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35 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

I love your story, because it feels real. I know it's sad, but Eric feels like a real person and his thoughts and worries and hopes get to me.

Thanks, Tim. Eric suddenly appeared in my head unannounced, the opening of the first chapter already there pretty much. I have a lot of time for Eric - his situation is one faced by many people, regardless of sex and sexuality.  :)

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3 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

I was afraid of Eric’s misery

Yet you supported this story all the way through. I don't think it would've been anywhere near as good if you hadn't given your input. :hug: Misery and loneliness are not things anyone likes to see in the mirror, real or through the medium of a story. 

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15 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

 

They do the same to me, too. I was afraid of Eric’s misery, in the same way one might fear looking in a crystal ball. 

Exactly! I can see myself in a similar situation in the future. As friends have moved on or away, I haven’t made many new friends. My ties to my brothers are weakening over time and my main connection to family is my favorite Aunt, Uncle, Cousin and her family.

 

Since I am on Disability and not working, I don’t have that source of new friends like I did when I was younger.

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1 hour ago, Timothy M. said:

Oohh, a story topic. Awesome. :2thumbs:

 

Runs off to tell everybody. 

 

And he did :gikkle:

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@dughlas @droughtquake Being alone, and loneliness, are both increasingly common. The first may be ok, the second isn't. It's increasingly being recognised as an important social issue here. 

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The next chapter of Eric's story will be posting tomorrow. However, it will appear a little later than usual. I've been having some problems with the post-dating system, so at @Myr's suggestion, I'm posting it direct. Expect it about 6pm GMT.  :)  

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…Aaaaand now I’m identifying with Andy! My training must have happened later than I thought because I remember staying at my ex-boyfriend’s house (to be closer to the training that began fairly early in the morning) and he was annoyed because I slept in his bed (the only other options were his sofa or the floor), but didn’t want to have sex. I think he was even more upset when he took care of things himself and I just ignored him and read a book a few inches away from the action!  ;-)

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I would hope that nobody was 'taking sides' at this point. Both men have made mistakes - it's what happens after that counts. 

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I'm intrigued and amused by the wide range of responses to Andy. From anger and hurt at his unthinking failure to connect with Eric on one hand, to thoughts of him being a good man, wanting to make a success of volunteering, who's in need of guidance. Which will he turn out to be?  ;)  As some readers have recognised, Eric himself needs to change for any relationship to work.

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If Andy and Eric had gotten along perfectly from the beginning, the story wouldn't be so interesting. Andy may have failed on the empathy and understanding part, but Eric should perhaps have called him on his assumptions on more than just the computer matter. But I guess Eric isn't used to standing up for himself or having to explain his circumstances. From his thoughts we know he does think about his own life but he hasn't yet worked out what he's expecting from Andy. If his visitor sits down and asks what he can do to help, they might be able to progress.

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10 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

If Andy and Eric had gotten along perfectly from the beginning, the story wouldn't be so interesting

Quite. Even the rookie author that I was when I first wrote these chapters knew that there was little dramatic tension in having the two men hit it off at once.

 

12 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

Eric isn't used to standing up for himself

There is that. But there's also the problem for anyone who spends long periods alone - they forget how to talk to people. How to connect to them in any meaningful way. Vocalising their internal comments isn't something somebody like Eric is at all used to doing.

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Well, I think Eric should share part of the blame for not trying to get into Andy's mind. Why should Andy be the only one to try and meet half way? That isn't logical. It takes two to tango, as they say and Eric did his fair share of toe crushing. 

 

So Eric is old, but Andy is young. Both sides have to admit their part of a failed first meeting. Eric is getting off a bit too easy, even if I can sympathise with him. 

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15 minutes ago, Puppilull said:

I think Eric should share part of the blame

Yes, I think that's right.  He took a large step into the unknown by contacting the charity, but he hasn't really demonstrated any other willingness to change or connect yet. Living alone on an inadequate income has made him a slave to his own thoughts and restricted routines.

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40 minutes ago, Puppilull said:

Well, I think Eric should share part of the blame for not trying to get into Andy's mind. Why should Andy be the only one to try and meet half way? That isn't logical. It takes two to tango, as they say and Eric did his fair share of toe crushing. 

 

So Eric is old, but Andy is young. Both sides have to admit their part of a failed first meeting. Eric is getting off a bit too easy, even if I can sympathise with him. 

 

If they had met in any other way, they would share equal responsibility. But Eric is a 'client' or at least someone who has exposed his vulnerability by asking for help. Andy isn't a social worker or someone trained professionally, but he does represent the 'official' reply from the organisation who sent him. They cared enough about their reputation and their volunteers' ability to help that they sent him on a three day course. Andy himself admits he didn't pay much attention and he should have failed the course. To me that means he isn't taking this seriously, in spite of all his good intentions.

If he had been a natural at this, or if he'd been like Adam who obviously thinks matters through and plans, then he'd probably have done OK. But he didn't - and that's not our opinion - because in fact I didn't think the visit was that awful, more like embarrassing and :facepalm:  - it's actually Andy himself who makes that evaluation. Now, that counts in his favor, even though he did try to convince himself Eric's grumpy mood was the main reason. If Andy had been totally self-assured, he wouldn't even have felt bad about the visit in the first place.

Anyway, my point is Andy comes from the strong position as appointed helper and problem-solver, and therefore he has the main responsibility for how the visit plays out, fairly or not. If Eric had yelled at him, thrown things at him, said nasty words, then Andy would have been justified in giving up. Or if he had genuinely tried to find out who Eric was, what his needs are, and Eric had rebuffed him with grumpy refusals, well, then the blame would fall on Eric more than Andy.

And yes, Andy has the excuse of being young and immature, but why should that prevent Adam from pointing out how he could do better ?

Edited by Timothy M.
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Adam saying Andy should apologize sincerely and feel bad about his behavior was a bit tough perhaps. Yeah, so he got off on the wrong foot, but Eric should be able to wave it off if Andy admits his mistake. No need for him to apologize at length. I bet that would just make Eric uncomfortable. ;) 

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I'm not sure Adam would have done a much greater job. His intellectual approach could just as easily have missed the mark. Since he seems rather fond of teaching others the errors of their ways...

 

Also, he's welcome to point out where Andy went wrong. I just think he went about it in a rather harsh way. Unnecessarily so. 

 

I see Andy (who is an unpaid volunteer) and Eric more on a level playing field, both with a responsibility to contribute to a fruitful meeting. Not turn on the TV moments after meeting a new person who is trying to talk to you. 

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You both make interesting points. In trying to remember back to the first version of these chapters, I think I weighted the scales in favour of Eric. Part of the revision process was to correct that, otherwise the rest of the story didn't ring true.

11 minutes ago, Puppilull said:

I just think he went about it in a rather harsh way

I laughed in a slightly shame-faced sort way when I read this (here and in your story comment). Chapter 3 has had the most revision work done on it of anything I've written. If you think Adam is too abrupt, you should've read the original version. :pinch: It made my usually soft-spoken editor go :blink:.  

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28 minutes ago, Puppilull said:

I see Andy (who is an unpaid volunteer) and Eric more on a level playing field, both with a responsibility to contribute to a fruitful meeting. Not turn on the TV moments after meeting a new person who is trying to talk to you. 

That seemed more like the reaction of someone who has had assistance imposed on him rather than something he had requested!  ;-)

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13 minutes ago, northie said:

I laughed in a slightly shame-faced sort way when I read this (here and in your story comment). Chapter 3 has had the most revision work done on it of anything I've written. If you think Adam is too abrupt, you should've read the original version. :pinch: It made my usually soft-spoken editor go :blink:.  

 

You should have read my first draft of a chapter in Frost when Lucas was less than nice to Joel... I toned it down considerably and still the pitchforks came out with people calling for his blood. And I was like "What? He's human..."

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3 hours ago, droughtquake said:

That seemed more like the reaction of someone who has had assistance imposed on him rather than something he had requested!  ;-)

I think Eric has forgotten most of his manners - or those he ever had. I have the idea that the tv is on most of the time, for background noise if nothing else.

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