Frequently Asked Questions
IS THE PICTURE ON THE COVER OF THE BOOK REALLY YOU?
Yes. It was in a big box of family photos I have. I think my sister, Molly, took the picture when I was about six or seven. Back when we were renovating Big Brick (before we lived there). It had been an abandoned farmhouse for awhile and the front lawn hadn't been cut for years.
WHAT DOES THE TITLE, "IN JUPITER'S SHADOW," MEAN?
I mentioned this in the "notes from the author" at the end of the book, but I'll repeat it here. I named this story In Jupiter’s Shadow for both a literal and a literary reason.
The literal reason: As a kid, I spent a lot of time retreating into the world of mystery and investigation. Jupiter Jones from The Three Investigators was my hero. He was fat and smart; he always beat the crooks. I worked hard to live in his “shadow.”
The literary reason: I believe that more-than-their-share of faithful people grow up within some level of shadow – a fear that God is going to punish them somehow, somewhere, some-why. Like expecting the Roman god, Jupiter, to toss out a lightning bolt if we’re late for church, or divorced, or attracted to people of the same gender. And when we live in that murky shadow, we sometimes don't see things about ourselves that we don't want to see.
Something like that.
YOU SAY YOU ARE STILL CATHOLIC.
HOW HAVE YOU RECONCILED YOUR FAITH WITH YOUR SEXUALITY?
I do find a rich spiritual heritage within the Catholic Church -- as well as a number of tenets I find troubling. Over many years of prayerful reflection, I was finally able to reconcile my faith with my sexuality by recognizing that I have a voice. God can speak to the Church, and God can speak to me too. It's not just 'Church Says, I Do.'
My personal conscience and my intimate relationship with God guides my faith journey today. My Catholic faith informs that journey. Having grown up as a profoundly religious Catholic, it took me a long time to trust God enough to accept this.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE 'IT GETS BETTER' PROJECT?
I think it's a tremendously important movement -- and a great idea. I contributed my own video.
IS THE BOOK AVAILABLE IN BOOKSTORES?
The book has been stocked by some independent bookstores. You can ask for it at your favorite bookstore or library. It's also available online or by phone...just check out the 'Store' tab for details.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS?
I found Catholic schools to be mostly wonderful. I had a few bumps here and there (who doesn't?) but I mostly felt nurtured and encouraged. I think Catholic schools are a great place to educate kids.
DID YOU EVER GO BACK TO COLLEGE?
I did take some accounting and computer courses over the years at North Virginia Community College (Annandale Campus) and Rochester Institute of Technology. And scads of on-the-job training, of course. Haven't earned the degree (yet).
IN YOUR DIARY EXERCISE LIST (PAGE 115), YOU MENTION DOING "25 WONDER WOMANS." WHAT IS A 'WONDER WOMAN?'
'Wonder Womans' were a name I came up with for the aerobic exercise where you stand in place with your arms fully extended and you swing back and forth from left to right. Sort of like Wonder Woman did on TV (Lynda Carter) when she changed from Diana Prince into Wonder Woman.