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Date Posted: 14:30:00 02/04/03 Tue
A few weeks ago, when I first arrived here at deweywriter.co, I was raw with the emotions of having just read, For the Love of Pete, and, Brian and Pete. To write that I was profoundly moved by the stories only begins to express the enormity of what I was processing. Quite frankly the experience was painful.
Recent events in my life had hardened me enough to lose sight of what had always been so paramount to me: a passionate belief in the importance of being open to our feelings and a deep respect for the power of love.
I cried for my loss of innocence, and I cried for having found it again.
I first came here because I wanted in some way to give back to the author who so deeply touched me. I wanted to thank him, and in doing so, hopefully reaffirm his own process for writing such intimate, vulnerable work.
What I found here shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did: a community, a family. And, quite frankly I was overwhelmed. Like in the story, when the boys each come to meet the Patterson family, I should have felt welcome and have known that I was safe. My own fears kept me from that sense of security. (You are all a formidable lot.)
But, I was curious, so I wrote an email to Dewey, I signed The Guest Book, and I offered a message on the Message Board. Dewey wrote me back answering some of my questions as to the ‘factual’ nature of the stories. His insight into his own process was quite helpful in calming down my rather upset and hurt inner child. (I still hadn’t stopped crying. It was quite embarrassing finding myself on the train teary eyed as I replayed several scenes from the stories over-and-over in my head.)
Dewey writes in the foreword of, Brian’s Destruction, “If there is anything I emphasize in the Brian and Pete series, it is this: don’t be afraid to express your emotions.” For me, equally important is the romantic vision of unconditional love. I am so afraid for Brian and Pete, and therefore vicariously, I am afraid for myself. Watching them love each other leaves me feeling so alive – filled with possibility – and yet, terribly frightened and vulnerable. It is hard to trust, but I trust them, and it is somewhere in the complexity of these emotions that I have spent hours crying and contemplating Dewey’s story, and its impact on my life.
In reading the Message Board, I came across a message posted by Dewey asking for input from his reader as to how they saw Brian and Pete. I wanted to reply, but didn’t at first. (In fact, this post is my reply.)
In the email Dewey wrote me, he wrote, “Brian and Pete are fictional characters loosely based on different aspects of who I was at the time I wrote the first chapter of FTLOP. Brian is really who I thought I was, and Pete was a more noble persona, who I would have liked to have been. Their maturation through the story roughly tracks my emotional maturation as I learned who I really am.”
What I came to realize about my own process was how hurt I had become – disillusioned – by my own and my friend’s failed relationships. For you see, I am first and foremost a romantic. I grew up so wanting to believe I would share my life with my soul mate. I was weaned on fairytales and Hollywood movies. I was – still am – a true believer. I desperately wanted to find my white knight. What I found, in that desperation, was disappointment.
So, I cried for what Brian and Pete had and I didn’t. I cried for the ideal of love and the sad truth that I had begun to lose faith.
What Dewey’s email taught me – reinforced in me – was that we all the chance to find our soul mate, for we all can grow to love and trust ourselves.
Yes, of course, I am still thrilled at the romantic love that Brian and Pete share, and hope that perhaps I too will find someone to share my life with. However, whether or not that is to be my fate, I know I share my life with myself. I will… no, I am becoming whole. And, as Dewey wrote, it is in allowing ourselves our emotions that we achieve peace.
P.S. Tomorrow, I am off to the Berlin Film Festival and won't have access to the Internet. If anyone comments, I won't be able to respond until after 17 February.