Dwight Cathcart Wing
“Ceremonies” is a book that put me right in the middle of the story. Why, you may ask? Because, “Ceremonies” is inspired by the senseless loss of a friend. I to, have lost a friend to homophobia, Michael “Stella Jean Simple” Dunlap. It is to him that I dedicate this review.
The murder transpired in the summer of 1984, in a small town in Maine, that has no real open Gay community. Except for the Unitarian Church Gay Dance held on Saturdays.
Charles Howard drowned after he was chased, beaten, and thrown from a bridge by homophobic teenagers. Dwight has spun a story from these events. “Ceremonies” shows the after effects the murder has on the small town and it’s residents.
Dwight takes you into the lives and minds of several people that are affected by the murder of a gay guy that came to town a couple of months ago. How they deal with it, and how they deal with their own sexuality.
His name was Bernie Mallett. Bernie was a flamboyant, out gay man. Bernie was a stereotypical fem gay man that wore make-up. He would walk down the street, and when someone would look at him, he would smile real big and say “Hi”.
This brings up a point of Homophobia within our own community. Too many of our community feel that a stereotypical gay man should hide who he is. If you feel this way, then get ‘Ceremonies’. You will see what this internalized homophobia can cause.
The people of this small community are affected in many ways. Dwight gives you a look into the lives of several generations of people from the community.
There is Luke and Arthur, two 70 something, gay men, and Deborah, an older lesbian teacher, that have one set of views of the world. What it’s like to be in your 70’s and come out. How they lived their lives almost totally in the closet.
Mickey, a 30 something computer whiz, that is out to his friends only. With the death of Bernie, Mickey is forced to come out to not only his boss but to his family also.
I don’t have space to tell you about all the characters here. But Dwight shows how our community is effected by the dynamics of age, gender, and upbringing. “Ceremonies” is a celebration of how a Gay community is formed out of tragedy.
When you change characters, Dwight, changed writing styles to fit the character. Kudos and thanks goes to Dwight for the telling of this story. “Ceremonies” is a book that all should read. Especially, those with Homophobic feelings. It just might, make your life better.
Check out Dwight Cathcart's website for the latest information!
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