Thursday, April 30, 2009

WHOOPS! - Dorothy Crosspost

Without thinking, I posted the picture of Dorothy on the David's Dream blog. Dorothy's picture was supposed to appear on my other blog page: where I post my dot pictures. Dorothy will have to explain how she managed to get herself posted on this blog as well. You can find her any morning at

Dorothy Newmire
c/o Uptown Bill's Small Mall
401 S. Gilbert
Iowa City, Iowa 52333

She likes getting cards and letters.


She sits in Uptown Bill's each morning dispensing words of wisdom.

"I'm here because I'm not all there."

I too am not "all there".

Many times I am not sure I am "here".

I am glad that Dorothy is here.

The warmth of her smile is beyond my knowledge.

Her laughter brushes the spiderwebs from my heart.

Thank you Dorothy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Maybe The Last Dream...For Now

I stand in the water and look up at the clock. 8 a.m. 8 a.m. central. In Sanfra it is 5 a.m. David is working hard to make to San Francisco. He is taking actions and learning new things every day. Life remains full of surprise and wonder.

I put on my goggles, raise my legs to squat against the side, then leap backward with my arms over my head. The water embraces me, its calm soothing presence removing the emotional chatter that often lives in my brain. I know that eventually the water will melt away the chatter leaving my thoughts clear...or at least with the illusion of clarity.

I only know one stroke; a sort of backward butterfly that I invented. It is not elegant but it does propel me to and fro from one end of the pool to the other. Back and forth I go for a minimum of 30 minutes, often for 45, once for a full hour and a half. However long it takes for my thinking to calm. It is difficult to describe the sensation (but when have I ever lacked the ego for an attempt at describing that which is beyond description?). One moment my brain and body are full of the tensions of fear, anger, anxiety, guilt, etc. The next my head feels empty and I sense only the motion of my body in the water.

Today is such a time. I watch the lines in the ceiling pass with each stroke. The emotions fade and I tackle the thorny question of why I took the trip to San Francisco. My glib response is that such activities help keep me out of the hospital, and it is true that I feel stronger each time I am able to tackle something that initially strikes fear within me. Yet this is only a partial answer. There is more to it.

Is it an innate desire to be a "good" person? How awful for me if this is the case. My experience of being on a mission to do "good" has seldom if ever been a positive one. More often than not I become blind while on a mission of "goodness". I become so focused on MY (or worse, a Divine) purpose that I am unable to see the person standing right in front of me. They become nothing more than a tool for me to use in my grand purpose of "doing good". If the tool is helpful in achieving my purpose then I cherish it and lavish praise upon it. If the tool cannot be turned to my "good" purpose then I toss it aside. In either case, I am so lost in my mission of doing good that I am no longer alive. I can only see, hear, taste and touch that which can be perceived through my filter of "goodness". I sincerely hope that I did not undertake the trip to do good.

So what then? Was the trip pre-ordained by a supernatural being for a purpose of its own? A purpose unknowable by me? Perhaps. Perhaps I had no choice in the matter whatsoever. If that is the case then no need to worry about it any further...I have no free will and thus the responsibility for the outcome lies with the being who chose me for the trip.

Was the trip an act of selfishness? Was it really nothing more than a desire to keep practicing those things which keep me out of a mental institution? Was it a desire to be famous and receive praise from others? I think this is at least partially true. Yet it is not selfishiness as I used to define the word. It is the same selfishness a jellyfish has when it captures a shrimp; the selfishness Doofus, my cat shows when he comes to me to be rubbed; the same selfishness a baby has when it reaches for its mother's breast. It is the selfishness of life striving to continue and flourish.

So yes, in the end the trip was a selfish act. There was an element of care for David and Joe within it, but if my only motive was care for others I could have taken a different path. I could have avoided bringing pain to Rejeanne. I could have sent the money to a friend in Africa. I could have donated the money to the food bank. I could have sent it to my daughter and her husband. In each case some would benefit and others would not. But, who can say or decide what would have been the greater good? Not I certainly. I lack the information and perspective to make such an absolute judgment.

Thankfully, that is not my job. I used to search the want ads looking for a job as "God". I never found one. Besides, based on the number of priests, gurus, politicians and do-gooders in this world there is an abundance of applicants ahead of me for the role of ultimate "decider". I leave it to them to determine the ultimate goodness of my actions. I will go have a cup of coffee - smell its rich aroma, taste the flavor from mountains half a world away and savor this moment of life.

This may be my last posting on David's Dream. Some of David's dreams have been fulfilled. I was fortunate enough to have witnessed this. David is hatching even more dreams as I write these words. Regardless, my role in the dreaming is at an end for now. There may be other dreams and chapters about this one but I do not see them now. Of course, I will continue as David's friend and help him when I can, but he has gained the strength and hope to carry on his dreams with or without me. In the end, isn't that the point? And anyway, it is time to plant fruit trees.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Let Him Speak

David sent some more writings. Let him speak.

After capturing his first (and it turns out only) queen ant and marveling at the hills of my home state - Arkansas, David had another moment of wonder in Texarkana.

I just incountered a most wimsical place. Which so closely resumbles my home state. As to have me thinking I am between Des Moines and Iowacity. Tell I looked closer. Noting the entire land is as flat as a pancake. Its as if somebody took a huge steam iron to the entire state of Iowa. This place is as flat as Arkensal is hilly! Then I noteced what had to be clearly artifical cactus. That looked so real I went up to check the plants close up. And to my supprise. They were real! The plants. Well known as a hot house plant. Where not only growing by the road. In an out door planter. But they were thriving! With out the aid of a hot house. It was the dangist place I have ever seen!

In Dallas, we met two old friends of mine, Carol and Richard for an exotic dinner at a Nicaraguan/Mexican restaurant. However, our hotel left a little to be desired. David found a sack of prescription drug bottles in his room. He quickly called the front desk who took quickly took care of the problem but the incident was not one of David's favorites.

A oddish land of wimsy. Great to visit. But not to stay! Unless the dope I found in my motal room is yours? Then please do stay a while. Say ten to twenty.... But please! Keep out of Iowa! We don't want your kind! Now while the place has its charms. The hotal in Dallas left a lot to be disired! With useless internet service. Plus somebodys large stash of perscription only substances I discovered when I opened a dresser drawer. (Eather the owner is dead? 'Given the sheer number of pill bottles. Or he/she is headed too or is allready in a longer stay hotale. Curtisy of the Texas dept of corrections.)

Oh and the place is sheer murder on my feet! Even with the boots I purchesed just for this particuler plot of wimsicle oddish ground.
Am finaly exiting Dallas. Fortenly the incident with the dope. Turned out to be inocent. Turned out the hotal was like two miles from a majure texas mential hospital... Hummm. Hence the large amount of perscription medicene left behind. And I thought taking two pills a day was a huge amount! And a night with feet propped up did wonders for my poor feet.

After passing through Dallas and spending we headed for Abilene and David's first view of desert country.

And I am now making a bee line towards fire ant country! Which will be far more freindly to feet than set ready mix.
After having found my second queen. Who turned out to be not long for this world. We now make a bee line towards our next stop. Abilene texas. If only Justen knew... Then after another night in a hotal. (Ps. I have become quite adept at setting up Myrmecology labs in record time.. Only to then take them down even faster.) Hopefully with internet service. And free of substances.... I will be making a bee line towards the Desart!
Iowa. Seems to be more a faiding memory now. As if some faveret childhood playground. A place now as exotic and noval as Texas. The land of wonder the land of wimsy.

After Abilene, we moved on to Wilcox, Arizona where David began to discover the difference between hills and true mountains.

The hills around Willcox Arazona. It took some getting used to the scale of things. I having nearly walked from my hotal to a hill I assumed was at most a cople thousand yards away. When it was in fact nearly FIFTEEN MILES! A good thirty minits by car... Thankfully I changed my mind. Shoes you see are very expensive in Iowa city Iowa. And I realy can not afford to wear them out...

The following evidently was written our first evening in San Francisco (Sanfra in David's tongue). We were there three days. The transformation to David's psyche was decades in scope.

Puruse for a momet. A town. Made from left over bits of all other towns in the world. All cramed togaver. And drapped over a frighteningly steep hill. Now name the streets at randome. And you have a town you can name a type of dream after. It the place. Is fully outside my understanding. Its ok to smoke a joint. But one dare not light up a camal. But strange as the place is. I can allready see myself calling it home. Less than five seconds after my right foot landed on the readymix. I have no name for this town. So well just call it. Dreamtown USA. Or San Fra... Will also do.

On our second day in San Francisco, I took David shopping and to get the "thing" (nose piercing) done. The piercing was not a favorite of mine as David evidently noticed.
I am now near the end of my first full day in Sanfra. Did some shopping over on Folsum street. Before then undergoing minure surgery on Castro street... (Nothing like ending the day getting a ten gage dermal punch driven through ones nostrals.) Which has taken some of the bullish stubreness out of me... And since you have to ask? Yes it hurt! But not as much as it hurt poor dale. Who had to stand there wincing as that big needle was thrust through his freinds nostrals. (You know. We could have had you on the table while I held you down and watched... Just kidding dale.)

Finally after two days of hellish 800+ miles per day driving, we neared home. As we reached the Missouri I heard more tapping on the keyboard...

And finaly. We see the state of Iowa close up. Famus for its corn, beans, corn, beans and pigs. Oh and theres a person or two too. Along with its maze of rural roads. Make a wrong turn here... And your gona stay a while. There is no excape from this most beloved land between two rivers. Most beloved cause well. Thats where my heart has been... Named after a tribe that once lived there. I call it by its other name. Home! Ok make that my home away from home. After all. My real home is by the bay. In a town called San Francisco. But we just call her. San Fra....
I can think of nothing to add. Write on David.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lost Treasure

Back home. Loving a coffee at my local Starbucks. AND I have my laptop, all on my own, no sharing. God is in his heaven and all is right with the world.

I see an unfamiliar icon on my desktop. I click on it. In amazement I read a previously undiscovered essay from the recently prolific author, David Young. Evidently it was written the evening after David saw the Pacific Ocean. Bravo David. May we see many more lines from you.


Now I am unable to discribe this land. In words. Other than to say. When I stood on the shore of the mother lake. That etheril legendary body from which all water and life arrises. It was as if a big boincer in a dark night club had crushed a football in my face. Making for a loud resounding boom! It was only after I had gotten into my motal room. That I realised the scale of what I had touched and tasted. For this was the great mother of waters. A true god. Whos veins flow with the same saltyness as my own blood. Of my freind Dales, Joes and even Barrys. It is the same tast of the meat that sustans me. Her water is the blood of all life. We came from her womb. And back to her we all must evently flow. For all rivers evently return to her. She is the alpha and omega of life. Which out her. Earth would just be another lifeless dead rock adrift in the cosmos. We owe her. Our gratitude. And our respect. She she holds life itself in her hands. The vegitation here is beyond discription. As if some gardener had gone mad. Planting every kind of green flowering thing. There are palm trees and a bewildering varity of fruit trees. All flowering plants are to found in profusion. Even cacti are well repersented. Yet no glass case or house incloses this ammazing garden. No did I see any sign of constent toil normly needed to grow such lush vegitation. Who ever the care taker of this wonderfull garden is. I sure have no complants as to his skill. A real master gardener is at work here.

And after having tasted and touched the mother lake. I now brace my self. For I am about to meet another lady. One I know well. Oh do I know this lady! For we have allready met. Before we ever met. For this lady. Who sets next to the mother lake. Has shown her face many times. In places where only sheep should reside to be counted. Her name is San Francisco. But she prefers to be called... San Fra... During the night. I am about to meet the lady of the night. Face to face. And this time. Nobody standing on the other side. Will write... I then wake up.

by David Young


"I then wake up." That simple phrase completely captures the essence of our trip. David, Joe and I awoke to new thoughts and feelings on the journey. For me, it was an awakening to beauty that has always surrounded me. A beauty that waits patiently while I strive and struggle to "achieve", to "be somebody", to fulfill a "destiny". Thanks to Nature's power and David's Dream I am once more occupied with being Just Dale, nothing more, nothing less. It is enough. Thanks David.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mountains, Dreams and Diamonds

We drive east. Mountains in Nevada. Mountains in Wyoming. Endless plains in Nebraska. As we enter Iowa on the third day out from San Francisco, ragged clouds hover on the horizon and the sun edges toward dawn. In the west the clouds would be mountains. David watches the clouds. I watch him watch.

"You will never be able to see those clouds the same again will you David?"


"They will always look like mountains, I'll bet."


The tires sing on the road. About twenty miles west of Des Moines David speaks.

"Well, now we're back in David territory."

"David territory?"

" the places that I have been before this trip."

"How do you feel?"

"A little happy and a little sad. I miss San Francisco but it will be good to be back and relax. I really want to move to San Francisco though...don't forget to print out those papers."

"Okay. I won't."

The papers are the forms for getting on the waiting list at the San Francisco Housing Administration. David looked them up and found out that the waiting list was eight years. I will print the papers anyway. David will fill them out. Time will pass. Maybe eight years. Maybe forever. Or maybe, just maybe, a miracle will happen and another of David's Dreams will come to pass.
David may find someone willing to let him rent a room while he waits for Section 8 housing. That dream is no more preposterous than the journey we have just made...a journey that defied common sense and rational argument. A journey that certainly has felt much like a dream.

Dreams beget more dreams it seems. On, and on, and on the dreams come; waves in David's brain every bit as endless as the waves in the Pacific.
He saw the Pacific, stared in wonder and then dreamed of going on to San Francisco. In San Francisco he changed, losing some of his hatred and fear. In San Francisco he dreamed of of finding someone to share his fantasies. His time was too short and his fantasy was unfulfilled. This caused great pain but David's love of San Francisco endures. David felts some of his old anger but that has faded, replaced with a new determination to try again. Maybe David will fill out the forms. He may even find the strength to continue changing...changing into something new...someone who can have many friends, some of whom share his fantasies. I hope so.

David's dreams have brought both joy and deep pain. Perhaps too much pain. So, should David stop dreaming? Should I stop dreaming? Don't dreams just bring pain when they are not realized they way I want or expect? Some say dreams are nothing but the gateway to unreasonable desires and unending suffering. I am not one of those.

Dreams are the diamonds of my life. Their edges are sharp and they can cut deeply with great pain. Pain, depression, illness may dull them for a while but like diamonds my dreams endure. Without dreams my life would be something less than human. Machines do not dream. Ants don't seem to dream. Maybe there even are people that don't dream; souls so bound up in the day to day cares of achieving what is "practical" or of staying "safe" that to them dreams are a waste of time. Once I thought I was someone without dreams...but no longer.

While dreaming, I once wrote a book. A friend referred to it as a treasure chest of gems. Some of those gems have turned out to be diamonds. Diamonds that begin as rough dull stones and then are cut by life's lapidary into brilliant treasures. This journey was such a stone...a dull glimmer of an idea planted in my brain and then put aside as I contemplated the difficulties of traveling with David. In the honesty of friendship I share that David can be demanding and grouchy particularly when he is tired. In those traits I mirror David perfectly. Perhaps that is why I worried about traveling with him. Yet, beneath his armor David is a gentle soul fascinated (as am I) with life's intricate wonder. Again, like me, much of David's anger seems to come from fear of rejection or embarrassment. In the end I realized that I am much like David and so if I feared traveling with him it was merely a fear of traveling with that which I fear within myself. This was the gem cutters tool that turned stone to diamond. To me this is at the heart of the teaching that I should act with kindness, or "Do unto others..." I do unto others not to get something from them but to change something within me. David has been a great teacher in this area. His rough edges have helped smooth mine. I hope, and yes dream, that my rough edges have helped him uncover a bit more of the diamond within.

The sun shines over the field outside my window. It is a spring sun. Leaves are just beginning to show. The magnolia bushes are covered with white blossoms and the iris are slowly fighting up through last fall's leaves. The sun's brightness causes me to squint as I write this. I squint against the brilliance yet it shines ever brighter. Eventually the light will cover the entire field. I will go forth into the day. Friends and people who do not yet know they are my friends await. Life is wonderful in the Iowa mountains.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


There was a void in the car today. There was no click of computer keys. No camera slowly moved forward from the back seat to record David and me as we talked. There was no cheerful Manchester chuckle over scenes from our trip. Joe is gone.

Who can say how friendships are formed? Sometimes they take years to grow and at others they seem to leap full blown from the ground. That's how it is with Joe. Our time together has been brief but our friendship feels as though it has had decades to grow. Perhaps, as some believe each of us lives many lives...working to free ourselves from illusion. Perhaps Joe and I met in some former life and I am simply recalling an earlier time. Or perhaps Joe's accent reminded me of the time I worked in Lancashire and Glasgow. Regardless, we quickly became friends on our quixotic quest to fulfill David's Dream.

Joe shared much of his life story with me. To me there is no greater gift. I feel priveleged.

I will never forget Joe. I will always see his wiry form running about interviewing the dozens of people he met along our journey. I will laugh at the shocked look on their faces that seem to ask, "Who the hell is this crazy man? Why is he talking to me?" I will smile in memory of how Joe quickly turned their shock into laughter and acceptance of their newfound role as stars in the documentary. If there ever is a film of our journey, it will be due to Joe and his artistry.

I miss you Joe. I hope you are home safe among friends and family. Say hello to Eve and all the rest. Maybe Rejeanne and I will be able to visit you someday. I hope so. I truly do.

Death of a Reptile

Mountains of every hue roll past the windows. David's camera clicks away in the back seat then falls silent. We watch in amazement as the handiwork of millions of years stretches to the horizon. David's raspy voice breaks the silence.

"I have changed."

I look at him in the rear view mirror. "Changed? How?"

"The reptile is dead."


"Yes the reptile side of my brain."

There was a time when David's primary, if not only response to the world was rage. David's friends Linda, Tom and others have cared for him for decades. The rage softened but was still always close to the surface. David calls the rage the "reptile brain". He wrote about the reptile's death on our last night in San Francisco:

I spent the night trying to re-awaken the reptilion side of me. In preperation for one last final war. But I found it impossible. Standing at the corner of castro and market street. The hate machine just would'nt start. Like an old lawn mmower. You yank the starter cord. With all your might. And the moter just sputtered a little. Then went silent. Is most frustrating when things don't start. Which is why I rent my housing instead of buying. No lawn to mow. As to why it won't start I don't know. Maybe it was the stroke? Maybe it was just worn out? All I know is. The dammed thing just won't start anymore! Oh well I'll just wait tell I get back on bartelt road in Iowa city Iowa. Grass there is Kentucky blue. Things aways start on that stuff. Of course. It is illegal to tress pass on other peoples property in Iowa. (I know! I have the scares from rock salt in my rear end.. As testiment to this fact.) So it looks like this moter is completly shot. And will never start again. So I just tossed it into the dumpster. To go off to the San Francisco county landfill. Which if my memory serves me right. Is in some place called china?

David refuses to use spell check, his syntax can be surprising and his humor is sometimes subtle to the point of obscurity, but his message is clear. He feels transformed somehow...different from the David who left Iowa just 14 days ago.

David will feel anger again. I will feel anger again. Who lives forever free of the reptile within? Yet something in the miles of travel, the endless scenes of wonder, the capture of his ant colony at my Dad's house in Arkansas, the welcoming arms of San Francisco's Castro district have changed David. How much? Who can tell? But his step is livelier, his eyes are brighter and his laugh is louder and more frequent.

It is no wonder that David longs to live in San Francisco. Perhaps for the first time in his life he felt free, that he was not a freak - that his true nature was not a cause for shame or guilt. He was freed from state institutions in 1985. He was freed from guilt about his sexuality on April 15, 2008.

So now David has a new dream. A dream of returning to live out his days in San Francisco. He wrote about this as well (parentheses are mine):

Tomorrow. I will head off for an exended outing in Iowa. Which is just my home away from home. Tell of course I can find an affordible apartment in my home town. Of San Francisco. I aways rent my housing you know. Me and all manure of small moters. Including those in lawn mowers (like the one used to start the reptilian brain). Just do not get along very well.

May David never find the need or the means to restart the motor of his reptile brain. May he find a way to move to San Francisco. And, in the meantime may he find a home in the now fully enfranchised gay community in Iowa. Above all, and perhaps most importantly, may he never cease dreaming.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Mother of Waters and Sanfra

My hands rest on the keys of a shiny new computer. I bought it for the trip. David needed a computer for editing his pictures and for his writing, so I let him use my old one. I enjoy the click of the keys and watch in wonder as words appear on the screen. But my wonder is but a pale glimmer of the shining I saw in David's eyes Monday. 

Barry met us at Carpenteria and took David down to the water. David stood at the edge of the Pacific Ocean in silent awe at the endless expanse. The waves rolled in, soaking his shoes and the cuff of his pants. Barry, Joe and I walked around him chatting, and chuckling. We could not pierce the profundity of David, sky, ocean, breeze and birds as they locked themselves into a matrix of unity so intense that all else disappeared. Gradually the sacredness of the moment crept into each of us; leaving us vacant of emotion and thought to experience the majesty and beauty surrounding us. We stared into the precious ecstasy of the here and now David was experiencing.

Finally, someone asked, "David, what do you think?"

David's voice rasped,  "I...I...don't have words."

Gently, as if with a child, Barry led David to a bench near the shore. We tried conversing with David to get his share more deeply of his experience. It was little use. His eyes kept returning to the waves, birds and sand. Finally, it was time to go. As David got into the car he shook his head and I heard a whisper, "Mother of all waters...I have seen the mother of all waters...all life came from her and to her all life will return."

We arrived back at our hotel and I took David to get a few supplies for his microwave. As he entered his room he turned back from the door and looked at me.

"It just hit me, Dale. I just realized that I have actually seen it...I have actually seen and touched the Pacific Ocean." Chuckling, he closed the door behind him.

I stood for a moment in the parking lot. The light from David's room cast kibuki shadows on the curtains of his window. I heard my voice. "So I have I have I. I have looked at the Pacific many times, from planes, boats and from the shore. But today I actually saw it for the first time."

Perhaps it is only after living through great suffering like David's, that we can see true beauty and experience profound joy. But then who does not suffer? Perhaps the beauty and joy are with me always...if I take the time to look. Thankfully I have people in my life who help me to see. It beats the H E double hockey sticks out of television.

Yesterday morning, after a good night's rest the traveling trio headed to Sanfra (a.k.a. San Francisco to those unfamiliar with David's map of the world). Our original plan was to stay at Salinas for the evening. However, as we grew ever closer to our ultimate goal the David's excitement grew. An offer to drive on through to Sanfra was met with a robust affirmative.

I stopped to access the internet and booked a room at the Travelodge at the corner of Market and Valencia. We made good time and arrived at the check in counter around 3 p.m. During check in we chatted with Roger (the owner/manager) and threatened to film him.

"Please don't take pictures of me...once I was a big I have to work for a living."

Laughing I added, "Yeah me too. I was a big shot once...but I gave it up for Lent."

Roger chuckled and once more I shared a bit of the background of our journey. Roger finished checking us in, but as he handed me the keys he held my hand for a moment.

"I gave you the weekday rate for Friday."

"Thanks Roger."

"It's okay...every drop counts."

Every drop counts. Yes indeed. Enough drops and I soon find myself in an ocean of kindness.

David could scarcely contain himself. I watched as he walked around the parking lot puffing cigarettes like a chimney. His cane seemed an inconvenience rather than a support. He was more alive than I have ever seen him.

We took a quick driving tour of the Castro and Fulsom street...most things were closed but we scouted out the locations for David to visit. David went to his room to plan out his adventures and I went to mine to call lifeline to hearth and home.

Yes, this morning I sit in front of shiny new computer. I tap out a few words in a vain attempt to capture the experience of watching dreams become reality. But, in all honesty, just like David at the edge of the Pacific - I have no words.

Today I will experience more wordless wonder. Wish me well as I do you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility

This is the place where David was placed at the age of 13. We tried to get closer for a better picture but uncooperative roads and old memories got in our way. In David's view the fact that the facility is now a prison is an improvement from the time when he was there as a "patient".

A Few of My Favorite David Young Photos Thus Far

Beware The Cactus by David Young

Beware! Of the Cactus!

Its not often one sees me and cactus in the same picture… (Save of course inside a hot house.) But seeing these fickle hot-house plants littering the ground like Velvet Leaf in an Iowa corn field. Really brings a smile to my face. But its not always been a love only relationship. For these silly plants will follow you all the way back to your hotel room. Riding on your shoes. Then jump onto the rug. Where they then wait patiently for you to take off your shoes and… OUCH! It would be funny if not for the fact I suffer from diabetes. Making foot injuries series business. Fortunately the points tend to break off in my heavy soles. And one has yet to break skin. We Iowans do wear very tough shoes you know… Of course if hotels would avoid using brown patterned rugs. Or better. No rugs at all! These little hitchhikers. Would be easier to spot before I put my foot down!

David Young

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gifts from David and Joe

We have had a few comments on the videos. Some are upset about the"gay" thing. Some are excited about watching. Luckily our team is not trying to win American Idol. We are just three bozos on a magic bus headed west. Our journey is our own. We like sharing and of course dream of being on Ellen Degeneres and Oprah some day - LOL! - but in the end the real purpose of the trip is to see the world anew and share it with those who are interested.

Yesterday we met a couple, Marc and Robert in Tucson. Marc is the son of a very good friend of mine, Larry Atkinson who lives in Little Rock with another dear friend - Deronda. Marc and Robert treated us to breakfast and shared a bit of their story with us. David's comments after the lunch were, "They were really nice. They seemed really normal. After meeting with them I am a little less nervous about being gay."

David has lived in a tiny room for decades. Today he is seeing things that he has never seen before. His reaction to this new world can be summed up in the hundreds of times each day that I hear him say "Oh my God!"

We continued our journey into Blythe, California where I sit and write this as the sun rises. It is the same sun that rose yesterday and the day before but somehow the light this morning is a bit brighter. I am at peace. Normally I would be worrying I am doing a good enough job to keep everyone happy, or if I couldn't do just a little bit more... But today the sun is enough. I am enough and the light shines all around covering all I see in gold.

Joe is here now. He is working like a fiend in trying to edit and post things from the back of the car. Joe has had his share of troubles but like many of us he has found a way to channel his troubles into something creative. The power of pain for me, and maybe Joe and David, is that the pain has tremendous energy. I can use that energy to reinforce the pain or to create. But enough psycho-babble.

Time to get ready and head out to see the Joshua Tree park on our way to Oxnard. We will meet Barry Morrow tomorrow and David will see the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Joe will film it and share it with you.

Perhaps all of this is just ego. Perhaps all of it is an illusion. Perhaps, as Joe's favorite football team's fans often chant "We're Not Really Here"- see his video on YouTube:

No matter. It is a wonderful dream, a dream that has helped me grow and, thanks to Joe and David, I will have ample evidence that the dream was in fact real. Thanks guys. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April 8 From Abilene

Most people would say we have been through Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas to arrive here in Abilene. However, as I see the trip through David's eyes and feel the joy of this journey with his heart our path is not through states but through a land of magical wonder. Instead of states I have been through:

New Dubuque - Northern Arkansas, where the hills reminded David of Dubuque Iowa. David took several wonderful self-portraits and numerous other photos. We hope to post them here soon.

Ant Colony 01, Arkansas, Pine Bluff - Pine Bluff, where my Dad helped David collect his first ant colony of the season. Dad rushed out to greet us and shook David's hand. David's first word to Dad,  "I hear you have some fire ants. I have been waiting 40 years for this."

Wonderland - Texarkana, Texas, where David saw prickly pear cacti growing outdoors for the first time and where we got some of the best Barbeque ever at Ramage Farms Country Store. Shoutouts to Pam (thanks for the shirts) and Brent (thanks for your patience!) Best quote of the day from Brent as he watched our motley crew invade his store, "You see a lot of strange things in this life...and this sure is one of 'em."

Christmas Town - Dallas, Texas, where David, Joe and I ate dinner with Carol and Rich longtime friends going all the way back to my high school days in Clinton, Iowa.  David did not get a chance to talk with Rich but told me that he thought Carol was, "...a really nice person." David does not dole out compliments readily so I was amazed to hear one given after such a brief meeting. There must be something to the years of challenging training and hard work Carol has put in to become a world leader in her field of psychiatry.

Abilene has yet to be named. David said he would have to "sleep on it." And so our little journey cross this wide and wonderful land continues.

Before I slept I spoke with Rejeanne. As always, our talk helped calmed the old familiar fears. The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee in my head has a huge laundry list of fears they raise when I take on something new and perhaps a bit risky:
"What in the hell were you thinking? What makes you think you can do something like this? Don't you know that it is a huge waste of money? Don't you know the money could have fed thousands of children for months? You realize the whole thing is simply a big ego trip don't you? You really are something, you know that? Silly, wasteful, shameful..."

On and on into the night. And sometimes all night and day. But not to worry. I now have tools to root out the committee. Tools that work like the water Dorothy used to melt the wicked witch. One tool is the magic of Rejeanne's voice and calming touch. They wilt the committee; turning it from a fearsome council of judges into a group of mewling infants whining to be changed. And there are many other tools I call on...Walter, Bob, Erik, Larry, Scott, Doug, Bill, Mike, Caroline, Carol, Sue, Suzanne...their number is vast and one or more is always available.  With my bag of tools I have the power to continue this journey.


Journey's have always been very special to me. They help me to sort what is and what is not important.

Once I had a career at a large multinational corporation. Once I was a photographer at a newspaper. Once I was a professional student. Once I was a drug addict and alcoholic. Once I had my left kidney removed. All these things are an inextricable part of me. They are part of the warp and woof of my life's fabric but none of them is important in any cosmic sense. They are simply scenes I play as one tiny actor on a vast and wonderful stage. David's excitement and joy in this journey reminds me of the simple fact that all I have had, all I now have, and all I ever will have can be boiled down to this moment...this one...right here and right now. Will I stop and take a moment to feel, touch, smell and taste this instant of life or will I let it slip away as I return to battle with fears of the future and regrets about the past? I hope to remain aware of the moment today.

A friend once said, "If you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future then you are pissing on today." Let anger, fear, judgment and guilt leave me this day. May I be alive to life. I thank this journey. I thank Rejeanne. I thank David, Joe, and all those we have thus far met and hope to meet. May we share together our instant of joy. May we laugh and hug each other on our little planet as it whirls through a vast and magnificent universe.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Journey Begins with Bang - Gays Can Marry In Iowa

WE LEAVE WHEN DAVID CALLS!!! I sit here with packing still to do, but I must write for a bit to calm things down need to start the journey with the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee in session.

Big News in Iowa! The State Supreme Court has ruled that sexual preference or identity cannot be used to discriminate who can or cannot get married. I have many friends on both sides of this issue. I think that is true of many of us. Regardless of one's views I hope that all of us can remember that it is our responsibility to love and care for each least that is my view. I am happy for all of my gay friends and wish them well...Joe was documenting the big celebration on Pentacrest yesterday I can't wait to see what he shares with us.

On a more personal note, David the hero of our journey is gay. When I spoke to him yesterday he was very happy about the decision. David also is a very close friend. It hurts me to see the pain caused him by the hatred and insults some throw at him because of their religious or political views. It hurts me doubly because I know that it need not be so.

My Father is a deacon in the Southern Baptist Church and I suspect that he and many of his fellow Christians are concerned and fearful about what this change may mean. BUT, and this is the really important part...I know that my Father will love David and treat him with great respect when we visit him the day after tomorrow. I know this because despite our differences, my Father has always found it in his heart to love me. We have had our differences and have had angry arguments but my Father has always loved me. My Father loved me through my years of drug and alcohol addiction. My Father has shown love and kindness to the mentally ill friends I brought to see him over the years. My Father loves and cares for the sick, the poor and the homeless.

My Father has even loved me when we
have strongly disagreed about religion. My Father's religion is the bedrock for his daily life. I have no talent or ability in religious matters. Perhaps, due to my drug use and mental illness I must stay in the material world...I cannot distinguish between hallucination and revelation. Like mine, my Father words and actions can be rough, but in the end his Acts generally align with his Teacher's admonition to love his enemies and to do unto others...

I hope that the rest of society can follow my Father's example and treat others with love and kindness regardless of whether or not we agree with their religious or political views. I certainly intend to follow my Father's lead in this.

Peace and Love


THE FOLLOWING IS A REPEAT OF AN EMAIL SENT TO THE DAVID'S DREAM TEAM MAILING LIST - Email me at if you want to be put on the list. Be sure to put David's Dream in the subject line.

To: David's Dream Team Dream Date: April 3, 2009


Hopefully, I have the right list and all of you are interested in tracking David Young's progress as he heads for California, the Pacific Ocean and ultimately, San Francisco. If you are not, please send me an email and I will remove you from the list. Warning: Remain at your peril...David's Dream is a special place, frankness is the rule and if your emotional, moral or political sensibilities are easily offended then your time is better spent elsewhere.

Still here? Then Welcome Aboard the Bus! Beware the Kool-Aid in the refrigerator, it's vintage is Kesey, 1962 - the beginning of a decade that changed minds forever.

We will be documenting the journey daily on both and

YouTube address:

Blogger address:

If you are new to the journey and need a bit of background read the following section. Otherwise, scroll to the bottom of the page to view the David's Dream blog entry for April 3, 2009.


For those of you needing a reminder, David Young is a friend of mine that I met at Uptown Bill's Small Mall ( several years ago. He had a rough time of it early in life including several decades in state institutions. To quote David, "...the state was my parent...". But David has overcome those difficult times. He is a self-taught myrmecologist (one who studies ants) of great expertise, and has published several articles and numerous books of his photos and miscroscopy of ants and nature.

David and I hit it off due to our mutual interest in photography and due to the general atmosphere of hope and healing we found and shared at Uptown Bill's Small Mall ( Uptown Bill's is the child of Tom Walz, Professor Emeritus at the University of Iowa. Tom founded the Mall to continue the legacy of Bill Sackter a man whose mental faculties may have been limited but whose heart could encompass the Milky Way with room to spare. Bill's story was documented in the Emmy Award Winning movies - Bill, and Bill On His Own starry Micky Rooney, with screenplay by Barry Morrow. More recently, Bill's film legacy was continued by Lane Wyrick in the award winning documentary, "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story",

David and I have spent many afternoons taking photos at Lake McBride near Solon, Iowa. These photo sessions typically were followed by lengthy meals at a chinese buffet. David often has remarked that he would love to see the ocean and visit San Francisco. I have often thought of making the journey with him over the past few years. A sense of urgency arose when David had a stroke last year.

I discussed the trip with Barry Morrow (Oscar winning screenwriter for Rain Main and Emmy winner for Bill and Bill on His Own). Barry's excitement over the idea was contagious and I soon found myself involved with other friends in planning out a major journey with potential for becoming a documentary.

Another facet was added to this little gem when I met Joe Cox on YouTube. Joe is a filmmaker living in Manchester UK. Like me, Joe has bipolar disorder. He is currently working on a movie with the working title, Joe Mania, the goal of which is to help educate the general public and remove misunderstandings about mental illness. I knew that Joe would be able to do a much better job than I in documenting David's journey. I hesistantly asked Joe to join the team. I was amazed and thrilled when he agreed to join us.

There is much more to tell. I will be posting details on the blog.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Vacation Cartoon

No whining will be allowed on the David's Dream tour. Griping, kvetching, heavy sighing and the like are okay but absolutely no whining.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Day after tomorrow I will be riding in the car on my way to California. Riding with me will be one old friend and one new one...and a slightly less old and slightly less new friend will be guiding us from afar. David Young, the hero of our journey is a long time friend from Uptown Bill's Small Mall. Joe Cox, the filmmaker for our journey, is a new friend that I met via YouTube. Our guide and advisor is Barry Morrow, the Oscar winning writer of the movie Rain Man, and the Emmy Award winning writer for the movies Bill and Bill On His Own.

David, Joe and I will be journeying to witness the realization of David's lifelong dream to see the Pacific Ocean and to visit San Francisco (or Sanfra) as he calls it. It is David's dream but he has agreed to share it with us, and with Barry's guidance we will be sharing it with you. We have a general direction - west...a general timeframe - two weeks...and a very specific purpose - follow David's Dream. Our path may wander and our clock may idle but with David's strength and perseverance we are assured of success.

As we embark I would like to thank my wonderful wife and best friend, Rejeanne Davis Ashley Hankins, for her patient support and enduring love. Without her, this quest would have been virtually, if not entirely, impossible. Also, none of this would have happened without a loving gentleman named Bill Sackter, whose legacy still brightly shines in the spirit of Tom Walz and that fascinating little island of sanity in our insane world: Uptown Bill's Small Mall. ( Be sure to check out Lane Wyrick's award winning documentary about Bill at:

P.S. I almost forgot we have a YouTube site for the journey as well: / Joe (and occasionally I) will be posting short videos as we go along. It's a veritable Media Extravaganza!!!!!!!!