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Book Review – Bliss: A Marriage Proposal

Bliss: A Marriage Proposal – True Love Commits

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Philip D. Luing
Format: Kindle

Luing’s collection of prose and poetry to his longtime partner Stephen is a gift to readers.  These intensely personal and emotional writings could have remained private, for only lovers to share, but as Luing mentions in his dedication our society continues to make the personal political.  My hope is that through sharing their experiences, society may better appreciate the personal and one day remove the political.

Bliss starts with the “meet cute” between Philip and Charles Stephen.  Returning from a dance concert, Philip stops in for a quick drink at a nearby bar where he unexpectedly meets a somber Charles Stephen; a close friends battle with liver cancer is the cause of Stephen’s mood.   But Philip is quickly drawn to Stephen and a relationship blossoms.  They move in together and as the seasons pass, their love grows. Philip’s gift is his writing and he conveys in wonderful verse their anniversaries, holidays, and everyday life.  The story of remaking their entire bedroom because of the purchase of one slightly too large chair was whimsical while the poem “Wrinkle Cream” beautifully describes how life inscribes itself on Stephen’s face as Philip ponders which lines if any are his.

As the title betrays, the story culminates in a beautiful marriage proposal from Philip.  Charles Stephen closes the book with his touching thoughts.

I cannot thank both of them enough for sharing their story with all of us.

Congratulations to you both.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Book Review: From Particles and Disputations

From Particles and Disputations: Writings of Love and Loss

Rating: 4.5 of 5
Author: Philip D. Luing
Format: Kindle, ebook

Since its release in 2007, Rob Thomas’ single “Little Wonders”, whose theme of holding on to those small moments that together weave a tapestry of one’s life with friends and family, has held special meaning for me.  As I read Philip Luing’s “From Particles and Disputations” echoes of Thomas’ song came back to me.  Luing chronicles through his beautiful poetic prose the life he and his partner Jeffery shared over their twelve years together.

This is a wonderful tribute to a real and intense relationship.  Through annual snapshots of their life in December, Valentines day, their anniversary, and Jeffery’s birthday, Luing conveys the intensity of a relationship between two very different people brought together by love.  Readers journey into their early all consuming physical passion, the eventual questioning of their compatibility and the occasional distance felt by each, the reaffirmation of their love, the devastating entrance of HIV’s entrance in their lives, Luing’s tortured soul acknowledging the sickness enveloping his partner while at the same type trying to balance his own emotions to remain optimistic though he doesn’t feel such, and Jeffrey’s eventual passing and peace made while scattering ashes years later.

I wish I could do justice to these “Writings to Jeffrey” but I cannot. The raw words within “From Particles to Disputations” speak for themselves.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.