Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guest Post by Author Dennis Milam Bensie

If there isn't a door, then make a window.
I think thats what writing does for me. I make windows. There has always been a ton of stuff going on inside of me that needed to get out. I didn't know how to exorcise my demons so I learned to write about them.

My first memoir, SHORN: TOYS TO MEN was described in reviews as; "too honest" and "a gift and a confession". I take that as a compliment. I wrote the book in 1999 and it was picked up and published by Coffeetown Press in 2011. The story details my struggle with paraphilia: a mental illness where a person is sexually aroused by something atypical or extreme. My paraphilia was cutting men's hair and stemmed from a difficult childhood. My condition went undiagnosed and untreated until my mid-thirties. Writing this particular book freed me from my shame. Since the book's release, I have gotten a lot of feedback from readers that my story resonates with readers of all kinds.

It was a wonderful challenge to write a second memoir titled; ONE GAY AMERICAN. It is my about my life of growing up gay. Since I was born in the sixties, the country has gradually learned to embrace the LGBT community and I was raised in a world slowly taking shape. I was born only a few years before the Stonewall Riots of 1969: an event that marks the beginning of the civil rights moment for homosexuals. The book is structured around vignettes about my life and the timeline of American gay history. The road already traveled led us to the increasing freedom we have today with same-sex marriage and gay adoption. I wrote this book so the younger generation won't take their civil rights for granted. There is still a lot of work left to do and I hope my book helps.

These days I'm a staff writer for the marriage section an online men's magazine called THE GOOD MEN PROJECT. The magazine's mission is to examine what it means to be a good man in today's society. The writers and readers challenge and discuss the issues of masculinity. The web periodical is geared for all men, gay and straight, and I'm proud that they've dubbed me "the voice of gay marriage".

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Shorn: Toys to Men by Dennis Milam Bensie

Genre: Memoir

Published by: Coffee Town Press

Pages: Paper Back

Rating: 5 JAGS

What are the moments in our lives that shape our identity? When does simple childhood curiosity turn into a full blown adult obsession? Author Dennis Milam Bensie explores the recess of his memory and takes the reader on a gritty journey into the depths of his pain at being an outcast as a child, a troubled teen that refuses to allow anyone cut his hair, and ultimately into an adult that buys gay hustlers to simply fulfill a hair fetish.

Dennis Milam Benise pulls back the curtain to expose a need for acceptance from not only his adoptive parents, but from friends, lovers and ultimately himself. In the world of professional costume wig design, Dennis moves from city to city as he navigates control over his demons, all the while trying to find some redemption in the back of gay magazines and sporadic therapy sessions.

Initially the start of this book was confusing and heart-wrenching at the same time. The self-deprecating internal monologue adds nothing to the overall story, and continuously reminds you of the raw pain Dennis MilamBenisie has experienced. I couldn’t quite understand if this memoir was a story of redemption, or fodder to justify internal pain.

I strongly recommend this book. Read this memoir to not only witness the struggles of a man continuously dealing with the pain of his childhood, but as a figurative mirror to reflect how what day to day actions in our lives can and will do to ourselves, and those around us.