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  • Cia

    CSR Discussion Day: Exit to Redemption by Valkyrie

    By Cia

    Well, the end is near! The end of June, that is! Did you check out this simple short story... or is it as simple as it seemed? Exit to Redemption introduced readers to characters who could be the driver in the next car, the man in the next office, or the jerk at the next table disturbing your dinner. Learning about Valkyrie is a lot more simple than the choices and changes faced by the characters in her story! Check out my interview with her and then share your thoughts about that or her story i

Our community blogs

  1. The Company - Chapter 5 - White Knight

    Out now



    Questions Answered-

    Where in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana or Mississippi does the story take place?

    The answer is... yes.

    The setting is fictionalized. If you're familiar with the region, the place names will sound familiar but not quite right.

    Think of Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha county.


    Why is AIDs such a big deal in the story?

    The innocence of youth is a beautiful thing. In 1986 there wasn't a bigger deal than AIDS if you were gay. Everybody lived under its shadow and it was a death sentence. Everyone knew someone who died. Anal didn't really become a lost art but, lot's of people either gave it up or cut way back.

    I'm glad younger people don't know what it was like. I think the term is maximum suckage.


    What' s with all the trucks?

    It's the south. Trucks get you to work and work for you. Many, if not most, young men in rural parts of the south, and in the south rural is never that far away and where we work & play, would prefer to have a truck over anything else.


    Why doesn't Tom have a cell phone?

    They don't exist yet. Neither does the interwebz. He will bow to the inevitable and get a pager and you'll see what fun those were.


    The hobby? No shit?

    I've heard it called that in some places but it's not universal. In many rural areas with a lot of isolation it worked that way. Take a few belts of moonshine and a toke or two of country boy homegrown, it'll make more sense.



  2. Well, the end is near! The end of June, that is! Did you check out this simple short story... or is it as simple as it seemed? Exit to Redemption introduced readers to characters who could be the driver in the next car, the man in the next office, or the jerk at the next table disturbing your dinner. Learning about Valkyrie is a lot more simple than the choices and changes faced by the characters in her story! Check out my interview with her and then share your thoughts about that or her story in the comments below! 

    Do you eat your fruits and vegetables?

    No and yes.  I don’t like a lot of fruit and it’s also too sugary for me.  While there aren’t a ton of veggies I actually like, I do eat a lot of the ones I do like.  I also sub cauliflower for a lot of starches, so I get my fill of veggies that way.  

    If you were an animal, what would you be?

    Being a dragon would be pretty cool, but I’d probably be something more mundane like a cat.  I could get into sleeping 90% of the time and eating and randomly spazzing out the other 10%. 

    If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do?

    Probably play Candy Crush or watch something mindless on TV.  Absolutely nothing productive. 

    Has your writing evolved over the years and changed in any way?

    Yes, it’s definitely evolved.  I’ve worked hard to hone my descriptions and convey the emotions of my characters.  I think my stories have also grown in their complexity.  Penguin is pretty straightforward, while The Hollow Hills is much more nuanced. 

    Do you prefer to write short stories for a reason beyond time constraints?

    I like using short stories to explore questions I’ve asked myself.  For example, I wondered about why people react differently to adversity and tragedy, and the result was my anthology story April’s Fool.  I also asked myself what would happen if someone with a disability reached beyond the special ed classroom and tried to be friends with someone in mainstream education—like Peter from Downhearted.  The flexibility of short stories allows me to capture a moment in time or create character sketches without following the traditional story format of beginning/middle/end.  I’ve also used them to experiment with descriptions or writing in a different point of view.  When I first started writing, I was more comfortable writing in first person, so I challenged myself to write some anthology stories in third person.  Now I’m pretty comfortable using either.  Sometimes I use short stories as jumping off points.  For example Faeries Anonymous and Igneous are both slated to become longer works.

    Just how many of your stories interconnect?

    Good question!  I had to go look because I wasn’t sure.  A lot of my early prompt stories are based off peripheral characters from The Hollow Hills.  There’s also a connection between THH and Alex’s Legacy.  Quite a few of my prompt responses build off each other.  One of the projects on my list is to take some of those multi-prompt serials and post them as their own stories, like I did with Thanksgiving Knight.  And of course, there’s the Max and Elliot stories, with Exit to Redemption as a spin-off.

    Have you ever experienced a moment like Henry did with Pete at the start of the story or was that just made up?

    I’ve seen my share of rude jerks, but that scene was made up. 

    Change… Redemption… is it possible, or more of a romance story construct?

    Yes, I do think it’s possible to change and redemption isn’t just a fictional construct.  However, true change is difficult at best, and redemption is even harder to achieve. Sometimes we have to change habits to improve our health, which can be easy or not, based on motivation level or certain diagnoses. Changing things more ingrained to our nature is difficult, if not impossible.  Learned behavior can be unlearned, but personality disorders such as sociopathy or narcissism can’t be changed. 

    In your mental story after the story, are Henry and Pete living happily ever after now?

    I’d like to think they are.   I can’t say Pete doesn’t still have his moments, but I’m guessing Henry’s influence is enough to keep him in check. 

    How about sharing some of your upcoming writing adventures with readers… what’s in your pipeline?!

    I have a few exciting things in the works.  I’m currently working on a novella/novel length story based in the Igneous universe.  I’ve wanted to write this story for years and finally have a working outline and a couple of chapters in the first draft stage.  I’m going to finish it before posting, so it will be a while before it’s done.  In the meantime, I’ll have at least one story for the fall anthology.  Right now, I’m planning on writing a story based on Taylor from my Pride and Premium story, Deal or No Deal.  I guess I can’t resist interconnecting my stories!  I’ll have some prompt stories and also an upcoming collaboration to tide my readers over.  And my biggest news… drumroll… is the future release of my Premium novella A Leg to Stand On as an e-book. 

  3. wildone
    Latest Entry

    By wildone,

    Belated Winter Solstice for our friends down south and a Happy Summer Solstice for those of us in the North :) Except it is like the whole world is mixed up, we had snow an hour west of the city here, and so did multiple places across the states too! Some up to 2 feet, or 61cm :o

    Well no matter if it is snowing, raining, or sunny, you can always count on GA to be here with a ton of new reading and happenings going on.

    On Monday Cia brought us the Classic Author Feature of the Month who is @David McLeod Did you download the banner available?


    Then on Wednesday we had the Classic Author Excerpt from his story; Pilots:

    Finally on Thursday we had the fourth and final installment of the Spring Anthologies brought to us by Renee. 4 more great stories to immerse yourself in!


    • 2019 Fall Anthology: Fall From Grace - Due November 15th
    • 2019 Fall Anthology: Raincheck - Due November 15th

    Blog Opportunities

    • Ask An Author: Send your questions for your favorite authors to @Carlos Hazday (no questions = no Ask An Author)

    • Story Recommendations:  Open to all GA authors & readers. PM your recommendation and why you recommend it to a Site Admin.

    • Guess the Author: Open to all GA authors. PM @Renee Stevens to participate.

    • 3 Story Promo: Open to all GA Authors. PM @Renee Stevens to participate.

    • Author Interview: Open to all GA Authors. PM @Renee Stevens to participate.

    • Favorite Self-Written Story: Open to all GA authors. PM @Renee Stevens to participate.

    • Story Recommendations:  Open to all GA authors & readers. PM @Renee Stevens to participate.

    • Questions & Answers: Open to all GA authors, readers, and editors. Visit the thread and PM @Renee Stevens to participate.

    • Reader Recommended: Recommend a completed Poem/Story/Series for a short blurb at the end of the Weekly Wrap Up and PM @wildone to share your favourite stories.

    Premium Updates:

    Heartache & Terror by quokka *Premium*

    Classic Updates:

    Bullying Starts in the Home by Altimexis **Anthology Entry**

    Henry in High Politics by Mike Arram

    The Castaway Hotel: Next Generation Book 3 by Bill W

    Signature Updates:

    Adrift by Mann Ramblings

    Afterglow by Comicality

    Aria Graice by Nephylim

    Denied by Cia

    Disasters, Delights and Other Detours by Parker Owens

    Love Looked at Me and Laughed and other poems by AC Benus; Book 11 of Verse

    New Kid In School by Comicality

    Perseverance by Valkyrie **Anthology Entry**

    Pride Month, and other Haibun by AC Benus; Book 13 of Verse

    Tragic Genius by Cynus

    Translation Trashbin by AC Benus; Book 7 of Verse

    Twin Stars by Cia **Anthology Entry**

    Promising Updates:

    In My Head by Thorn Wilde

    Misentrope by Puppilull **Anthology Entry**

    The Cockney Canuck by Dodger

    The Golden City by Aceinthehole

    **Reader Recommended**

    Recommended by @Timothy M.


    Don't forget.... Read, Write, and REVIEW!!!

  4. Fae Briona
    Latest Entry

    A "transmission arm" broke early this afternoon in the city where my brother and parents live, leaving about 1/5 of the town without power (just under 10.4 thousand). Naturally, my charming brother didn't bother to text me until FOUR HOURS LATER to say that he still had power and mom & dad were with him.  I hadn't had the TV on all day and hadn't heard anything about it. Aunt was without power too.

    Heat index there today was 108° F at 3pm.  Can't find anything that gives trivial little details like why the line broke.  😕

    He txt'd back a bit ago to say that mom & my Aunt had power but don't know about dad yet.  Just glad that mom & dad had a place to go. Hate to think of the other elderly people in their buildings that didn't have anywhere else they could stay.

  5. Who is ready for the last round of the anthology entries?  Well, wait no more!  If you haven't already checked out the previous sets, I've included the links below! Happy reading!!!

    In The Stars & Snapped
    Set 1

    Set 2
    Set 3




    Twin Stars






    Bullying Starts in the Home


  6. Hunter Thomson
    Latest Entry

    Therapy. Counseling. Mental health. Talking doctor.

    Whatever your choice word for it, that seems to be where I've landed. BEFORE THE PANIC SETS IN, I'M FINE. Well... that's a relative term, but there's no need to worry about me. I've been feeling depressed and uncertain about my future for a long time now, and it's getting in the way of my work. 

    It's not what I thought it would be. For one thing, I don't come close to fitting on the damned couch. My person seems to like cognitive behaviour therapy. They're challenging me. Making me articulate what I believe, where those beliefs came from and how they affect my life in subtle and not so subtle ways. I don't know what I'm supposed to feel after sessions, though I'm going to guess that having sore legs is not typical. 

    I don't like feeling so exposed. It's good for me to think about the things they're having me think about, but the way they stare at me... I feel like a science project run amok. They look at me the way I look at a particularly dismal essay response, just sitting there studying it, trying to figure out what to do with it. It's been very superficial so far, we're still establishing who we both are in the process and nobody seems interested in delving too deeply into my childhood, which is a kindness. 

    I do think I chose well. My person has a similar background to me, at least in some ways. I confess I don't know them overly well yet, but we both have sports and being LGBTQ in common, so I can talk about those sorts of things much more freely than I otherwise would. More to the point, I don't have to explain things about my athletics frustrations because they get it, they've been there and can talk to me about those same issues from my own perspective instead of just a counselor's perspective, which can feel patronizing at times.

    It's only been a couple of sessions, but it seems to be helping? I have some more motivation to do things that I need to do for work and for school. I'm not lapsing into melancholy each night and questioning everything I do. I still have a LOT to work through though, and it's nice to have someone who can help me work through things. 


    Anyways, that's me. I guess this is my new project now, fixing myself. Yay me.

  7. Wayne Gray
    Latest Entry

    It's a drizzly Friday morning on the northern coast of California.  Banks of low clouds blend into fog blanketing the forests of what has become my home.  Big, brainy, loud ravens shatter the quiet as they bicker at one another in the field beside my work.  Still, I'm amazed by the serenity, peace, and beauty of this place.  I love the green, the fog, the wetness and the cool.

    I love our trees - the tallest in the world.  Walking among them instills wonder in me, even after thirteen years of living here.  They sway, their tops moving over twenty feet in the wind.  It's like watching giants silently dance to some unheard beat.

    There are so many things I miss about Kentucky - where I'm from.

    But... this place...

    It's home.

  8. MichaelS36
    Latest Entry

    It's been sometime since I wrote anything. Life has been doing its utmost to kick my ass. Well, I have some choice words for that, which I shall refrain from using. 

    Seems my shoulder issues are tied into my diabetes. My physio, who is a talented and caring woman, has suggested speaking to my doctor about seeing an orthopedic surgeon. Damn it this is not what I was hoping for. 

    However, my wonderful and talented boy, tim has said, "You don't want to feel like this forever."

    And he is right. I don't. I've done a bit of reading it doesn't sound too bad. 

    Time I guess to speak with the doc. 

  9. Almost a year ago, I met someone, older than me, with whom it turned out we shared some things in common. We both knew the same city where he had grown up, we both had a desire to write. He had already written a number of stories and books, but was no longer writing. I had practically not even started.

    There was a unity and empathy between us. Unexpectedly, he gave me a tablet, which he said he no longer had any use for, and with that tablet a draft of a story. A story that he would never write, but which he said I could use. I should not mention his name, this was the only condition.

    So I began writing his story, but, of course, I elaborated, invented, and imagined, although I also checked out a few facts on the net. The story in not finished, I’m not sure where or when it will finish?

    This type of writing, I discovered, has a genre all of its own, a fictionalised biography. A person's life story based partly on fact and enhanced by the author's imagination. Materials are freely invented, scenes and conversations are imagined; the writing depends almost entirely upon secondary sources and cursory research.

    Initially, the story was rejected and criticised by a number of people. Something which set me back. How was I to continue writing in the face of several negative comments? Was it my inexperience? My style? What would be the point of writing a book that no one would publish? Nevertheless, I was confident I could write and set out to prove my worth with two other stories. Thus, I ended up writing three totally different books.

    I had no idea what or how to title the draft story I’d been given, and which I was turning into a fictionalised biography. Until I happened upon a definition in the Urban Dictionary: Camp echo - a place where people find their BFF’s, Best Friend’s Forever. When you go to camp echo your dreams and goals are high. Cabin secrets, fun, and more fill your summer for seven weeks. Camp echo is the best place in the world.

    Camp echo is the most beautiful place on earth. With tall trees, an open lake, huge fields and one big family. At camp echo the campers come and stay, never wanting to leave. The tears will flow and you never want to let go of the best seven weeks of your life. With inside jokes and memories, there’s never a day wasted. There’s a true magic about camp echo. The bonds you make will last a lifetime. Eagles fly.

    The title struck a chord with me, although it was not going to be a story about a summer camp, it embodied all those emotions and experiences. Meeting people, dreams, goals, and discovery. There was an element of life at play. It was not my life, and not the reader’s, but surely anyone would recognise it was real.

    The summary I wrote and re-wrote, to introduce the story and tell readers what it was about, probably fails to do it justice. My writing probably fails to do it justice. But it’s a great story. It deserves to be told. Fictionalised or not, it is someone's life.

    Finding the pub was easy. You wouldn’t even need to know the name, but he did. Jonathan had specified the time and place. The crowd of early evening drinkers spread outside onto the pavement. Under any other circumstances Max would have ignored them and walked on by. But he very much wanted to meet Jonathan, he was banking on getting invited back. Jonathan said the pub was near to where he lived. Max squeezed his way through the crowd as one or two heads turned his way, but he was mostly ignored. Still he was careful not to bump anyone or spill anyone’s drink. He thought about Reuben as he found the front door and went inside, it seemed distinctly full of leather men. Somewhat daunting, but he was a boy with a mission.

    Once I found somewhere I could self-publish, I’d been rejected by every site I’d submitted the story to, I uploaded, with trepidation, the first chapter. The choice is limited for self-publishing gay writing, Nifty and Gay Authors, I started posting this story on the latter site. Slowly, as the chapters got posted, I picked up a handful of followers, some likes, and best of all one person who wrote chapter comments.

    “I liked the way that, in spite of the fact that it was nearly all dialogue, we managed to get to know so many different characters.

    “The drug bust brought back a personal memory of being searched for drugs as a student back in the late 60's.

    “And have I remembered to say how much I am loving this story?”

    Those comments were invaluable, and the support of this one person had a huge impact on my nascent writing career. I started to write my own book and this wonderful person agreed to read, comment and edit, what in effect was my first online story, now finished. Perseverance, combined with what is a completely different type of story, allowed me to find an online publisher. Now that first novel is about to be published online.

    I have not forgotten Camp Echo, and with one shortly to be published novel under my belt, I have once again turned my attention to this story. My only dilemma is, what do I do when the draft story outline and notes I inherited reach an end? I have thought about paying my retired writer friend a visit, and if he were willing, to interview him about what happened next. However, I am neither certain that he would be willing or that that is a good course of action. Like the camp echo definition which describes seven weeks of summer as the timeframe during which everything happens, perhaps this should be the life cameo I was given, and end quite simply where it ends?

  10. Some time ago I became seriously ill. With seriously, I mean getting close to meeting Azrael personally, at least three times. With a white blood cell count considered extremely high even for the type of illness I had, the resulting stroke, hemiplegia, pneumonia, and cerebral edema, to be able to walk and talk again almost like before, I have to count myself lucky.

    What I learned: Life as you know it can be over in a blink of a moment. In theory, I knew this, but suddenly being confronted with the actual fact, brought it really home.

    Today, I rather do what brings joy to me and mine. I prefer spending time with friends and leave when I’m not wanted. This doesn’t mean I don’t speak up when I feel it is needed.

    I was personally invited to partake in something that was meant to be a reminder of the consequences of hate and marginalization.

    Finding out my poem has been ignored has hurt, I give you that. So much so, my initial reaction was a hissy fit and the strong urge to leave in a huff, LOL. I’m over being stupid now. I was reminded I still have a series to finish, friends to talk to, stories and poems to read and such. Thank you for that.

    Carpe diem.


  11. Please join the Author Promotion Team in congratulating Tim (Mikiesboy) as GA's newest Signature Author! Tim has been a member of GA for almost four years and was first promoted to Promising in May of 2017. Since joining, Tim has been a prolific author and poet, with almost 400,000 words posted, including novels, novella, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction stories about his own life including how Tim met and married his husband, Michael. If you want to check out that story and the rest of Tim's tales and poetry, you can visit his author page. There's something for everyone there!

    Please join us in congratulating Tim on his well deserved promotion.


    Oh, and in case you missed it, Levko by Mikiesboy was featured in our Stories blog on Monday. See what one of our reviewers thought of Tim's story, and then go read it for yourself to see if you agree.

  12. Gay Authors Articles

    Latest Entry

    By Comicality,

    So...I want you all to take a few seconds, and think about your life in it’s entirety.

    Your entire life, as a whole. Childhood, adolescence, adulthood. How do you envision it in your mind? Do you think about that day you picked up some extra eggs and milk from the grocery store? Do you think about the night you sat on the couch and watched TV for six hours straight? Or maybe you’re thinking about that gas bill you paid, or that time you got a parking ticket? Hehehe, you might be, I don’t know. But I’m willing to bet that it’s unlikely.

    I like to think of life as a series of ‘moments’. In order to think back on our memories, we have to tell ourselves a story. This is what happened, and where it happened, and how it happened. And when we tell ourselves that story, it usually comes in the form of the bigger, more influential, moments and experiences that we’ve had in the past. The major events that stand out in our minds are the ones we have the clearest recollections of. I couldn’t tell you every slice of pizza that I’ve ever had...but I could tell you about being on a date with a really cute guy and sharing a pizza with him. Because that was a significant moment that stands out in my mind, and one that made me tuck it away in the back of my mind to think about later and smile. It holds a specific meaning for me. It’s a moment worthy of being a part of my personal highlight reel, because it is more than just something that I remember...it’s a part of who I am.

    When you’re writing a story, being able to effectively create these moments in the lives of your characters can truly make your work stand out as well. It’s all about picking your moments and using them to their full advantage. Naturally, you want your entire story to be well written and edited down to a point where everything has a certain significance, value, and purpose...but choosing to focus on just a few big moments can really enhance your story as a whole. It defines the theme, the tone, and the development of your characters, in a way that will be both exciting and memorable.

    So this week, I’d like to talk about the creation of defining moments in our fiction.

    When I talk about moments, even if they’re happening to the same person or people in the same work of fiction, I believe that each moment should be able to stand alone as a story all its own. To use the “Billy Chase” story as an example...that massive story is about to get its 450th chapter, and even people who have read it more than once could possibly remember the entire thing. Lord knows, I can’t do it. But there are certain ‘moments’ throughout the series that readers can remember fondly (Or not so fondly) by certain situations and lessons that were learned along the way from beginning to end. Maybe they think about mistakes that he made, or big revelations that were discovered, or that very first kiss with another boy, or his parents’ divorce. The question, however...is that if you were to take any one of those moments, and write it as a stand alone story, and then give it to someone who has absolutely no idea who Billy Chase is and has never heard of him before...can that ONE moment in time still make for a good story? If so, then it’s a moment worth the glare of the spotlight. And that’s where you can truly grip your readers and keep them invested in the story as a whole. Everything that led up to that moment, and everything that is sure to follow it.

    Down below is a little video that I’m adding for fun. And while it’s all done for some highly exaggerated grins and giggles...it does demonstrate my point. Movies, books, TV shows, theatrical plays...they all have certain defining moments that, when done well, can really bring you to the edge of your seat. And it does NOT have to just be in the climax either. It can be anywhere in your project where it feels natural, and creates momentum to take things up a notch. It can be the first major showdown between your protagonist and his or her main rival. It can be a big surprise, or a major reveal, or the act of turning the tide in a battle that seemed hopeless. They’re the moments that uplift you when you bear witness to them, and they stick out in your mind to the point where you and your friends will think back and say, “Remember that one part, when…?”

    Take a look! Besides...the Avengers theme song just makes EVERYTHING a little bit more epic! LOL!

    Hehehe, as a side note, it’s kind of funny once you pay attention to it...but every time one of these moments happens in a movie, there’s always a cut to somebody’s shocked face! Like, “Omigod...WTF is going on right now?” It’s just sort of a film thing. A shocked face or a cheering crowd...or both. But, I can’t lie...it still gets me every time!

    Now...these were all action based movies, animations, or video games...but your defining moments don’t have to be that over the top. The theme song is merely signaling you to say, ‘This is it! This is the moment that will take you readers to a whole other level!’ And it doesn’t need to be gunfire and explosions. It can be a great act of courage on the part of your protagonist. It can be the realization of a secret. It can be the simple act of your antagonist finally getting what he deserves, or getting a taste of his own medicine. It could be a severe break up, or finally balling up a fist to blacken the school bully’s eye, or feeling the rush of hearing the words ‘I like you too’ for the very first time. It’s all about creating special moments and giving your readers something to experience that they can hold on to, even long after the story is over. They can have memories of these moments as if it happened to them, personally. And that will give your story a longevity that even the best quality writing can’t imitate on its own.

    So, when I think about these big moments in my own work, I try to break it down into three simple pieces. Premise, Promise, and Payoff. Very easy to remember, very easy to pull off as long as you’re thinking about these things ahead of time. The Premise is simple...what is it that you want to happen to your main or supporting character, and how can you introduce it to your readers? More importantly, what impact will this defining moment have on your story? A defining moment has to ‘define’ something, after all, right? So what direction are you trying to take your story in? Maybe you have a closeted gay college boy, and you want him to finally meet and talk to the guy he’s been infatuated with from day one. There’s a moment there. How will you go about setting that up? In that same story, they may go on their first date, and end up kissing at the end of the night. There’s another moment. Maybe they fall in love, and the main character decides to take his new boyfriend home for the holidays and come out to his parents. Another moment. These are all things that we as writers should be thinking about ahead of time. Know where you want your moments to take place in your story, and then use the ‘Premise’ part of the equation to present the initial building blocks to your audience.

    ‘Promise’? This is merely the act of stringing a series of events together to make the journey to the defining moment more interesting. I’ll admit...this part can be fun. Hehehe! It’s true. This is where you can set up certain scenarios and tease your readers into wanting to jump ahead to the big reveal...but you don’t give it to them. Not just yet. Think of it like...spinning the crank on a Jack-In-The-Box. You know that the clown is going to pop out at some point. That’s a ‘promise’. But half the fun is not knowing when it’s going to happen. A little suspense, a few close calls, maybe some awkward conversations or missed opportunities...these are all tools that you can use to wind your audience up, and put them edge for that final crank before the clown pops out. You’re making them a promise...and you’re going to stick to it, right?

    Unless you’ve got some huge plot twist planned and decide to throw a monkey wrench in the works somewhere along the way! Hehehe, there’s a moment there too, if that’s the way you want to go!

    And finally….the ‘Payoff’! The big moment is here! Inner strength has been revealed. New answers have been given and new questions are left to be asked. Confessions have been made, lines have been drawn in the sand, arguments reach their boiling point…this is the moment of shock and awe and joy and sadness that your readers have been waiting for since you set up the premise and made the promise in the first place. ::Cue The Avengers Theme::

    This part can sometimes be a little intimidating (At least for me it is), because a soggy payoff can really damage a really great story if it doesn’t meet reader expectations. That’s not to say that you should write, specifically, for reader expectations...just make a serious attempt to make the defining moments in your story add up to what you promised they would be. You spent all of that time setting it up, why not deliver the end product with a bang?

    Basically, we all remember moments from our favorite movies and games and, yes, from our very lives. Take a few minutes and really think about what made those moments special to you. Why you hold on to those memories, and how they make you feel. Having just two or three of those memorable moments in your writing can really boost reader involvement, and your talents can hit them right in the feels each and every time. The right moments...with strong connective tissue binding them together...can really make a story sing.

    Just a little something to think about! I hope you enjoyed this week’s article on Defining Moments! Love you all! And I’ll seezya next week!

  13. quokka's Blog

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    Recent Entries

    Latest Entry

    Another milestone has been reached.

    The first chapter of my thirtieth story marks not only my first story in Premium, but also that I have reached 1.5 million words published, during the five years and five months I have been with GA...

    sooo happy...



  14. Razor
    Latest Entry

    A surprising thing I've come to realize, which shouldn't be surprising, is that a lot of my anxiety and depression is not actually anxiety and depression.  I will not say I am not anxious or depressed.  Going outside of my house, talking to people, trying to interact in a normal way is a source of constant anxiety.  I've always had an uneasy feeling about other people when dealing with them face to face.  I don't like it.  It opens me to allowing another person to stare at me, judge me, form an opinion of me, and possibly reject me.  

    With that in mind, I've come to think that a lot of these emotions I feel that sometimes people pressure me to seek professional help for are not actually the emotions that are the real problem.  I constantly analyze everything around me as well as within me.  Following that train of thought leads me to believe that most of my problems in my emotional regulation of myself are not anxiety and depression.  They are anger and frustration.  

    I don't voice these things because it sounds like a pity party.  Why did this happen to me?  What did I do to hurt someone else so badly that I deserve what has happened to me, as if there is some cosmic being doling out punishment based on my deeds?  Why does he or she or they not listen to me, why don't they understand, why do I even have to try to make them understand?  Because they SHOULD understand.  Why is it that people tend to leave me or I tend to leave them?  

    As any person with half a brain would do, I think about this in terms of well, if you have a problem, learn from it.  Figure out the pattern, figure out the mistakes, figure out how to move forward knowing what to do better.  I get frustrated and angry a lot.  It can be anything, but it's usually related to my interpersonal relationships, and the way other people see me.  

    It shows up in strange ways.  The other day at work I was working overtime, which I was already annoyed about, because at the same time I had a million things on my mind.  Primarily that my kidneys might be failing because my legs and ankles decided to swell like crazy, and I was already consigning myself to death.  Turns out it was the medication I was taking, and it felt like someone dropped a bag of concrete onto my legs, ankles, and feet, and still feels that way (though most of the swelling is gone).  But that fear caused me to be frustrated, angry, annoyed.  I thought to myself that it is insane that I am sitting at a desk pretending this is a normal moment when I could be going through the last moments of my life due to organ failure and I will never go on dialysis again, ever, so it was the real death moment in my mind.  

    And I got PISSED.  I was so angry that my life is held hostage by me working and keeping my insurance and keeping up with things that seem insignificant in comparison to "remember the last time you almost died, remember how that happened, remember how you remembered everything one moment and then the next moment you woke up a month later and they had to give you a new organ?  Remember that shit?  REMEMBER IT?!  Why the fuck are you sitting here apologizing to crazy random stranger for something that was not your fault, when you might be dying?!"

    Frustration hits.  The voices in my head keep telling me "hospital, hospital, hospital, you're dying, right now, if you don't go now they'll tell you it was your own fault you're dying later, but the hospital is a horrible place so only go there if you really are dying.  Are you dying?  Fuck if I know."  Which makes me want to call out of work and just go because while I am so ready to just call it quits I'm not REALLY quite ready.  I haven't lost all hope of everything quite yet.  It's a strange place to be.  It's like a conversation with death saying kill me, but not yet.  Kill me now, but not really right now.  It hurts, but not enough I want to quit.  I want to quit, but I don't.  

    All the while, I have a customer taking me forty-five minutes past my overtime shift.  Why?  Because of something that was not my fault or the customer's fault.  It was an epic fuckup of doom I was dealing with that two managers didn't know how to fix and they brushed aside what was going on because they couldn't fix it, and being me I was like oh hell now, I'm pissed now, let's SOLVE THIS MOTHERFUCKER.  Which it did get solved.  Btw, for your comparison, usually I can get a customer on and off my phone in two to three minutes total.  But I was not about to let that go once I got my teeth in it, I was like NO, this is bullshit, I am dying here and you give me this, you give me THIS?!  

    And I realized, that anger and frustration are bad, bad things that have no place in the world, just like shame and guilt.  I was more incensed because of the synergestic effect there.  I was pissed, my customer was pissed, and together we turned into one pissed off frustrated freight train that was going to solve this goddamn problem.  I started being snappish at no one, because in my line of work you can't snap.  You have to be calm, collected, cool, reasonable, reassuring.  But he heard the cracks in my facade easy.

    You ever started working on something for someone and got so pissed off about the roadblocks that they start losing their anger because yours overshadows theirs?  That's what happened.  I was ready to fight.  I was completely prepared to snip someone down to half their height if they dared cut off my path to a fix for this person, because I'll be damned if I stayed 45 minutes after work to lose.  Heads up, if your pissed off customer tells you to calm down, that should be an eye opener.  

    So I thought about why I reacted so strongly.  What made me get to that point of unyielding rage that I was going to make something happen no matter who stood in my way?  And as stupid as it fucking sounds, as inane and simple and absolutely unbelievable it came down to the AA saying HALT.  I was hungry, angry, lonely, and tired.  All at once.  And I didn't tell myself to try to find a way to make the situation more bearable, more tolerable, more normal.  I flew straight to crazy town.  

    Now, I have decided I will implement some things, and no matter what anyone else says or does, I will use these.  And if work or anyone else has a problem with that, then they can take it up with me by submitting it in writing and giving me about three weeks to respond so I don't say something snappy and mean.  

    Which brings me to the first thing.  Wait.  Just wait.  Don't say or do that.  Just wait.  And that wait can feel interminable, but it is worth it.  Count to ten, recite a poem in your head, take a deep breath, do a mundane task like counting backwards by sevens, and if you can take your focus off for a moment that lash out moment will pass.  It also gives you time to think about the second thing.

    Jokes.  Fucking jokes.  Just don't look at it like a life or death, don't look at it as a personal attack, don't look at it as THIS NEEDS DOING NOW AND WE HAVE TO BE SERIOUS.  No, we fucking don't.  Things can wait.  And things can definitely wait if there is even a small smile to be coaxed out of a situation.  The world needs more people smiling and laughing instead of yelling and screaming.  There is no point in going to war over a situation that can be laughed at.  Furthermore, humor inspires camaraderie with those you are trying to engage, so why not use it?  We can al act pissed off, but it takes effort to turn a situation on its head and laugh at it.  

    Third, abandon your high principles.  Nobody fucking cares.  Don't move contrary to your values, but don't stand on PRINCIPLE.  That is a fool's errand, and a great way to get knocked off your high horse.  Speak your truth calmly and quietly, and do not allow yourself to respond to attacks in kind.  Don't get mired down into an argument over what is right or wrong, but focus on what is BEST.  The path of least resistance is usually a good one, and if modified a tiny bit, can allow you to hold your values while passing through.  And by no means am I saying keep your head down and ignore injustice when it rears its head, but I am saying that you can pick your fights while making your opinion known in a productive manner.  

    Fourth, and this is the most difficult for me; be kind to yourself.  How can I expect everyone around me to respond to me with anything other than derision when that's all I hold for myself?  The same judgment I hold for myself when turned outward suddenly becomes so much more hospitable, caring, genuine, concerned.  It makes no sense that I rub my own nose in my mistakes when I'm so willing to forgive them in others.  

    Fifth, quit deleting what you want to say.  Quit doing that.  JUST STOP.  That leads to frustration and anger, Jamie, so say what the fuck you mean to say in a way that isn't totally offensive and gives other people at least a chance to like or dislike you.  Quit wanting to say something and stopping.  Quit typing a text and erasing it.  Quit doing things up until the moment you could be rejected.  Believe people are also people just like you, that they feel the way you do, that they want the things you do.  Okay that last one is more about the anxiety, but still, as I said, it leads to the frustration and anger. 

    Well, I've had enough of telling myself what to do by typing it out.  Things have been grim.  Finances are tight, I live alone now, I don't really know what my next move is.  Which is a source of frustration because usually in the past I've had a plan.  The plan usually involved a boy.  Well, at the moment, I don't feel equipped to deal with any relationships.  I want one.  Not gonna lie, these past months, three relationships totally destroyed (albeit for good reason), so it feels like nothing will ever be worth fighting for again.  Lemme clarify.

    I don't ever fight for myself.  I just don't.  I have a weird variant of social anxiety disorder that allows me to find a person I like and fight for them.  Ask me to go to the doctor by myself and I can find all sorts of reasons why I don't need to do that, why I can't do that, why I won't do that.  Give me another person who needs a doctor and I would carry them, despite my crippled ass, and I would make sure they were taken care of.  I need the motive, I need the all encompassing flaming passion that this person is important to me and I will do this thing I don't want to do because they need me to do it.  I've done it a million times before.  In fact, I think I might have an issue because I love doing that, I love seeing other people happy as a result of my actions.  It is what makes life worth living to me.

    And before you get all weird and say "Jamie, that's the wrong reason to live for!"  Yeah I know, but, sometimes life makes us the way we are and all we can do is work with what we're given.  I like to think of myself as someone who augments.  Put me with the right person and I will raise them up into whatever heights they seek, and I will make sure they fly high, straight, and true.  Just ask my ex, he's waaaaay better than when I met him, and I still worry about him even though we may not be talking lately and that might be my fault or it might be his fault (it's his fault, just in case you were wondering, and I hope that the bastard he's with dies in a horrible fiery car crash of doom because that fucker was mean to me but hahahahahahaha just joking cause humor is supposed to be an antidote to anger).  That's enough purpose for me right now.  I don't need to be great.  I just need to find people who can benefit from me and I from them.  Sometimes I feel as if that means I'm broken.

    Yes, me feeling like I need other people makes me feel like I am broken.  The great secret of my generation is that everyone needs other people, but we just pretend like we don't.  I don't have to be at the forefront, I don't like the attention or acclaim of many.  I think of all the interactions I've had and I come to this conclusion.  I don't need to be great.

    I just want to be kept.  

  15. I've been censoring myself. We all do, here on GA, those are the rules. No political discussion outside The Pit. But what's political? When someone complains about a public figure bringing politics into what they're doing (like Wil Weaton's fans losing their shit when he posted a picture on Instagram of his hand giving Trump Tower the finger), what they're really complaining about is them bringing the wrong kind of politics into it. There's no such thing as apolitical. Everything's political. Whether you see it that way is just a question of what your own views are, because we all like to think of ourselves as unbiased.

    Queer identities are inherently political. We fight daily for our rights, and if not for our own then for those of our siblings elsewhere. We've always been able to talk about homophobia on GA, we've been able to talk about Pride. There have been posts in The Lounge about marriage equality. And that's not because these things aren't political, but because they're politics we agree on. But I censor myself on things to do with my own identity. There are issues trans people face that I don't feel like I'm allowed to post about because it might violate the rules of no politics. We don't talk about transphobia the same way we talk about homophobia here. 

    We talk about Pride, because of course we do. But Stonewall was a riot, and Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender sex worker of colour, threw the first brick. Marsha's entire existence was political. Pride is at its core political activism, but it's okay to talk about because it's all pink washed and dressed up in glitter. Can I talk about Marsha in The Lounge? 

    This isn't a dig at GA. The rules are there for a reason, and I understand that. But some of these lines are pretty blurry. When do queer issues become too political to be talked about in a queer online community? Which prominent LGBTQ+ individuals throughout history have to be excluded because they were too political? A while back, a quote by Harvey Milk was shared in The Pit. I wanted to share it in the quote thread in the lounge but was cautioned against it. Because even though it was a message that literally all of us can agree on (can't remember exactly what at present, but it was lovely), Harvey Milk is in and of himself political and someone might take issue with that. Better safe than sorry.

    I exist as a trans person in a world where people want to deny people like me the right to go to the bathroom that corresponds with our gender. Where trans people are being excluded from protections against discrimination. Where trans people (especially trans women, especially trans women of colour) are murdered just because they're trans. I exist as a trans person in a world where many modern, developed countries won't let trans people change their legal gender without being sterilised first. Where in many more countries they can't change legal gender at all. I exist as a trans person in a world where prominent figures defend their right to misgender me because 'I can't tell them which words to use'. Which of these things can I talk about? Which of these things are political?

    The answer is, all of them. These things and everything else to do with every other queer identity. Everything about existing as a queer person is political because the world has made it so. Everything, everything is political. It's only a question of to whom.

  16. I've been reading translated poems of Rilke lately, who is recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets. In the early 1900s, Rilke wrote letters to a young German military cadet who sought his guidance on his own poetry. These letters were poetry in their own right, dynamic and inspiring. The following is an excerpt from one such letter, which galvanizes the creative process, not exclusive to poetry or writing in my opinion, but for all forms of artistic self-expression: 
    “Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.

    This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose...

    ...Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty - describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. - And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.”
    ― Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet
  17. Renee Stevens
    Latest Entry

    Wow, how the time flies. It's hard to believe that Baby J is just under 2 months shy of celebrating his first birthday! He is so active and is crawling, pulling himself up, and walking along the couch (or anywhere else as long as he has something or someone to hold onto!) We have baby gates all over the house, and so far they seem to be keeping the little guy mostly contained. And we now adapt whatever we're having for meals so that the little man can eat it too, with his 4 little teeth! Being a new mom is more than I ever expected, and so worth it. Especially when he gives me his big grin, or like the other night when I wasn't feeling good and Baby J just snuggled with me. Or he says mama or dada (the very occasional mommy and daddy). Of course, he has his grumpy boy moments, but they're usually only when he's tired or not feeling well. Luckily major meltdowns are few and far between.

    He's even been on his first major roadtrip. 17 Hour drive (one way) to meet his uncle, aunt, and cousins (we broke it up into 3 shorter days rather than 2 long ones to make it easier on him). Of course, everyone loved him, but Baby J really took to my brother. If my brother was home, Baby J was on his lap, or otherwise in the very near vicinity. 

    As you can probably tell, life has been busy. We're lucky that Baby J hasnt really been sick much, primarily only having the flu at one point and a short lasting stomach bug another one. I've been sick a little more, but D has been great about helping out around the house, especially when I'm not at my best. We may have finally got a few answers to everything that has been going on with me. Vitamin D deficiency counts for a lot of my issues, and most of what isnt caused by that are most likely caused by a stomach/esophagus sphincter hernia. Which basically means that the above named sphincter, that connects the esophogus and stomach, is loose and allows for reocurring reflux. Not great news, but it's mostly controllable with diet and reflux meds (though I'm not on a daily med for it at this point). Surgery isnt suggested to fix the issue unless it gets much worse than it is, as it would require a major surgery.

    So that's what's been going on here. Not much writing going on, as I simply cant seem to find the time and or ambition, but hopefully that will return in time. There have definitely been some ups and downs, but overall I cant complain too much. Hopefully I'll be able to return to GA on a more full time basis in the near future (is that a little optimistic considering Baby J is nearly a toddler?) But I have a great team to help with my GA duties, and I owe a huge thank you to all of them! Not going to name names, just in case I forget one, but Thank you, all of the help is greatly appreciated!

    Until next time!



  18. Myr
    Latest Entry

    By Myr,

    First thing this morning, I applied a new Stories Archive software update.  This was a minor update that was mostly focused on bugs.

    • Added new feature on forum posts that shows how many Stories you have reviewed and how many story/chapter comments you have made
    • Added "Story Review Guidelines", "Story Comment Guidelines" and "Chapter Comment Guidelines" feature that pops up a box when clicked that can offer general site guidelines for posting comments and reviews.  If you click on them currently, you'll get "Coming Soon"
    • Added a story-only reputation count, that is currently only showing to staff.  We're working on getting that changed so that it shows to staff and the author.  This directly affects those in the story moderation queue and the automatic promotion out of it. 
    • When browsing by World, Series, or Story, miscellaneous media items will no longer appear in the list.  Only banners for promoted author groups will show.
    • The "Featured Story" that the staff pins on the first page of the story listing, will now properly not cover the story search bar for non-author groups.
    • On stories where there are many Authors, Editors and Beta Readers, they will now be listed alphabetically.  (Main Author is always listed first and additional authors are alphabetical)
    • Unpublished chapter count where dozens of chapters were listed as unpublished is now corrected.
    • The meta data on stories should now correctly reflect published chapter data not everything.  (error was seen where it would say there are 10 chapters, but only 6 would be visible)
    • Miscellaneous bug fixes.

    The only major feature still in the pipeline are the Statistics.  We've been collecting them since Jan 2018.  There are more than 18,000,000 hits since that time. The release of the new forum version that required a lot of rewriting, delayed it.  There are also a number of bugs, some of them very stubborn, that we're still working on.  Some of this is caused by the default behavior of the underlying software that we have to work around.  (double notification thing on reactions, for example)

    Stay Tuned and be sure to follow this blog.  It helps me track how useful people find these posts.

  19. comicfan
    Latest Entry

    By comicfan,

    Oops. Sorry was a bit off last night so Friday is starting off a bit late. However, there are new prompts for your consideration.

    Prompt 760 – Creative

    Tag – First Line

    “Because I said so!”

    Prompt 761 – Creative

    Tag – The Ex

    You’ve been busy with work and finally, have a night off. Deciding you don’t want to spend it in front of the television you go out. Barely out of your car you turn and knock someone off their feet. As you go to help them up you find yourself face to face with your ex. What happened next?

    See something you like? Take a shot and write a story. Remember to share it with us.

    'Til next time remember to read, write, comment, and like. Enjoy all.


  20. AC Benus
    Latest Entry


    May rain falls upon

    Roses already in bloom –

    When Nature dictates

    Gilding Iilies, all is fair

    For hearts then at war with love.


    May rose.jpg

  21. I've been a member of GA now for almost ten years, which might as well be a lifetime in the internet. I was 17, closeted, confused, and was just looking for any kind of escape from the miserable existence of high school in a small town. I met so many great people in those early days through chat, where I would stay for hours talking about anything and everything with whoever was in there. I learned to refine my debating skills in the old Soapbox, where ironically I was one of the most vocal conservative members. I remember some of the early stories I read on here that touched me: Viv's All I Wanted, and Camilo's The Perks Of Loving You. I would eventually meet my first boyfriend on this site, and we were together for over 6 years before we parted ways. I met up with two other GA members while I was on a trip to London, and enjoyed great conversation over two dinners. 

    I recently ran into that ex-boyfriend in a bar in New York one random Saturday night. In a city of 8.6 million people, you oddly run into those you know. We hadn't really talked or seen each other in years. I didn't even know he was living there anymore, and to be honest I didn't really recognize him all that much initially (to be fair I was a few vodkas in). We said a quick 'hey, how's it going' and kept right on walking. At that moment and for the rest of the night what had just happened didn't really register. I went and found my boyfriend, and pretty much forgot it even happened. Fast forward a few days, and suddenly the whole encounter became incredibly strange to me. How could someone I dated for over six years and lived with for almost 2 seem like such a total, insignificant stranger now? At one point, he knew me better then anyone else, but now years removed, he might as well have been a passing acquittance. 

    I'm not wishing to get back with him, as we really weren't meant to be together long-term. It worked great as teenagers and early twenty-somethings, but adulthood exposed the flaws. I learned a lot from him, and applied all that to my relationships afterward. I guess it just goes to show the fragility of human relationships and how totally they can change. 

  22. comicfan
    Latest Entry

    I have had a really hard time getting over a recent relationship.  I even have gone to therapy. 

    This weekend I was cleaning and my father noticed the boxes in front of the pictures I kept up from my ex. He opened it and found the rings I'd bought for us. He looked and noticed only one was engraved.

    "Why only one?"

    I looked and spotted what he was holding. I swallowed my feelings. "Because mine was engraved with my promises to him."

    He read it and walked out.

    Guess instead of love and forgive I should have just left it blank. I've packed them and the pictures of him and his family away. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

    • 1
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    Recent Entries

    I've posted the first part of my fanfiction conclusion to With Trust, a story originally written and posted by DomLuka.

    I think With Trust is one of my favorite pieces of gay fiction; I've read it several times, and I was disappointed that it was never concluded. Not that I blame the author for not doing so - I have stories that I've not completed, I know what that's like.

    But I still wondered what happened to Nelson and Milo.

    The idea of running away to the boat at the end of the last chapter was tantalizing. But what kind of boat was it? A sail boat or a motor boat? For a long time I imagined that it was a sail boat, and they attempted to sail it away, maybe down to Florida; though in truth, I could never even work out where Heywell was; Google Maps hasn't heard of it.

    I began writing the story for my own amusement, and I started with the sail boat, and then things just fell into place as I wrote it. 

    With Trust - A Conclusion is in two parts. The second part should be posted in about a week.

  23. Before I really get into the reason I started writing down these random letters to form words that structure the following incoherent sentences that you are about to read, I want everyone to understand why I decided to write this in my Blog instead of responding in the forum thread where I first started ruminating on this topic. I am writing it here mainly because I think I’m going to offend a few people that read this and more than likely piss off the rest.

    A few months ago, I came across a topic in the Lounge that got the wheels in my tiny little brain a whirling. So much did my head spin around and around, that even all this time later, I’m still thinking about the topic.

    I really don’t remember who started the Topic all those months ago, and it’s really not important as it doesn’t really have anything to do with who started the topic but what path that topic got me traveling on.

    To the best of my ability, the topic was “Do You Identify as Gay?”. It also included a poll of three choices…I identify as part of the gay community, I identify as someone who has sex with the same gender, I identify as something else (please explain). Or something along those lines anyway.

    When I first read this topic, the results were as following…
    72.41% or twenty-one posters identify as part of the gay community
    13.79% or four posters identifying as someone who has sex with the same gender
    13.79% or four posters identifying as something else

    And for full disclosure, I identify as something else. This something else with the tagline, ( please explain), is the reason I am writing this today and the reason I have done more research about this topic in the last few months than I have in the last twenty years.

    I have never spoken to the person who started the topic, nor am I judging that person or anyone that participated in this particular thread. I believe there is something deeper here in regards to my own journey then the author or other posters intended.

    And let me preface this by saying, I am not attacking, judging, or refuting anyone that shared their own experiences in this topic. Nor am I discounting their beliefs or personal truths. I am only referencing them as it led me to a better understanding of my own self.

    Upon first reading this topic, I believe I understand what the motivation the author had when they created the poll and the questions they proposed. And without putting words in anyone’s mouth, I believe the intention was to see how the other members of GA viewed themselves in a larger, cultural way. And on the surface, I think it was a harmless question without malice.

    The post started off something like, “I’m curious to know how many people on here identify as part of the gay community versus how many just identify as having same sex attractions without feeling a part of the larger, cultural gay community”.

    I first read this question more of, ‘hey, tell me how you feel about your place or lack thereof in the gay community at large’. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with the question that was put forth. I felt, and still do after all this time; it was more a curiosity to see into the lives of other individuals and to understand how they might see themselves in a grander scheme of life as it pertains to the “gay community”.

    And after reading all the response, a particular comment stuck out from one user. And again, I might be paraphrasing, but the poster said something like, “I have come back to this post several times because it rather irks me. I am gay. However, I am not a member of gay clubs, sports, or other so-called gay organizations. The feeling I get reading this, is that unless I “join up”, me and the others like me, are really not gay”.

    This comment intrigued me, so much so that I started doing some research into the poster. And no, I wasn’t stalking that user, but I did find out while I was stalking him that he identifies as a Dom in a BDSM relationship.

    The user clearly stated that he did not feel part of the gay community because he refused to ‘sign up’. And a few posts later he added, “My lifestyle is even smaller. Mainly found in small clubs, and yes online. But even thought we have BDSM clubs, I am not a member. Though my husband and I live that way. Does that make me less a Dom? No, Not at all”.

    Please understand that I know absolutely nothing about this user except what I have read in that particular topic and I am not refuting what he feels. I know nothing about BDSM except surface facts nor do I care to learn about this…lifestyle for lack of a better term. I do know that it’s not for me even though I understand that the participants feel a need to experience their life in this way and that there is a strong bond of love and trust in regards to their relationships. I feel everyone is entitled to love however they find it. And this post is not about BDSM but rather about the feeling this poster voiced about community.

    Webster’s define community as: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.  It goes on with a second definition: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.  A few of the synonyms listed: group, body, clique, faction.

    When the user identified as gay but didn’t really have a connection to what most would call the gay community, preferring to just live their lives as they see fit and damn anyone that doesn’t agree with them. This statement got my little head spinning around. While this is an admirable trait, and one that I wholeheartedly agree with, it made me curious why he didn’t feel a connection to the greater gay community.

    I don’t know this user and didn’t feel comfortable enough to ask certain questions regarding BDSM and why this user didn’t feel a part of the community, so instead I went online and started doing research about the subject to see if I could get a better understanding of why he might have answered like he did and more importantly, why the question seemed to irritate him.

    And in my limited research about the subject, I found that most in a BDSM relationship identify first as a Dom or a Sub, then secondly as gay if they mention it at all. My understanding, BDSM is more important to how they live their truth than a label about sexuality. This seemed to be a logical reason why this user didn’t connect with the gay community.

    And yet it got me thinking why I don’t connect with the gay community though I live in San Francisco, seemingly the Mecca of gaydom for the United States and maybe for the rest of the world.

    I don’t have a lot of gay friends. And being gay does not now nor has ever really defined who I am as a human being. In my youth, I went to the clubs on the prowl for sex. I used more boys as dumpsters and playthings than ever made any real connections with the shallow people I met in those spaces. But that was a small part of biology, I was horny and wanted to find a release into the next willing receptacle but that wasn’t who I was or what I thought I should be. My community has always been those like minded individuals that share my same love of movies, video games, books, and historical places. At times, other gay people have fit that mold, but often as much, my friends are made up of all races, orientation, and gender.

    I have found in my travels, the “gay community at large” are shallow, promiscuous, addicts, that are too self absorbed to be good friends much less good human beings. And yes, before you get all angry, there are always exceptions. But go to any club on a Saturday night, and you’ll see rampant alcohol and drug abuse in the gay community, unsafe sex practices, and old men trying desperately to hang on to their youth by any means necessary.

    And if it seems like I’m judging them, maybe I am. But I don’t want to be associated with those types of humans. And it’s true, go to any straight club and you will see the same exact behavior which I think only proves that I don’t identify with them either.

    To get back to the user who identifies as BDSM, he would also say, ‘my lifestyle is even smaller’. He’s proud to say that he doesn’t belong to any BDSM clubs. He simply chooses to live out his best life with seemingly little regard for what others might think. This is a behavior I can support.

    Webster’s define lifestyle as: the way in which a person or group lives.

    The user is living his best life with someone who loves and respects him and for all purposes; he is living the lifestyle of a gay man. The user also used the phrase, ‘join up’. And this made me think about the grander implications of that statement.

    I feel that too many of our brothers and sisters are made to feel left out based on some of the marginal stigma surrounding certain lifestyles, especially if it’s on the fringe of the larger gay community. If the user, who identifies as a Dom, cannot feel like he’s a part of the gay community because he refuses to ‘join up’, then what does that say about this gay community? Is it because as humans, we tend to judge those that are different than us? If that’s the case, then we are no better than the homophobe that judges us because they do not understand us?

    To counter that point, the user that started the post topic and put forth the poll answers to begin with, stated, ‘For example, I personally identify as gay and very much feel a part of the larger gay community. Most of my friends are gay, I go to a mostly-gay gym, I play in a gay sports league, I go to gay bars/clubs/circuit parties, and whenever I travel I make it a point to check out the local gay scene. What I love about being gay in the cultural sense is that no matter where you go, you already have an established tribe/community that you can find support in through shared identity. I've found in my post-college years is that we are a community that tends to protect our own, and we've created our own institutions separate from the straight world to fulfill that purpose. It's ghettoization to an extent, but after living in the stuffy confines of straight life for so long, I've found that this much smaller community offers freedom to a level and in a particular way that people who aren't a part of it will never get to experience’.

    I think I could argue what the poster was referring to is not so much the ‘gay community’ but more of the gay lifestyle. Or what that perception of that lifestyle is from someone on the outside looking in. I do believe there is a certain perception of what most would call the gay community, and for a good portion of us, we would never identify ourselves in that manner.

    Urban Dictionary defines gay lifestyle as: a stereotype used by social/political conservatives to describe gay men being promiscuous, drinking, bar hopping, using drugs, cross-dressing, and orgies.

    Okay, I’ll be honest, the bit about cross-dressing made me laugh so hard I almost choked to death when I read it. But can you honestly say, you have never thought the same exact thing at least privately in your own brain. To most, the gay lifestyle doesn’t describe us much less define us. I have often lamented that who I choose to sleep with is such a small part of what makes me…me…that I rarely talk about it. I don’t go to Pride, I don’t participate in circuit parties, I don’t have orgies, nor do I have random encounters using phone Apps. That is not my lifestyle, nor has it really been.

    So why am I writing this? It’s not to bash the author of this topic, nor the user that doesn’t identify as a member of the gay community. The reason I wrote this and the reason I have been thinking about this topic for months, is because I was looking at this through the wrong lens.

    There was a time when gay individuals needed to bond together, first for safety, and then for support from a world that didn’t really accept us. And yes, having that support system truly saved who knows how many lives over the last decades. How many young people who didn’t commit suicide because they found a place that was safe for them to live their truth and find happiness within those communities? How many of the younger generation can go to proms with their same sex partner now all over the country? How many states have legalized same sex marriage? So much has changed for the gay community just in the last ten years that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. And thankfully, it has changed.

    Yet I truly believe one of the worst things we can do as a community is retreat into our gay clubs, gay bars, gay sports leagues, and leave the rest of the world behind. We didn’t affect change by hiding in the shadows. We changed the country because we got out in the light and demanded that we needed to be treated first as humans, with the same rights as all other humans, then by allowing straight people who didn’t know any better that we have the same goals, values, and desires that all humans possess. Who we sleep with is irrelevant in the grand scheme of life.

    My community, as defined by Webster, has always been made up of a fellowship of likeminded individuals that share my same attitude, goals, and life values. That is my community, and like most communities across the country, it’s not a gay community, it’s not a straight community, it’s a mix of beautiful humans that all strive to achieve a better life for those they love, and for those as yet unborn.

    I have seen a lot of ‘gay communities’ that do not share my same values and goals. And I will not be a part of them just because they also happen to sleep with other men. That would be like saying, I will only vote for this particular person because they also have the genetic coding that made their eyes blue like mine. Eye color and genital preference is so far down on my list of priorities in those I choose to surround myself with its practically nonexistent.

    If you find a gay community that shares your same attitudes, goals, and values, than great, you might have found the ideal life. But don’t get so hung up on only participating in ‘gay communities’ just because there are gay people there. Instead, create your own communities by including all people that share your values, embrace those that can bring something positive in your life and exclude all those, even the gay ones that would drag you down.

    Gay or straight, all communities are made up of humans first, and most of us are a wonderful, kind, generous, honest, loving, and accepting group that can do extraordinary things when we share a common purpose.

    I know that my thoughts might not be for everyone who reads them. And that’s okay. We are all on different places in our walk of life. I do know that over the last few months my perception of community changed and I believe I am a better person for it. So I thank whoever started this topic, and those that contributed to the thread as they all helped me come to a better understanding of who I am as a human and where I want to go.



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