Sunset, Lake Mendota. Photo by Callen Harty.

I am not a revolutionary.  I am not an Anarchist.  I am not a Communist.  I am not a Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, or anything else.  I am a political animal because I believe in a society that takes care of its people and I will fight politically for the dignity and worth of my brothers and sisters.  Yet that doesn’t define the totality of my being.

I am a man.  I am a free man in a world where freedom is often a tenuous concept.

I am not a Christian.  I am not a Buddhist.  I am not Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or anything else.  I am a man of spirit in a world where spirituality is often little more than politics disguised as religion.  My spirituality is personal and universal.  I am one with all.

My freedom resides in my soul.  I cannot count on any other person or any institution to grant me the right to be free or even the right to be.  I was born.  I am living.  I will die.  In my living I am dying–they are one and the same.  Every day I am born again into a new day and every day I am dying simply by being.  My being is my freedom.

Governments come and go and all of them serve to strengthen those in power and oppress those who are powerless.  If one is overturned another will take its place.  It is the way of the world.  Governments want willing servants, not free souls.  Kings and tyrants cannot control those who are truly free, though they will do their utmost in the attempt.  True freedom is within the individual.  The man who is truly free cannot be compelled to servitude and cannot be imprisoned.

While I walk this earth, while I move upon this planet, I will do so with purpose.  I will stand for my freedom and for the rights of others.  I will work to know myself and understand and ease the suffering of others.  I will seek peace in my soul and stand for peace and justice for all.  I will be one with my fellow beings until I am once again one with the earth.  I will be free while I live and freed when I die.

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
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1 Response to Freedom

  1. Callen, dear friend, this is utterly magnificent!

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