My boyfriend and I recently watched this documentary, Chris and Don: A Love Story about the famed, decades-long partnership between Christopher Isherwood (who is one of my absolute favorite authors! A Single Man, Christopher and His Kind et al), and Don Bachardy who was 30 years younger than Isherwood.
I was deeply moved. Christopher and Don first met when Don was sixteen and Isherwood was 36. Their romance began not long afterward. One of the things that touched me was that for Don, Isherwood was his one and only major relationship (this was true for Isherwood as well) and the influence Isherwood had on his formation on a human being was profound and beautiful, even down to the way Don spoke – with an English accent and with Isherwood’s inflections of speech as if Isherwood were speaking through him.
What came through so strongly and touchingly as well, told through excerpts read from Isherwood’s private journal and from Don Bachardy (who was still alive at the making of the film, Isherwood passed away in 1986) was how for Isherwood, being the older person in the relationship was, first, absolutely enchanted with Don and how for Isherwood, his love for Don was, in his own words, his spiritual path to enlightenment. I know from reading My Guru and His Disciple where Isherwood chronicles his years as the disciple of Swami Prabhavananda who practiced chastity, Christopher Isherwood could never bring himself to do the same. He felt strongly pulled to be in relationship with a partner, that it was deeply in his nature, not to be ignored or snuffed out. For him, his relationship with Don was his path.
Later on, as I reflected more and more on that, it hit me – that’s exactly what I’ve been working so hard to portray in my own writing! To bridge the gap that pervades so much of thinking and approach to sexuality, that somehow it’s different, separate, lower than spirit. Healing that gap is what my own life’s path has led me to begin to understand and because it’s so important to me, I endeavor to bring that healing into my stories, most blatantly (I guess that’s the right word) in my White Tigers series wherein the characters practice the sexual Tao and when one of them meets their soulmate, they become partners and practice together. Their love and mutual attraction become the very fodder needed to bring their minds to the understanding of reality.