Review: Only the Good Parts

by Daniel Curzon


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Also on this website:

Toby Johnson's books:

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story

PLAGUE: A NOVEL ABOUT HEALING.

About ordering


Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series


  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"


The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington


A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?

The purpose of homosexuality

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

The Gay Succession

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium


Easton Mountain Retreat Center

The Mysticism of Andrew Harvey

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the  "Statement of Spirituality"


"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

You're Not A Wave

Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?


Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right

Cutting edge realization

What Anatman means

The Myth of the Wanderer

Change: Source of Suffering & of Bliss

The World Navel

What the Vows Really Mean

Manifesting from the Subtle Realms



Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves


Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality

Having a Church to Leave

Harold Cole on Beauty


 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross &
the Dark Night of the Soul."

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice

Meditation

Historicity as Myth

Pilgrimage

No Stealing


Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Not lashed to the prayer-post


Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"
 
Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes


The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis


The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Part 2:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Part 3:
Jesus and the Resurrection
Part 4:
A Course in Miracles


The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated


In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?


The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

Kip and Toby, Activists


Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash


 
Book Reviews


Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois


Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication by Tim Clausen

War Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar

The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal

Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion
by Jeffrey J. Kripal

The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre

Brain, Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A Helminiak

A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey

Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes

The Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson & Rhodes

Keys to Spiritual Being by Adrian Ravarour

In Walt We Trust by John Marsh

Solomon's Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary

A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary

Aelred's Sin by Lawrence Scott

Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou

Internal Landscapes by John Ollom

Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks

Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler

Sanctity & Male Desire by Donald Boisvert

Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal

Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson

Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette

The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson

The Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire

"Sex Camp" by Brian McNaught

Out & About with Brewer & Berg
Episode One: Searching for a New Mythology


The Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons

Out on Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert

The Revolutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker

Out There by Perry Brass

The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh

The Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan

It's Never About What It's About by Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja

ReCREATIONS, edited by Catherine Lake

Gospel: A Novel by WIlton Barnhard

Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson

Dating the Greek Gods by Brad Gooch

Telling Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan

The Substance of God by Perry Brass

The Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols

10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort

Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love by Will Roscoe

The Third Appearance by Walter Starcke

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann

Surviving and Thriving After a Life-Threatening Diagnosis by Bev Hall

Men, Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long

    Interview with Ron Long

Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions by Randy Conner & David Sparks

    
An Interview with Randy Conner

Pain, Sex and Time by Gerald Heard

Sex and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak

Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan

Rising Up by Joe Perez

That Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco

Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman

Wisdom for the Soul by Larry Chang

Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez

MM4M a DVD by Bruce Grether

Double Cross by David Ranan

The Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak

Jesus in Love by Kittredge Cherry

In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson

The Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson

Life in Paradox by Fr Paul Murray

Spirituality for our Global Community by Daniel Helminiak

Gay and Healthy in a Sick-Society by Robert A. Minor

Queering Christ by Robert Goss

Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage

The Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato

Catland by David Garrett Izzo

Tantra for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson

Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main

Simple Grace by Malcolm Boyd

Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza

What Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett

Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans

Gift of the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen

Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden

The Liar's Prayer by Gregory Flood

Lovely are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman

The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak

3001: The FInal Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak

Only the Good Parts by Daniel Curzon

Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson


 Creating Intentional Families the Artificial Way



only the good parts
Only the Good Parts

by Daniel Curzon


 
Xlibris Press, 436 pages

March 1998

978-0738800202


Available used from Amazon.com





5 stars


This review originally appeared in White Crane Journal #38, Fall 1998

This review contains an interesting and prescient analysis of the effects of Print-on-Demand publishing.

In 2016, when I am posting this for posterity from the White Crane archives, some 15 years later, it seems like my predictions have come true.

This novel by veteran gay writer Daniel Curzon is noteworthy for White Crane Journal for several reasons. Only one of them has to do with the content and message of the novel; the others have to do with its style and its medium of publication.

Only the Good Parts is written following the rather old-fashioned technique of presenting letters between the characters. What modernizes this rather formal, dispassionate and emotionally distancing gimmick is that Curzon’s characters are sending each other faxes and emails and notes slipped under doors. There is an immediacy to the communications which make them surprisingly compelling. This gimmick does force some contrivance in the plot. The quarreling gay couple who form the core of the novel are forced into long distance situations so that there can be written communications between them. And the reader can’t help but wonder if their quarrels might not be resolvable by just giving each other a big hug—something the stylistic convention doesn’t allow.

What’s amazing is how much information can be conveyed through these little snippets passing between the characters. Eliminated are all the usual tools of the novelist: gone the adjectives and descriptive passages; gone the writer’sl yric prose; gone composition of place and character. Everything is down to the bare bones of communication about the business of the story. It makes for fast, page-turning reading.

What the book’s about is gay parenting by artificial insemination. The main character, Marc Brandt, connects with a lesbian midwife because he’s realized that his being gay does not necessarily exclude the possibility of having a child (and adding his genes back to the collective pool). His lover, Gordon, something of a spoiled narcissitic bitch, derides Marc’s desires and thereby unwittingly initiates the unravelling of their relationship and of Marc’s experience of parenting. For the first half of the book, the author seems to champion gay men having children in cooperative arrangement with lesbian couples. By the second half, when one of the lesbian mothers has gotten so paranoid of Marc and so possessive of the child that she’s driven her lover into a mental hospital and is threatening to charge Marc with sexual abuse, the argument FOR having offspring this way is certainly challenged.

All the Good Parts discusses the pros and cons of what is certainly one of the themes of modern gay life and Curzon explains the issues well. It’s not entirely clear which side of the argument he comes down on, but from a wheelchair at the end of the novel Marc Brandt seems much the worse for his attempt at parenthood.

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Curzon’s been an important and eccentric character in gay publishing for years. Most of his books have been self-published; he’s stood as a sort of defiant maverick against the trends and fads, ups and down of the publishing business. Only the Good Parts champions a potentially revolutionary new way of publishing that truly threatens that entire industry.

Modern technology now makes it possible to market books electronically, to send them as data files through the phone lines to appear on a computer screen with no “book” every being manufactured, and to manufacture books—for those who want something to hold in the hand, not just see on the screen— one at a time to order.

Only the Good Parts is “published” by Xlibris.com. At the “publisher’s” website, one can find a description of the book and an excerpt. Then with a few mouse clicks, if one is interested, one can “buy” the electronic downloadable version (for $8) or a very nice hardbound version ($24.95) which will be produced and sent by mail within a few weeks.

A major problem in the pubishing industry is that traditionally books are manufactured in quantity before anybody every indicates they want to read them. At the top the industry is focused on hot shot editors trying to outguess the public and upcoming cultural trends by at least a year. Publishing houses invest huge sums of money on those guesses. Of course, a whole spin-off industry exists to sell the remainders, i.e., the books that got produced but never bought, at a tremendous discount.

Authors— who, after all, make up the real core of the business — suffer at least two indignities because of this. First, of course, it’s hard to get a book published unless the publisher can be sure it can get its money back. That means the industry caters to the so-called lowest common denominator reader. And too many biographies of TV and movie stars get published and too many interesting but idiosyncratic manuscripts get rejected. Second, publishers get taxed on the inventory they accumulate, so they can’t afford to maintain slow sellers in their warehouses. Books quickly go out of print, are remaindered, or are just shredded in order to control inventory costs.

Manufacturing a book to order sidesteps both problems.

And, in certain ways, these are especially problems in the gay genre. Big publishers require big sales figures. In fact, of course, gay people are stastistically more likely to read books, but we’re still a marginal market.What confuses matters even more is that every so often the New York publishers jump on the gay bandwagon, proclaiming a newly discovered market. This results in expansion of gay-themed books in mainstream bookstores—which threatens the small network of independent gay bookstores (that in many ways make up the backbone of the national gay community).

We all think it’s nice that our literature is widely available in mainstream stores; it seems to demonstrate social acceptance. But the fact is it pulls business from gay stores, hurts gay small presses that can’t get into the mainstream stores—and it allows homosexuals access to the books without having to make the coming-out step of going into a gay bookstore and therefore discovering what the community really consists of. And, worse, when the New York publishers decide to move on to a yet newer market, the plethora of gay books disappears (into the shredders) and, in the long run, there are fewer titles available and fewer bookstores and small presses.

Xlibris cuts through many of these issues. From the author’s point of view, it’s a godsend. For about $500 you can bring your own book out and market it precisely to the people who’ll be interested in it. (And $500 is easily what it costs to xerox multiple copies of a manuscript and send them to potential publishers—who are generally too busy looking for blockbusters to pay any attention to the deluge of submissions they receive.)

On the other hand, this new technological trend threatens the bookstores directly by simply leaving them out of the equation completely.The gay community one could stumble upon by coming into a gay bookstore is reduced to the electronic presence on the Internet.

Perhaps Daniel Curzon’s book is important more for the way it exists than for what it’s about.

It’s a good book. Interesting. Provocative. For all sorts of reasons. http://www.xlibris.com

Reviewed by Toby Johnson, author of Gay Spirituality: Gay Identity and the Transformation of Human Consciousness, The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell and other novels and books











 




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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.

Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.

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