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About Merkin

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    Virginia USA
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    breathing in...breathing out

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  1. Sex in novels

    Writing gay fiction aimed toward a receptive audience has very nearly become an apples and oranges undertaking, with some readers committed to seeking out stories stuffed with sex scenes while other readers are mostly interested in savoring the romantic interactions and aspirations of the main characters. Any extended perusal of Nifty soon reveals that writers long ago ran out of new and inventive ways of describing how one person’s Part A can fit into someone else’s Part B. Even multiplying the number of people involved appears to have stretched the writing imagination as far as it can go, short of dismembering the participants. Romance, however, seems to spring eternal, and the possibilities may be inexhaustible. Writers interested in lengthy careers and building an expanding fan base might do well to consider the rewards of examining love over lust.
  2. How the Internet changed the way we write

    Thanks, FreeThinker, for the link. A lot of what that writer states makes me wince. I find it amusing that he claims to have written a 'style book' for what he brags is a constantly changing language and grammar. I think the most curious claim he makes is this: ' Prescriptivism (i.e., following the rules) has the potential to make a piece of writing seem dated or stodgy.' In my opinion, there is nothing that dates a written work and makes it awkward or even hilarious to read than a writer who insists on using what he perceives to be the "youthspeak" of a generation where he does not have personal experience. That is the precise condition that 'following the rules' permits us to avoid, by providing a level playing field for our written communication and story-telling. Bah, humbug!
  3. God's Plan for Mike Pence

    Too plausible to ignore:’s-plan-for-mike-pence/ar-BBGfo6g?li=BBnbcA1&ocid=mailsignout
  4. The Frost Covered Marker

    This incredibly moving story deserves far wider circulation to a far greater audience.
  5. Australia votes YES for same sex marriage

    I love the concept of a Conscience Vote. If only our Congress had the same provision. But I doubt any lobby or moneyed interest would ever release a congressman. Plus I highly doubt any of them have a conscience...
  6. Another Day

    Y’know, I had an entirely different take on Andrew’s willingness to be pushed around, when he might well have been able to do it himself. I read it as a kind of sorting mechanism, a way for Andrew to discover who might be truly willing to befriend him. And so it proved to be, and both Thomas and Percy became more to Andrew than friendly bystanders, in Thomas’s case much more. I thought that was a very adroit piece of writing.
  7. Another Day

    This touching pair of masterfully-written stories reminds us that young boys have fully-developed human emotions. I am so glad that Alien Son has given us the perfect follow-on to the first story, which until now had left a bitter-sweet taste of loss through gain.
  8. Need To Impeach

    Just don't forget that Mike Pence is waiting in the wings. There's a fascinating profile that, for me, reveals the dire threat this man would be to our nation if he ever were to become president. It's in the October 23rd issue of The New Yorker magazine: "The President Pence Delusion". Well worth a glance.
  9. Good Parenting

    Wow. I was all set to use this space to applaud your first example, then your second view of parenting went up and I broke out in a cold sweat. Ten year-old boys give full meaning to the adage ‘Their reach exceeds their grasp’. I always believed I was more mature than my age and abilities when I was a kid—what kid doesn’t ?—and usually it was the good sense of my parents that saved me from jumping off the barn with a bedsheet cape on. This story is a much more serious example of that foolhardiness, abetted by a parent reliving her own childhood fantasies which apparently were blocked by her own safety-conscious parents, whatever their religious bigotries. Now that she has “grown up” and thinks of herself as a supermom who has learned to swear, she believes that she must prove over and over again that she is no helicopter parent and that her child is really only a miniature adult. We pay the price every day for our half-baked notions of what personal freedom to do asshole things means in our wrecked culture, and this is an outstanding example of how to enable children to grow up just as ego-bizarre as this parent is.
  10. As we get closer and closer to our annual spooky commemoration of Hallowe’en, the sweets shakedown holiday, don’t neglect to take a look at Mike’s delicious selection of twisted tales and scary stories for this month as featured in the Dude’s Picks section of the home page. Many of these will be old favorites, some perhaps new discoveries that may keep you up with the lights on. This has always been a holiday we Family members have long enjoyed, since it not only provides an excuse to dress up and act out, it also gives the closeted among us an opportunity to hide in plain sight. Happy Hallowe’en!
  11. Benz by Rick Beck

    I read it one installment at a time and chafed, CHAFED at the end of each chapter. Far better to read it all at once. Odd how we all, with so much evidence to the contrary, want so desperately to believe in our criminal justice system, and how bent out of shape we get when we learn about blatant injustice...
  12. A timely, awful reminder that cannot be ignored. Thankfully, there is light at the end of this tunnel.
  13. Notes

    “Notes” is a wonderful capture of what I remember passing notes entailed: the dread of interception and the fear of discovery resulting in life-ending embarrassment, the delicious perception of the total risk of leaving a paper trail… I fear that today’s easy access to texting has diminished and cheapened this thrill, as it has so much of human interaction.
  14. Another Summer in Georgia

    I think it may depend upon the extent to which you ring changes to the facts, and how “public” these facts are. If you tweak a fact or two for a better fit for your plot I think most readers will go along with it, especially if you take the time to alert them to the altered reality before or after your tale is told. Too big of a twist and you are writing fantasy, and should announce your work as such. Most of our stories are “private” in the sense that they concern and affect individuals within small settings, and so we give free rein to our imaginations as writers, since nothing that we are relating will change the course of history.
  15. Another Summer in Georgia

    Dang! This wonderfully entertaining tale by Cole Parker reaches its end. “Another Summer In Georgia” provides us with an enormously satisfying sequel to its first part, and shows us extraordinary development in the relationship between Colt and Jim, while Jarrod emerges as a significant character in his own right. I can barely wait to read what will happen in the next part of this series.