Believe in a cause? Do something
"The only paradise is paradise lost," said Marcel Proust.
"Most of our future lies ahead," said Denny Crum.
So what do a fey, Belle Ã‰poque Parisian novelist and a 20th century, Appalachian NCAA basketball coach have in common?
Not a single thing. Proust treads no more shared turf with Crum than a bird of paradise with a pterodactyl.
Except we are all mortal: Proust looked to the past and saw what was squandered; Crum looked to the future and saw what could be won.
Ennui can’t replace energy. Stalling out is not interchangeable with stoicism. Indifference to pain or pleasure is no panacea to believing one’s voice can’t be heard.
All our future depends on the present’s actions. Here and now, our cause has come too far for lost horizons.
The year 2010 (fewer than two months away) will mark the 25th anniversary when the first HIV test came available, as well as the 25th anniversaries of when blood banks began testing for AIDS; when the first global celebrity, Rock Hudson, died of AIDS; when the world’s first AIDS Candlelight Parade took place in San Francisco.
2010 will mark the 25th anniversary when widespread gay terror first reached critical mass.
We have crossed a threshold: There are more AIDS marchers every year too young to remember the origins in San Francisco and New York City, where protestors were often walking skeletons or in wheelchairs, covered in purple splotches.
I remember. I moved to New York City in 1985, at 23, and witnessed it all firsthand — the helplessness and the holocaust.
I remember all the blonds died first, the dazzler kind: vivacious, fearless and flirty. I was blond.
There is no reason at all for me to have lived. I am the sole survivor of my friends from then.
Thus, did I submit a recent letter to Dallas Voice in which I vented my observational disappointments regarding LifeWalk 2009 ("LifeWalk needs more life," Dallas Voice, Oct. 16).
I expected no response — no one, after all, actually writes the old-fashioned way anymore; we tweet. I assumed my concerns would be ignored.
Instead, rather, the opposite occurred.
Margaret Byrne, director of resource development for AIDS Arms Inc., not only contacted me, but invited me to join the LifeWalk Steering Committee in a proactive way.
When one believes in a cause, one should never just put his head in the sand.
Everything is about change and hope. Keeping up with what the community will support is at the forefront, always, of causes taken for action.
The only paradise is paradise lost; most of our future lies ahead.
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 13, 2009.
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