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astone2292

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What is this? Is it the first Wednesday of the month? What does that mean? Why am I asking all these questions? Maybe I should... Ask An Author! We have another three questions for a wonderful author. Let's get right into it!

Due to potential spoilers, some details will be redacted. 

    

Effigy
Geron Kees

Michael finds himself in a predicament: someone knows his darkest secret, and hates him for it. But who?

A brief tale on the subject of fear.

 

This story spoke to me. I connect with Michael and his fears, although I was not outed in high school. Because of the area I was brought up in, it was vital to keep my true self bottled up. Did Michael have these fears beforehand, or was this not an area where he had to be concerned?

Let's say that before the incident that launched the story occurred, Michael was living a cautious life. I'd say the place he lived in was about average for being gay, in that the responses to it could be expected to vary across the spectrum, and so that caution was a reasonable course to chart. He was living with the knowledge that his parents pretty much knew who he was, but also that they were comfortable with not openly speaking about it. He had no reason to feel anyone else suspected that he was gay, and so he wasn't living in fear on a daily basis. He was not out.

But even so, this state generates a sort of fear-but-not-fear that lends to a moody awareness of what might come, and that it's there at all allows for it to be easily inflamed by small things. The incident of the effigy in his yard was scarcely a small thing; it virtually screamed to Michael that someone did know about him, and that they aimed to make him pay for being the way he was, as well. So he went from the moody awareness that there could be fear in his life to having it arrive full blown, all at once.

 

Fear, depression, and paranoia go well together. To me, one can start with any of the three, but eventually the other two will follow. Writing a story that combines them hooked me. What was the inspiration to use this theme?

I don't think anyone that has ever lived with what they feel is an uncomfortable secret is ever far from a little bit of fear of exposure. Paranoia is too strong a word for the way most people would probably react to having a secret they fear having exposed, but they do have a heightened awareness of the way people react to them. An alertness to the signs that others suspect. And a comfortable sense of complacency over time when it becomes obvious that they don't.

A lot of gay guys are extraordinary chameleons. They so obviously fit in that no one ever suspects otherwise. For others, living a secret life makes them nervous wrecks. And still others are OUT with a force of their own, and so open about who they are that there is no doubt at all. It's an individual thing, how you handle it. So personality plays a great part in the response that someone in Michael's position takes.

Fear breeds paranoia and depression, certainly. I chose to have the forcefulness of the situation initially overwhelm Michael's fairly complacent defenses, but then to have his innate strength slowly rise to take charge as he realized that he was on the run from his own fears. For this to happen he needed to transit the worst parts of living in fear, that included some paranoia and depression, but not to have any of it take him over. I wanted him to learn to deal with others possibly knowing, and become comfortable with living with it. And, I wanted him to learn to defend himself if the need arose. To not be a victim of his fear. Or the attitudes of others.

 

When John was arrested, Michael seemed rational when stating he would be out before him or Barry would know it. While I admire Michael's attitude in this, was this secretly produced from his fear/depression?

Michael's interest in mystery novels and what he had learned of police procedure from them was what prompted his comment that John would be out of jail before either Michael or Barry knew it. At least here in the US, a young offender on a first arrest is likely to be released back into the custody of his family very quickly for most anything short of a capital crime. Michael was just cautioning Barry not to feel like his troubles were over. That may have surely been a result of Michael's new awareness of his own problems, though. Confronting any fear would tend to heighten a person's awareness of where trouble might come from next, I would think. Michael was sharing his experience at that point, but it's fair to say that the warning came out of his new, heightened sense of caution.

    

Looks like I'm adding another story to my reading list! These answers got my mind pumping. Forget adding it to the list, this one's going right at the top! 

Y'all know the drill! Send me three questions about a story, I'll go bother the author, and we'll see you next month!

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I love Geron's writing, so I started reading the interview. I soon realized there were spoilers so I stopped since this is for sure the next story I will read on GA. I'm sure it is a great interview. :) 

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I read this blog entry, but I didn't know anything about @Geron Kees and so I sort-of glossed over the interview, sorry. Then today on Thursday, I happened to read something on Nifty.org called Thrift Shop Nation dated from 2016 and I liked it, a lot. I thought the story would be perfect for GA, and I saw the authors name and I did a search for it here -- just in case. Low and behold, the first result was this blog entry. Was this just coincidence? That's likely. A touch of serendipity? I'm all for it!

I'll be looking at your writings with interest, Geron Kees.

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2 hours ago, Ron said:

I read this blog entry, but I didn't know anything about @Geron Kees and so I sort-of glossed over the interview, sorry. Then today on Thursday, I happened to read something on Nifty.org called Thrift Shop Nation dated from 2016 and I liked it, a lot. I thought the story would be perfect for GA, and I saw the authors name and I did a search for it here -- just in case. Low and behold, the first result was this blog entry. Was this just coincidence? That's likely. A touch of serendipity? I'm all for it!

I'll be looking at your writings with interest, Geron Kees.

Thrift Shop Nation, as well as its sequel, The Second Time Around, are here on GA, along with most of my other work. An author search will get you there quickly.

I'm all for serendipity! :)

 

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