Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Things In Heaven and Earth...

I hardly know where to begin. It's true what they say, that old saw about Truth being stranger than fiction. There's absolutely no way we could've seen this one coming.

Last night, I was annoyed with my friend Nicky for issues of plagiarism, but even that was out-weighed by my concern for what was troubling him so that he'd stoop to such a thing. Today was a lot about worry for him, as many of you came by and read the news and shared your own feelings. Aside from the initial anger, there's been so much kindness, so much love and concern. Nicky really brought together an amazing group of people.

For those of you who may've missed this evening's stunning revelations, I direct you over to the blog of Father Tony, where you may learn - as Paul Harvey used to say - the rest of the story...or at least a great deal more of it.

Tonight, I'm at a bit of a loss about what to think. On some level, it feels as though Nicky has died and I should mourn him, though that's not really true. He only ever really lived in the journals and the blogs of a 52 year old woman who had long felt she was truly a gay man in a woman's body.

I have only the briefest familiarity with transgender issues, so I'm not really prepared to discuss that much at all. I'm open to it and accept it and have recently been trying to educate myself a little better on the subject, but I don't fully understand what it must feel like. I'm not really sure that's even the issue here.

The thing is, he also lived in my imagination, and in yours. We wanted to believe that there was a guy like Nicky. A wonderful, sweet, compassionate guy who loved trees and nature and gardens and wrote like a poet (though we know now that wasn't always his writing...or hers, as the complicated case may be) and was doing his best to raise his two adopted children.

In hindsight(an annoying thing, isn't it?), I can remember flipping back and forth between different photos of him, trying to reconcile in my mind that they just didn't look exactly like the same person. A trick of the light, my willing-to-believe mind told me, different camera angles, the way our appearance changes as we age.

And there was that surreal business of how much like "him" those two adopted children looked, not to mention little niggling concerns at the back of my mind that someone so young and on his own would be allowed to adopt two children. But like I said, I wanted to believe. The audience's willful suspension of disbelief is what the success of the Theatre requires...and apparently, it's no different with blogging.

The children, we have learned, are real. He was the fiction(and even that statement doesn't feel entirely true: he was decidedly real to his creator). And to think just this morning, I was afraid it was the other way 'round. Oh, what a difference a day makes, indeed.

This evening I received a short email from "Nicky," directing me to Father Tony and apologizing for the deception. Surprisingly, perhaps, I don't find I'm at all angry about it, though I'm not entirely sure what, if anything, to say in response. I remain concerned for Nicky's creator and what she must now face.

It's my wish for her that she may learn to accept the fact that she/he is not alone, not the only one of her/his kind in the world. Many of us remember what that dreadful feeling is like from our own early experiences as gay people. I hope she/he will seek out some sort of assistance, counseling, something. And that she/he will, through that, be able to find peace in her/himself and in the world, with her feelings and what she has done and how it's effected other people.

But I do feel like I've lost my friend Nicky and he will be terribly missed. I remain grateful, though, for the connections I've made through his two blogs, with a terrific variety of people whom I've discovered - independent of Nicky's world - are supporting, loving and wonderful folks who I'm proud to call friends. Part of him may always live on in each of us and our friendships.

Sometimes the hand of Fate, or God, or Whomever, works in truly strange ways indeed.

Now, before I fall over dead from lack of sleep(but I still don't want a cigarette!!!), I'd like to show you a few photos. As distracted as I was today, I found at day's end that much of my photographic efforts for day were a little uninspired or distracted, so there isn't much.

But here, look at these purple plants. I'm not sure of its identity, but I believe this is some variety of blazing star, a cousin, perhaps, of the gay feather I showed you just yesterday.

I've shown you a close up of another one earlier in the season, with it's delightful star-shaped flowers climbing up the stem.

It was a discovery/rehabilitated plant at the last garden and I was too fond of it to leave it behind. I'm just amazed with what it's doing in a fresh garden bed with room to grow.

To further make my point, I'll offer another photo of that first plant I photographed.

It was only as tall as the two above back when I took those photos, but as you can see, it too now towers toward the life-bringing sun (which seems to be making only cameo appearances this week) and stands taller than than fence and is now flowering on side branches, as well.

I'm just I find I so often am in the garden.

And I just love the way the Queen Anne's lace flowers are pink just before they fully open up. It's delicate, and certainly not something you notice in plants you only see along the roadside. But when it's in the garden, it's easier to see the subtle details...and they just tickle me.

, even.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene V.


Java said...

OOooooo, what's that last picture? The tall grass. It's pretty. :)

This blogging community is a strange place. Nicky's blog affected a lot of people in a lot of ways. The latest revelations also are affecting a lot of people in a lot of ways. Some people are genuinely and justifiably hurt. My heart goes out to all involved.

T.R. said...

Thanks for taking the time to write this tonight. You really make sense of the whole thing for me - I've been sick to my stomach all - and with a woeful sense of mourning - but what?

Yes, it is like a death - that's what it feels like - the news of a death. Well said.

Not only the death of a friend; but perhaps, on some level, the death of a certain hope I had that someone that young could see the world that way and nurture the world that way and protect the world that way; and with that steady, graceful hand perhaps take the torch passed by those of us working hard to make the world understand that, yes, indeed, we are that human.

He turned a gay blog into something profoundly human and genuine - transcending sexuality, desire and stereotypes and spoke volumes to the outside world - gay, straight and all the colors in between.

His simple life was pure poetry; engendering inspiration with every lilting turn of phrase -- with every heart-wrenching post. And then that house of cards falls and HER poetry is actually someone else's and what's left is vanquished lies and deceit.

And then that damn inner voice of mine that has questioned since the beginning - says "told you so, fool". Yes, he lived in our imagination. And there too, so shall he die. Goodbye Nicky Cooper.

Greg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg said...

Java, that photo was taken on the bayside. It's the place where the very first trees have seeded into the grasses that sweep back from the shoreline. It's one of the few images I captured yesterday that really made sense to me, because I knew it was the kind of photo Nicky would've loved.

TR, thank you for coming back. I slept fitfully after posting and only with the help of a little Nyquil (now that I'm not smoking I have a cold, or perhaps it's just my cilia re-growing...).

I've just returned to the computer, thoughts of all this swirling in my head...and only now, reading your comment, finally allowed myself to cry for what we have lost...but too, for what we have found in one another.

Let us not lose that hope.

bigislandjeepguy said...

i don't think i ever read nicky's or nico's (or whatever names) blogs, but i have had some outside connections to people who have read them, and this whole and i was not even involved. i cannot imagine what it was like to have used time and energy to nurture a friendship with someone who for all intents and purposes, never existed.

how sad.

Marc said...

Well put, Greg and T.R. (and Greg again). It's extremely difficult to deal with my feelings on this. I, too, kept thinking with a piece of disbelief that such a young man could have such a mature outlook on everything. Obviously there was a reason for that. And it hurts not only because there is no Nicky, but because I now have less trust for the blogosphere and less trust in myself for not having listened to the nagging little voice inside that kept doubting how such an amazing individual could exist.

What's amazing though, is the lengths his creator went to to maintain the ruse. We chatted with "Nicky" a number of times on Yahoo Messenger and via e-mail and there were tiny clues along the way that we managed to look past with little more than puzzlement; only in hindsight do we see the obvious, which was clouded by our will to believe the more-than-possible.

I'm closing the door on this one and chalking up a very, very big learning experience. But I do appreciate that I have other friends and acquaintances that I made as a result of the experience.

Where I feel esp. stupid is that I introduced two good friends of mine to the blogosphere and to Cooper's blog, who are just readers, not commenters, but whom I can imagine are reading all this and thinking "what the hell..."

tornwordo said...

I'm still not convinced. But I'm also over caring about it, I did enough caring for that boy. What happened to the blogger Will who moved across the country and started dating "Nicky" and then that all blew up, accusations of people not being what they seem flying around. What about the people who say they have MET him? Are all these things lies? Did Tony SPEAK to the woman? Nope, I'm still not convinced.

Greg said...

Marc, I too had wondered now and again about what seemed like a mature worldview in one so young, the occasional turn of phrase of a an older generation. But it was all a masterful creation, to be sure...

Torn, I woke up wondering about Will today, actually. I remembered that things didn't work out with them, but couldn't recall if they had actually met or not...and wondered if he was indeed a real person, either. But I do know someone I trust who's actually met this woman.

But you're right, the time for spending care on this situation seems past. Especially since the comments at Tony's seem to suggest this may just be the latest chapter in someone's life-long delusions.

dec0r8or said...

Geez, Greg, what a shock to come to your blog today and read this. I had clicked to Cooper's Corridor a number of times, and had added "him" to my favorite blogs, only to find he had disappeared a couple of weeks ago, or whenever it was that I clicked and the blog was gone. I was sad, because I just loved who I thought he was, and was delighted that such a person "got" what it is to love and raise children. Imagine my surprise to read this revelation on your blog this morning. I'm sad. Not all that shocked, I suppose, because I've been witness to other internet "fakes", but this whole thing is just--SAD. That's the best word I can think of to explain it. *sigh* Do you have a link to the woman's blog that was being plagiarized? I'd love to take a look.

Greg said...

As I wrote you personally, you can find a link to Kate's website--just one of several which were apparently pilfered from--in my previous day's post.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

You make a fine and thoughtful post about the subject.
(Torn, I have spoken with her since our email.)
As far as I know, there is only one man who, at this point, can verify all this for us.

PS: the tall spikey purple flower is a loosestrife (lythrum), an invasive English immigrant fond of marshes.

Greg said...

Thank you, Father Tony. I appreciate all you've done in this situation.

As for the dreaded and invasive loosestrife, I was afraid that's what it was. Appropos, really...

T.R. said...


Congrats on the not smoking. I hope its just a little cold or none at all.

I will be back many times -- its a beautiful place you have created here. Definitely the kind of place Nicky Cooper would have liked -- maybe there is a little Nicky in all of us - treasuring and celebrating the simple beauty of the world.

GayProf said...

This "one" person/blogger who can verify everything seems like an unlikely situation. I also think the new story seems fairly unlikely. Such is the case with fabrications -- They are easily replaced with new ones.

All the same, it goes without saying that "Nicky" went to great ends to create an alternate personality and develop friendships on-line. We all went along with it because, like the others have said, we wanted to believe. It is sad on all sides.

em said...

Oh, the Queen Anne's Lace is so juicy in it's pinkness. I really love that plant.

TigerYogiji said...

I too had read Cooper's Corridor for a time. How sad.

Frankly, I think that this happens more often than most people realize.

For example, there is a blogger in the Maryland area who many suspect may be a fabrication as well. I don't read his blog anymore for various reasons, so that's all I'm willing to say on the matter. My point is that is does happen for whatever the reason...

Butch said...

Thanks, Greg and well done.

Will was real indeed, but what bothers me was the sudden breakup. I have a feeling and hopefully, will find out if Will, the one on Nicky's site, was actually another person invented by the creator of Nicky. I remember Will speaking occasionally on the blog but I think he may never have visited Nicky and when he got too close, the relationship was severed. I am speculating but hope to resolve this as well since there really is a Will that was a part of this. Too many people have been hurt by this deception and I hope we can all learn something from this.

Greg said...

TR, thank you! I'm pretty excited that the last couple days of bizarreness hasn't sent me back to the foul things. A younger me wouldn't have been so strong.

It seems to be no cold at all, actually, as I'm feeling pretty good now. Probably some new sensitivity to allergens due to the not smoking or something.

GayProf, your skepticism is most understandable, and certainly, people will believe what they want to.

As I've said, I've had that confirmation from this trusted individual...and if you think about it, you might imagine "Nicky" took him on a ride that was just a little wilder than the rest of us.

So I'll do nothing to pressure him to come forward...he needs to time to work through all this, as well.

What's important is that this chapter, at least, is concluded.

Birdie said...

Gayprof, I don't think it is so sad that we wanted to believe in the world that Nicky created for us. It was beautiful. And yes, that same world exists in each of us. Look at this incredible blog right here. Pastoral, funny, kindhearted, colorful, and educational. Sound familiar? It's why we're here. And Nicky's world resonates in each of us; just check the blogs we write. It's not gone, even though Nicky is; it's just spread out among the ether.

Greg said...

em, it really is a wonderful plant, in bud, full flower and faded bloom...and that doesn't even cover it's lovely, deep-cut foliage. Always a welcome winner in my garden...and easy care, too!!

Tigeryogiji, as long as there is an internet (and before), there will be people with a need to re-invent themselves on it.

Sometimes it's more subtle...I know the experience of blogging has changed me in four years time.

Butch, perhaps Will will stop by here and enlighten us, but hopefully, he has made his peace with the situation and moved on.

Birdie, I love you!

GayProf said...

Birdie (sorry to cross answer, Greg) You are right -- The good news is that "Nicky" stole from bloggers who were genuine in their writing (which is why s/he stole it). That genuineness also drew all of together in one way or another.

As for my skepticism, I don't mean it in a negative way. Clearly the creator of "Nicky" was up to some type of fantasy role playing that suggests lots is missing from hir life. I just think that the current explanation is a little too easy.

Butch said...

Whether Will does know about it or not, I think you are correct. If he wants to add something, he will. I have a few things I would like to say when I do a new entry and I'll be closing the chapter on this unfortunate incident moving on as well.One knows this hasn't been easy for anyone including "Nicky."

I agree with Birdie's assessment of you and your blog.

Greg said...

GayProf, no need to apologize for a friendly exchange of ideas...and you do have a point.

I hope we don't turn around someday and discover a "Moonlight Flowers", "Boards of Paradise" or "QueerTeach" blog out there, featuring our words and images.

For now I'll take the easy answer to have done with it, and hope for the best. But if I feel I wrote some particularly sweet string of words, I might Google it to be on the safe side.

Butch, we must each put this to rest in the way that will serve us best. Thanks, as always, for your kind kudos!!

Jess said...

I think we're all seeing things more clearly in hindsight. Marc and I have discussed some things that now make sense to us.

Regarding Will, I went back and found his post from right after he went to visit Nicky. The key part is,

I've grown up a little in the last few weeks.

And, my friends, that is the last thing I'm going to say about the boy from Canada, for whom I changed every single part of my life.

Yeah, color me an idiot.

This would fit him learning the truth but not wanting to get into the middle of what struck him as very strange circumstances, or, more likely (I think), Nicky may have stood him up, just as he did to our friend Patrick just recently, and that could be what prompted that post.

Speaking of Patrick, I will say this. When I learned of all of this from your blog, I was saddened and disappointed. Not really angry. However, as a little time has passed, I've been contemplating how thoroughly this person fucked with my friend. She has issues, clearly, but she built a strong (fake) bond to Patrick online and let him travel across a continent to meet someone who doesn't exist. Inconvenience aside, she played with his feelings and stomped all over the heart of a very sweet man! Marc and I know Patrick "in real life," and I look forward to seeing him soon, so I can give him a big hug. He has been hurt, and that pain inflicted on my friend is getting my blood boiling more with each passing minute.

sageweb said...

You have done a fine job talking about this. I am sorry for anybody that this struck personally. For me I did not get close to Cooper so I dont have the same feelings. But if it was any of my close blogging buddies I would be devastated. Love your pics. Good job on not smoking!

Greg said...

That she played with Patrick's heart is where I get pissed, too, Jess. It doesn't seem fair. But I take my cues on this subject from him and he's talking the talk on the subject of forgiveness...and so I'm inclined to let go of my anger, too.

It rarely serves anyone well for more than a moment, at best, anyway.

Here, sniff this new rose bud and let us turn our eyes to the future.

Greg said...

Oh, yah, Jess, I almost forgot: thanks for the back track on the Will angle.

Greg said...

Sage, thank you for that. It wasn't an easy topic to tackle, but he was a part of our lives and I think we need to have a little closure, anyway.

I look fondly forward to being able to just blog about flowers and bugs again!

Y'all come back, now, y'hear?

Anonymous said...

Here's to new beginnings and a much guarded future! We ourselves should be listening to what our own friends and siblings are telling their children about the
Internet. Much continued success, Greg on quitting smoking.

Paul said...

Greg, I know how I found you and your great photos of the cape. Through Cooper.

You've written a very sensitive post here. Unfortunately, on a personal basis perception is reality.

Call me a sap, this wasn't by first emotional involvement with fiction.

I remember your comment a week or so ago questioning the photographs. My only question is, who was the guy asleep on the couch with Dario wearing the boxers that I sent Nicky for Christmas last year?

Greg said...

Afod, not too guarded, I hope. We must continue to keep ourselves open to the good possibilities the world presents to us. But you know that from your experiences through In Good Company.

Paul, as Alice said, curiouser and curiouser. The forensic answers of all this may never be known.

"Nicky" has stated at Father Tony's she has a son who is the father of the children. Perhaps it is he we have sometimes seen (this evening the role of Cooper will be played by...) at the Corridor/Niche.

We can spend the rest of our lives playing Columbo on this, I suspect.

Sh@ney said...

By the sounds of things, this is not something I would intentionally involve myself in. Nor would I offer an opinion on an issue I am not familiar with. But I do hope for the sake of all involved, everything works out OK and those who have been hurt find it with in themselves to forgive and find peace.


T.R. said...

This just appeared a few minutes ago on Joe My God comments. Perhaps yet another piece of the puzzle placed - perhaps not.

This From Will, the one who went to Canada and spent a week with Cooper, another heart-breaking revelation in this wicked web so weaved by Jo:

Okay, listen up because I'm only going to go through this once.

1) I never went to Canada.

2) I never met Nicky/Jo/Cooper.

3) I found out along with the rest of you that he was a woman two nights ago.

4) I had an online relationship with this person.

5) We decided to blog that we had met because frankly, it made us feel closer until a time came that we could meet for real. Yes, this was kind of pathetic on my part. And hindsight being what it is, also a mistake.

6) I know that scandals of this sort are fun for everyone to pick apart, but please remember that I'm a real person with a real life, and I'm just as much a victim in all this as anyone else.

7) I only got my life back on track two weeks ago after everything ended with Nicky/Jo/Cooper and I will thank you all to realize how difficult it was for me to first acknowledge that someone I loved was lying to me, and then had to go a full seven months before I would ever learn the truth.

I trimmed back the personal entries on my blog because my blog is a hobby and I will not have someone pick it apart for their own amusement at the risk of my privacy.

Thank you.
Will | Homepage | 07.26.08 - 7:58 am | #

Greg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will said...

Hello everyone.

When I posted my "final word" on this matter, it was mostly to an audience that I felt was becoming hostile toward me, hence its clipped tone.

"I've grown up a little in the last few weeks.

And, my friends, that is the last thing I'm going to say about the boy from Canada, for whom I changed every single part of my life.

Yeah, color me an idiot."

Yes, that was my way of saying (without saying) that I learned something underhanded was going on, but I was more interested in moving on with my life than becoming a whistle blower.

I wasn't stood up, exactly. I could clearly tell that I was being lied to by Nicky/Jo who refused to go on a webcam, or talk to me on the phone. Finally one night, I'd had enough and broke it off.

I believe the post quoted above was published the next morning.

After the breakup, I didn't hear from Nicky/Jo again until this scandal broke. I initiated a conversation with her, asked if it was true, and finally came around to forgiving her for the deception.

And I do wish her well. My life may have been scarred by the whole thing, but I dealt with it and moved on, mostly intact.

Clearly, she needs to take some time, figure out who she is, get some help, and try to make a fresh start.

Greg said...

Hi, Will. Thanks for coming by the garden. I'm glad to hear that you and Nicky/Jo were able to come to some peace/forgiveness, which is always good for the involved parties.

More importantly, I'm happy to hear that you are well (not to mention "real"). I hope you'll stop by the garden again sometime.

Hopefully, we're about through rehashing this little adventure thrill ride.