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Everything posted by PeterSJC

  1. PeterSJC

    New for 2021

    OK, I just saw Dude's comment elsewhere, that Canterbury Tales had been re-edited. I would consider that a reason re-serialize. The recycle triangle is a bit confusing, though.
  2. PeterSJC

    New for 2021

    Well, apparently that is having the desired effect, as someone in another forum remarked that they were reading the story for the first time. That said, I have always seen this site as an archive where I can go to re-enjoy treasures from the past, and to which I can point other people to share wonderful stories that I have read, so it is hard for me to see any benefit in taking them away, even temporarily. It seems to me that your "from the past" section accomplishes this without removing anything. But of course it is your judgment call. I do appreciate the site and your labor of love.
  3. I enjoyed [re-]reading the first chapter, which seems pretty similar to the one from a few years ago. I assume there will be revisions in other parts of this collection of stories and would be interested in anything FreeThinker would like to share about what those are.
  4. What a lovely, heart-warming story! The parallel threads (David's relationships with Brian and with Tim) came together in a very satisfying resolution. I think this story is a bit unusual in that all of the villains were off-stage. The characters whom we meet all show a great measure of benevolence, something that contributed to the good feelings I got while reading. Thank you, Nigel, for this nice present to all of your readers.
  5. This boy and his dream of becoming a professional dancer (Univisión, "Primer Impacto", 24 July 2020: https://www.univision.com/shows/primer-impacto/necesita-ayuda-para-cumplir-su-sueno-ser-un-bailarin-profesional-de-ballet) reminds me of some of the best stories I have read here. (Caveat: I make no inference about the boy's sexuality, though some of his bullying schoolmates seem quite willing to make that jump.) (Summary for non-Spanish speakers: 13-year-old boy from a poor rural part of the Dominican Republic creates his own ballet space in an abandoned house and—with the help of YouTube and other Internet resources—learns and practices his art. Univisión is hoping some of its viewers will assist, but that's not why I'm posting this here. Watching him move is a pleasure.)
  6. Great story. As usual, Nigel seems to have done an impeccable job of incorporating events and mores of the time in which it was set. I always find his stories educational.
  7. Having been away from these forums, I was unaware of Chris's passing. His writings have enriched my life. The acuity and warmth with which he portrayed the human condition remains an inspiration to us all. Featuring him here this month is a fitting tribute. I look forward to re-reading some, if not all, of his stories.
  8. This wonderful story brought me to tears, with its bittersweet themes of lost childhood, lost opportunity, a budding romance that never had a chance to blossom into maturity. Bravo!
  9. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/schoolboys-detention-wearing-dresses-year-11-ysgol-gyfun-gymunedol-penweddig-aberystwyth-a8341171.html?amp=&utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral "Teenage schoolboys who wore mini-dresses on their last day of school were put in detention all day after a teacher took offence. "The Year 11 pupils, aged 15 and 16, squeezed into bodycon dresses which they wore with trainers and sports socks, and posed for a Kim Kardashian-style group picture. "But their antics were met with disapproval from the school, Ysgol Gyfun Gymunedol Penweddig, in Aberystwyth, North Wales, and the 13 boys were put in detention for the day. "The school says pupils were warned their fancy dress party should 'specifically avoid offending other pupils or be seen to offend the wider community'.­"
  10. Kevinchn, I understand that you probably won't see this—because you don't seem to have visited these fora since 2014—but I would like to add my voice to the chorus of thanks and kudos. I am in awe of realism and sensitivity with which you captured Keith's character. If you ever decide to write another story, about autism or any other subject, I hope you will consider submitting it here. At any rate, I consider this story one of the best ones here. peter
  11. Ooooohhhh, so much nicer. Thank you, William! p
  12. Oh, Cool! Thanks! I really appreciate your patient help. I sense and share your frustration. As writers, editors, and user-interface geeks, we are in the business of communication. It's hard for me to tell that the thing that vaguely looks like a squiggle next to the X is a subscript 3. None of those icons, with their elegantly subtle grey scales, is actually legible, IMO. OK, so here is a possible solution: Someone could configure away all of the horrible buttons ...and add a whole bunch of new, cooler buttons! Just a bit of visual artistry plus a SMOP, and it's done! :) [JK. Beating a hasty retreat.] p
  13. Nah, that's how I've been doing it (in Chrome under Windows). But I did find a way that works for me. Right after I paste a link, a message—which I had not previously noticed—pops up, telling me that it is about to embed but giving me a chance to display just the url. p
  14. ... and with a somewhat insincere pre-apology, I'm gonna lay down another link. I find the Only Boys Aloud rendition more moving than the one by Katherine Jenkins, because of the multitude of voices, but all of BGT drama and accolades just distract from the performance, IMO. So, here is a less decorated version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAQzsT_wXVc I've never been to Wales but feel a bit of Cymruphilia, inspired by songs like this and by Brother Hwntw's stories. Huw Jones, whom I haven't gotten to yet, is also on my list. p
  15. Yeah, I shouldn't have used that as an example. I had used Wikipedia as a quick'n'dirty way to infer a usage rule where one might not really exist. It seems to me that the trend in English is for things that were once capitalized to be put in lower case. In the case of the screw head, it was once a trade name of the Phillips Screw Company, which held the patent until it expired in 1966. And as we all know, the current version of any Wikipedia article should not be used as an authority for anything. p
  16. Cole Whoops, my bad. I should have tested the link in non-signed-in mode. I completely respect your decision not to have a FB account. FB works for me, except when I allow the addiction to take over my life, but I have railed—usually on FB itself—against the facebookization of America. The evils are too many to even begin to list here. This link should work for you: Oh, wow... the forum software just embedded my FB posting, instead of just displaying the link. I'm not sure The Dude will appreciate that as much as Zuckerberg probably does. :( For now, I'll leave this up. p
  17. "Ink in the streets"? I like your turn of phrase! As an internet fiction writer, you—not the editor—are the final reviewer. Editing software allows proposed changes to be committed or rejected. Newspapers, magazines, and academic publishers have house style guides, e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style. Their editors should make sure your work conforms. As an editor, I get most of my guidance from Wikipedia, not just from their Manual of Style (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style) but from actual articles. For instance, in a previous posting here, I wasn't sure whether to write "phillips-head" or "Phillips-head," so looked up their Screwdriver article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screwdriver. p
  18. My (American) father said it, long before I had any idea what a hobgoblin was. But Ralph Waldo Emerson (also American) said it first. The entire paragraph is worth reading: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/353571-a-foolish-consistency-is-the-hobgoblin-of-little-minds-adored It's important to note that Emerson was referring to consistency of ideas, of the fear of looking stupid because something you say today contradicts what you said yesterday. Standards, on the other hand, are about making it easy for the user of a product (the reader of a story, in our context). My Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was made in 1992, a year when GM's transition from SAE to metric bolts was incomplete. I would have no objection to that, if they had used one standard in that model and another in a different one, but they mixed them in mine, which is a minor inconvenience. Similarly, when I'm putting something back together, if I can't find one of the Phillips-head screws, I might use a slotted-head one, but it's unprofessional. My rule about spelling/punctuation consistency is this: try to spell "OK" the same way, and to use the same dash conventions—em vs en, single vs double, spaced vs non-spaced—within the same story or chapter. If I'm editing someone else's story, I go with the author's preference, sometimes determined by counting how many times she does it one way vs the other. When I edit my synagogue's monthly newsletter, I strive for a consistent look across all articles. p
  19. OK, this is an experiment. I don't have a huge FB "following," and most people aren't going to click the link, but I would be delighted if even one person discovered your work and started following it. My real reason for doing this is that I use FB to share a lot the little things I experience in life with my friends. Secondarily, when people hear that I read gay literature on the web, they sometimes jump to unwarranted—OK, sometimes they might be warranted—conclusions about what that is, and providing a few examples could save me a lot of explanation. https://www.facebook.com/peter.r.chastain/posts/10215531051406429 Please let me know if the link doesn't work. I might have to adjust my FB privacy settings. Thanks! peter
  20. Cole, it is one of my favorite stories, precisely because the characters are older—except, of course, for Tom, whom I imagine as a very hot-looking man in his twenties. As I prepare to enter my eighth decade, I am comforted by idea of second chances and mature romance. Obviously, you are right about Carl—after all, he's your character—and others keeping their self-esteem. After a lifetime of saving up hurts, I am becoming a little bit better at brushing them off. But I still think that being exposed to insults takes a toll, and that makes Tom's kindness even more important. *** Changing the subject here, I started this thread by saying that I would like link to your story from my facebook page. I was assuming that would be OK, but it occurs to me that I should ask. May I do that? Thanks, peter
  21. Well, you might be right. I will keep my eyes and mind open. This is an issue that I have never seen addressed in a style guide. I would happily follow whatever convention a guide or the author prefers. But as I have implied, in my reference to "jumping out of the page," the purpose of punctuation is to eliminate ambiguity and facilitate a reader's parsing of the material. When I encounter an em-dash, it could be one that sets off parenthetical material at the end of a sentence. Or it could be the first of a pair of em-dashes. So, I would need to scan ahead to see whether the the text following the terminator is really another sentence, or part of the same one, and whether the em-dash in that "sentence" is a single or the first of a pair. That's a lot of parsing. I will grant that it looks weird not to capitalize the first word after a question mark or exclamation point, but the convention is adopted, it will begin to look normal. As for having complete sentences within a pair of em-dashes, I would much prefer to reorder things within the paragraph, or just use parentheses or brackets instead. The rule is clear: a parenthesis that is opened inside a sentence must have a closing parenthesis inside the same sentence. Writing should not always be easy to understand, but it should be easy to parse. p
  22. Yes! Thanks so much. Aside from the general feel-good ending of the story, there are two things I really appreciate about it. As I have previously stated in these forums, most stories that I enjoy involve redemption often triggered by the intervention of another person. Tom redeems himself from his error in not firing André sooner. That's an example of redemption as we usually consider it. But as someone—Cole?—has pointed out in a different forum, my definition of redemption extends into a broader area that someone might simply call "personal growth." But in my view, Tom was the agent of redeeming both Carl and Albert from their lonely old age. Neither had done anything morally wrong, but their transformation was a redemption, nonetheless. My second point about this story is minor, but the kind of detail that makes Cole's story so enjoyable: With his eyes still sparkling with his laughter, Tom asked, “Have you decided on a wine, Carl?” “I was thinking of champagne. Do you have a suggestion?” “Yes, I do. Can you tell me what price range you’re thinking of?” Carl started smiling, and then couldn’t help himself. He began laughing again. Tom stood watching, and his infectious grin broke out. When he regained his equanimity, Carl apologized. “I’m sorry, Tom, but that just struck me as funny. Your maitre d’ made much the same comment, except his was meant to be rude and to sting. Yours was meant to make me comfortable. Such a contrast, and he’s the one who should show more maturity and professionalism. I much approve of your method.” Tom bowed his head briefly, and said, “Thank you, Carl. That’s very kind of you.” What a great illustration of the difference that kindness can make when one asks a question. Well done, Cole!
  23. Yes, great article, indeed. I want my eulogy—if I am lucky enough to have one—to include the fact that I knew when to use the hyphen, the minus-sign, the en-dash, and the em-dash; that I insisted on using them correctly in my facebook postings, SMS text messages, and things that I edit for other people; and that today—February 5, 2018—while exploring the wonderfulness of using Android voice recognition for text messages, I had a bit of a tantrum when I discovered that I could not insert an em-dash simply by saying "em-dash," similar to how I can insert a period or comma simply by saying the name of that punctuation. I tend to use the em-dash in pairs, to set off parenthetical material. I consider it the outermost "parenthesis" in a group that also includes actual perentheses and commas, all properly nested, of course. I probably over-use em-dashes, but I do like them. It seems to me that they make the parenthetical material "jump out of the page," more than parentheses and commas do. I judge writing by how easy it is to parse. I am not much in the habit of using a single em-dash to set off something at the end of a sentence or clause. For me, the a colon or even a semicolon or comma usually works as well. But I was delighted to see a nice counterexample in the last em-dash of the excerpt from Emily Dickinson. One final point: I am very glad that wvl linked to that article, because it answers a question that has always puzzled me: What should I do when the parenthetical material within the em-dashes contains a terminator, such as an exclamation point or question mark. Donald Antrium and Noreen Malone give us perfect examples: Ever since his wife had left him—but she wasn’t his wife, was she? he’d only thought of her that way, since her abrupt departure, the year before, with Richard Bishop—Jonathan... and... The problem with the dash—as you may have noticed!—is that it discourages truly efficient writing. In other words, include the "terminator" but do not capitalize the next word. I'm not sure that works in every case, but it does here. peter
  24. Sometimes my facebook page is kind of like a blog, and I want to add an occasional feature, called something like "My fiction picks from the web," primarily but not exclusively gay-themed but chosen for their universal themes that would perhaps appeal to my non-gay friends and relatives. One of my all-time favorites—I think its title was something like A table for one, but I was unable to find that with Google—is... [SPOILER ALERT...] ...An older gentleman makes a reservation for one at a French restaurant that he and his late partner had often frequented, decades earlier. The snooty maitre'd gives him a disdainful look, tells him his preferred seat is unavailable—notwithstanding that the restaurant is almost empty—and masterfully conveys with connotation the idea that the older man is not of the class of people that the restaurant would like to attract. The man accepts the ill treatment, but a young waiter intervenes, even "clocking out" so he can share a delightful meal with the older man. [OK, I think I have given enough detail here. It is such as great story, and I don't want to give it all away, if I don't have to.] The story is one of my very favorites, I hope there is a version that's not on the site that also has the pure filth in which I sometimes love to wallow, or the site with a picture of two young men, bodies pressed together but the bases of their extremities clearly visible from the side. Those things sometimes appeal to me, but probably not to the people I would like to share this with. Thanks in advance, peter
  25. Reading this story a second, and then a third, time just now, I think it must be Mihangel's best—both profound and beautifully expressive—though I may well have said that about other stories of his. Thanks to the Dude for bringing it back to our attention. [Spoiler alert] The maturity that Tom gains as he realizes that his friendship with Isaac will never deepen, the joy and subsequent pain and eventual joy that Tom feels as he gains, loses, and gains his soul mate—all of this resonates deeply in me. Well done! peter
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