I probably should take a step back and tell you more about myself. Many of the details of my daily life that I have described in these chapters are not easily apparent to most people. If someone happened to meet me, they might sense something unusual, but they likely would ignore it.
I’m a retired arts administrator having run a performing and film house for 15 years. I ended up getting that job because I had experience as a theater artist, as a community organizer of artistic activity, and as a booker of performer artists at the local college. Before and after the job running the local performing and media arts center, I worked at Carroll College as an administrator in student life for 15 years and as an adjunct faculty for 30 years. As a professor, I am a jack-of-all-trades. When I was a young man, the Christian Brothers, a religious order I belonged to for 13 years, trained me as a teacher. They made sure I would be able to teach a variety of subjects. At Carroll, I have taught Communication, Theater, Liberal Arts Studies, Literature, and Business courses. I have also been a Helena City Commissioner for a year.
My work has connected me to many people across the 38 years I’ve lived in Helena, MT. I have also lived in Butte, MT, my hometown, Chicago and Joliet, IL, and East Los Angeles.
I have had two partners for the past 38 years, who are my best friends and extended family. We started to work together as theater artists and have been a part of each other lives across those years. I was lucky as a single man to have the opportunity to be involved with friends, Pete and Mike, as they raised their children. That connection to their kids and now grandkids is one of the great blessings of their lives.
To understand this friendship, here is a conversation about the fact that I was writing about my spiritual life in this novel.
Mike-What will happen if people take you seriously?
Pete-They won’t. We can just say he has an active imagination.
Mike-I am not so sure. Some of them’ll think he believes all this.
Ed-That’s the fun of it.
Pete-He has been promising his writing would make us money for how many years?
Mike-Why should this be different?
Ed-It’s probably the right time now.
Pete-Heard that before.
Mike-I can always say I had no idea about all this.
Ed-You’re a little late for that. It isn’t we I haven’t told people about all this.
Pete-I’ll deny everything. Anyway people like to pretend that you’ve forgotten all about your crazy ideas.
Mike-I’ll pretend that I don’t know anything about it unless, of course, it makes money.
The beauty of this friendship is that they have kept me grounded all these years.
Anyway, I can write this all down and declare that this novel is an urban fantasy (a contemporary form of literature I teach). If you should happen to read it, you don’t have to believe it even if I declare that it is all true.
As I’m writing this, my guardian angel is laughing hysterically. I’m glad that he is enjoying this. I put up with him because I’m counting on his discretion concerning keeping secret some of the details of bad judgments I have made across my life. As I type this, I don’t like the sense of his grinning at me. I can’t see him. but over time, I know I’ve become aware of his presence.
Regarding my guardian, he has been able to keep his identity hidden from me for all these years. I think he is a distant ancestor, who was involved in theater in some country or the other. He has able to go with the flow of my narrative as only an actor thinking on his feet can. With the vast amount of ancestors any individual has, a family member could have come from anywhere in anytime. Although gender is not a normal attribute of angels, I use the masculine pronouns to refer to my angel because guardian angels often are humans who have taken on some angelic duties, and my angel feels masculine.
I owe him a great deal. His hand has pulled me back from many disasters. He has tripped me up when I was running into danger. I’d tell you about some of those times, but those events are the ones I’m counting on him being discreet.
He has often comforted and consoled me. Made me aware of when I needed to do the same for others. Warned me about the insincerity of some individuals and helped me recognize the light in others.
Right now, I feel my guardian shaking his head because I have assumed that he is a man. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I am willing to put some money on it.
My daily life in the normal world will slip into this story, but most of the events I’ll describe are the ones not so obvious and hard for even me to see.