Guest Posts

Love At What Risk?’
Paulette Mahurin
Author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
When John Fitzgerald Kennedy (J.F.K.) wrote the Pulitzer Price winning book, Profiles in Courage, in 1955, chronicling eight United States Senators in short biographies describing acts of courage and integrity, I wonder what he was thinking? What was it in the character of the Senators he wrote about to cross party lines and do what they felt was right, ethical, despite great risks; loss of position, alienation, loss of financial security and home, loss of family, loss of health, etc?
When Viktor Emile Frankl, Australian Psychiatrist and author of, Man’s Search for Meaning, on 25 September 1942, along with his wife and his parents, were deported to the Nazi Theresienstadt Ghetto, I wonder what he was thinking? Where were courageous leaders then? Where was the honor to stand up and do right by millions of Jewish people and other outcast, including Gays and Lesbians?
History is replete with persecution; the Salem Witch Trials, the Roman Emperor’s persecution of Christians, Baha’is persecution since its inception, the caste system
in India’s persecution of the Untouchables, persecution against Albinism, Gays and Lesbians, etc. The list of historical persecution, the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group, is endless, and continues today.
So rare are the heroes who step up and do right be another at the risk of their own life or limb that it makes for compelling stories when one occurs. Equally rare are the heroes who steps up for themselves, to maintain their own integrity of soul and heart. Oscar Wilde was one of them.
Wilde lived in a time and place, Britain, when sex with another man was deemed legally criminal, with prison sentence of two years of hard labor. And, yet he risked all. His own writing to his lover, while in prison, gives his thoughts and I quote and excerpt (from De Perfundis): When first I was put into prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realizing what I am that I have found comfort of any kind. Now I am advised by others to try on my release to forget that I have ever been in a prison at all. I know that would be equally fatal. It would mean that I would always be haunted by an intolerable sense of disgrace, and that those things that are meant for me as much as for anybody else – the beauty of the sun and moon, the pageant of the seasons, the music of daybreak and the silence of great nights, the rain falling through the leaves, or the dew creeping over the grass and making it silver – would all be tainted for me, and lose their healing power, and their power of communicating joy. To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.
Wilde risked not only out of courage but also for love, not just for his lover but also for his own life that he would continue to live authentically. He risked and we, who read his words and learn of his story, gain a richness that men/people like this walked/walk the earth to shine a light on the courage to love, the courage to be, what we were born to be, that we can no more change than a dog can not bark, than a leaf can not take in carbon dioxide, or the sun can not illuminate, all things in their natural place, created out of mystery, to be what they are.
I hold Oscar Wilde in my heart, with every post I write, with every interview I do, with every spotlight of my book, or answer to a comment from a reader, and he motivates me to continue to try, to speak, to shine a light somewhere, wherever possible that tolerance may earn a place in yet another heart.
Thank you, Jessica, for having me over to your great site and helping shine a light on tolerance and promote my book with all profits going to animal rescue, the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, the first and only no kill animal shelter in Ventura County, CA where I live.
The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain’s recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When news of Wilde’s conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.

Paulette Mahurin, an award-winning best selling author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs–Max and Bella. She practices women’s health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. She is an animal advocate and has been involved with dog rescue, along with her husband, for the past twenty-eight years. All profits from her book, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, are going to the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA).









VC STAR Sept. 9, 2012 Sunday Life Section: