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To Allen, Caren, Parents,

Perhaps this will explain, finally, in more than purely emotional terms, some of my feelings regarding exhibited behavior.

Clearly, I feel compelled by genetics to engage in this discourse—and do feel, on a certain level, that I must responsibly explain what is going on.

For most of my life, I have felt loved by my family. In fact, much of the current feelings come as a result of the realization that things are concretely different from childhood expectations—fostered by unconditional caring of an extended family on 77th Street and Bay Parkway.

As I matured, with a growing sense of self and place in history, I knew—came to learn, that truly expressing myself would call out a radical transformation of the way my family would look at me. And it did.

These are not choices, a flower does not choose to bloom.

I spent time in torment over that. It passed. I found love and a home with one person, something I knew only few members of society and family could even accept. Then it was over.

No formal rituals allowed me to mourn this passing. I was encouraged more to see the bright side of things and was chastised for being a "negative person"—choosing only to see the dark side of all the silver clouds. This is incomprenhensible and demeaning.

As my family moved ahead with its ritual and acceptable celebrations, birth, marriage, financial success, I became more inclined to believe that my experience could, at best, be the fringe of concern, relegated to "duty", rarely embraced. "Who needs that negative stuff?" Caren has a right to ask, yes, indeed, who does?

Friends perish through the cracks in history—Larry, Jim—now my friend Gary and Damien are sitting there with them, and listening to it all is almost paralyzing. For those, like me, sensitive to the gross ills of our world, the death of these young souls is unrestrained torture.

And you all are very negligibly involved in all this and I can't blame you—what I choose now as my life's work to explore with the world the pain of this modern plague—my films, my writings, my life is dedicated to all of this, to you it is at best, just a "personal concern" for my sake. But we, as a family, did not celebrate—or barely even congregate on civil terms around the completion of my film. We, as a family, have not determined that the value represented by what I do—should receive support on any level but, the shallow refrain, "It's the best I could do.."

Yes, I appreciate the $7,500 used in 1986 to finish the film; Yes, I will repay my grandmother's $3,000 as soon as I can; Yes, I do not expect anymore, anymore. You have done the best that you could do. Thank you.

My expectations have changed. As you go on with your lives, it is apparent to me that I can only involve myself, at best, tangentially with your concerns and problems. This has been a reality all along—now it is openly discussed and that brings pain. Allen and Caren have two families; Mom and Dad do too.

It is true, we have disbursed—Florida, Queens, New Jersey—wherever, into the corners of our own concerns. You lose hundreds of thousands of dollars at the pool hall; I belong to a different world. What I choose to build, away from this aggravation, has no financial equivalent—and is part of a historical moment of such significance that forever the 'love that dare not speak its name' has come out of the shadow, but unfortunately—not through pride, self love and congratulation—but through mourning and the fear of death.

I am proud my work will play a role in the changing of all this. This is my moment too—for I have successfully defined for myself and my lesbian and gay brothers and sisters, a little of what it all means, and what people really think about who we are and how we love.

But these revelations are not happy ones; not now.

It is easy (it must be since you all plainly agree) to see my anger, pessimissm and other behavior as a pathological response, as someone crying out for attention and need; this might be true; but also consider the plight of one who wonders, not so much about the pattern of his china, or the rate of his return on an investment or the fate of a marriage, but the impossible fear of impending doom, while those around me perish, evaporate into the past.

Where is our common ground? I'm not interested, have not the strength to look at present. That's why I need freedom—to be left alone—to let go and focus my anger on a world I feel compelled to change through my work—and not direct it against my family, more interested in other things.

I would change my life if I could, but that would mean retreat; and I have heard the call of history.

I love you all, but
C'est la vie
Happy New Yer
and leave me alone—


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