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Personal Essay

I am a Freak.

Until just a few years ago, I felt as if I were an alien being, alone in the vast sea of humanity.  Wherever I went, I felt this “otherness”, and it wasn’t an easy cloak to wear.

I felt alone, even in a large group of people.  It seemed that I didn’t laugh as easily as others, or at the same things.  I had a different perspective on almost everything, and rarely met anyone with whom I fully connected or felt at ease.  I would try my best to fit in, but it never felt genuine.

Why, I wondered, wasn’t I like everyone else?

When I was very young, I attributed this other-worldly state to being gay, but as I quickly discovered, I was just as out of place in the gay community as in the world at large.  And being the odd man out is a lonely mantle to carry, at best. (more…)


Projectile Poop and Other Things I Like About Parenting

On the day of my 35th birthday, while changing my three-month old son, projectile poop flew out, landed on a space heater and burst into flames.  Which seems a very apt analogy for parenting.

No matter how valiant our efforts, pooh sometimes happens.

As we celebrate Fathers Day, I am very mindful of the day I became a parent — the morning Mason was born.  My now-ex and I were fortunate enough to be in the delivery room,  holding his birth mom’s hands, and I was overwhelmed by how thoroughly all of my senses were engaged.  It was hard to imagine that this tiny child, who would soon clasp my finger, would be entreated to my care, and I vowed to always remain engaged with him and ensure that he, indeed, had an amazing life.

And despite many upheavals in our life, he and I have remained connected.  Now 11, he has grown into a fine young man: smart, funny, a great athlete, and at ease in virtually any social situation.  His sweet spirit is infectious, and he lightens the hearts of those around him. (more…)


I Have a Need for Solitude

I’ve been in an odd mood lately.

Aside from the time spent with our family, which I love, I’m finding it hard to be positive or upbeat these days, which is just not like me.  I tend to let things roll right off my back, but am finding this funk hard to shake.

I notice it most when I’m alone, whether in the car, running errands, or just hanging out.  It hovers, enveloping, and at times grows so strong it makes my heart race.

Partly this feeling is caused by economics.  It’s hard to be enthusiastic about work — or anything else — when you’re getting paid a whole lot less than you’re used to and, indeed, far less than you are worth.  Especially when finances are tight, prices are skyrocketing, and you have that added pressure of trying to stretch your money to the next paycheck.

Part of this is impatience.  After 10 years spent writing my novel, I want it to be published and in people’s hand right now.  And yet with agents and publishers having 3-month turnarounds, there is nothing remotely expedient about this process.

Part of this is political.  When I voted for Obama, I voted for change — and leadership.  While I like some of what he has done, I was hoping for more.  I wanted to see him dismantle the big behemoths — education, healthcare, defense, environment — and start from scratch.  Put together blue ribbon panels and have the experts — not politicians or lobbyists — tell us how we can do things better.  We need to start again, from the ground up, and actually solve problems — no more patches. (more…)


In Memorium: Shane Michael Sawick

Without a doubt, the most pivotal moment of my life was meeting and the time I spent loving Shane Michael Sawick.  Quite simply, without having been lover, partner, and caregiver to him, I wouldn’t be the human, writer, partner, and father that I am today.  I am forever grateful to all that he opened me up to, both in terms of new lessons learned, and to the more fully authentic emotional connection I have with myself and with others.

Today, Memorial Day, as we celebrate those we have loved and lost, I hold up Shane.

To help honor and keep his memory alive, today I launched a special Tribute section to him on this site.  It includes a biography, photo gallery, Shane in his own words, as well as essays I wrote around the time of his illness and death which were inspired by him (Different?, Who Am I Now?, and A Year of Goodbyes).  Most importantly, there is also a page designated for you — whether you knew Shane or not — where you can share your memories, stories, or thoughts.

I envision this to be a living memorial, which we can all add to, to more fully complete a picture of Shane, for all who visit here.

As fully as I knew him, I was only with him for two years.  Many of you knew him far longer.  I’m looking for your stories, your memories, your photos…

Let’s add to this, celebrate, and share with others, the extraordinary life of Shane Michael Sawick.  Taken from us all, far too soon…


A Facebook Guide to the Essential Kergan

This was developed thanks to Facebook, as “25 Random Things” was one of the periodic games people circulate.  A friend, Joe Lupariello, had sent me his list, which was simply terrific — funny, smart, and touching.  Reading his in turn spurred my creativity, and I published this on Thursday, January 29, 2009.

25 random things about me…

1. One of my happiest childhood memories is of my sister and I building a courtroom, complete with witness stand, and putting our baby sitter in it, on trial for being the worst sitter ever. She never returned.

2. While visiting Segovia, Spain, my now-ex proposed to me while walking in the woods beneath the beautiful castle. Before I could even answer, I was hit with an immediate case of diarrhea, with no bathroom around. I should have taken that as the sign that it was…

3. I cast and directed Jack Black in his first two plays at UCLA, where no one else had yet recognized his talent. To me, he’ll always be that 18 year-old little stoner kid.

4. When I want to cry, I watch “Men Don’t Leave.”

5. In high school, one of my best friends got in trouble for dying a hot pink arrow in her short black hair. In protest, my friend David Diaz and I sprayed our hair bright colors for the day with temporary, washable spray. We were such rebels…

6. One of my first professional acting jobs was in a 1981 t.v. movie called “Fallen Angel” starring child star Dana Hill. She played a young innocent lured into the dangerous world of child porn by Richard Masur. At 16, I was so excited to be making a movie! I got to get out of school and shoot at a pinball arcade in the Valley. And in my “big scene”, they shot me playing a pinball game, just behind Dana, who was seated in an auto racing game. Thus, in the shot, due to the angle, you basically have my butt just behind and to the right of Dana’s head. Probably the finest acting of ass cheeks in a t.v. movie that entire year.

7. As a child, more than once, I made a pig of myself at Farrell’s.

8. Years ago, I wrote a mass “coming out” letter, appealing to people to donate to the annual L.A. AIDS Walk, and sent it to over 200 people, everyone I knew–including my parent’s bridge partners.

9. A few years later, unrelated and yet related, my parents sent out their annual Christmas letter, writing the following: “This year, our son moved into a new apartment and likes his job very much.”*

*Please note they do not mention: A) my name, as I had formally changed it and they were none too pleased; B) that I actually moved in with a BOYFRIEND; and C) that I worked at AIDS Project Los Angeles. But other than that–pretty complete, don’t you think?

10. I make a home-cooked meal 5 nights s a week for my three amazing boys (sons Mason and Marcus, and hubby Russ).

11. While a Production Assistant on a low budget flick called “Blood & Concrete: A Love Story”, I was originally supposed to ferry star Billy Zane to/from the set in my car. However, he was so upset when he saw my bright yellow VW bug that he refused to ride in it. Thus, I got stuck picking up Jennifer Beals every day. Despite my best efforts, she wouldn’t talk to me, more than just to say “hello” or “goodbye.” On one day, we shot out in Lancaster, so for over an hour each way, we rode in absolute and utter silence, as my radio was broken. Thanks for the memories, Jen! (more…)


The Dreaming Fields

Growing up, we often spent summers in southern Georgia —  Waycross, to be specific.  My mom, Dottie, had grown up there, and it seemed that whenever someone got married or died, we’d return.  That is, until I was old enough to protest, and stay on my own.

During those early years, I felt incredibly connected to my southern relatives.  They had big, friendly hearts and outgoing natures, but it was hard to see the connection between them and my often-rigid mother.  Still, I felt close to them.

Every trip, we would stay at Waycross’ finest, the Holiday Inn, the lobby of which retained the faint hint of cigarette smoke, escaping through the cocktail lounge door.  Aside from the pool, the motel also featured a putting green, where we kids would play for hours.

I always noticed, though, the division that seemed to exist between black and white.  There would be African Americans by the pool, or at the lake where we often had family functions, but it was almost as if I could tell they were eying us cautiously, making sure that neither side stepped over an invisible line into inappropriate behavior.

There was something about the inhabitants of the south which I found intriguing, regardless of color.  Something about their unhurried pace and languid tongue…  The way the humidity didn’t seem to bother them at all, while I, on the other hand, almost felt as if I were suffocating. (more…)


Boopsie Givenchy: This I Believe…

(This was originally written in 1994, for the magazine SexVibe.  Revisiting it today, I am happy to find that I wouldn’t change a word.)

I believe that “gay” still means “happy”.
I believe that good will always triumph–Unless, of course, we’re talking “Melrose Place”.
I believe that Latoya Latex could benefit from a nice full-length mirror.
I believe that one day Richard Simmons will rise up and lead us.
I believe in fairies.
I believe that Stephen Sondheim should be deified.
I believe that the Rev. Fred Phellps should not.
I believe in the Golden Rule (and anything else made of gold.)
I believe that rimming is next to Godliness.
I believe that Pamela Sue Martin is due for a comeback.
I believe that O.J. needs a better acting coach.
I believe that Susan Sarandon is the only woman I’d ever sleep with.
I believe that in Newt Gingrich’s next life, he’ll come back as Connie Norman.
I believe that in Mel Gibson’s next life, he’ll come back as a blow-up orifice Ken doll.
I believe that the seven deadly sins should’ve included bad hair.
I believe that no one will ever hand you anything–except a supeona.
I believe that “Saturday Night Live” should have been canceled long ago.
I believe that Calgon can take you away.
I believe that one day there will be a cure for AIDS.
And I believe that I will be here to see it.


Bin Laden Lately?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was at a charming bed & breakfast in Vermont, learning how to be an innkeeper.  Odd, I know, as that particular occupation had never been part of some long-held vision for myself, but was, rather, a more recent detour.  My then-partner and I had what I’d thought to be the ideal relationship, and had recently adopted a newborn infant son, just the year before.  And while we’d always talked of the possibility of moving to New England, suddenly, with reasons of which I was not yet aware, it became a priority to him, and owning an inn didn’t seem like such a bad way to do it.

But as I sat shock-still in front of the TV with my fellow classmates, watching in horror as the second plane hit, I had no idea that the towers were not the only structures in my world that were crumbling.

I tried repeatedly to get in touch with my partner and our son on the West coast, but got no answer.

How is it possible, I wondered, that they would not be home so early in the morning?  Where could he possibly have taken Mason?

All I knew during those first few frightful hours is that I wanted to be — had to be — home with my family.  That was all that mattered.  Family came first. (more…)