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Riley Jericho

English Teen Circumcised in the USA

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I guess I'm a little late in opening up the discussion, but life happens, and also so much has happened with ET.

 

I'm delighted so many are reading and still enjoying the story of Luke Summers, his brother Simon and their friends and family. Hopefully - if you're here - you managed to get past the undoubtedly provocative title to discover that ET is so much more than that, crossing cultures and continents to track with the lives of two ordinary teens.

 

It's always great to hear your perspective on the story. The last couple of chapters have dealt with 'The Hang', and with it the culture of an all boys school. I don't know what type of school you went to, but maybe you would be surprised that to know that things like this are not unheard of in single sex schools.

 

Would love to hear your take.

 

Riley

 

READ HERE

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Riley,

 

I've enjoyed reading ET. I like you're writing style and have felt drawn to the characters. Luke is enormously entertaining and seems a terrific kid. Si and Toby are sweetly endearing as young people in their first love should be. But it's Ryan I felt a great empathy for. I think that's why I am so bothered and disappointed by the chapters detailing "The Hang". I feel deeply troubled by what you've written. I like Ryan immensely and to have him treated so shabbily. I kept reading waiting/hoping for someone or something to stop it. I suspect that's exactly what you intended and cannot fault you on how you went about achieving that end. But, I am discouraged that you felt the need to make it part of your story. I understand you want to write a story that readers find compelling. However, I feel I read and hear enough about how brutally humans treat one another on a daily basis that I do not want it as part of what I seek for enjoyment. At this moment I need to say that I do not intend to read any further. Perhaps that will change with time but for now you have lost me for ET. I will keep a lookout for future stories you might write and encourage you to continue as I believe you have talent worthy of envy.

 

Regards,

 

Dughlas

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Reposted from chapter Review of Broken One:

 

Wow, that was painful to read even though I wasn't there Posted Image

 

I do have to admit that I didn't really understand what the 'hanging' was with all the explanation from the last chapter. Now, sadly, I do understand and wish I didn't. The fact that Ryan really has so much against him in life with his parents, his hidden sexuality and now to be exposed as ridiculed as not being 'adequate' (high school term, not mine), this may have been the straw to break the camels back.

 

I feel Luke was the one that yelled about the principle. I hope that Ryan in his distress looking to see Luke smiling was just that a delusion.

 

Yes what the other students did was illegal and criminal, the scary thing is until recently things like this went on (and sadly still do) in fraternity froshing and I'm sure some schools have the same initiating freshmen in High School.

 

Am I mad at you Riley...No. As an author you have pushed your characters and your audience to a dangerous precipice, now we will see what happens to ease everyone down gently. I am confident that you will do this for all of us Posted Image .

 

People would argue it should be toned down but I need to see the chapter in the entire context of the story before I make any such judgement.

 

Thanks for the chapter Riley Posted Image ....... I think Posted Image

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I think - or at least I hope that it was Luke who gave the fake warning about the principle.

It's startling to see how cruel kids can be. To do something like this to your friend...

I am afraid that something in Ryan broke and the pressure on his mind became too great - an alcoholic mother, an unaccepting environment and the abuse first by his father and now the bullying by his peers.

I hope he will be able to overcome this newest blow and am anxiously awaiting the next chapter.

Edited by ninecila

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Riley,

 

I only began reading this a few days ago. I had not read any of your books before and I have to say I think you are a talented author. I have to sympathise with one of your critics, though. I am not sure if I want to continue reading or not. It depends how ruthless you are, and what your motivation is for writing the story. Such things can lead to suicide, and I don't want to read about that for entertainment.

 

However, that said, I have to recognise the astonishing accuracy of the things you describe, that are possible in a boys' school. I went to one in the North West of England, and I remember a friend getting beaten up by a hate crazed group of boys. I tried to help him run away. At other times I remember looking on as my straight mates were bullied for supposedly being gay. I couldn't say or do anything that would out me. The irony was not lost on me. And you had to "take it like a man".

 

The practice of ragging the youngest school members still went on in my school (beating up, and e.g. push head down the toilet and flush)), when I arrived. It happened because it had been done to others before, and self-perpetuated every year. What humans are truly capable of in groups is sobering.

 

So I recognise your remarkable ability to portray it, but do please be careful what you do with it. People do read it for entertainment, and it connects with the memories of some of your readers. I look forward to reading further...... I hope.

 

Paz

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All,

 

I think I need to say something more. I was the youngest and for much of my schooling among the smallest of my classmates, thank God for pubertal growth spurts. Add to that I was pretty and sensitive and while not effeminate most definitely not a he-man. The type of kid who might be seen skipping in the halls when that was definitely not the way a boy was meant to behave. Definitely a disappointment to my Dad in that regard. In short the sort of kid to be a perfect target for this type of hazing had it been allowed. Fortunately, as I later learned, I had a number of friends that covered my back and kept the bullys at bay until I was big enough to fend for myself. So my response to the last chapters was visceral because it could have been me. The fact that Riley wrote so compellingly that I could feel along with Ryan is why his stories are entertaining. I became Ryan for that time so it was me that was hurt and I responded to that pain. To create that connection is surely a sign that a writer has achieved his purpose.After a few really deep breaths and some further thought I realize that I have to keep reading. I owe my trust that Riley will bring us out on the other side. As Paz states so well above.

 

"... I recognise your remarkable ability to portray it, but do please be careful what you do with it. People do read it for entertainment, and it connects with the memories of some of your readers. I look forward to reading further...... I hope."

 

Hopeful regards,

 

Dughlas

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I have to agree with you Dughlas. Riley's characters are beautifully realistically drawn, and you can't help identifying with them in one way or another, which lulls you into an easy emotional empathy that backfires on you when the character is abused. I identified with Luke, because I have been in the position where I watched what was happening. I am a guy who likes to dive in and help, but sometimes self preservation dictates otherwise, and you watch in horror, while your friend takes what he has to, waiting until there's maybe something you can do. Such a predicament ties my stomach in knots, and takes me back 40 years.

 

Riley, you painted it so vividly it drew me in, even when I was obliged to put it down, because I was upset by what I was reading, I still came back to it, I think because of my empathy with the characters. I think Dughlas is right when he says "To create that connection is surely a sign that a writer has achieved his purpose." I think it's a success, but continuing to read it takes a certain amount of trust from your more sensitive readers, myself included.

 

Be encouraged,

 

Paz

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I have to admit - I had to sit back and take a deep breath too!

 

I'm not really the kind of writer who thinks 'this is my story - I don't care what you think!' In fact I care a lot.

 

It was a difficult chapter to write - and as you know, I write a lot out of my own experiences. It's grittily honest, but I tried to write it with care, even so. I don't doubt that it's painful - even shocking - but it has never been my intention to cause hurt. Where that happened, I'm really sorry.

 

There's a lot about Ryan that we empathise with, with 20 or more chapters to begin to get to know him. His future is uncertain right now, and I don't promise it will all be a bed of roses, but I will be try to be careful. Let's hope he can get back on his feet soon.

 

Thank you all for your feedback and encouragement!

 

Riley

Edited by Riley Jericho
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Just to add on to the angst created by the last two chapters. I like many was bullied in High School. It was the early 60's when conformaty was the expectation. So much so that of course within two years it all changed and conformaty was out the window. Drugs, protests, hair etc. But when I was there it was short hair and chinos and penny loafers. I remember one of the early kids to try long hair(well that wasn't greased into a pompador) was held down and given a summary haircut a la Mitt Romney. I generally floated under the radar with a few shoves and threats and faggot calls.

 

Your story has indeed brought back much of those painful memories and of course the other thoughts that I and I hope others here have reached out to glbt youth and schools and other organizations to help change this history as much as possible and make certain support is also there. On one of those alumni sites I also mentioned that those that called me "faggot" were smarter than I gave them credit for at the time. lol.

 

Riley you have a gift and I trust you to take us through the pain of these years and into the joys of relationships that most of us didn't find until later in life. As always thanks for your work. Looking forward to more. Pax

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@Riley

 

Hurt? No I wouldn't say I was hurt, but your readers have an emotional investment in a story this long and deep, and it is a powerful emotional memory jogger for some of us with experience of similar things we might have thought were forgotten. And, like I think Gandalf was saying, when you grow up in such cultures, it makes you want to change it all, so that your kind don't have to go through it. In that sense ET is inspirational. Society may be changing, but it hasn't changed enough yet.

 

Paz

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I think what several have noted is that the difference between this chapter and the one before is striking - deliberately so. In the previous chapter "The Hang", the tradition of the hanging wedgies is set out from the perspective of those watching. It seems harmless - a bit of fun. Something that the school community buy in to and accept as a norm for how they behave. This is in marked contrast to the personal point of view that comes across in "Broken One", where we see a much more devastating reality of a victim.

 

This becomes the basis of bullying - something that many of us have experienced to one degree or another. I can't help but think of the current news item with the Australian Radio Show hosts phoning in and pretending to be somebody they were not with their current 'victim'. It makes me steaming mad! It's just another form of bullying. Somehow, humans have this ability to look at something in a completely different way if it's not them on the receiving end - yet for the victim, we've seen all too clearly this week how desperate that can become.

 

Several have noted how the 'mob' mentality changes us too. Either we fear it and hide, or we go along with it and become driven by it's demands.

 

So - will 'Broken One' lead to 'Broken Two'? Who knows….watch this space!

 

Riley

Edited by Riley Jericho

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Hi Riley

 

I just wanted to say a big thank you. I started reading your story recently and like many before, I've become captivated with emotion and connection with your characters. I love the way you write, especially covering each character's perspective; it makes me so able to empathise with them. It was beautiful reading about Simon and Toby being together; just beautiful. Learning that Ryan is gay too is just brilliant; it makes me ache for him and Luke to connect. The last instalment was so brutal that you just want them to come together, but that might be fairytale bliss. Only you know. :-)

 

Anyhow, thanks again, and I can't wait for the next instalment. :-)

 

x

 

M

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Riley you have a gift and I trust you to take us through the pain of these years and into the joys of relationships that most of us didn't find until later in life. As always thanks for your work. Looking forward to more. Pax

 

Thanks. Time to move on!

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The next chapter is posted, though there seems to have been an error in the posting script and no notifications were sent out to those following. The chapter is here

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Thanks Riley. I did however, get the notice. And read it then left a comment.

Thanks again. :)

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oh then it wasn't just my computer...i went to try and read the new chapter and got an error message.

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Hi folks. There was an error in uploading. Technically it was:

Fatal error: Cannot redeclare class htmlpurifier_bootstrap in /home/gauthors/public_html/forums/ips_kernel/HTMLPurifier/HTMLPurifier/Bootstrap.php on line 30

 

For the tech guys, this equates to a big oops in the upload software. I'm hoping they can sort it out, but just now the chapter is not published. Hoping the'll get to it.

 

Riley

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Riley,

 

Thanks for your interesting explanation above.  There is - has been - a lot of prejudice in the gay world too.  This is at first glance surprising, because one might expect that to be on the receiving end of prejudice would equip you to recognise when you dole it out yourself.  Actually it doesn't.  I have noticed that in some contexts gay people can be just as prejudiced as any other group (e.g. I have seen transgender people being treated badly by gays, on occasion - I will even admit to having done it myself, without thinking.  This is in spite of the fact that I have myself been on the receiving end of prejudice.  Your brain does not necessarily connect the two.).  

 

However, it is when you watch a friend being on the receiving end of prejudice, then you begin to understand.  Then you begin to see the effect it has, and it reaches you.  Why should that be?  I think maybe it is because one is objective, and the other subjective.  That's why the two don't connect.  They are different kinds of experience.  Your story is a way of getting this across from both angles.  We watch one side and then experience the other, and so we are in the privileged position of getting each point of view, which is something you don't always experience in real life.

 

Paz

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Hate to think that has anything to do with this but I have never understood why you are not listed or moved up to a more prestigious writer here at GA. I am hoping to see the next chapter soon..

 

By the way Riley I have been wondering where your other stories disappeared to. Will they reappear? Hopefully here or somewhere?

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Glad to be able to say that the tech guys jumped into action and solved the problem...some file that missed being updated in a recent system upgrade. I was able to start afresh  and repost the chapter.

 

The fact that Ryan is steaming mad isn't unexpected - maybe it's a good thing - though it's certainly nowhere near over yet. Something has to give.

 

For Luke - as Mike says in his review..."I'm in two minds, I'll probably know how I feel, better as the story progresses. Though I do hope there's no serious damage to his 'member' after the fall. I feared the worse until they had managed to examine it. He might not have acted the way he should have, but he's not a bad person." 

 

The truth is, we all mess up, sometimes big time. Often forgiving yourself is he hardest.

 

Looking forward to hearing about 'Broken Too' . At least, please tell me you got the title!

 

Riley

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Hate to think that has anything to do with this but I have never understood why you are not listed or moved up to a more prestigious writer here at GA. I am hoping to see the next chapter soon..

 

By the way Riley I have been wondering where your other stories disappeared to. Will they reappear? Hopefully here or somewhere?

 

Maybe - I don't really want to make a big deal about it. It was suggested early on this year, but the sense  that came back was  that 'Promising Author' status in the community brings with it an expectation that an author should be active in the forums and in chat etc. I think that's great, and I'd love to have time to do all that, but I don't. 
 
Hopefully, status doesn't define the quality of writing anyway. If readers are still enjoying, then does it matter?
 
Other stories? Some are still there. Others waiting to see if there is any way they can be rescued from some of the dire writing I came up with in my early attempts! I would like to restart OLLY again soon.
 
Riley
Edited by Riley Jericho

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Riley, 

 

I ache for Ryan but have great hope for he and Luke. Both have just endured a "growth experience" [don't you just despise people who say that after you've just gone through some personal hell]. While Ryan was subjected to the immediate humiliation Luke quickly realizes his own. Both due to his behavior and the broken klamp. Cruel as it may sound Luke falling on the stairs was probably the best thing that could have happened. Now instead of Luke offering comfort it's he who needs Ryan. I am hopeful that the smile was due to Ryan realizing that nothing has changed between them. Luke still sees Ryan as his best friend. Of course it could be due to the irony that someone that hurt him badly just handed back a pair of pliers and offered free access to his tackle. It is encouraging that a few of the guys are beginning to see the "Hang" for what it truly is rather than harmless fun. As always there remain those that need to be smacked upside the head. I suspect Mitchell will remain a weaselly problem but one can hope.

As to be expected another well written and thoughtful chapter. Thank you.

 

Dughlas

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However, it is when you watch a friend being on the receiving end of prejudice, then you begin to understand.  Then you begin to see the effect it has, and it reaches you.  Why should that be?  I think maybe it is because one is objective, and the other subjective.  That's why the two don't connect.  They are different kinds of experience.  Your story is a way of getting this across from both angles.  We watch one side and then experience the other, and so we are in the privileged position of getting each point of view, which is something you don't always experience in real life.

 

Paz

Bullying can be subtle. Most bullies don't even accept that that is what they're doing. You only have to look at the way two radio presenters in Australia bullied an unknown lady on the phone to get an idea what that can look like.

 

Riley

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Riley, I love "English Teen" as much as I did your other book "In Safe Hands".  I stayed home from work yesterday because I couldn't stop reading "English Teen".  I find the most recent turn of events to be very depressing and it's hard to see how the relationship between Luke and Ryan can possibly be salvaged but I'm really hoping that you will find a way to make it so.  You are a wonderful writer.  "English Teen" makes me think of the song "Mayonnaise" by the Smashing Pumpkins.  I mean that as a compliment, in case there was any doubt.  Thank you so much for sharing you writing with the world, I can't wait to read more.  Sincerely, Michael

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