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We’re now on the road, headed back from our house-boating vacation.
The first thing we did was load everything onboard, then we got a crash course on not crashing the boat. After our thirty-minute briefing, we pulled away from the dock and onto the open water of Shasta Lake.
Our only goal was to have a good time. To that end, we tooled along on the beautiful and sunny lake until we found a safe, secluded little inlet.
We docked by motoring slowly forward and gently kissing the shore. Then a couple of us jumped out and pounded a pair of long metal stakes firmly into the clay and rock, then we roped off to the stakes.
Once safely moored, it was party-time. We drank, prepared food, swam, kayaked, and floated on various devices. This pattern held for three days, and all was great.
Last night was our final one on the boat. We found a new spot, and I noticed that our stakes were moving a bit. We did our best with the rocky shore, and at last we went to bed.
I woke at 2 a.m. because the boat was rocking side to side kinda hard. There was a massive thunderstorm over us, and wind, water, lightning and great peals of thunder all served to announce the inclement weather. I got up, and one stake had pulled completely free of the shore. We were drifting toward the rocks, sideways.
We go rushing out. My buddy, Craig had the freed metal spike and a hammer. “God, this is so dumb!” He yelled, and jumped into the water while lightning streaked across the sky overhead. I agreed, and jumped in to help.
While I’m pulling as hard as I can on the mooring rope to straighten the boat, Craig hammers away. Finally, the spike is in and I’ve managed to turn the watercraft enough to avoid catastrophe. We wrap the rope to the spike.
At last, dripping wet and scraped from the rocks, we wearily reentered the boat. After a toweling off and some first-aid we went to bed. Luckily there were no more such events.
The late-night unexpectedness was exciting, and we all still had fun. If nothing else, I’ll never forget this trip.
Oh, the summer has passed, yet another school year begins, and I'm forced to acknowledge that my children have grown older and made me older. It's so strange to watch them grow up and remember my own youth in contrast. We make memories, I try to help them make memories, but it's so true that you can't go back and you never know... what might have been. This is just one more of many amazing stories posted by the promoted authors who have been shifted to Classic author status that new site readers might be missing out on, so go give it a read if you haven't before!
Description: Memories can be beautiful and painful. What they say is often true, “You can’t go back again.”
A reader said: This was such an emotional overload. I am so glad I read it. Thank you for sharing! ~ Tomcat in NC
So I was thinking this week . Does that make everyone cringe?
Today when I wrote this up. it is the 14th, so just a reminder to you all that we are now 10 days from my birthday and tomorrow will be 3 months away from Christmas. Now I don't want all of you all to fret and worry over having to get me pressies for both celebrations in the next 3 months! I know you all were planning on spending at least $50 Canadian ($12.50 US) on each present, so why don't you combine the two and each of you can give me a $100 present for Christmas .
As I sometimes say in the my closing on requests... Thanking you in advance.
Well with the weight of not having to buy me something in 10 days hanging over your conscious, shall we see what happened in the GA News Blog this week?
Monday as I said in that blog, WOW. Our review team exceeded all of our expectations with a great Signature Author Special Review. Make sure you thank your friendly neighbourhood Review Team Member
Jump on over to Tuesday and Renee brought an announcement for poets and authors to help with the 2nd round of Anthology Voting:
Then is was a giant stride into Thursday, where Myr shared with us a new list of the September Anthology Flashbacks:
Finally on Friday, Wayne sashayed into the blog and gave us another two great prompts:
Oh, I bet you think I would go into the anouncements and stories as usual, but a certain pesky penguin spoke up and now as part of our regular weekly wrap up we will post how we did on the Story Goals the previous week. So here is how we did for 09/07 - 09/14/2019:
Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens *Premium*
Dancing on a Star by Ronyx
Family by Dabeagle
Adrift by Mann Ramblings
Cynical Faith by Cynus
Denied by Cia
Jessie-101: Online Celebrity by Comicality
Kabal by aditus
The Plateau by Comicality
The Searcher by Mikiesboy
The Thousandth Regiment by AC Benus
tim's Bits and Pieces by Mikiesboy
Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens
Morning by northie
Shrunk to Fit by northie
Singer by Carlos Hazday
Welcome to another Friday. Is it me or are the weeks flying by?
Anyway time for some new temptations.
Prompt 782 - Creative
I'm done forgiving you, so get out!
Prompt 783 - Creative
You were invited to a friend's party. The last thing you expected was to be swept off your feet and be the center of attention with an incredible partner dancing all night. Who was it and what happened after your dance?
So that is the prompts for the week. Remember if you write one to add it to the prompt page. Until next time read, write, comment and like.
We are bringing back our Anthology Thursday features! Each month, we'll do a flashback to a previous Anthology. During that month, we'll feature each of the stories from that theme.
This month, we're jumping back to the Fall of 2013 and the theme of Pandora's Box.
The second 5 stories:
i’m angry and hurt, and need to get this off my chest.
People will tell you that death is a part of life, it’s all part of the circle of life.
Well, they’re full of crap.
Death is death. And it sucks. Doesn’t matter who it is, if you lose someone you love, it sucks.
Like Great Aunt Betty, the one who would sneak you that candy you loved at the family reunion—it’s a loss and it hurts.
A nephew with leukemia—hurts like a punch to the gut. A nephew was hit by a car, while he was in the crosswalk? Almost unbearable pain.
Very recently, a few people i know here lost family members. It was hard for them. They were both sudden. Not that having advanced warning for an impending death, makes it any easier. i mean, we all know those stories; Uncle Frank diagnosed with whatever, so everyone starts “preparing” that he’ll pass soon. Nope, doesn’t help to have that time to what, wrap your mind around it? No, don’t think so. Loss is hard, nothing really makes it easier.
i have had two losses in as many weeks. My family is shattered. My brother and sister both have lost sons. One niece has lost her big brother, another niece and nephew have lost a cousin and a brother.
my own youngest son will have to attend his third memorial for a peer. A peer, someone his own age, not for an elderly relative, but a person in their prime.
Of my sister’s step son, someone said, “He’s in a better place.” Hell, he was in a pretty good place! Good job, a beautiful wife, and the most adorable 3-year-old son.
They said similar things about my brother’s son. He died in an accident on his very first day at university.
His. Very. First. Day.
He was 19. He was in a very good place already.
i’m angry, hurt, all of those things. Grief is very different for everyone, and that’s ok.
Right now, i’m stuck in anger and hurt.
i need to work past this, a little anyway, since i’m going to have to be the big sister, the oldest child, next week and do all the social niceties.
Go hug someone and let them know you love them.
thanks @Mikiesboy you are the best
There is this overwhelmingly popular opinion that self-publishing, to some degree, isn't valid. It's what we do here on GA, of course, and putting out your work for free on the Internet for people to see seems to be acceptable and sometimes commended, but as soon as an author tries to make money from self-publishing their work—either by setting up a Patreon and asking for donations, or by publishing their work using services like Lulu and Amazon KDP and thus circumventing the traditional publishing process—a lot of people, and in particular other writers, become sceptical, sometimes bordering on hostile. There's this idea that people who self-publish just aren't good enough to be published by a major publishing house and, as such, don't deserve to get paid for the time and effort they put into writing.
But is it really about who's good enough? And who decides? Some arbitrary authority, like editors, agents, and publishing houses who are out to make money off of what you write? Is the question whether your work is good, or whether they think it will sell? How much bias and prejudice goes into that evaluation? I think a lot of publishers steer clear of queer fiction, thinking it won't sell as well, and a lot of what you do find published wasn't even written by queer authors. It's getting better, sure, but I still believe the cards to be stacked against us.
Yesterday, an event called PitMad took place on Twitter. This is an event that happens four times a year, where authors scream into the void. You write a pitch for your book to fit into one tweet, tag it with #pitmad as well as additional relevant tags for genre and demographic, and wait for editors and agents to like your tweet. Then you send your manuscript to them, and by liking your tweet they have pledged to read it. This rarely leads anywhere, of course. As with everything else on the Internet, it's a lottery. Was your tweet visible enough? Where did Twitter's algorithm place you when they were scrolling through tweets? And it's hard to market yourself, to try and make your book sound interesting in less than 280 characters.
And without an agent, you're basically fucked. You don't get JK Rowling stories anymore. You can't just send your manuscript to a publisher. They won't even look at it. So there are more steps, more middlemen, more people who have to think your book is worthy of a chance, who have to think they can make money from it, before it's even seen by someone who can decide whether it deserves to be published. The market is oversaturated. It's harder than it used to be.
There are also indie publishers, but a lot of them are sketchy. I've heard stories from authors who were asked to pay to submit their manuscript, pay for their ISBN, which is not how publishing is done. Most serious indie publishers close their submissions periodically because they get so many.
At least by self-publishing, you get it out there, you have the chance to make a little bit of money from it. Some self-published authors have later been picked up by major publishers or literary agents. Some have managed to make a modest living through self-publishing. And yeah, when anyone can do it, you end up with a lot of bad stuff. That's not to be denied. But that's no reason to discount the whole thing.
I wonder if a lot of writers believe they're simply not good enough. Most writers of online fiction never even try to get something published, indie, self or otherwise. Maybe that's where the hostility towards or dismissal of self-publishing authors comes from. Why should they do it when I don't? And of course, self-publishing comes with a necessity for self-marketing, which can easily be seen as narcissistic.
I'm taking the plunge. I'm self-publishing a book of twenty-four of my short stories. All of those stories are available to read here on GA, though I have polished, edited and, in some cases, rewritten parts of them. I have chosen to believe that I'm good enough. That my writing is good enough. And I'll be pushing my book hard on Twitter. I've been writing all my life and I'm taking this into my own hands. It won't make me rich. It may not really sell at all. And posting about it may not make me any friends. But I'm doing it anyway. It will be available on Kindle and as paperback through Amazon KDP, and also as an eBook through Draft2Digital, to be released on Apple Books and Barnes & Noble, among others. It will be out on the 30th of September. I choose to think I can do this.
Although I have a couple of questions and responses predating the ones in this issue, I felt these responses were time sensitive. The question came in soon after someone claimed Ask An Author only featured established, popular authors. Wrooong! The member who sent in in suggested asking it of newer authors and provided a short list of candidates.
Here’s the message I sent out:
In case you haven't come across it, the first Wednesday of every month I coordinate a blog feature. Ask an Author's predicated on readers sending in question and authors answering them. I keep the identity of the person asking confidential; some of our readers are truly shy, but one sent me a question to ask you and a couple other new authors. Would you mind replying to the one before and forwarding the response to me? Thanks!
As you're recently arrived at GA as an author, how have you found your experience posting and interacting with readers?
And here are the responses I received:
I have found the whole experience incredibly positive and encouraging. Unlike many GA authors perhaps, I had sat on my finished story for many years before sharing it with the world, and I was pretty nervous about letting it out there.
The great responses I started to get right from the beginning gave me confidence to keep posting, especially knowing that the story gets better and better after the first couple of chapters. The 'Likes', 'Loves' and other reactions are great as far as they go, but the really fascinating feedback is the chapter-by-chapter comments, whether they are simply expressing appreciation for the writing or speculating on what might happen next. I think I mentioned in one of my own comments that to have people commenting with such insight and obvious engagement into the story and its characters, well, there's really no greater vote of confidence for a writer.
Comments that offer different viewpoints are also welcome. There was one particular plot development in my story that did not convince everyone, and it was good to see that the readers here are not afraid to offer constructive criticism as well as positive comments. In a way, it added value to all the positive comments I had received.
If I do find time to write anything else that fits GA's brief, I would have every confidence about continuing to post here.
So far, the experience has been great! GA has more feedback options than I'm used to, and it's nice to see reactions as well as comments from readers 🙂. As far as posting, GA is more structured than most sites, and as a creative person I'm not always good at following directions lol. I sort of tend to 'wing it' which gets me into trouble. I'm still learning a few ins and outs but I truly enjoy the site, and I'm glad I came across it. GA is definitely a good home for my story.
The experience has been totally positive.
I am trying different writing techniques and readers are noticing and commenting. I find that feedback very helpful as I work on new stories. I was struggling with the ending to a story and a reader commented on the chapter I had posted that he hoped that the characters would return to where they started. Bingo! That was exactly what I needed. I would probably still be struggling if not for that comment.
The generosity of people to read and comment has been very gratifying; especially when they are asking for more!
The bottom line question though, is: am I able to write a story that readers find compelling. I think the answer is yes.
I have three stories posted at this time. One story has one more chapter and a second story has four more chapters. The manuscripts are completed and I am posting them on a regular schedule. The third story has just started. I already have seven chapters written and couldn't wait to finish it before posting it for readers to read and respond. The response has been positive. I am also working on a story that will start on December 1 and will have daily postings until January 6. There is a through narrative of two men who fall in love in college. This is layered with the Christian seasons of Advent and Christmas and the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. There are specific scripture readings for each day during that time and I am weaving the readings and the narrative together. I hope that the readers enjoy it as much as I am enjoying writing it.
I am grateful for having gayauthors. I follow several stories on here and greatly admire the quality of writing I find.
I haven't been here long, and I've only had one reader message me directly. This site is different to another site where I've posted because readers can comment at the end of chapters. I was a little nervous about that, as I imagined it might be like the YouTube comment section, but so far it's been great. All of the comments have been encouraging, and someone pointed out a minor error, which was helpful. I've been enjoying it so far!
If the individuals who didn’t respond in time do so in the future, I’ll feature their responses in a future issue. In the meantime, now that you’ve met these four, say hello to them at some point. You should also check out their work. I’ve read some and enjoyed.
We’ve established the blog is not limited to a certain type of author so send in questions for anyone. When answered, I’ll feature them.
Yesterday marked my official 1 decade membership here on GA. I still remember that terrified 17 year old kid coming home from school that day and finally deciding to create an account in secret. I met a lot of great people those early first months on here, back when Chat was still a thing. Most of them are long gone now, often randomly disappearing without a trace back into the real world. I think that has been one of the weirdest experiences of my time on the internet, and especially GA. You go from "seeing" someone online every day to suddenly, and the next moment they're gone. You check their profile somewhere down the line and they haven't logged on in years. I sometimes wonder how true to form they were online compared to their real-life selves. What did they change? And more interestingly, why?
GA really did change the course of my life. Without it, I'd probably never have gone to college, never have really accepted being who I am, never become a teacher, and never have ended up in the very happy point in life I'm at right now. It all started with meeting a boy on here who completely threw the trajectory of my life for a 180 spin, and while it didn't last, it led to a series of chance, luck, and good and bad decisions to where I'm at now. Who would have thought creating an account on a random gay site you found through a porn link (true story, circa 2009) would have changed so much. It kinda makes me think of that old Ashton Kutcher movie, The Butterfly Effect. If I hadn't decided to create that account (and I came very close to not doing it), I don't know if I'd even still be here right now. It's a bit chilling to think about, and just proves how even the most minuscule decisions that seem inconsequential at the time can be life-altering.
I'm not nearly as active as I used to be. A lot of the parts of GA I enjoyed in the past are now gone or changed to be unrecognizable from what I enjoyed so much. That isn't a criticism at all, and things have to evolve to survive. A website from 2010 can't survive in 2019. I mostly just lurk from time to time, occasionally throwing some thoughts out there. That probably won't change, but I doubt I'll ever leave this site completely because of the impact it's had on my life.
Heres to hopefully another decade of GA.
Coming Out is a personal journey for everyone. I wanted to share this. I also want to thank tim for his editing help. Thanks tim. I’m sure being around a lot of Great Writers in GA has caused this blog.
The closet was my home,
it never judged me
The closet hid my loneliness
and was my refuge
The closet was my family
and my friend
The closet made me safe
it kept my secret
The closet knew I was Gay
One day it said it’s time to open up this door.
“Live your life with no regrets”
The closet said, “Those that care don’t matter and those that matter don’t care”
“I’ll always be here you will never be alone," the closet said.
“I'll be proud of you, until the end!
The closet had been my refuge; keeper of my secrets
It had always been my friend.
I decided to go into a deeper look as to what I'm doing for the next little while and what each story comes from and when it should be on the schedule.
For the rest of August:
1) I am going to post my Drabble a Day (Prompt Me, Prompt Me Week 1 will come out sometime tomorrow. Week 2 shall come out on the 2nd of September. Thus I need to edit and post it up in the next few days to get that pre-scheduled. Each week will be scheduled for a Monday so I don't have to worry about it.
2) Snowfall, Fires, and Family chapter 4 is in moderation. You can find the story here. I have 5 more chapters yet to post so I'm going to post a chapter a day as long as I remember to.
1) I am going to work on posting my various stories that you can see down below with some information on how long it is. But I do have to set up my schedule around my weekly drabble posting so that's going to be fun. Really.
2) I am also going to start working on rewriting a longer romance story. I'm somewhere around chapter 8 out of something. Not sure since it's been a while.
Expect me to might blog on PrepTober since I have no idea what I'm going to write. Fanfiction or Originals, no idea. *shrugs*
NaNoWriMo. Yep. That's it. That insanity. Year 11.
List of stories to be posted over the next few months:
Dancing Shadows: a Retail and Supernatural side story. Single chapter. 2017 Halloween Story
Gathering Memories: A untitled series side story. Single chapter. 2017 Halloween Story
Mirror Mirror: A short story of about a mirror and a haunting. 8 Chapters. 2017 Halloween Story
Morgue Hauntings: A single story that might be connected to a yet unnamed modern paranormal/supernatural fantasy story. 1 chapter. 2017 Halloween Story
Memories Chains: A single story about a doll and a man who has to play One-Man Hide and Seek with it. 5 part story. 2017 Halloween Story
Remember the Pasts Demons: A short story that I was able to write about a house with a nasty history. Heed the warnings when I get to posting that story. 2018 Halloween Story
A Christmas Letter: A short story that is somewhat connected to Retail and Supernatural series. Single chapter. 2018 Christmas story and the only one I could get done. (Last year was busy.)
I hope to see your reactions to the stories as I play catch up and post things! And I hope to have brand new things for you all coming up for you guys.
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I’m sure you have heard of it, and I’m sure you know what it is, but here is the definition that I found on the word:
lure (someone) into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.
"he was being catfished by a cruel prankster"
Being that we are an online community we are always prime for catfishers to join and then lure possible members to lie to.
We do have members who come and for their own personal sense of safety, may become Fred instead of their real name of George. We have members who say they live in Georgia, when they really live in Mexico. These are not in our opinion catfishers. They are just members who want to protect their identity and participate on the site.
What catfishing is when someone joins the site under the two above false pretenses and then start to befriend multiple people. As their friend base increases, so does the drama they create about themselves, looking for sympathy and sometimes resorting to attacking other members who question their lies.
We have had numerous people die on-site, and it was all calculated by the catfisher as one final gasp for attention. Yet they are signed up again to see the tributes and discussion about them. This and other cases of baiting members is a major cause of site disruptions and a major part of using staff resources.
So how does the SMT handle these? First off, like above we just ignore the little things that are obviously for personal security. I'm comfortable with my first name and location known, but some are not. Usually the SMT will be alerted to catfishers by our perusal of the topics and forums. Then as a group we start to look at their activity and such. Most catfishers do get a warning that only they and site staff are aware of. In a lot of cases this is the end of it as they are aware they are being watched for creating site drama. Many times they quietly fade away.
Some, however, don’t get the message and will double down on the drama, spinning more elaborate issues regarding health, friends, family, etc. Most will receive a second warning on this.
Eventually, though, warnings just don’t get the message across. When catfishers start to take actions against the site staff for just letting them know that we are onto their lies and continue to pile more drama on the site, it is time to bid them adieu.
This can and does have consequential effects on all our members. Posts and other content disappear and reputation from likes and such disappear too. This may have happened to your account in the past or more recently. It is not a bug and we can't prevent or reverse the points, unfortunately.
On a personal note, I am a skeptic by heart on a lot of things. I’m always warning my dad and other seniors I know about current scams (no, not forwarding 100s of emails though ). I usually think I’m a pretty good judge of when something is too good to be true or too unbelievable to believe. Sadly, I have been caught up by catfishers on our site as well ☹ . It can happen to everyone.
I’m not saying be a skeptic of everyone and everything, or you would never leave your house or participate here. Just be aware that there are catfishers out there, and that our SMT will try every possible means to minimize the site drama they create until there is only the one option left.
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Just a quick update on my writing.
College is going well, and I'm in a program where I don't get time off. It's continuous until the degree work is finished. Some classes are harder than others, but I'm doing well in them. Between working on classwork, normal household stuff, doctor visits, and taking care of kids, I've been slowly working on my projects. Here is a break down:
Tampa Chronicles 4
Current main project, and will be the final installment on the Tampa Chronicles series. I love spending time with my boys, but I am not one that will do a "neverending" story or series. I already have the epilogue written for TC4, and building the chapters to that conclusion.
Aeris - Guardian Force
Will be returning to this story one day. Haven't abandoned it.
The Half-Elven Warlock
Will be returning to this story either the next one after TC4, or the second one. Due to my rage quitting of the story, I destroyed my story notes on it, and will be going in a different direction than where it was heading.
This story has been on the back burner stewing for a while, and I currently have four chapters for it done. There's a wee bit of a sneak peek over in the Writer's Club on it, but things have drastically changed from what was posted.
Timeless Online (A Gay LitRPG Story)
It's a toss-up between this one and The Half-Elven Warlock, on which one will happen after TC4. You can see the entire unedited prologue in a previous blog posting.
My Other Stories
I have a list of prompts I want to do, and have them bookmarked in a special folder here on Firefox. Been slowly working on a couple, when I have time.
Well, that's where I'm currently at. My classwork and home life is my main focus, but I am slowly working on my projects. Hopefully TC4 will be completed in short order, and I can get it posted.
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A new chapter of Not Your Mentor, Chapter 4, is up.
It’s always interesting where ideas for stories come from. Even I don’t always understand—or remember—where an idea for a story came from.
Often, an idea will come to me, and I start writing, and half an hour later, I can’t remember exactly what the original idea was. It’s already changed dramatically from the original concept.
Some stories are based on people I see, and I try to imagine a back story for them. Other stories are based on situational ideas that come to me after reading something.
Not Your Mentor was partly inspired by reading about mentoring programs that some companies offered. Not exactly exciting, but that’s where it started, and I thought it would be interesting to have two people thrown together through that. The final story isn’t exactly about that, but that’s not unusual.
Sometimes a story comes to you pretty whole, and sometimes it comes in parts. You have an initial idea, you write it, but then you need more. And more. And you slog away at it.
And sometimes you get really lucky, and you encounter something that fits perfectly into your story.
I'm currently working on a story about a guy that falls in love with a footballer. (English football.) I’ve already written a few thousand words of the story, but at the moment it is really more of a sketch. It needs a lot more to turn it into something more than just a boy meets boy, argues, then eventually falls in love story.
And then, this past week, the universe stepped in!
A rookie player on the New England Patriots football team tweeted a Shakespeare quote, on Instagram. Then the (older/grizzled) Patriots quarterback replied that he should be reading his playbook (rather than reading Shakespeare!)
Awesome! Suddenly I had an interesting conflict idea to add to my story!
Thanks, Tom Brady!
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The very very last of our new Teaching Assistants gave me her paperwork today. Reminded her that she never wants to be the very very last person. Her excuse is that she's a commuter (who only lives an hour away). I had people from out of state turn in their stuff before they even moved; even the international students who didn't have stuff to give me until they got here this week had turned their things in already.
Blood pressure is continuing to climb after having gone wacky the first week of July. Cardiologist hasn't called me back, even though I gave them my sheets -- and concerns -- last week and left an online msg for them last night. If I don't hear from them by noon tomorrow I'm calling them. It's going up at an ever increasing rate; was 140/90 when I got home today, which is high enough I can tell it's up. Before this it had been consistently staying below 120/80.
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I suppose this piece should have a WARNING … if you are closed minded, cannot deal with things outside your own experience or what you think is 'normal', or believe that relationships with more than two people are wrong. DO NOT READ THIS.
I have never been conventional.
Well, I say that, yet, I wanted to be married. But I also believe you can love more than one. I believe that bringing others into a relationship for friendship and sex is a good thing and that it can work.
Until last year, my husband resisted that. he was unsure, worried that I would love the other more, leave him possibly. We eventually did share with another couple we've known for a long time. tim came to realize that I would never leave him. That he is my main dance partner for life. And, if push came to shove … he is truly all I need.
Knowing that has freed him. Freed him to not be afraid of both mental and physical relationships with others. That is not to say that we just jump into bed with everyone. We do not, nor do we want to. There has to be a connection, feeling … neither of us want some casual thing.
Early this year an ex of mine, who remained a friend, came to me to talk and for some comfort. He'd been ready to ask his boyfriend to marry him. Just before that event, the boyfriend admitted he was tired and had met someone else. Someone he'd been having an affair with for nearly a year.
My friend Jim was devastated. He changed his shift to nights only, so he slept in the day, making it easier to avoid life.
One day Jim asked if he could spend more time with us. I said sure. I'm not sure how we ended up on the topic but he asked if we might consider more with him. He was missing companionship and sex. He and I had dated for a couple of years and we had parted for various reasons as friends, so I had no problem with that. I still cared for him a lot.
And then I nearly messed it up by pushing too hard. It upset my husband, who knew who Jim was, but didn't know him. After some real honest talk, the three of us decided we needed to spend time together to get to know each other, to let things develop.
I'm happy to say they have developed. We have this closeness now, a bond. We care deeply and continue to nurture this new relationship.
I'm not sure how far it will go or where we may end up.
But for now it feels good, and it feels right.
I work in customer service.
Customer Service. Sometimes it seems we are so bound up in rules, laws, and policies, that we do anything but serve our customers. Most of us there want to, really want to help. Most of us have empathy and care ... even though there are times we want to slap some of them when they are obnoxious and rude.
This week, well yesterday in fact, something happened. Something simple, that made my whole week worthwhile.
Background: We offer a program that let's international students send money to Canada before they arrive here. This way they have proof of funds here and this can aid them in obtaining their necessary study documents for immigration. It's fairly straightforward. Mostly.
One guy came onto my chat Tuesday and asked me to check to see if his wire transfer had been received. It can take 5 business days to get them to the Bank and then matched with the right account. It wasn't there. He was so worried about losing the year he'd paid for, he'd had his medical done, fingerprints etc. All paid for. He only had a few days to submit his study permit request. He was so upset, i offered to monitor his account and i'd let him know when his wire was finally there.
After 3 days of this, yesterday it was there. I happily sent him an e-mail with the good news.
Who arrived on my chat by chance a couple of hours later begging for more help? Yep, my friend.
I do this part of the job, but it's really not my area of expertise. I'd always been told we can't rush things, can't do anything but let the process happen. But i felt for this guy who really needed help. So, thinking i already knew what the answer would be i walked over to one of the two people who know more about this than i do.
I told James my situation. He shook his head no ... but then said, well, let me see the account. Returning to my desk he looked. I knew the document the kid needed was there. James called Ava over ... She looked. She said, oh i know this kid too. She said, download the document and then attach it to a secure email and send it to him.
I said: Can we do that? She said: We do it sometimes. In cases like this, when it is necessary, we do it.
That was a huge thing. I could actually make this kid's day. I downloaded and attached the file and sent it. He got it, opened it. It worked ... it really actually worked.
It made a difference. To him and to me. To him, it saved the day and a lot of time and money.
It made me glad, i do what i do.
And at the end of the day ... what more could i ask for?
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The hour draws nigh to post the first chapter for the third part of Adermoor Cove. While Lane Hardy is still the main protagonist and focus of the story, this episode focuses on a secondary protagonist, as will the first half of the fourth one (the one I'm currently working on). These characters each have had their own strange experiences that causes them to question the life-is-perfect appearance of the island, and ultimately being drawn into the conflict. This episode focuses on Carlos Santino, a man who has returned from his hometown, Adermoor Cove, after spending a little over the last fifteen years living in the city of Boston. For most of those years he has worked as a homicide detective. He now works alongside his father, the sheriff, Enzo Santino.
Upon returning he starts have dreams/flashback of a traumatizing event that occurred when he was a child. These dreams keep him from getting sleep, therefore making it more difficult for him to do his job and hold onto his convictions about the strange events happening on the island.
This episode (and the next) are very personal for me. For the past week or so I'm lucky to be getting 2-3 hours worth of sleep. The last two nights I've had, what I'm pretty sure are sleep paralysis episodes. The first one happened Friday morning (I've been getting to sleep 4 and 7 a.m.)
For those who don't know, according to Wikipedia: Sleep paralysis is when, during waking up or falling asleep, a person is aware but unable to move or speak. During an episode, one may hallucinate (hear, feel, or see things that are not there), which often results in fear.
In my cases, and I've accounted for about three, I've thought there was someone in my apartment. I could literally feel them staring at me. This last Thursday (the 19th of July) I heard someone screaming - or laughing - outside my apartment door and then it sounded like it was in the apartment, coming towards the bedroom. I couldn't move a muscle. I just laid there paralyzed and helpless. I didn't sleep for the rest of my life.
And then sometime this last morning (I'm getting my days and nights mixed up) I recall having a dream where I dropped something made of glass and saw a bright flash of light, and then jerked awake, just like when you jerk awake after dreaming you've fallen.
While none of the characters have separated from sleep paralysis so far I do know how sleep deprivation can affect our moods and perception of reality. In a place like Adermoor Cove that can be a very, very bad thing.
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A friend of mine posted the various flags of the LGBTQWTF alphabet soup idiocy. There's the good old reliable Pride flag that everybody used to like colorful with its rainbow of colors. Then there were flags for lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, asexuals, pansexuals and WTF-else-sexuals. Why do we need or want this Balkanization?
The first symbol I ever saw of the gay movement was the pink triangle. It dates back to the Holocaust. It was the symbol the Nazis put on gay people in the death camps where they were sent to be raped and worked to death. Researchers think between four hundred thousand and half a million GLBT people died in those camps alongside Jews, gypsies and other undesirables of Hitler's Reich.
Not long after the Holocaust there was another, quiet holocaust against GLBT people. It was perpetrated by medical doctors looking to "cure" gay people. It took the form of lobotomies and electroshock therapy. It cured sexual deviance by destroying the person.
We have forgotten that the Gay Movement was not started because of a bar riot in Greenwich Village. It was started by people who merely wanted to survive.
That puts the circus that Pride has become in some perspective.
Hello old friend.
It's just you and me now.
They are all gone, but their words repeat unending.
I hear their words, but they're long gone.
I don't care, I love him, I cant stay, you're uncaring, you're worthless, you're unlovable.
Hello old friend.
I have my plastic smile in.
Their shades haunt my days and torment my nights.
If you smile while you cut all ties they dont notice.
You're alone, you're unknown, you're unremarkable, they don't see, they don't hear, they don't care.
Goodbye old friend.
The clock stopped, and no more alarms.
Each day a new pain, a new scar, a little death.
I curl up on your tombstone now.
Who is the frail figure? What does he want? Where are his friends? Why is he alone? How did he become this?
Goodbye old friend.
I stand here one last time.
There are no tears or hugs for me. There is no warmth in this cold December. There is only hard acceptance in the end.
Finished chemo on May 23. Had my follow up and all the extra tests. No sign of cancer. My hair is growing back....it did change color - sort of. My hair was very fine before chemo, it’s even finer now. So fine it appears colorless. Hopefully this is short lived.
My supervisor at work thought I breezed through chemo, until the last two treatments. I guess I’m good at hiding fatigue, weakness and burning pain. For a while I thought I would have to quit teaching because I would forget the topic in mid-sentence. My students made a game of it, trying to be the first to jog my memory or come up with the word I’m describing.
I’m working with a physical/occupational oncology therapist. This is not fun. The therapist says my nerves are a bit mixed up and slow in sending signals. I believe it, the other day the cat clawed me, I couldn’t feel his tail under my foot. For the last month shoes and socks felt like someone was driving nails into my toes. It’s still uncomfortable to wear shoes, but not painful. I still tire easily but I’m getting more energy back. So recovery is slow, but I’m shuffling along and taking frequent breaks.
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.
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?
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.