

What is female beauty?

Bazille, Woman in moorish costume

He saw a lady of medium height, with jutting breasts, beautiful, comely, resplendent, with a perfekct and well-proportioned figure, a radiant brow, red cheeks and eyes rivalling those of a wild cow or a gazelle. Her eyebrows were like the crescent moon of the month of Shaban, she had cheeks like red anemones, a mouth like the seal of Solomon, coral red lips, teeth like camomile blossoms or pearls on a string, and a gazelle-like neck. Her bosom was like an ornate fountain, with breasts like twin pomegranates, she had an elegant belly and a navel that could contain an ounce of unguent.

Great learning may benefit you little:
-Do you know any craft by which to make your living?
I told him, “I am a lawyer, a scientist, a scribe, a mathematician and a calligrapher.”
-There is no market for that kind of thing here. No one inthis city has any knowledge of science or of writing and their only concern is making money.

So he gives the man an axe, and he becomes a woodcutter.

Inexplicable misery afflicts people:

By God, the Merciful, surely my affair bewilders me;
I do not know the source of sorrows that have surrounded me.
I shall endure until endurance itself cannot match mine,
Continuing until God closes my affairs.
I may be conquered, but I shall not show pain,
As a thirsty man endures in a hot valley
I shall endure until endurance itself learns
I can endure what is more bitter than aloes,
Itself the bitterest of all,
But bitterer than all this would be for patience to betray me.

It gives wise advice, such as these five injunctions:

Do not be on intimate terms with anyone, for in this way you will be safe from the evil they may do you.
Injure no man lest time injure you, for this world is a loan to be repaid.
Keep silence and concern yourself with your own faults and not those of others.
Be on your guard against drinking wine, for wine is the root of all discord and it carries away men’s wits
Guard your wealth and it will guard you. Do not overspend.

Carl Wuttke, Oriental streetSuch wisdom may bring acceptance, but not the happiness I find in trust and relationship.

And now I am clear

Essence process day 16

I wrote, I am unsure where I am with this, and now I am clear. I realised this morning,

No-one can hurt me if I love and care for 
and respect myself.
Therefore, no-one else has ever hurt me.

Gentileschi, St CeciliaArguably this is not true of children; but by the current legal definition I came of age thirty years ago. So, with Ruth, where did that situation come from? Four years ago, overseers considered looking after me- I was quite needy- and Ruth took me out for lunch, and we walked together several times.

What do I Want? If I find Ruth’s emails like sandpaper rubbing at a sore, I want them to stop. So I must consider my attack carefully, in order to make them stop. However sweetly and smilingly I approach her, I would not come from love, just from an attempt to gain the moral high ground and shame her into stopping.

If I can accept them- this is Ruth, yes, Ruth does feel a need for things to go Right within the Area Meeting, I am happy with my actions as AM clerk or can see a way of improving- then I can come from Love, and seek a warmer, less fearful relationship. This morning I saw this as a “necessary confrontation”- I must establish boundaries and take my power; my self-respect and proper functioning requires her to behave how I consider appropriate. And now I don’t. I will see her in January.

Coffee this afternoon with my wise, delightful friend Liz. I told her what I had been doing, and she got it completely. I told her “no-one can hurt me” and she understood. Taking a little courage, I held her gaze and stated my affirmation, and she smiled delightedly and said Yes.

-You’re a different person from the one I met four years ago. You were anguished.
-Yes, I said, and enraged.
-And now you’re not.

I have gained permission to be myself. I have gained respect for who I am, and do not wish to be otherwise- at last! I am so grateful for the space and time I have to process all this. Liz agreed, and helped me to clarity about Ruth.

It was quite lovely, affirming myself to Liz. And- it is my responsibility to affirm myself: if I cannot, no-one can do it for me. I want to communicate this Blessing to others. I take care with Holy things- and it is a challenge! Communication is my gift, and my delight!


Henriette LorimierYou can choose a ready guide, from some Celestial voice…

Here are two sites which email me a Thought for the Day. The Wisdom Commons is by Valerie Tarico, a rationalist atheist formerly an Evangelical Christian who collects bite-size quotes from eclectic sources. Recent examples of “The Daily Wisbit“:

Even Socrates, who lived a very frugal and simple life, loved to go to the market. When his students asked about this, he replied, “I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.

Jack Kornfield

Not only must the most privileged feel they are brothers and sisters of the most destitute, but the most destitute must feel as well that something within them makes them equal to the greatest sages and geniuses.

Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov

True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power.

Milan Kundera

One Spirit Interfaith offers daily inspiration, such as

Life has taught me that it knows better plans than we can imagine, so that I try to submerge my own desires … into a calm willingness to accept what comes, and to make the most of it, then wait again.

– Julia Seton, By A Thousand Fires

I know that a new and kinder day will come … And there is only one way of preparing the new age, by living it even now in our hearts.

Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life

Dalai Lama in ViennaI get a lot like that from facebook, along with the politics and jokes. Here is the Dalai Lama:

When you talk, you are only 


what you already know; 

but when you listen, you may 

learn something new.

But I thought, when I try to articulate thought and explain it to others, I gain understanding; and when I listen, often I only hear what I already know. These wisdom-tidbits are not the meaning of life, but they can stimulate my thought for a moment, giving pleasure and even perhaps insight.

Also recommended: Mark Simpson‘s poem shares.

Lovely blogs

I have been given the One Lovely Blog award, by Sugar-Coated Angel. She is 17, and shares valuable wisdom, self-knowledge, and jokes, well-written. I am fair pleased. I am supposed to praise my nominator then to write seven things about myself, but given that most of this blog is about me, it is all here. Let me tell you of some lovely blogs found recently. In no particular order:

Large Self– thoughts on energy and healing in the 21st century by Cathy Ulrich. I came across Cathy with her post on “Bumper-sticker philosophy, saying “Disrespect reality! It is just the outpicturing of your beliefs up to now.” Practically, I function like a naive realist, and these are the reminders I need, in a clear and humorous style. The photograph is hers.

I have just found Julie Hansen Intuitive, who writes on psychic phenomena, reading and perception of people and situations. Her word “Clairvoyant” disturbed me a little, but it simply means clear-seeing. These are skills I wish to develop. Part of the current spiritual revolution is the increasing verrecognition and valuing of such skills.

I found Mindy through a comment, and have posted on that. I find her blog beautifully expressed, wise, varied, and on interesting subjects.

Letting go takes a lot of work!

Or, maybe, it’s the holding on I’ve done till now that has taken so much energy.

Small Letters is full of good stuff like that.

Her comment was on Fairy Bear Confessions, which teaches me and stimulates my thought about God, from a Christian perspective.

Beth Zwecher is 57, and writes very movingly about caring for her mother at the end of life, in Middlescapes, “A blog about caregiving a frail elder, life in the middle years, the search for one’s inner athlete, and baking as a path to enlightenment”.

Novia Olam is Kenyan, still living with her parents. Her web address, Sapphiqueer, is bold, Out there, when gay lovemaking is illegal, so that gay people have little protection against violent bigots. Her coming out story is moving.

Also beautifully bold is Evelyn Ortiz. “Evelyn Ortiz has spoken”- I love that. If I say I love reading teenagers expressing how to get on in the world, that could seem frightfully condescending or sardonic, but I mean it literally and genuinely.

I value Tsena’s poetry, but it is this line that I love- “I used to shake my head at the people who would claim that major tragedy turned out to be a gift in their lives; I thought they were nuts. Now I join the ranks of those whom I called Nuts.” Such an about-face is a powerful move towards wisdom.

Fear no Weebles! Madame Weebles is a middle-aged Reiki master doing wisdom-stuff- all my kind of thing- with a lot more humour than I manage to cram in here.

All so far are women! Robert Moores writes on Basic Humanity from a rationalist perspective. He is currently reading and commenting on the Bible.

Duncan Aldridge, whom I met at the Field of Love, a 5Rhythms camp in East Anglia, is exploring masculinity. He says, “I only hope that the vulnerability is a channel through which we can come closer together relationally and emotionally as men and women.” Personally, I find my “vulnerability” my only source of strength.

That is eleven. Perhaps I can keep back four nominations for later.