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    October Classic Author Excerpt: You Meet Your Soulmate in the Strangest Places by TheZot

    By Cia

    Did you catch Monday's blog featuring the ads for The Zot's short story, You Meet Your Soulmate in the Strangest Places? This short story is a romance of a different sort, full of unexpected moments, sweet surprises, a bit of angst (what good romance doesn't have at least a little?) and some hot, hot kissing. Check it out!   I picked this excerpt because it creates a moment of romance, some humor, some of that drama I mention, and you're left with a wait... what? right at the very end. LOL. It's hard to do all that within just a few paragraphs and in one moment of time in a story, but The Zot managed!    To read more, click here. 
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  1. Hi everyone.

    When thinking about private detectives, most would think of the eternal Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or the brilliant Hercule Poirot, by Agatha Agatha Christie. I want to share with you one of my favourite detectives. Again, this suggestion is not a book, but a whole series of novellas and short stories. 

     

    This time the character is not LGBT, but it’s an odd character indeed. What’s not to like in a misogynist man that thinks most women are hysterical, lives by a very strict schedule that has him spending 4 hours a day with is orchids (2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon), drinks beer religiously every day, and behaves as if high quality food was the only reason for living? Did I say that he hates to work and almost never leaves his brownstone house in New York, that he shares with 3 other males, his assistant investigator (that actually do the leg work), his gardener and his chef? He is Nero Wolfe, first published in 1934 by Rex Stout. There are more than 30 books, so today I am not recommending a particular on since I haven’t read them all, but I found delicious the several stories I read, in that half-depressed, half-stunning environment of the 30s. If you like XX century detective’s stories, you should try.

     

    PS: There are some movies, old radio, and TV shows as well, and after Rex Stout’s death, he authorized the continuation of the Nero Wolfe series. Can’t recommend though, since I have not read any yet. 

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  2. Did you catch Monday's blog featuring the ads for The Zot's short story, You Meet Your Soulmate in the Strangest Places? This short story is a romance of a different sort, full of unexpected moments, sweet surprises, a bit of angst (what good romance doesn't have at least a little?) and some hot, hot kissing. Check it out!

     

    I picked this excerpt because it creates a moment of romance, some humor, some of that drama I mention, and you're left with a wait... what? right at the very end. LOL. It's hard to do all that within just a few paragraphs and in one moment of time in a story, but The Zot managed! 

     

    Quote

     


    He was standing at the water's edge, wearing a pair of blue swim trunks that went down nearly to his knees, with a dark green towel slung over his shoulders. It was really him this time, not some very confused Croatian tourist.

    "Hold this," I said to Darren. I handed him my cone and took off down the beach.

    Running barefoot on sand's tough, but I did it anyway. There was something weird about the situation -- it didn't feel at all like the other times Pete had surprised me, but I guess that was OK, since this time I was surprising him. And boy, was he surprised when I tackled him.

    He was even more surprised when I laid a hell of a kiss on him. This time he was the one who froze, but only for a second before he wrapped his arms around me and was kissing me back.

    "Um, hello?"

    That very uncertain sounding voice brought me back to reality. I'd vaguely remembered someone with Pete, but I'll be honest and say I wasn't paying any attention. Apparently it was a woman of some sort. I hoped it wasn't his wife or girlfriend. Or that I'd actually kissed his twin brother instead. That seemed unlikely, but then so did everything involving Pete, so I wasn't going to rule it out. If it were true, then his twin was a hell of a kisser, so I was good with it if that was the case.

    I stood up and smiled. "Hi," I said. "Nice day, isn't t? I had a stupid grin on my face so big it made my cheeks hurt, and I think I could've put someone into a diabetic coma with the sweet I was oozing.

    Then I turned and jogged back to Darren, leaving Pete lying dazed in the sand and the woman standing confused next to him. I'd like to say that only a small part of me felt smug that I'd left him so clearly tenting his swimsuit, but that'd be a lie.

     

    To read more, click here

  3. Neil Gaiman once wrote, in response to angry A Song of Ice and Fire fans demanding the next book in the series, 'George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.'

     

    Much like getting attacked on Twitter, I think alienating readers is proof that you're doing something right, if that makes any sense. You've pushed someone's buttons, made them think or feel in some way, even if it was negative. I have alienated multiple readers because of artistic choices I have made, and the same artistic choices have kept many more on the edges of their seats. And that's fine. People don't have to read my books, they have every right in the world to put them down and go do something else. Lord knows I have. (Full disclosure: I find Lord of the Rings dreadfully boring and never made it past the third chapter.) Life is too short to read books you don't like. Some people didn't like all the swearing in The Jacob & Marcus Tales and stopped reading. Some people didn't like what I put my characters through in Nemesis. And I'm sure I've lost lots of readers who never said anything, simply put down the book, and moved on.

     

    But then some readers become angry. They feel entitled to have the story move in the direction they wanted it to. They claim ownership of someone else's creative labours. I will happily receive constructive criticism of my work. And I love hearing and reading what people think of what I write. I think it's wonderful that we can have this kind of interaction, that you and I can communicate about the things we write. But no one has the right to dictate what I should write, just like I have no right to dictate anyone else's work. And it's all in the delivery; some people are just rude.

     

    I firmly believe that art is a dialogue between artist and audience, but the artist still has final say.

     

    The thing is, I don't write for you. I write for me, and I share it with you just in case you might like it. That, I think, is what most writers do, certainly most good ones. Often when I write, the story and the characters take me in a completely different direction from what I thought they would, and that creates richer stories for me to write. I will never compromise my artistic vision to make people like me. I write what I want, what the story wants, and if people like it, that's great. If they don't, they can stop reading. But don't yell at me for my story moving in a direction you didn't anticipate. For lack of a better phrase, that's a dick move.

     

    So, dear reader, just to clarify: I am not your bitch.

  4. Ever look back and realize you've done more than you thought you did?

     

    I've mentioned some word counts before. Edited chapter 4 of "2-14-9X" today for @Comicality's magazine. When I pasted the edits into this running word file I keep the whole story in I noticed something. 

     

    30, 747 words

     

    Now, that's not too far from the last publicized count, I know. But it's still been a while since I took stock of the whole, you know?

     

    Considering most of that was written between December 2017 and March 2018 progress has slowed considerably. But, to those of you who read my interview in the March 2018 issue of @Comicality's Imagine Magazine, my writing hasn't, and isn't always as readily available of my imagination.

     

    The gap between imagining something, no matter how detailed, and expressing that vision. is sometimes wider than others. Sometimes it's the crack in the sidewalk between to slabs, something unnoticed as w=one goes along. Sometimes it's a canyon, and there isn't always a bridge. Sometimes it feels so far that one side is out of sight of the other.

     

    Even when it's working, another issue is control. I may say "I really need to edit chapter 5, I'm behind schedule," only to have my concentration slide away from me to concepts, scenes, whole stories, that have nothing to do with a certain night's events that happened to be on Valentine's Day. And trying to force it one way instead of where it wants to go can mean that nothing really gets done. Proofreading is one thing, and that can be hard enough to concentrate on, but editing is more than that. In the case of chapter 5 well, there are things that have to work or… Well they don't yet so no chapter 5 for you guys. And I may say that "chapter 8 really needs some attention" (XP) same deal. Just because I want to write it doesn't mean that's what I can concentrate on. I mean just look at chapter 2 of predators 3/4 finished since before I started 2 – 14 – 9X. I know what happens next, I watched it play out a a dozen times in my head.

     

    (Are you loving or hating a look behind the scenes right now? Be honest.)

     

    And sometimes, this is speaking more historically, there's a difference between writing something, writing something that's good, and writing something that's useful. I have at least three "novels" that are each unfinished, probably more than 100 pages apiece, and they tell so little of the story for all that wordage that it's not even funny. Not to me anyway. It's not that what I wrote is bad, it's just... ugh. Slow. Or focuses so much on setting that by the time the actors start doing something there's no momentum carried over from the previous scene.

     

    So maybe there's only been a few thousand words of progress over the last few months. But trust me, a few thousand words of progress are better than tens of thousands that don't go anywhere.  

     

    *Looks offstage when there's muttering from the wings* "Yes yes I'm still going to tell your stories someday."

     

    Probably in the grand scheme of things my old writing accomplishes in more than 100 pages less story mileage than I've managed to do in Predators: 2-4-9X thus far. 

     

    I'll take the right 4k words over the good but useless 40k I might otherwise have added in the past. Am I making sense?

     

    Writing aside, life presents its obstacles and distractions. Work, home, mood disorders, drama drama drama, even as a spectator. Sigh.

     

    I've got a couple people that might become beta readers. That will help if it happens. Nothing refuels focus on writing like talking about it with people.

     

    I've also joined a writing group IRL. While I don't know ow much that will help, I'm not exactly eager to volunteer "hey I write about teenagers having sex. Gay ones." I mean, that's not what I want to be the focus of my writing, the emotions are what matter but I think we all know that's the part that would stand out.

     

    They do something for national novel writing month and I have vague operations of participating. Which is why, except for engaging with my potential beta readers and if the mood strikes me to do otherwise, I'm going to be focusing on prep work for a short story that has been preoccupying me and the broader story that it inspired because that may be my NaNoWiMo project.

     

    I know 2-14 is already behind schedule and any diehards have been waiting for seven years for Predators chapter 2. But I hope my readers and fellow writers and everyone here can focus on the positive. If I even get close that means you guys could see something pretty complete. And writing is writing.

    .

    I started this log entry thinking about how far I've come, it makes sense to leave it at I thought of how far I have to go.

     

    I've said before, in that interview actually, my writing is my journey, and I hope that some of you want to come along.

     

     

  5. wildone
    Latest Entry

    By wildone,

    Well we just missed a Friday the 13th by a day :( Would have been great to have one in this month. I know that some of our non North American friends don't see the hype over Halloween, but we all here do! A chance to become someone else, to come up with new and better ideas on how to scare someone, or revisit an old one. So if you are not into Halloween, why not join us and let your hair down and take in all the fun that we are having here at GA! Actually, why not comment simply your country, if you wish, and if Halloween is a big thing in your neck of the woods.

     

     

    As mention last week, check out the two stories being published every Sunday for the next 3 weeks! Check later today for the discussion forums and links to the stories or sign up for the GA Weekly Newsletter.

    https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/gayauthors-cdn/monthly_2018_10/782847884_HalloweenExtravaganzabanner.jpg.91f17d3acfc7a56bd270752c81b8e0a9.jpg

     

     

    Let's review what we learned last week :)

     

    Monday, Cia presented us with a Story Review: The Web

     

    Wednesday Cia had some fun and posted an image and wanted you to give a caption. My favourite was

    Spoiler

    all of them!

     

    Friday, Cia tossed the reigns over to Comicfan for some prompt fun!

     

    And then on Friday, Comsie had another great tip in GA Articles:

     

    Anthologies

    • 2018 Fall Anthology: Fight Back - Due Nov 15th
    • 2018 Fall Anthology: Good Intentions - Due Nov 15th

     

    Blog Opportunities

    • Story Critique: Open to all GA authors. Sign up here.

    • 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.

     

    Premium Updates:

     

    Harbinger by Cia *Premium*

     

    Classic Updates:

     

    Asher by Dabeagle; Book 0 of Sanitaria

    Springs

     

    Conversations With Myself by Altimexis

     

    Scott's Story by Ronyx; Book 2 of Mark's Revenge

     

    Things We Lost by Dabeagle; Book 1 of Things We Lost

     

    Signature Updates:

     

    Adrift by Mann Ramblings

     

    Caesura by aditus; Book 2 of The King's Mate

     

    Canes by CarlHoliday

     

    Denied by Cia

     

    Leopard Hunt by Graeme; Book 4 of The Lilydale Leopards

     

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

    Mojo by AC Benus

     

    So Weeps the Willow by Cole Matthews

     

    The Dawn of Day by Dolores Esteban

     

    Promising Updates:

     

    Here Kitty, Kitty by Caz Pedroso

     

    Innocent Sacrifice by Sasha Distan; Book 8 of The Best Circle of Hell Stories

     

    Pool Boy by Sasha

     

    Rest in Peace - Songs for the Dead by Mikiesboy

     

    The Cockney Canuck by Dodger

     

    ***Check out this GA Classic***

     

    A Chance Encounter

    Jian Sierra

     

    Due to their personal circumstances, Bill and Nate only had a day together. But as they get to know each other, something more than physical attraction developed. What happens when the day comes to an end?

     

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

     

     

     

     

  6. Howdy y'all! We are now halfway through the Fall Term. So, without further ado, let's begin!

     

    PHYS 2425: Last week, we learned about Elastic and Inelastic Collisions, and Explosions. Hear that @Page Scrawler? I learned more ways to blow up Michigan. :P This week we started learning about Rotational Motion. However this week was mostly devoted to preparing for Exam 2, which reminds me, I didn't really explain how these Physics Exams are graded by my professor.

     

    So to explain, each Exam has 10 problems and you can be awarded 0, 3, 6, 9, or 10 points for each of them, depending on how you answered. For a zero, you did nothing. For a three, you put down an incorrect answer. Getting a six means you got the answer partially correct. With a nine, it's mostly correct. As for a ten, your answer is perfect. So, what happens if you had only partially correct answers on your exam? Congratulations, you just failed the exam. 

     

    That seems harsh, but that is the reality of this exam: it's easy to fail. On the last exam, out of 24 students, only two made an A. Why am I bringing this all up? Well, for this exam, I got an 89!!! :D That is a freakin' miracle, especially considering I nearly failed the last one.

     

    But enough of that, we need to move on to my other courses, lol.

     

    MATH 2414: @Parker Owens, you'll be pleased to know that last week we learned about Integration by Parts. And my god, it makes even the most difficult integrals easier to solve, that's why I love it. We also began learning about the different methods in tackling trigonometric integrals. It's still a bit confusing on which method to use when we encounter trig integrals in our homework. But, my teacher assured us that we would be going over more examples until we are good at using these methods. Finally, right before break, my teacher briefly touched on Integration using Partial Fractions, but she didn't want to start a new lesson before break (when we are liable to forget about it, lol). 

     

    SPCH 1321: Well, last week, I, and the rest of my class, each gave a persuasive speech on donating to a charity of our choosing. Since that was pretty much the final assignment, Speech class was over. Yes, that class has a Final Exam, but it's taken online. Well, I already took the Final, and that class is officially over. Oh, and I guess I should mention I got an A overall in that class.

     

    ENGR 1201: Nothing much has happened, other than working on our Design Projects. I should say however, that my team has faced several difficulties with our project and are behind compared to the other teams. However, we have now largely resolved those issues, and are now working to catch up. Oh, and Thursday evening, I attended my first Engineering Society meeting. It was super fun!

     

    Well, that's it for today! Next week, I'll post about my reflections on the past eight weeks overall, and I'll focus more on the social aspect of college life instead of the academic. So... you may hear about a certain not-a-crush, but no promises!

  7.  

     

    Something happened yesterday that tossed me off the rails for the evening and halfway through the day, today. Well, not off completely but it has made me think - a lot. 

     

    i have a tendency to just say things. Often i shouldn't, and things that are to me a joke, are not always taken that way.  Especially when it is about something relating to my/ our lifestyle.  Most of you who read this blog, or my work know i am a submissive. My Sir, Dom, Husband is Michael.

     

    When i made the comment i did, it was a joke. However, a comment later made me realize again, that perception is reality. And because i was not mindful, because i did not pay attention to who was seeing what i wrote, or would see it, well i was reminded again of perception and reality.

     

    i knew i had disappointed. Michael, who keeps an eye on me and what i do online, later saw it.  He spoke to me about it. When He was finished, i sighed and said, okay i understood.  He said, "There it is boy, even in the sigh. you do not 'get it'. " He put me on my meditation stool where i was to remain for an hour, thinking.  "Tomorrow, boy. I will see a blog about this, won't I?"

     

    i replied, "Yes, Sir."

     

    ** Here, let me explain, if you are interested in D/s or BDSM as a lifestyle. If you are serious and i get PMs from people who are, who often ask about it. Then know this, you will do a lot of thinking, and self exploration. It is part of it. Learning about yourself is a huge thing, not for the weak. If you are a sub, will likely be on your knees facing a corner or blank wall. You will be silent as will the room you are in. However, your Dom will often check on you. This is a time to learn, not a punishment. A time to meditate and see clearly, the better path. Afterward, you will be rewarded with a talk, and a hug or kiss. Subs are greatly loved, but much is expected in return. As it should be. 

     

    Subs should be focused, modest, diligent and trusting of their Doms. None of this is easy and we often fall back, but the one we disappoint, is also the one that holds us up. They are the ones who help us on this journey.**

     

    When Michael released me from my contemplation, He wrapped in a warm blanket, and held me close. We talked about the sigh and what that meant and i do 'get it'. 

     

    i am a reflection of Him, of His teaching and badly timed comments reflect on both of us in a negative way.  They affect the spirit too in a negative way.

     

    i am human, i make mistakes. i can only promise to try ... and that is all that is wanted.

     

     

    Thank you for reading. Feel free to ask questions if you have them.

     

     

  8. Comicality
    Latest Entry

    By Comicality,

    When I′m writing, I often visualize my stories as being movies, TV shows, comic books, etcetera. It′s just the way my mind works, I guess. I picture the characters, the backgrounds, the musical score, the movement of the camera...it′s a part of me putting every part of my story together in sequence, and actually seeing things as they play out in my head so I can effectively describe it for everybody else who might be reading. And just like movies and TV, a vast majority of stories are told in a way where one important scene switches to another important scene, often with some time passing between the two. When you write, it′s a ′fable′ that you're creating. It′s a heavily edited documentary on a fictional character′s day to day life. You don′t want to hear about what this character had for dinner. Your readers aren′t really interested in his homework, or what he watched on TV that night, or how long he spent playing his Playstation online. (UNLESS, of course...it relates to the story being told) So I ask for us all to think about what we′ve done in the last 24 hours of our lives. Every last little detail. Write it down and see how interesting it would be to anyone else who′s reading it. If I asked you what you did yesterday, would you spend two hours giving me every little detail, or could give me an abridged version and wrap the whole thing up in two minutes instead?

     

    Yeah. Give me the latter. That's all I need.

     

    Every single moment of our lives isn′t interesting enough to put into our book. And a lot of moments that ended up being truly important in the long run? We probably thought they were pretty mundane at the time until all the dominoes fell into place and we looked back to see where it all began. These are moments that we don′t include in our stories for a reason. We only tell that parts of our characters′ lives that are essential to the plot. So we may skip some of the more uninteresting parts where our character is combing his hair, or brushing his teeth, or taking out the garbage. And that means finding a way to jump from scene to scene smoothly, without having it feel ′jarring′, ′jerky′, or confusing in any way to the reader as to what′s just happened.

     

    Today′s topic? Scene transition! And how to walk the fine line between a potentially good transition, and a potentially bad one.

     

    I will begin by letting you guys know one of the FIRST things that I′ll tell any author when reading and reviewing their work. And I say this with no judgment or disrespect at all...but I will always go out of my way to mention to other writers to lose the visible ′text breaks′ in their stories. Every time. Maybe it′s just me, but I find that highly distracting when I′m reading. It′s almost a cheap way of switching from one scene to another in your story, and it′s something that can usually be solved with a sentence or two, where those breaks wouldn′t be necessary at all.

     

    Examples:

    ″- - - - - -″

    ″(A few hours later)″

     

    ″(Insert special graphic to separate scenes here)″ Or any kind of visible break that is meant to let the reader know that you′re changing scenery or a character's point of view, jumping forward or backward in time, or just switching to a different situation entirely. Yeah. Sorry. Hate to say it, but I would definitely advise against ever using those breaks in your stories to signal a scene transition. I'd say to avoid it at all costs. Have faith in yourself as a writer. If you′re writing about one set of characters, emotions, or a certain situation...and then decide to move on to something else...then practice making a smooth transition to a new concept. Don′t take the easy way out and figure, ″This will let the readers know that I′m switching gears without me really having to explain it in my writing.″ Spoiler alert. NOPE! Hehehe, the switch is just as jarring if you don′t ′pad the connection′ as it would be without your specially designed graphic put in place. I think you guys would be better off with an extra sentence or two to imply a change of scenery than you would be with a paragraph break and a few internet symbols to send a vague message that, ″Hey, we′re going over here now! Keep up!″

     

    I've done the transition break thing myself in the past, and I don't anymore. It's just as easy to end one paragraph with a character thinking, "It's been a long day. I need sleep. Maybe I'll be able to see things clearly tomorrow morning." and then starting the very next paragraph with, "The sunlight poured in through my bedroom window, waking me out of my sleep." There it is. Done. You know where one scene ends and the next one begins. The readers are following along, they can sense the change in scenery and tone, and no line breaks or graphics are necessary. Even if you're changing character points of view, there are clever ways to get around that as well. It's a bit more difficult, but it can be done.

     

    Example...let's say you're writing from two different POVs, Mike and Brian. Maybe you're following Mike's story right now, and at the end of his scene, you mention, "As much as I like him, I really doubt that Brian has any reason to like me back. He's probably not even into guys." Then, you end that paragraph, and your very next sentence is...

     

    "Mike! Dude, are you spacing out on me again, or what?" I didn't even realize that I wasn't paying attention to him anymore. Sometimes, I just start daydreaming about Brian without even thinking about it. I wish I wasn't so crazy about him. It makes it hard to concentrate.

     

    Now, there's no real visible cue to show that you're switching characters...but as long as you 'complete' the scene with one character, and then begin the next scene by establishing a change in tone and action, your readers will still be able to follow your story without much of a problem. A few cues can be used to end one scene and start another. The change will be established through the storytelling itself, and not the graphics on the screen.

     

    Now, one thing that I want to warn you guys about, is the dread '3B' issue! Hehehe, it's dangerous when it comes to the smooth flow of a story! What is the 3B issue? 3B stands, quite simply, for 'Blah Blah Blah'!

     

    If you have any 'blah blah blah' moments in your story when making a transition...go back and change it. Sometimes, we want to get from one amazing to another in our writing, and we try to hurry up and connect two completely different events with something that gives the illusion of storytelling, but it really isn't. It's just...'blah blah blah'.

     

    "So these two guys worked at the same pizza parlor, and they started flirting with each other by the end of the first week. They were really sweet on one another and ended up kissing that weekend. Then...'blah blah blah'...they got together and had sex."

     

    Hehehe, yeah, that little 3B moment? You need to go back and decide whether it needs to be there or not. Now, of course, a writer wouldn't actually use the words 'blah blah blah', but the writing that they use to connect the first kiss to them having sex is obviously JUST thrown in there to connect the first kiss to them having sex. It's a race from one big moment to another. So that means that the information being delivered has either added something that was never needed (in which case, why is it in your story?), or it needs something that was never added (Which, again...why is it in your story?). If it's unimportant, then take it out. You won't miss it, and neither will your readers. And if it IS important, then treat it as such, and give your 3B section some added detail and depth so that it flows with the rest of the story. Don't skip over it and figure the audience is in a rush to get to the naughty parts. Take some time and develop the story you want to tell. Otherwise, it's almost like the writer is telling you, "Blah blah blah, whatever. You get the point. Let's move on." No...they don't get the point. You're the author. You're supposed to flesh out the point on the page in your own words and paint a clear picture for the people enjoying your work.

     

    Imagine seeing a half finished painting of the Mona Lisa, and on the blank half of the canvas, you see a post it note saying, "Whatever. It's supposed to be a woman smiling. You get the gist of it, right?" Hehehe, how frustrating would that be? If you're going to transition from one major scene to another, either find a way to do it smoothly without adding unimportant fluff between the two scenes...or give the moments between both scenes the depth and meaning that they deserve, so it doesn't come off as something you just kind of threw in there at the last minute. You actually send a message that you think your 3B moments aren't worth writing about. And if the writer doesn't care, the reader won't care either.

     

    Just something to think about.

     

    Alright, I'm done gabbing for this week! Hehehe! I hope you guys are still enjoying these! It's fun to share some of the things I've learned over the years, and I've still got a lot more to learn. So I'll be sure to share even more as I pick up new tricks and tips along the way! Take care! And I'll see ya next weekend!

     

  9. Cia
    Latest Entry

    By Cia,

    I think there can be some great spooky stories to come from these prompts. A party hat, crime scene tape? A costume party gone wrong? Or just what might you see when you're tired and passing by... well, what can you come up with? Let's see some creativity! 

     


     

    Prompt 708 – Challenge

    Tag – Description

    Create a scene where the main character is exhausted. Make it clear to any reader how tired the character is. However, you may not use the words tired, exhausted, sleepy, or worn out.

     

    Prompt 709 – Creative

    Tag – List of Words

    Use the following words in a story – a party hat, crime scene tape, a diamond earring, a puppy, and a book.

     


    Did you write a flash piece? Post a link in the comments!

  10. In September of last year, things in my memory get hazy quickly.  Bits and pieces have come back to me over time that I now know to be accurate, but I still have to recreate what happened based on how my memory fits in with explanations from friends and family, text messages and emails, and my hospital records.

     

    Since I was nineteen, I’ve been somewhat of a heavy drinker on and off.  God knows what all the drugs I did in my younger days did to me.  There were multiple times as a teen when I probably overdosed and just by sheer luck and the stamina of youth happened to pull through without any real incident.  Repercussions never happened, I never paid for anything in a real way, so I never really worried about it.

     

    At some point, though, I thought to myself that I better leave drugs alone.  They’re expensive, they lead to other crime and dangerous situations, and I enjoyed my lifestyle too much to jeopardize it by getting in trouble legally.  So in the interest of self-medicating, I turned to alcohol thinking that it’s relatively safe, relatively inexpensive, easy to obtain, and most important of all completely legal.  The problem with this is that I never do anything in a normal fashion.  No, I take it from a nice leisurely stroll to straight running a goddamn marathon overnight.

     

    Without putting in too much work on details here, eventually I got myself into a really bad situation.  I’d just broken up with my boyfriend of four and a half years, the longest relationship I’ve ever had.  This is the same man to whom I considered proposing.  After the breakup we attempted multiple times to remain amicable, but subconsciously I blamed him for everything.  In my mind, he didn’t work hard enough, he didn’t pay me enough attention, he didn’t keep a steady job, he used up the money I worked hard to earn, he no longer surprised me, and ultimately these seemingly small failings amounted to a mountain I just wasn’t willing to climb anymore.  We even lived together after the breakup, until I basically kicked him out of the apartment.

     

    At the time I was working for a company which made me feel like I was Satan incarnate.  It was finance, loans to be specific.  High-risk, high-reward, predatory lending.  And I was pretty okay at it, I just didn’t have the bottomless darkness in my chest where my heart should be to continue doing it.  Still, we all have to make money one way or another, eh?  Here I was, pretending to be a professional adult, pulling down ridiculous sums of money, but I was incredibly unhappy.  To make myself forget the stress and the guilt, I started drinking more.  And more.  And more.  A fifth and a half of good whiskey a night will let you sleep, no matter how much your conscience may protest.  Time passed slowly, and I drank myself into a state of unconcern.  My boss threatens to fire me for things that aren’t my fault?  Drink about it.  I’m having trouble finding friends in a new city?  Drink about it.  Feel like I’m wasting my life and potential at a job that makes me feel like a horrible person?  Drink about it.  Didn’t really matter what it was - drink about it.

     

    I eventually quit in the manner I usually do when I’m sick of a job.  One day I’d had enough.  Sure I’d just bought a new car, signed a new lease, moved to a new town, started a whole new life, but damned if I could take it one more day.  My boss asked me specifically to lie about a figure that was owed on a lawsuit we were filing and I believe my words were “I’m not going to jail for you cock waffles, fuck you, I’m out.”  Or something to that effect, but it was quite clear I wasn’t stepping out for lunch and I wouldn’t be showing up the next day.

     

    That, however, did not make things better in and of itself.  Now I was broke.  I was living far beyond my means.  I had no doubt I could find a job immediately, but at the same income?  Doubtful.  There’s just not an opportunity like that around where I was living.  But hey, a week later I had an interview and had a job back in cushy old customer service land, where they pay you decent money to talk to stupid people.  Habits die hard, though, and now the concern was money.  And what do you do when you’re worried about money?  Drink about it.

     

    About a year and a half ago, I noticed I wasn’t always feeling great.  I was tired more easily, had more bouts of abdominal pain, and vomited for the first time in many, many years.  I thought nothing of it at first, but it became annoying enough to go to a doctor.  Thus began a terrifying series of misdiagnoses which I still can’t believe happened and would probably sue over if I still had the energy to pursue such things.

     

    I got shaky and weak, the vomiting wouldn’t stop, and nothing helped.  I was diagnosed with everything from diverticulitis to a UTI, none of which were accurate.  That didn’t stop them throwing drugs at it, though.  I went through CT scan after CT scan, with IV Contrast each time, and each time they missed it.  I took rounds of antibiotics, downed pain pills and anti-emetics, but nope.  I thought to myself that maybe it was just in my head, that stress was causing this.

     

    Then I turned yellow.  I mean full on hi-liter neon fucking you-could-see-me-glowing-from-space canary.  I looked in the mirror one morning and saw it and thought “Well, fuck me, pretty sure my liver is pissed off at me.”  I went to the hospital and got the reaction I expected, which was basically “Um, do you know that you’re really yellow?”

     

    They’d previously run a liver panel and everything was fine.  Only now it wasn’t.  Enzymes had skyrocketed, and it wasn’t just my liver.  My kidneys freaked out, too.  The repeated IV Contrast, rounds of antibiotics, and the liver failure kicked their ass and I was losing kidney function.  There was a lot of medical jargon, but it all amounted to this: You’re dying, there’s nothing we can do, you may want to call your family and friends to say goodbye, and we’re here if you want to discuss palliative sedation and hospice care.

     

    I made a decision at that point.  I wouldn’t call my family or friends.  They didn’t need to be involved because of my poor decision making process.  I had health and life insurance, and that would be enough to cover my care and cover any final expenses, which I assumed I would be able to get in line before I was no longer able to function.  I didn’t realize how quickly I would deteriorate.  I went home and by this time it was difficult to walk.  I had swelling in my extremities that was quite painful, severe abdominal pain, and I was mildly depressed.  I actually wasn’t terribly sad.  I mean I’ve lived a pretty full life for my age.  I’ve kissed (and done more than that) plenty of pretty boys, made mad money, lived large, had wonderful friends, and I’d long ago gotten over most of the major challenges in my life.  I felt sort of ready, like this wasn’t the end really, just another thing that just happens that you roll with and see what happens.

     

    Pretty soon the pain got too bad for just Oxycontin to handle.  I was back in the hospital on massive amounts of Dilaudid and Ativan.  Palliative sedation.  It quickly went from relief, to being pretty high, to being mostly unconscious because with consciousness came serious pain.  When I say pain, I don’t mean I-stubbed-my-toe-oh-gawd pain.  Take the worst pain in your life, the worst thing you’ve ever felt, multiply that by a thousand, and that’s pain.  No one tells you that dying hurts.  I think they don’t want to scare you, but that’s a truth for which everyone should be prepared.  Dying is not comfortable.

     

    After a day or two, things went black.  I thought I was dead.  I don’t know how I thought I was dead, but I did.  You’d think the act of thinking proves you to be alive, but things get really weird in your head when there’s that much ammonia in your body, when your brain is swelling that badly.  Gradually, this notion faded and I started to dream.

     

    I dreamed I was injured and in pain, hardly able to move.  I was outside and there was no one around, just empty streets.  Somehow I knew I had no home to go to, no one to help me, and I knew I had to either get myself safe and better, or I simply wouldn’t get better.  I found a house, and it was so hard to get into the house.  It wasn’t locked or anything, but getting up the steps, into the door, and looking around inside was enough to drive the breath from me and leave me crawling.  There was a mattress on the floor of one of the rooms and it was all I could do to get onto it before I passed out again.  I slipped in and out of consciousness in the dream (likely mirroring what was actually happening to me at the time).

     

    Eventually I knew if I didn’t eat or drink I would die, and getting this far would count for nothing.  I couldn’t move, though.  I was spent.  I could no longer lift my arms, my legs didn’t respond, really the only things I could still move were my eyes.  A girl eventually showed up.  She wasn’t remarkable in any way, really, except the look of concern on her face as she looked at me.  I later found it strange that at this point I didn’t think to ask for help, or suspect she would try to help me at all.  I assumed that nature would take its course and I’d eventually die, which would stop the pain, so I welcomed that idea.  She had other plans, though.

     

    It doesn’t really matter, but she explained to me that I was sick and that I was safe there, that no one would hurt me.  She brought me food and water when she could get me to eat or drink it.  She didn’t exactly stay by my side, but somehow it seemed like she had my best interests in mind.  Obviously, this is a fever dream inspired by an actual nurse, most likely, but it was quite a profound realization in my addled state that I wanted to die, that I was tired, that I’d finally realized I’d gone too far and wouldn’t get better and that this was simply the end.

     

    The blackness takes over again for a while from there.  I’d gone to a hospital locally, expecting to die there.  No one other than my roommate even had a clue how bad I was, and she didn’t know how to contact my family or anything like that, so I thought I’d just slip away quietly and everyone would move on with life.  I really should’ve known better, or at least planned better.  Another thing nobody tells you about dying is that people who love you will not let you die if they have any possible fucking way to keep you from doing it.

     

    I woke up in mid-October.  I was so sick.  As I regained consciousness, I became aware that they were giving me different medicines, medicines I hadn’t heard of and I was too out of it to even ask what it was, what it was for, or even really talk or notice who was there.  I noticed that I’d lost a lot of weight.  My abdomen was distended but my arms and legs were much thinner, and I felt constantly cold.

     

    At first they didn’t ask me questions, they didn’t do anything but administer meds and watch me closely with a sad look to them as if to say what a shame, such a waste.  They made me drink lactulose, which is torture in itself.  Ammonia builds up during liver failure, and lactulose helps get rid of it.  I’m not going to explain how it works, because I don’t even like to think about it.  Google it if you want the nightmares.  I was too far gone to protest anything they did.  At one point they had to set up a line directly into an artery for some reason, which I’m told is usually quite painful.  I didn’t move, I couldn’t feel it, I couldn’t really feel anything past the general sensation of just PAIN EVERYWHERE.

     

    Eventually, I regained some lucidity.  They asked me where I was and I replied that I was obviously in a hospital.  They asked which one, and I realized I had no idea.  Then I realized my mom was there, and it looked like she’d been crying.  I remember wondering how she got there, but I didn’t think to ask.  Apparently, I was quite close to death while I was at the first hospital.  Somehow my roommate got in touch with my mom, and she came to the rescue.  After she found out what happened, she had me transferred to Oschner in New Orleans, which is a major transplant facility.  When I arrived, doctors made no promises, but encouraged her to call the family together and to say what they needed to say while they still could.

     

    When in liver failure, doctors assign a MELD (model for end-stage liver disease) score to their patients.  It’s used to come up with your prognosis based on lab values.  It ranges six to forty and the higher it is, the higher your chance of dying within three months.  My score was thirty-five.  Basically already dead.

     

    I knew people were sad, but it was still hard to hold on to reality.  I could tell I was hallucinating, that I was seeing things that weren’t actually there.  It’s hard to explain, but I’ve always been able to tell if something is a hallucination versus reality, so this didn’t scare me much and I was able to make some general sense of the situation.  A doctor came in and explained what happened.  They’d been working on clearing the toxins out of my body enough to stabilize me and get me well enough for surgery.  Surgery?  Yeah, major surgery.  I asked what they meant, and they said that I needed an immediate liver transplant to live.

     

    As best they could, they got consent from me.  Consent for the surgery and for substance abuse counseling afterward, as well as assurance that I would remain compliant with medications and follow-up visits and labs and all that other great stuff.  I thought okay, well, maybe I get another shot.  Maybe it isn’t really time.  I’ll spend a couple weeks getting better and go back to normal life.

     

    On a side note, no one tells you that if you don’t have money and you need a transplant, you’re simply going to die.  I was told very bluntly that if my insurance refused to cover it for any reason, they would not proceed with the transplant.  Luckily, I have amazing insurance and I work for an incredible company which paid for my insurance the entire year I was out of work.

     

    At one point, the nurses and doctors came in excited.  There was a liver, they said.  It was for me, they’d found one that matched and it was time.  Not long after, they came back, this time not excited.  The liver was no good, they said.  They’d thought it was, but when the surgeon examined it, the vessels were hardened, they couldn’t be sewn to mine.  It was a bust.

     

    A few hours later, though, a miracle (at least according to my mom, I think it was just coincidence) happened.  They had another liver, another one that matched me, another one without hardened vessels, one that was perfect for transplant.  And everything went dark again.

     

    The next time I woke up, there were over a hundred staples in my stomach.  The scar reaches from just under my rib cage on the left front side to halfway around my abdomen on the right side in a chevron shape.  It’s truly massive, I was cut in half.  I wasn’t prepared to see that, and I started to immediately regret my decision to go forward with the transplant.  Then the pain hit me like a truck.  The next few days are a constant cycle of drugs, sleep, pain, drugs, sleep, pain, drugs, sleep, pain.  When I cleared up a little after they stopped IV pain meds, they fed me more Oxycontin like it was Skittles.  My mind was slowly clearing, and there was talk of how to care for the wound, what recovery would be like, what meds I needed to take, and all kinds of other information.  I had the sinking feeling that it wouldn’t be so easy.  My legs had atrophied and I couldn’t stand, walk, sit upright, or really get comfortable in any way.

     

    To this day I cannot sleep on my side or stomach.  It just hurts too much.  I received my transplant October 19th, 2017.

     

    The recovery was the most grueling, horrible, unimaginable thing to ever happen in my life.  At first the pain was overwhelming, but it was brought under control with powerful opiates.  I struggled to move.  When I stood, the tendons in the back of my knees had tightened and it was impossible to keep my balance at first.  I went most places in a wheelchair.  I thought this would pass quickly, but it didn’t.  I was in that chair for what seems like most of a year.

     

    The wound began to heal, but things were messy.  Another side effect of liver failure, and of surgery, is the draining.  Something to do with albumin and cells not keeping liquid inside them like they should and it needs to find some way out.  Everywhere on me leaked.  I had places in my skin that spontaneously developed what, for lack of a better explanation, seemed like a sourceless but continuous leak.  It was like liquid (not sweat, but steadily dripping) was coming out of my pores.  It came out of the wound, it came out of other places where I had stitches for other reasons, it wouldn’t stop.

     

    Then the complications began.  Most people who have a transplant take Prograf, or tacrolimus, which is an anti-rejection drug.  They started me on it a while after the surgery as maintenance for the transplant, as per protocol.  Little did they know, it caused severe neurological side effects in me.  One day I was sitting with my mom and a nurse, and I was pretty lucid.  Still on a lot of drugs, but now I was telling people my correct name at least, and knew how old I was and what year it was again.  Somehow, I knew I was going to have a seizure.  I could feel it, and if you’ve never had one then I just can’t explain how I knew.  I tried to warn them.  “I think I’m having a ssss-sss-ss-s-sssssss-ss-s…” and then everything goes black.  As soon as the S sound escaped my lips I got stuck, kept stuttering the same consonant over and over, and then seized.  What seemed like a brief nap later I came to again and they were staring at me wide-eyed.  I asked what happened and they told me I had a seizure.  Then I promptly had another one.

     

    They put me on Kepra to stop the seizures and switched me to cyclosporine for anti-rejection.  This caused me to essentially speak gibberish, nonsensical answers to questions, not knowing where I was or how to act appropriately to the situation.  At one point I got so frustrated I started crying.  I kept trying to tell them I had to go to the bathroom, all I needed was just some help getting up so I could hobble to the toilet to go pee.  I kept trying and trying to tell them, I could hear what I wanted to say in my head, but it kept coming out wrong.  I couldn’t make the correct words strung together to express what I needed.  I cried until more nurses came and they figured out by process of elimination what I needed, and helped me to the bathroom.  I was taken off the cyclosporine.

     

    Then it was a lot of steroids to keep me from rejecting the liver.  During this time, the wound began to heal wrong.  It healed from the outside in, instead of inside out.  So they took out all of the staples.  All. One. Hundred. Seventeen. Staples.  They packed the wound with foam padding, applied a wound vac, and I spent months healing slowly as scar tissue filled in the hole.  As if this weren’t bad enough, my kidneys weren’t functioning, I got massive infections, and I vomited constantly every time I ate or drank.  This didn’t phase the doctors much, though.

     

    Dialysis for the better part of a year, with a perma-cath installed in my chest.  Countless rounds of antibiotics to control infections.  Anti-emetics didn’t work, tube feeding didn’t work (I still vomited up what they put down the tube).  They installed a central line and fed me intravenously for several weeks.  There were loads of painful tests, including the time they inserted a needle into my hip to sample bone marrow and the time they thought my knee was septic so they had to ram what looked like a drinking straw sized needle under my kneecap.  There was the time they gave me a shot of something to make my blood counts normalize and it caused back spasms so bad that four doses of Fentanyl later I was still crying and they were administering yet another dose and kept Narcan on hand in my room just in case.  Gradually, over the course of many months, I started slowly improving.  It’s to be expected, they said.  You almost died.  It was really a miracle that you even lived long enough to get the transplant.  You should, by all rights, be dead right now.

     

    Time fades the memory, because you don’t want to remember it.  Over the course of nine or so months, I was in the hospital more than I was out of it.  My longest stretch in the hospital at once was just over three months.  When I was finally getting close to getting out, there was a new, unexpected complication.  I’d become physically dependent on the opiates they gave me for pain.

     

    Don’t get me wrong, the pain was still intense enough to require opiates.  But sometimes in life, you just have to get used to your new normal.  Pain is part of life, now.  Opiate withdrawal, though, is nothing to play with.  That’s another thing no one really tells you or understands until they go through it.  Withdrawal is itself incredibly painful.  It’s like being lit on fire, and nothing you can do will make it stop except more opiates.  What’s more, it’s not a quick process.  Withdrawal can take weeks, if not months.  That entire time you are in pain so bad that you can’t open your eyes, you can’t walk, you can’t eat, you can’t sleep.

     

    A Godsend came in the form of a particularly cunty psychiatrist.  She’s a real bitch, I don’t care for her, but she knew what she was doing.  She immediately prescribed Suboxone, which worked like a charm.  After weeks of withdrawal pain, it was gone.  Just like that, a few minutes after I dissolved a little strip under my tongue, all the insidious, mind-crushing, all-encompassing pain melted away.  I still hurt, but it wasn’t the kind of pain you can’t ignore.  This I can deal with.  Sure it hurts, but I can function with this pain.  Before, I was a mess, I couldn’t even get up to walk.

     

    At this point, I was on somewhere around fifteen medications a day.  Anti-rejection, anti-emetic, diuretic, anti-depressant, thyroid pills, phosphate binders, pills to make my digestive system work, pills to make my kidneys try to wake back up, pills for everything imaginable.  I’d actually feel full, like I’d eaten a meal, after I took my morning pills.  And noon pills.  And evening pills.

     

    I went through rehab as mandated (an agreement is an agreement, and I said I’d do it if they did the transplant).  I eventually learned to walk again first with a walker, then a cane, and now I walk unassisted albeit slowly.  I’m down to taking one medication a day now.  Sirolimus, an anti-rejection med which causes what feels like a cold that never goes away, constant low grade fever, a feeling of always being cold, and impairs your body’s ability to heal normally.  I also consistently have extremely low blood counts (stemming from the kidney damage), low platelets, and some other things that are pretty annoying but not (well at least not always) life threatening.  I get tired easily, am in some degree of pain at any given time, and I’m not too happy about this giant scar I have now.

     

    I have over a year sober now, and I’ve had a lot of time to think deep thoughts and consider the past and future.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever feel whole again.  I don’t know if the pain will ever stop.  If I had it to do over again, I’m not sure I’d agree to the transplant in the first place.  I’d accepted dying, and that was easy.  Accepting living as I have to live now is the hard part.  My liver function is great, my kidneys are getting much better and I’m not on dialysis anymore, and sometimes I’m even hungry again.  But what about next time?  The average life expectancy for a male after liver transplant is eighteen years.  That means I’ll likely die by the time I’m forty-six.  And I don’t want to linger.  I’m more tired than I care to admit, more sad than I’d like to be, more constrained by the nature of my condition than I can consent to.

     

    I just went to Orlando by myself to see a friend (that same ex that I was talking about earlier, we have since been able to be friends and enjoy each other’s company again).  The flight there made me sleep for a day, and getting back was just as bad.  I work from home at a desk job, but I struggle to find the energy to talk on the phone.  I miss the feeling that at any moment, something amazing could happen to me.  That there could be a new adventure, a new boy, a new job, a new friend, a new hobby, new anything, just around the corner.  Now it feels like I’m a slave to insurance and medication (my pills cost $1100 a month without insurance), and I don’t know how to move forward with self-confidence when I imagine taking my shirt off to a muffled gasp and “Oh my God, what happened to you?!”

     

    I try to stay positive.  I think to myself, as much as I’m an atheist and non-believer, that maybe something good can come out of this.  And logically, I know that to be true.  If nothing else, I serve as a wonderful cautionary tale at AA meetings.  I still look pretty damn young, if I do say so myself.  And when you see what looks like a twenty-three-year-old grimace slightly in pain as he lowers himself to a seat after taking the stairs carefully one at a time into an AA meeting, then announce “My name is Jamie, I’m an alcoholic, and I had a liver transplant a year ago”, then you hear his horror story, the details of pain, uncertainty, almost dying multiple times… well, you’d have to be a fucking idiot to keep trying to find happiness at the bottom of a bottle.

     

    I guess that’s a good thing, at least.  I never listened to the horror stories because they just weren’t scary.  Oh, you hit your spouse?  That’s not alcohol, you’re an ass, I’d never do that.  You drink and drive?  I never do that, ever, I call a cab, even blacked out.  You lost your job?  I never drink on the job.  So you see, the stories weren’t quite enough for me.  I had to chase the rabbit all the way down before I realized he wasn’t there and I was digging the hole myself.

     

    At this point, I’m working to put my mind at ease, to find purpose in living a life with limitations.  I’m trying to not be afraid that tomorrow I’ll get sick again, that I’ll be alone because I’m too ashamed of what happened to me.  I know I can find an external purpose easily enough.  I don’t mind lending support to people trying to better themselves and get away from alcohol or drugs.  If anything, my resolve is now quite concrete.  I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol and I don’t think I will for the foreseeable future.  Or, as they say, all I know is today I'm not drinking.  But finding something that drives me to want to smile and be awake and adventurous in the world?  That’s proving a bit difficult.

     

    So far I’m still recovering on several levels.  Physically, pain and exhaustion are a daily battle.  Financially, I’m fairly well off all things considered.  Emotionally I’m pretty drained, but that’s getting better.  I’ve started taking pleasure in small things again.  I didn’t think I’d ever be sitting stone cold sober in my kitchen carving pumpkins with my roommate and enjoy it.  I didn’t think I’d ever enjoy anything stone cold sober again.

     

    I wouldn’t say I’m depressed.  I’m sad sometimes, but I know that’s normal.  I’ve made some unpopular decisions, like making sure medical intervention to keep me alive in a similar situation will never happen again and deciding that I truly don’t want a romantic relationship again any time soon.  At the same time, I wonder about a lot of things.  Will my life be the same a year from now?  Better or worse?  Will finally dying hurt as bad as I think it will?  What kind of gigantic beast of a tattoo would I have to get to cover up the scar I have?  

     

    I guess I’ll end by saying this.  If you or anyone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol that is affecting their health, get help.  Don't expect someone to step in and help, because no one will.  YOU need to get help, regardless of how that makes you feel.  Fuck the job, fuck the car, fuck the house, fuck the spouse, fuck appearances, fuck everything except your life and health.  You won’t know how much it was really worth to you until you’ve irrevocably lost it.

  11. In the past, I've done Caption This Challenges in the newsletter, and since we have an open blog today, I thought we'd have some Halloween fun with one on the site blog. It's a super simple challenge that helps get your creative juices flowing... write a caption for this image below that tells the story in a minimum of words and share it in the blog comments. You have just 30 words or less to share what you think is happening in the picture. Narrate the scene, share what's going through the viewer's mind, give us a peek at the events about to happen... Is it exactly what it looks like? Will there be a twist? 

     

    You tell us! 

     

    killer-820017_640.jpg

    CAPTION THIS

     

     

    Remember, authors, you can get featured in the site blogs with several author features but you have to sign up for them! 

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    CAUTION: THE FOLLOWING BLOG ENTRY TALKS ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT AND MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS. PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

    Hey everyone :hug: ,

    How’s everyone? I hope everyone’s doing good. I haven’t been doing that great. I might say, I have been doing quite awful suffering from both depression and anxiety for the past two months or so. I have been kind of absent from the site due to being extremely busy with the university for the past couple of months (dissertation is not the most favourite thing for me to do).

    Anyways, this feeling of awfulness started a about three months back, the day after I turned 24. To support myself through the uni I (used to) work at a fast food restaurant what also involved delivering the food to the costumer’s place. On one of these deliveries, I called the costumer when at his place, he buzzed me inside and I went up to his apartment. The door was open and I could hear some noises so, I knocked and waited for him. He appeared from the corner carrying some boxes and asked me to leave the food on the kitchen counter. Now, this wasn’t the first time a costumer asked me to carry the food inside. So, I didn’t think much of it and went inside, put the food on counter and told him the price of the order (It was not paid already). While he went to get the money, I realised that the sounds were coming from a porn movie. Suddenly, I felt extremely uncomfortable and wanted to leave. He brought the money and it was all coins.

    So, I had to stand there and count all of them before leaving. As, I was counting he started saying things like “I’m so horny” or “Are you horny” etc. I kept trying to ignore him and tried to finish counting as soon as possible while all of a sudden, he touched me (there). I don’t know why, but I was immediately paralysed. Probably due to fear or surprise or a mixture of both, I’m not completely sure to be honest. He then proceeded to do whatever he felt like. I almost felt like I had no control over whatever was happening. I wanted to yell at him to stop and get away from me, kick at him and run away but neither any sound came out of my mouth nor my hands moved to stop him. I kind of blacked out but could still see and feel everything and it was horrifying. After he was done he just got up and went to clean himself up. Meanwhile, I regained my senses enough to just get up and bolted away from there (I didn’t even bother taking the money). As soon as I got on to the road I just puked all of my breakfast on the side (in the bushes), returned to the restaurant, told them I wasn’t feeling well, went home and scrubbed myself in the shower.

    I was utterly disgusted with the entire experience and felt like extremely violated and also that I wasn’t clean no matter how many showers I have taken. The worst part of this entire experience was that my body still reacted to his actions and it felt like my own body failed me in this entire process. I just ended curling up at my home for most of the next two days almost never leaving the bed. One half of my mind kept telling me that I had been sexually assaulted while the other kept saying that I really haven’t because I never objected to it. All of this led to my depression becoming worse and for the first time, I felt ashamed to face the world. Even through my childhood and teenage growing up as an Lgbt+ kid, I never felt the feeling of shame and ended up losing any inspiration to do any sort of work. Not to mention the fear of contracting an STD. This led to my assignments being submitted late or unfinished or both at times and affected my grades.

    The worst part doesn’t even start here. Remember, I called him before to get to his address? Well, he also now had my phone number and hence kept calling me at random times with often lewd suggestions and offers to come to his place because his wife was away. He also turned up a my workplace more than a couple of times. I ended up blocking his number and he then started blocking his caller ID or even calling me from different phone numbers. And thanks to all of these actions, I became extremely anxious and now have to keep an inhaler with me in case of an asthma attack (the asthma existed in my family before, I didn’t get asthma because of him but it’s onslaught started a lot earlier than it should have thanks to the conditions). The queasiness in the stomach never stops. Finally, 5 days ago, when he called me, I warned him against calling me and threatened to disclose all of this matter to his wife and also told him that I secretly recorded his previous calls. It seemed to have scared him and he hasn’t contacted me ever since.

    I finally decided to see a psychologist about all of these issues and my first appointment will be on the next week. I am still quite unsure on how to approach the subject and my sexuality in general and the issues I have developed growing up in a homophobic environment and country. I really needed to tell this to someone because I really need to concentrate on my assignments and exams and the psychologist appointment is still a week away and I wasn’t sure I would feel the best after I speak about topics such as my sexuality and mental health issues.

    I do have several questions, am I wrong in being angry and sad that I have been violated against my consent? Can it even be considered a sexual assault if I necessarily didn’t even object? It wasn’t like he hit me and forced himself on me. I really wasn’t able to act at all. Am I wrong in getting sad that my first sexual experience with someone else was this? Is this even considered sex? Am I thinking too much about this?

    Anyways, thanks for reading everyone. I really appreciate being able to share this horrible experience with someone, I really needed that. Hope everyone has a great day/night :hug: .

    Victor

    P.S. I apologise for any grammatical errors as I really did not proof read because I just wanted to type it and post it immediately. And I generally use British/ Australian spellings, so please excuse all the additional 'u's and the 's' in the spellings :P :lol:

    EDIT: I'm not completely sure if this sort of topic can be posted in a blog. If it cannot be, just let me know and I would be happy to remove it. Thank you :)

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    Recent Entries

    cognacjnr
    Latest Entry

    For those are interested I'd like to share the following, my father @cognac69 passed away 30th September 2018.

    Yes it was extremely upsetting, yes it has been a difficult time for me and my family, and yes he will be missed. I'm not here asking for sympathy, that's not the purpose of this blog entry. I'd just like to share a few bits of information about him in the hope that it may inspire others in the same way that it inspires us. In many ways it is my tribute to him.

    My father and his brother, the uncle who we never got to meet, were born into an abusive family and were subsequently removed and placed into the care system at a young age. Luckily, as my father used to say, they were fostered together by a very loving couple who adopted them, became their parents and gave them a new start in a loving and stable home. Growing up they were given unconditional love and support that helped them overcome the trauma's of earlier abuse. From the stories that we were told as youngsters they had a life that many children only dream of and were very happy. Unfortunately as often happens in real life nothing is forever and at age 16 he and my Grandparents suffer the loss of his twin in a tragic accident. This caused him to 'go off the rails' for a time. Using the words that my father used to use, he became an obnoxious brat, getting into trouble with the police, abusing drink and generally making everyone's life a misery. Thanks to the continued love and support of my Grandparents and the intervention of a social worker he realised that he was not achieving anything and changed his ways, although it did take a few years before the change came about. He then focused on the goals and objectives that he and his brother had set for themselves when they were children, this was his way to honour and remember his brother, and repay his parents for their love and support. He idolised his father and achieved many of those goals.  He always said that if he could be half the man that his Dad was, he himself would be a better man. I'm sure that my Grandfather would be proud of the man that he became. As a father he was not perfect and had his faults, but he was a good father who loved and cared for us all. As social worker and foster parent he was caring and listened to the children that were in his care. When he left social work and went into business he could be ruthless and focused, but still cared about those around him, I honestly do not know how he did it, I'm not sure that I could. 

    In the last year he continued to help others, he supported and befriended a young man who he wanted to 'bring in to the family'. When my older brother found out he kept it from the rest of us but had disagreements with our father about it, he thought that our father was being taken advantage of, he now freely admits to being wrong in that assumption. We as a family have now accepted Josh and taken him under our wing, and will look after him as we know that it is the right thing to do. My father had changed his will and made provision for Josh as he has for all of his children, that includes some of those that he fostered.

    Using an inheritance left by my Grandfather there is also provision for three charities here in the UK. A HIV charity that gives support those diagnosed with the virus. A LGTB charity that gives support to young people, and a local children charity that supports local children living in poverty. 

    That is @cognac69 my father, he may be gone but he will continue to live on in my heart and the hearts of my family, we are proud of him.

    I'd like to ask of anyone that takes the time to read this, can you please support your local charities that do the same work, it doesn't need to be large amounts of cash, a little of your time would be just as beneficial.

     

    In going through his personal effects I have come across many notes which appear to refer to his stories, some of which have been posted here, others appear to be in preparation for other stories, and some in preparation for his unfinished story A Life - As It Was. When I have finished putting things in order I'll be considering what to do with these notes, what ever is decided they will be retained.

    Thank you for reading.

    Craig.

  12. The final round of voting for the 2019 anthology themes is now open. The previous voting identified the 13 most popular themes, so it's now time to narrow that down to a final set of four themes. To do this, three polls have been set up to allow all authors and poets to indicate how they feel about each of the 13 themes by giving them a number from 1 to 5, with 1 being least liked and 5 being the themes you like the most.

     

    Three polls have been set up because of limitations in the forum polling system, so please remember to vote in all three polls. The links to the polls can be found below.

     

    Poll #1

    Poll #2

    Poll #3

     

    Polling will close on Friday 19th October, USA time, and the winning themes announced soon afterwards.

  13. quokka
    Latest Entry

    Chapter 6 has been corrected...

  14. Carlos Hazday
    Latest Entry

    By Carlos Hazday,

    It’s been a year since Ask an Author’s reboot. Although the feature appears to be as popular as ever, getting questions continues to be a struggle. Serious or silly, professional or personal, short or long, what you ask makes the monthly blog possible. Don’t be shy, tell me what you want to know, and I’ll look for answers.

    • • • • •

    A self-described NoCal gay, @Ashi puts the social in social media in Gay Authors. The man has to be one of the friendliest people around here. What many of you may not realize is he is also an author having posted both fiction and poetry.

    You’ve written a number of poems but not on a regular basis. What moves you to write a poem? Do you have to be in a certain mood?  Will we see more poetry from you?

    • • •

    Anyways, yeah, I wrote just a dozen of poems here and there.  Honestly, poetry is not my main genre and I do not plan on doing it regularly.  The prime recipe for poetry to me is some epiphany as a starter, plus some proper mood to get going, so I can put random thought fragments together.  A few pieces are particularly taxing, emotionally speaking.  It creates a weird contradiction, because feeling down gets my creative juice going, yet, I need energy to write.  While other pieces of poem I wrote come happily in one stroke, without dragging my feet for a laborious chisel.

    The 99-Cent Love Poems ended with twelve pieces by design, six-hundred words exactly by accident. The title of the last poem is a wordplay.  Last signifies ending, but lasting is a continuum.  Pineapple is traditionally a symbol of hospitality.  Sailors from Colonial time would bring back home a pineapple, signaling a safe return from an arduous journey.  Thus, I am forever thankful that a few people read this journey of angst, lament and nostalgia, though love and hope are constantly on stand by.  I really enjoyed writing them.

    Now I just need a guy to love.  LOL!

    • • • • •

    From the San Francisco Bay area, we jump across the country to the Tampa Bay area. Prolific author @BHopper2 celebrates his second anniversary as a GA member later this month; in that time, he’s shared 17 stories which have earned him wide popularity.

    You are normally seen writing Sci Fi, yet your latest story’s set in the modern world with a regular (mostly) dad and son, is wildly successful. Will you go back to Sci Fi at some point?  Have you learned anything from writing My Son you'd apply to your other work?

    First off, I want to thank you for reading my work, and it's my hope that you find it enjoyable. Will I go back to SciFi? the simple answer is yes. SciFi is a passion of mine, ever since I was a kid watching re-runs, and recordings, of Lost in Space (the original), Star Trek, Star Wars, and Buck Rodgers. One of my favorite memories is of my Grandfather, before he passed away, doing a SciFi night with me. We watched a couple of old movies, Forbidden Planet and War of the Worlds, and ate Apple Pie and Ice Cream. Then in High School, I was introduced to SciFi Role-Playing Games, and have been hooked ever since. In High School and College, I was in creative writing classes, where most of my work revolved around one aspect of SciFi or another. So, again, one day I will return to SciFi, and finish what I started on a few projects.

    The story, My Son actually scares me on how popular, and successful it has been. To date, it's been my most successful story on GA, and the story is flowing like no other for me. I have to thank several people for its success though. @Mikiesboy and his husband @MichaelS36 first and foremost. Mike was the one that challenged me to go outside my comfort zone and write something different than what I normally do. I had some notes lying around, read them over, and wham My Son was born. tim has been helping with content editing on the story. Helping me reword passages to mark them more presentable. Last, but not least, @Kitt for being a technical editor on the project. She really gets in there and helps polish the drafts off. She's working on the first four chapters, post-publishing, but I thank her for doing the job.

    What I've learned with My Son, that I can carry back to SciFi is to focus on telling a character-driven story. All the dodas and gadgets are nice, with epic space battles with ships blowing up in stellar fashion, but they are all secondary to the Characters. Know the characters, give them their own agency, be in their mindset when you write their part of the scene, and take chances and see where it goes.

    • • • • •

    A member of the exclusive Signature Author club,  @CassieQ has always impressed me with her thoughtful opinions. But her participation’s not restricted to GA conversations, her stories are thoughtful and well written. If you haven’t discovered them yet, I suggest you get your butt in gear and start reading.

    What are your biggest motivators in life? Do these translate into the stories you write?

    • • •

    My main motivator in my life is writing.  I have grown up responsibilities like everyone, but if I have any free time, I like to spend it writing, or thinking about writing or planning out my storyline.

    Aside from that, my family is a big motivation for me.  I adore my sister and my Mom and I think that comes across in my writing a lot.  Most of my characters have a kick ass sister or best friend figure.  During my early writing days, my beta reader once pointed out how a lot of my characters have a relationship with their mother but don't have a strong father figure in their life (my father is alive and well, he just wasn't around a lot growing up).  My Mom has finally clued in to the type of stuff I write and while she is not thrilled about it, she will ask how the writing is going and was very supportive of me going to my first writing conference this year.  It was very cool of her.    

    I hope that answered your question! 

    • • • • •

    Since our previous three authors are all Americans, let's finish this month with an international flavor. In the process, another author will lose his Ask an Author virginity. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Australia but have not done so, I have a suggestion for satisfying your Aussie cravings: read a story or two by @quokka. The prolific author from Down Under charms us with his descriptions and Aussie dialogue. I’m not sure how his imagination can conjure up so many different stories when I have trouble concentrating on one.

    How long have you been writing?  How do you deal with writer's block?

    Thank you for the question. I began writing as a teenager as a sort of hobby, but it was never a regular thing.

    It wasn't until I discovered Gay Authors, in January 2012, that I began to take up writing a lot more seriously, with action and drama, mainly about Australia, being my main themes.

    For writer's block, I will usually just leave the story and continue on another story or begin a new story, from ideas that develop from what I see or hear in everyday life.

    A lot of the Australian stories, I usually don't have to do very much research, as I have either lived or visited the places, especially in my home state of Western Australia.

    For the other stories that are not based on Australia, I like to do a fair amount of research before I commence a story, to get a basic outline, and on occasions I have to stop during writing, to do more research.

    For me, it is very much like the quote from Beatrix Potter that I have mentioned in my profile.

    "There is something delicious, about writing those first few words of a story. You can never quite tell, where they will take you." Beatrix Potter - 1866 to 1943.

    Regards Q

    • • • • •

    That’s it for this edition, my friends. Tune in next month for more insight into authors you love and those you have yet to discover. In the meantime, remember to send me any questions you may be dying to ask but may feel too shy to do in person. I promise to protect your identity. :P

  15. jamessavik
    Latest Entry

    NA15years.jpg

     

    15 years with no drugs or drinking.

     

    Holy shit.

     

    I remember when missing out for a day or a few days was... really uncomfortable.

     

    When I first started writing, I got some flak about including a lot of drugs. Well, they did say write what you know. When I first really started writing, that's what I knew.

     

    It took a while but I move on. I still dream about the... never mind. 

     

    What I find is sad is that a lot of gay people have trouble in recovery. There are a few predators out there talking recovery that just want to hook up. 

     

    Well... who doesn't? Growing up means figuring out what's appropriate. 

     

    The winners learn and the losers lose. 

     

    It's Darwinian in a way- like tempering steel. If the blade if flawed, when heated, it will break. If the steel is good, it just gets harder.

     

    Be the blade.

     

     

  16. As I had stated to Page and a couple others on Cott... we need to be aware and pay attention to our teens and how badgering and "Just kidding" remarks bring issues and tragedies... how we just don't know how much weight and burden it can produce...!!! Sadly... Dennis 191 is that example... we knew him as the crazy Hun that would go into fits at Cott Say and do CRAZY things...Not knowing the deeper issues and horrors he had and lived... Dennis191 had a mindset, but there were reasons for those mindsets... I knew Dennis had deeper rooted problems, dealing with teens for 27 years you tend to pick up on things, especially the boys, they will blow things off to their peers but in their alone time and internally it eventually peaks... Dennis peaked on GA before he left, became spiteful and rebellious to moderators and others as well... he was crying out the best way he knew how, and the only way he knew... Dennis and I remained in contact after he left we became very close as he had begun to allow me into his world... A very cruel and difficult world I might add... being a loaner not for fear... but of the penalty of letting anyone too close in his space. But I was very persistent every day to connect and encourage edify, and even hug from 5000 miles away. Christmas last year he was all alone and I could tell as it approached it bothered him even though he would never say it... because Dennis through a series of events always had to suck things up and cope with life as it was dealt to him... this all began at a very early time in his young life, his parents blamed him for being  born, continually calling him a worthless piece of crap... only to send him away After his Grandparents died ( his one and only outlet, he Loved his Grandparents) Dennis was sent to a boys Military school at the age of thirteen so his dad wouldn't have to look at him, the military School was located at the site of an old Anthrax testing ground. it was said to be safe, but it was just a story. Dennis had contracted Anthrax while there its effects were somehow  not life-threatening to him as with others 2 youth died... he was at the firing range when the staff person monitoring them became aggressive with Dennis and Dennis shot  and killed him they ended up out of fear of being found out to kick Dennis out of the School and send him back home to "Dad". Dennis went back to School at the Public Schools where he met His soul mate Jon who was the only thing keeping him going and giving him the love he lacked for the next two years. Then Jon because of his home and school Situations of bullies and an abusive stepfather... ended up Killing himself, leaving Dennis alone and angry again until last November when he was asked by his cousin who lived in Serbia to come and  spend the Holidays with them and if he liked it he could stay which was good for him to be around people who did care, and know what he had gone through. But we remained in contact and drew closer and I could even tell when he was getting ready to have one of his fits and divert it into something more positive... he did get better and even found work for a while... I had sent him funds on many occasions to help out as they don't make much there... we had talked about my Eye surgery and well he was the very First person I was able to see with my eye after surgery and he was proud of that, but there were many things still Haunting Dennis he had 3-4 times talked about committing suicide when he would return from the store or back from venturing out... he was Teased and ridiculed for being Hungarian and had gotten to the point he would fight back when he went out. We began talking about me going to Serbia and then we would tour his Native Hungarian land and he was excited as I was... I began to make all the arrangements and set stuff in order, then my eye needed surgery again and he thought our Visit would not happen, had quit his job there and was going to go to London to work...He said he could make more money there... I asked about my trip and he said we were still on when my eye situation was finished. Then he became irritated again but wouldn't share, And I did finally find out he was having complications with getting his ID? passport renewed, but I knew it was more... had started to revert back not sleeping and Nightmares all the time, I knew I needed to get there ASAP. I remember his birthday on may 5th he turned 19... although I could not be there I was bound to make it memorable for him, I had bought my New computer and decided I would have my Old lap top refurbished( he was using an old hp D760 we called it the Dino) I had  upgraded everything on it and sent it with Cables and Speakers and Even a new LG4 phone, his screen was so cracked I just imagined him with Bandaids on his fingersThe box weighed about 21 lbs full of converters and every thing needed for him .... it was very expensive to ship and even cost  a lot to have it delivered there, but to me it was worth it to give him a grand 19th birthday, I played his Native birthday music and sent him some songs we had enjoyed for hours together... when He said it was just another day I knew no one had spent time to show him his value and worth with "No strings attached" Dennis was a good kid and would give his very last to a stranger... he often thought of others and said he was not important... So untrue I got to know the real Dennis not the one he would try and show... Yes he was a little off but anyone of us would have been Dead already if we were in his shoes....So When a kid is acting up or out maybe  we need to step closer, ask those questions we are afraid to ask help edify and encourage before it's to late....!!!  my Heart is truly broken and heavy The pain will linger at His Death, yes he couldn't take it any longer the screams the agony and terror the teasing  and the disrespect for his culture... he laid down  boldly in front of a train leaving the station to end his alredy numb and disembodied life... I lost a Brother, Friend a child still in the heart but a very very confused one... I am just in tears I could not get to him in time... but then was there ever any time, or was he just biding time... That We will never know... So those who knew Dennis 191 please take a moment in remembering him and now you know more than ever before, I am so glad to have taken the time and spent what was a bonding moment, I am glad to have spent the hundreds of hours on the net  and even video chatted with him, the eyes  don't lie and well they told his life story, and his connection with me ... the challenges we both faced... take a moment to remember him and then think is there someone in my own life I should be more aware, spend more time with, and just love them for who they are... not who we want them to be...!!! Here's to you... you Dennis are not or ever was a mistake you are Loved an always will be loved and now maybe you can truly Rest in Peace...???:heart::kiss::heart::heart:

  17. Needless to say, my life is one big fuck up right now. Everything seems to be going to the shits. Well, not everything. Two significant parts of my life remain on track. My reading is prodigious right now. I am actively reading: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett, The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers, Hiroshima by John Hersey, Blood’s a Rover by Harlan Ellison, and most of The New Yorker when it comes to the house most weeks. Yeah, you’re asking how do I keep track of it all. Well, I do, somehow. The other thing going on correctly right now is my next story. It had a working title of The Reluctant Father up until yesterday when I changed it to Canes. I working on Chapter 8 right now. It is a psycho-sexual family drama about a sixty-something gay widower and a young gay teen who has an unhealthy relationship with railroad locomotives. It’s not so much that they go fast, but exactly what happens if you’re standing in front of one when it’s going 50 mph.

     

    So, what’s going on with the rest of my live? Well, you see we have this thirteen week old German Shepherd puppy that—although she belongs to my son—is my responsibility during the day because he works swing shift, comes home and stays up until three or four in the morning, doesn’t get up until one or one-thirty in the afternoon, and he leaves for work at two-fifteen so he can get to work an hour early so he can read the newspaper.

     

    Then yesterday afternoon when he got up to eat his breakfast, his regular bowl was dirty because he’d used it for a snack the previous night, so, he got a bowl out of the cupboard. Now, these bowls are not cereal bowls; they’re more dessert sized, which means he has to keep the box of cereal and the jug of milk on the table so he can have a sizeable breakfast.

     

    “Why didn’t you wash your bowl?” I asked foolishly.

     

    “Oh, you know, I don’t do service work anymore. The house nigger should’ve cleaned it before I got up.”

     

    Yeah, that’s his nickname for me.

     

    The house nigger does the dishes, sweeps the floors, does the grocery shopping, and raises his mastuh’s dogs.

     

    Plus, my knees are giving out on me, but the VA orthopedic surgeons won’t send me outside to get artificial knees because I weigh too much. I think I need to lose about another ten pounds. My bad knees are forcing me to decide whether I’m going to give up the idea of leaning how to play the guitar because I have to drive 27 miles to my lessons every Saturday. I know you’re thinking, “Oh, the poor old man has to drive TWENTY-SEVEN MILES and back for his guitar lessons. Well, if it’s all that far, maybe, he should give up his dream. Poor old man.”

     

    Well, fuck, I drive down there and back and not surprisingly it takes me six days to recover (yeah, six days means I miss that day’s lesson) because unlike most people, I don’t have any cartilage in my knees. It’s all melted away and has been replaced with arthritis, but my orthopedic surgeon says I gotta walk to keep that synovial fluid sloshing around in there to cushion what I have left of my knees. If I don’t, then just maybe I won’t be able to walk at all. I’ll be lucky if they issue me one of those walkers with handle bars, a seat, and hand brakes. Worse? Well, I don’t want to think of worse because when the surgeon told me about what worse entails, I figured I’d better get out there and walk some more even if it makes my knees feel like dried dog shit on a hardwood floor.

     

    And, of course, there’s the head or, rather, its contents, that collection of gray and white matter which is supposed to keep me on an even keel, but doesn’t. Sure, I take meds, I’ve been taking meds since April, 2008. But, now, I’ve been released by my local VA shrink and sent out to a vendor. An example of this vendor’s expertise in mental health meds is she prescribed Amantadine for my Essential Tremor. It’s a mild Parkinson’s drug given for tremor from that disorder, but one of its rather insidious side effects is narcolepsy. If I take that, I’ll be subjecting myself to my personal “My Own Private Idaho.” Just think of it, no more tremors, but going to sleep in a school zone and wiping out a street crossing full of first graders. Not my idea of fun. They do recommend not driving or operating heavy equipment if you take it. So, I’m not going to be taking that med. When she asks how I doing on it, I’ll let her know about the narcolepsy side effect. Probably, the worst thing about that side effect is that not only can it occur when you first start taking the med, but it can crop up years away. I wonder how many old people who’ve been given that drug and fall asleep while driving down the street and take out a sidewalk full of kids on their way to get Slurpees. It certainly won’t be me.

     

    But, speaking of mental health, I’m in a general funk right now. Yesterday, I was ready to pack my bags and books and take a powder. I don’t know where I would’ve gone. Probably, a city where there is a VA Med Center where I could get treatment for my various ailments. And, of course, although I would’ve left a note, I wouldn’t say where I was going and I certainly would never come back. No, this house nigger was going to be a runaway and I wouldn’t give a fuck about whether my son could remember how to wash dishes.

     

    Today? Well, today I listened to all of my Vangelis CDs and typed this blog, which dumped a whole lot of shit on you guys. I apologize, but you see I don’t have anyone else to dump on because my VA shrink won’t talk to me and my vendor shrink only speaks to veterans on Thursday’s. So, thank you for listening and sorry for the “N” word, but when you’re called it, it kind of sticks to you in not a very nice way.

     

    Better go, time to feed the dogs or mastuh be mad.

     

  18. This week I'd like to talk about two of the new features coming to the site soon.  I've shared this a bit with the authors, but I wanted to share them a little wider.  This is a more focused view for readers.

    We currently have one way for authors to group their stories: Series links.  They work, but I've wanted them to be more obvious.  So, with the new version, we're giving a bit more depth to our Series.

    image.png

    Series now has a description.  We can also add a series banner and special enhanced displays for series that have special circumstances.  Authors should take note of the red Xs on the side.  We can now very easily remove stories from a series (and yes, it asks to confirm the delete, so no accidents) or reorder the stories by simply pressing the up and down arrows.

     

    But a series of stories isn't the only way to group stories in the next update.  As anyone who has ever read Tom Clancy, Mercedes Lackey, J.K. Rowling, or Rick Riodan knows, you can have a whole bunch of different series featuring different aspects or couples that all take place, along with stand-alone stories, in the same world.  And hence, the next new feature: Worlds.

     

    image.png

     

    Worlds function almost exactly like Series, except that there is no order like in a series and you can add Series to your world.  For the sharp-eyed readers here, you will spot "Contributors".  For the purpose of this demonstration, I added dkstories' Dreams of Humanity Series to my Psionic Corp world.  Series listing also allows contributors, though I didn't show it in the example above.   Also in the picture, you can see that Series has one highlight color (black currently) and Worlds another (Violet, currently).  Also, Dreams is tagged with Premium, so that is also listed.  I see this feature getting used for authors who share the same writing world or for authors like @Comicalityand I who write stand-alone stories that share the same area.   In the example, you see two of my Anthology entries which are stand-alone entries in my Psionic Corp world. 

     

    Good news too, current existing stories in a series will import in as is.  The Author or staff members will just need to go and add a description to the series page, and it'll be good.  (if one isn't added, it'll just look as it does now)

    image.png

     

    The browse menu will now have a "Browse by Series" and "Browse by Worlds", as you can see in the right-side menu in the above image.

     

    image.png

    There are other things coming as well.  But as you can see from the screenshots, the test server already has these features working :D

  19.  

     Dear Alzheimer’s, 

     

    You’re just a dirty sneak thief.  You sneak in and steal from people. You don’t even have the courage to announce yourself.  Your nasty cousin, cancer, at least starts with a cough or a pain. But not you, oh no.  

     

    You waltzed in, and started taking things. Little things. Things you didn’t think would be noticed; like where the car keys had gone, or the reading glasses. “Everybody remember where we parked!” became a family joke. 

     

    You started taking bigger things.  Like conversation. Gone were the days when we talked about so many things over coffee.  Now there were questions asked, and answered, and asked again. Trains of thought, derailed before they even left the station.   

     

    But now, everyone notices.  Stolen glances behind backs, eyes rolling like teenagers at hearing the question, again. And, occasionally, “Oh wait, I asked that already, didn’t I?” "You know, I'm just not worth a damn some days." She knows now, that something is missing. But you’re sneaky, she’s not quite sure what’s going on.  

     

    And while this is cruel, what is worse is that the past is now crystal clear.  Phone calls and emails to grandchildren to apologize for things that happened 13 years ago.  Knowing for certain, with absolute clarity, what she wore to that Halloween party 40 years ago.  

     

    You’re getting bolder now.  Walking, moving, becomes difficult.  You’ve stolen our walks. When we would wander the neighborhood, the park, even the mall.  The shuffling gait leads to trips, trips to falls, falls to fear, and fear, to inaction. 

     

    We ask, “What’s next?” There’s a caregiver now.  You’ve taken her ability to feed herself, and care for herself.  She’s like a small child again needing help with daily activities like brushing her teeth, and even going to the bathroom.  Unmarked boxes, full of “incontinence supplies” start showing up with the mail. Like a small child, she lashes out in anger, and frustration.  She knows things are missing. 

     

    If that wasn’t enough, you’ve taken her spirit, the very thing that made her, who she is, or was.  She lays on the bed, not knowing anyone, or anything.  There isn’t even any fighting. We know she’s gone, only her body doesn’t realize it yet.  We mourn, but we can’t fully, as we try to care for what you’ve left behind. 

     

    You’ve taken so much.  Will you ever be satisfied? 

     

    Sincerely, 

     

    molly

     

     

    We all have fears.  When i was a teen, and into my early twenties i lived in a part of the US that has high rates for MS, Multiple Sclerosis.  It was my boogeyman. Now, three people i know, two of which i went to high school with, are battling it. It doesn’t frighten me anymore. 

     

    The area i grew up in has been labeled a “cancer cluster."  Talking with classmates from high school, we’re losing parents and each other to cancer and other chronic illnesses.  i deal with this daily, it’s no longer a fear. 

     

    But Alzheimer’s.  That’s fecking scary.  My Grandmother had it; her sister had it; my mother has it; my sister's mother in law has it.  My aunt lost her husband to it last year. We’d been saying goodbye to him for three or four years 

     

    Losing ME, that’s scary. So scary that it can make me cry.   

     

    This month in the US starts a series of "Walk to End Alzheimer's" events.  You'll see commercials for it, hear stories on the news programs, they'll say that "the first survivor of Alzheimer's is out there." If you are so inclined, get a team together, volunteer at one of the events, or find a way to sponsor someone who's walking.  For more information on the Walks check here
     

     

     

    As always, my thanks to tim, @Mikiesboy, for helping me find the courage to do this in the first place xoxo

    And tonight, to AC, @AC Benus, thank you for looking at this for me xoxo

  20. This morning I woke up, pretended to eat the imaginary ice cream (green flavour!) that Goblinboy pretended to feed me, got up and fetched Baby Wolfeater from his cot, gave them milk, and went back to bed to snuggle my husband. Dashi joined us, because the best place for a lurcher to be is cuddled on our duvet, and after a little while we were invaded by our small and not so small sons. Then I got up.

     

    It's Sunday, so I abandoned my husband with the small boys, and Dashi and I went to the farm. Many people have told me I'm a lucky bastard, and trust me when I say that I believe them. Our great friends Clare and Christian have rented us (back in April) a little scrap of unused woodland with a pond in it (about an acre all in all, but not all useable) in return for one pig per year - ready for the freezer. So we built a fence (cue swearing, shouting, bleeding) and now we have pigs, six chickens in a run we got for free (score!), a greenhouses we have yet to rebuild (secondhand for nothing), a shed containing the very beginnings of a rabbit tree (meat rabbits, don't get all sappy on me), and a raised bed growing potatoes.

     

    I fed the animals, walked to Copper's field and gave him breakfast, and went for a walk with Dashi and the farm spaniels. It was a good morning.

     

    Then I came home to be greeted by all my boys.

     

    Goblinboy will be three (THREE? where did the time go?) at the end of October, and Wolfeater has just turned one. Goblinboy is all about the talking, playing pretend, the questions (Why is rain?), the learning about hammers and anvils (he's learning from his Daddy. I'm proud), and the helping with absolutely everything (anyone need a tiny gardener?). Wolfeater is walking (properly walking) and has been able to climb the stairs since six months (yeah, we've had no rest), and is busy eating whatever he can lay his hands on and trying out new word-sounds.

     

    And.... now neither of them are napping anymore, and I gotta go.

     

    Oh, and I wrote something. Kitt's been great at keeping my secrets as always. Bye y'all!

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    Recent Entries

    Superpride
    Latest Entry

    Listed below are the story cards and the ending card that you will use to create ideas for a story that you will then write down as a response to this entry.  More details are in the description of the blog.  Enjoy!

     

    Story Cards

    Child (Character)

    This Can Fly (Aspect)

    Cave (Place)

    Fire (Thing)

    Ring (Thing)

     

    Ending Card

    So the rightful ruler was placed on the throne once more.

  21. Dear G A

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    quokka
    Latest Entry

    Dear GA

    I know it has been a while, I have been in a state of nothingness this past week.

    i have just started writing again, and although I am still taking it easy, I have managed to complete another two chapters of an un finished story, which I am sure my followers will be pleased about.

    life seems to be sliding by at a rate that I can sometimes not keep track of, with me having to check my mobile phone, to see what day it is.

    i sometimes wonder what the hell have I done during my life, and the truth is stuff all really, which doesn't help with my moods.

    well that is all for now.

    Preston

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