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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. You got me with the shape-shifting slugs.
  2. Merkin

    The Education of Tyler Prescott

    Alan, I’m impressed by the care that has gone into writing this very complex story. The story of Billy was in itself a heart-breaker to read and I’m sure, to write. The long road back from that terrible experience was so filled with lows and occasional highs that, reading it chapter by chapter, each week I had no real confidence that Tyler was going to make it. Even the eventual outcome seemed a torturous, drawn-out experience, filled with important self-discoveries gained at the cost of time and postponed commitment. The story, for me, actually ends at the moment of insight and decision that occurs a week into Tyler’s first semester at college, for he has finally come to terms with himself and with the life path that lies ahead. Thanks for writing it.
  3. Merkin

    Trials and Tribulations of Being 13

    Oh, right, we'll all stop reading after Part One. Coleitus Interruptus indeed. As though we have not all been there before. Like Oliver Twist himself, we shall always come forward trembling, bowl in hand, and beg Mr. Parker: "Please, sir, I want some more". 😇
  4. Merkin


    At the risk of saying something really stupid, I’m on the side of the helpless lady depicted above. I believe technology should be designed to accommodate to the most inept among us, with warnings and prompts galore built in to guide, counsel, and complete our efforts to make it work. I confess I started out with pen on lined paper, and only later graduated with reluctance to the typewriter, carbon paper, and White-Out. I never felt that I was obliged to become a typewriter technician but I did learn how to clean the letter-face strikers, and that was all I needed to master in order to use the damn machine. Now, in this modern era, the computer is both my best friend and my worse enemy. I am expected to understand processes that are hidden from me and to know stuff that ranks along with clearing a kitchen drain or changing an automobile tire in my level of interest and devotion. I think every Help Desk should be free or supported out of our tax dollars, should be manned by fluent English speakers, and everyone who are recruited to sit at the end of those telephones to answer my ridiculous questions should be required to take a life-vow to protect and defend their helpless clients.
  5. Merkin

    On Writing Blocks and How to Avoid Them

    These are two great sets of comment on writing, and taken together they are almost a complete manual on how to move a manuscript from start to finish. For me, these suggestions boil down to attitude and persistence: a writer has got to believe in what he is writing about, and he has to try many routes to get to the end he has had in sight from the start. Thanks, Jason and Cole, for taking the time and making the effort to explain how the process works for you.
  6. When I come up for reincarnation, if I get a choice I'm going to ask for Walnut Creek, CA. I think I'd really enjoy it's lovely scenery, amenities, and gay-friendly atmosphere, even if I come back as a bug next time around. If I can afford it, that is. Jeesh! You guys pay more for a pound of coffee than I spent on my coffee maker 20 years ago. Although I quite agree--grinding the whole pound at one time at home only to store it makes no sense. Other than that, the Mathews parents seem to know what they are doing and I think Chris lucked-out big time. ( P.S. Colin, I hope the twins will soon be the heroes of a story of their own!)
  7. Merkin


    Lovely poem. (Adding 'by' clears it up for me, Camy. Thanks)
  8. Merkin

    Medical Exam

  9. Merkin

    Going for the Gold by Cole Parker

    Cole wraps up this lovely story and, as usual, it begs for a sequel. Sigh. Little chance of that, right Cole? I'll have to be content with this one. I so like to read about thoughtful boys. This story could be a handbook for young gay guys on how to set standards for oneself and then work it out.
  10. “Raising Boys” Series in Washington Post ‘In light of the past year’s news of rampant sexual misconduct by some powerful and famous men, Washington Post journalists asked the question: How do we raise boys? To find out, we searched the country, talking to boys, parents and experts about what it’s like to be a boy today.’ This important three-part series examines three age stages in the development of American boys: Age 8, Ages 11-12, and Age 17. It is well worth our attention. Sadly, this investigation does not so far incorporate the particular issues confronting boys who discover they are gay, bi, or trans, although the Age 8 article includes a short video showing a father raising a young biracial trans boy. However, it is important to recognize the milieu within which GLBT youth must cope and survive, for it is the reality of our culture today. Although initially I read these articles out-of-order, I think reading them in chronological order is most rewarding. Age 8 https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/lifestyle/being-a-boy-age-8/?utm_term=.46e6b9aa9510 Ages 11-12 https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/lifestyle/being-a-boy-ages-11-and-12/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.11aa302892ec Age 17 https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/lifestyle/being-a-boy-age-17/?utm_term=.143bc6812408
  11. Merkin

    That's not English?

    ‘able’ is clearly related to ‘capable’ and made famous by the palindrome ‘Able was I ere I saw Elba’ often erroneously attributed to Napoleon.
  12. Merkin

    That's not English?

    In classrooms rules for writing and speaking English necessarily are fixed, for the convenience of teaching beginning speakers and writers useful conventions. The undertakings of business and law depend upon strict adherence to these conventions in order for contracts and lawsuits to have meaning. The same is true for much of human endeavor, no matter what language is used to express our need to communicate accurately and without misinterpretation. However, the same requirements do not apply when it comes to the world of creative expression. Here English is necessarily a fluid language, with usage constantly being reinvented and revised. One has only to read poetry, or listen to lyrics, to realize that the ability to invent new ways of expressing the language is part of what makes these media rich and rewarding. We find this inventiveness in Chaucer, in Shakespeare, and on and on throughout the body of our received literature and song. It is a wonderful evolution.
  13. Merkin

    "All Mine" by Dabeagle

    Sometimes when I see a new Sanitaria Springs story go up over on Dabeagle’s site I get anxious and feel as though I will need to quick skim all of the previous 104 (!!) stories in the series in order to make sense out of the characters and the events portrayed in the new one. It’s a challenge to keep up, even though I know I’m going to love the new story just as I do the rest of them. Well, I’m more than happy to report that a new Sanitaria tale has been posted, and you won’t need to reread any of the rest in order to appreciate it. It explains itself internally and can stand alone as a great piece of storytelling. “All Mine” is by Dabeagle himself, and this tale will warm your heart even if you’ve never visited the Springs before now. http://www.dabeagle.net/stories/dabeagle/sanitaria_springs/allmine.html
  14. Merkin

    Disorder in Court

    Wonderful. And oh so true.
  15. Merkin

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Sadly, this is only one instance among thousands. Many will go undiagnosed and untreated. Some will lead to even more tragedy.