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Courage by Cole Parker

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That is a nice story. If I have one criticism, it's that the wheelchair kid's vocabulary is a little verbose for a teenager, but let's assume he's extremely well-read. :hehe:

But very charming nonetheless. I once worked on a documentary about quadraplegic teenagers, and it was an emotional wringer, having to listen to the stories of what happened to these kids and how they live day-to-day. Once in awhile, when I start feeling sorry for myself, I think about those kids and realize, hey -- maybe things aren't that bad.

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Thanks, guys. I really do appreciate the very kind words.

Let me address the narrator's language. I accept all criticisms. I always have that problem, and I always take pains to at least make it plausible. In the instant case, not only did I make it clear he's done very little but read for the past two years, I stressed the point by listing the book he was currently reading. I would guess most people reading stories at this site would at least have a passing acquaintance to John Barth. He writes weighty literature. Any kid who reads his books for pleasure could certainly have and use the language that is in this story. The only really advanced word he uses, if I remember correctly, is "sedulous." One reason I included the Barth book I did is because that word appears in that book.

Is anyone going to realize this? Of course not. It's simply an idiosyncrasy of mine, having kids speak like I wish kids did speak. I'm not around kids enough to be able to write in their argot. The ones I am around speak proper English to adults, and so I don't get to hear their peculiar vernacular well enough to reproduce it. And if I did manage to write as the very precocious ones speak, none of us my age would understand it!

But I'm probaby sounding too defensive, and I don't mean to. I recognize this as a weakness, but do the best I can with it.

I'm delighted people are reading and enjoying the story.

Cole

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Thanks, guys. I really do appreciate the very kind words.

Let me address the narrator's language. I accept all criticisms. I always have that problem, and I always take pains to at least make it plausible. In the instant case, not only did I make it clear he's done very little but read for the past two years, I stressed the point by listing the book he was currently reading. I would guess most people reading stories at this site would at least have a passing acquaintance to John Barth. He writes weighty literature. Any kid who reads his books for pleasure could certainly have and use the language that is in this story. The only really advanced word he uses, if I remember correctly, is "sedulous." One reason I included the Barth book I did is because that word appears in that book.

Is anyone going to realize this? Of course not. It's simply an idiosyncrasy of mine, having kids speak like I wish kids did speak. I'm not around kids enough to be able to write in their argot. The ones I am around speak proper English to adults, and so I don't get to hear their peculiar vernacular well enough to reproduce it. And if I did manage to write as the very precocious ones speak, none of us my age would understand it!

But I'm probaby sounding too defensive, and I don't mean to. I recognize this as a weakness, but do the best I can with it.

I'm delighted people are reading and enjoying the story.

Cole

Cole, You have no need to be defensive. It doesn't seem to be a weakness to me. I think that reading a story should encourage a little research, a discovery of new words as well as seeing familiar words used in a different and sometimes uncommon way. That you manage to do this without lecturing your reader is one of your writing's strong points, (amongst many others).

Your desire for authenticity is also appreciated. It ads a sense of realism at the same time as it helps the reader to suspend disbelief. Well done.

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That is a nice story. If I have one criticism, it's that the wheelchair kid's vocabulary is a little verbose for a teenager, but let's assume he's extremely well-read. :hehe:

Sometimes kids that have been sick or otherwise immobilized for an extended period of time, read a lot just to stave off the boredom.

A kid that I knew growing up got sick with a rare nerve disorder [Guillain-Barr? Strohl Syndrome] and was homebound and missed school for over a year. During that time he discovered Tolkien and read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy... about a dozen times. It had a very definite impact on his vocabulary.

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But I'm probably sounding too defensive, and I don't mean to. I recognize this as a weakness, but do the best I can with it.

No, no -- I said the kid sounded a little verbose. No way did I intend this to be taken as a slam. It's a terrific story, very unusual, and a terrific idea, and the dialog is fine.

I gotta say, I caught on quick that the kid was in a chair by a few tips early on, but maybe I was on my guard already. I think the concept of having a handicapped gay kid is a unique idea, and the story was good enough to make me stop and think, "jesus, what would that be like... having to live with two tough challenges to deal with as a teenager?" As it is, I often quote John Cleese's classic line from Fawlty Towers where he shakes his fist at the sky and sarcastically yells, "oh, thank you very much, God! Thank you so f@cking much!" And that's how I deal with my piddly-wink problems.

I could argue that it's a little too convenient that each kid would have an incredibly-understanding mom who have no problem trying to get their teenage sons laid -- excuse me, have a friendship -- but at some point, the reader has to throw in the towel and just suspend their disbelief. I want to believe it could happen, so what the hell.

In fact, I could definitely see this going further. You might want to think of extending this out to a full novel. Maybe the wheelchair kid could somehow help the running kid train (though how that would work would require some doing). Maybe the wheelchair kid could get some miracle operation to give him a little more mobility. It'd be interesting to see the wheelchair kid forcing himself to go back to high school, and have to deal with trying to fit in (plus having the additional challenge of being gay). Maybe each kid could have their romance challenged by other people, or want to cool things off because of their fear of being discovered. There's a lotta different directions you could go with this.

BTW, Cole, I didn't compliment your use of mood and description, which I thought were excellent. The stuff about the light and shadow on the porch were very moody, and I also liked the running kid's speech impediment. I actually know someone who has similar problems, and despite years of speech therapy, he's still hard to understand -- yet is a great guy (with wife and kids and the whole deal).

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I gotta say, I caught on quick that the kid was in a chair by a few tips early on, but maybe I was on my guard already. I think the concept of having a handicapped gay kid is a unique idea, and the story was good enough to make me stop and think, "jesus, what would that be like... having to live with two tough challenges to deal with as a teenager?"

It's not a scenario that's been used a lot, but Grasshopper had such a character in "Just Hit Send" and there's another story (which I haven't read yet) over at GA called "Love in a chair". There's still plenty of scope for stories in this area, though. I remember another short story that involved a gay character who was deaf and mute -- pick any challenge that someone can be subjected to, and there will be a percentage that are gay....

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As a teen I really enjoyed Courage. There are several messages in the story that are important: despite handicaps, people (and teens) have lives to lead that can include love; parents today (at least in some parts of the U.S.) are much more accepting of their gay children than in the past; some teens have a more verbose vocabulary than most teens and adults.

The only really advanced word he uses, if I remember correctly, is "sedulous."

Cole, there are a lot of words in The Sot-Weed Factor other than "sedulous" that a teen would be likely to remember. I suggest that Sam would have picked one of the more risque words. :hehe:

Colin :hehe:

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In fact, I could definitely see this going further. You might want to think of extending this out to a full novel.

I've been very surprised that I've gotten this comment, in one for or another, for every short story I've written. I take this as about the highest form of praise I could receive. It tells me I'm creating characters that are interesting, compelling even, that people want to know more about. What more could a writer ask than that?

As for actually doing that, extending the story to novel length, that would be problematic for me, and something I've always rejected. When I start a story, either a novel or short story, I do so with an objective in mind, a point I want to make or explore. I then tailor the characers and events to dramatically color that end. After the goal has been reached, to go further with the story would require me to invent something out of whole cloth, and I don't think I could do a very good job of that. I know lots of people do, that this is the stuff of which sequels are made (no matter how much certain rodents doth protest!) and very inventive writers do wonderful things in this genre. It's generally not what I'm about, however. I enjoy coming up with ideas, figuring out ways to best present them, and then working from there. Continuing after the fact isn't something I think I'd be much good at. I will say, however, I regret leaving my characters as much as many readers seem to regret seeing them disappear. These boys become very real to me, and it often hurts me to let them go. I imagine most writers feel this; I most certainly do. I invest a lot of time and emotion in all my guys. When I pull the plug on them, I do so telling myself that they have now earned their privacy.

As for your remark about using mood and description, light and shadow to create mood on the porch, I'm delighted you noticed what I was doing there. One of several purposes of this story was to spotlight how friends can make all the difference in a teen's life. The opening sequence was a visual metaphor for the entire story. It showed a boy running out of the dark, into the light. That is indeed what takes place in the story, as two boys, both living in the shadows, dare to face their challenges together, and in having the courage to do so, come into the light together. This is reinforced by the shadows on the porch when they talk; as they progress, some light from the house illuminates Tope and highlights the beginning of the lifting of both their spirits. My feelings as I wrote this were, while the imagery is interesting in itself, the metaphor itself was way too vague for it to be detected.

Cole

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Read it, loved it.

Now this story was brilliant, like Duck Duck Goose (yes, I know, I read them in the wrong order). But unlike DDG this one started off surprising rather than becoming so gradually. What a great setting. Like others I loved the atmosphere that you gave it, I could feel the cool night air out on the stoop at sunset. And like others I felt these two very nice guys had only just begun. Plenty of scope for extending the story if you chose to do so. But you wanted to give them their privacy and I can respect that. And it gives me exercise for my imagination...!

Thanks for wonderful writing, Cole.

Bruin

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You know, I just thought of this: Cole Parker may not be Cole at all. That may be a nickname; and he is really Peter Parker, and he weaves webs of words wonderfully.

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I came late to this party, and the best of course has been said. I just wanted to add that this is

my favorite Cole Parker story, and one I return to whenever there is a lull in my usually full

dance card of stories.

Nice work Cole. You're a genius! :wink:

Tracy

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I came late to this party, and the best of course has been said. I just wanted to add that this is

my favorite Cole Parker story, and one I return to whenever there is a lull in my usually full

dance card of stories.

Nice work Cole. You're a genius! :wink:

Tracy

You got that right Tracy! :lol::hug:

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I'm surprised I never added a comment on this one. I did send Cole a private e-mail to the effect that it's extremely rare for someone with a spinal cord injury to be paralyzed and yet have fully normal sexual function. The sexual organs are innervated by the lowest segments of the spinal cord - well below the lower limbs - and these along with bowel and bladder control tend to recover long after ambulation returns. The one possible exception is something called Cauda Equina Syndrome which is usually even more dire when it comes to sexual function unless the person is extremely lucky. In this scenario, it is the spinal nerves, which look like a horses tail, hence the name, rather than the spinal cord itself, which are crushed in the injury. Usually, cauda equina syndrome has a good prognosis because spinal nerves, unlike the spinal cord itself, can and do regenerate - it just takes a year for the nerve fibers to regrow the length of one's legs, and these people will walk again - after a fashion. If the injury is severe enough to damage the cauda equina sufficiently that the nerves cannot grow back, usually the conus medularis - the bottom segment of the spinal cord - is also damaged and along with it, any hope of sexual function or bowel and bladder control. The bottom line is that this character was extremely lucky - his cauda equina was damaged, but the injury must have just missed his conus medularis.

But enough of the technical mumbo jumbo! Cole, this was a delightful story involving two people with disabilities. I loved it! :hug:

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Wow, what great information, and how nice of you, Altimexis to take the time to tell

us. I'm a glutton for inside information, or where ever you might have picked up that

more-than-passing-glance info. You have my sincere thanks.

It will certainly bother Cole more than it will me, as this is my favorite CP story,

and nothing is likely to change that. Though I know you might be tempted to stop

writing now Cole, don't. :hug:

Tracy

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It's not a scenario that's been used a lot, but Grasshopper had such a character in "Just Hit Send" and there's another story (which I haven't read yet) over at GA called "Love in a chair". There's still plenty of scope for stories in this area, though. I remember another short story that involved a gay character who was deaf and mute -- pick any challenge that someone can be subjected to, and there will be a percentage that are gay....

I find that the charcters who are disadvantaged only have more obvious disadvantages. We all have our quirks. I have two stories with disadvantaged boys. Blind Sensations obviously features a British boy transplanted to the states who is blind. The other story is still in progress, Roll Call about the relationship between a boy who is a bit fem and a boy who is an amputee.

I think it's important to show they can love and be loved like anyone else.

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I find that the charcters who are disadvantaged only have more obvious disadvantages. We all have our quirks. I have two stories with disadvantaged boys. Blind Sensations obviously features a British boy transplanted to the states who is blind. The other story is still in progress, Roll Call about the relationship between a boy who is a bit fem and a boy who is an amputee.

I think it's important to show they can love and be loved like anyone else.

Welcome Ricky, nice to see you here and it's good to see you joining in the discussions.

You are right, it is important to show that love is not disabled in the disadvantaged.

I agree we all have our quirks, as you put it, but some of us are quirkier than others. :lol:

Now just where are your stories? :icon_twisted:

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