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Naptown Tales

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I have been thoroughly enchanted by this ever growing short story collection. You can access it via AD, under Author Altimexis, or get there as I did, via Codey's World at http://www.codeysworld.com/altimexis/napto...ales/index.html

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Well, it's probably not good form to reply to one's own story forum to generate interest, but Hell, if no one else is going to start some discussion, I might as well. Please note, if you haven't already read my stories, there are spoilers ahead:

What we have in Naptown Tales is a collection of independent but interrelated short stories that take place in the suburbs of a middle-sized Midwestern city. Some of the stories, such as Broad Ripple Blues are mostly feel-good stories, but even these carry some sort of message. For example, Broad Ripple Blues carries the message that it's easier to come out on ones own terms. By proactively coming out at the start of high school, David and Jeremy faced homophobia together, as in Back to School Jitters, and were able to become role models for other gay kids. It doesn't always work this way in real life, but sometimes the only thing that's lacking is courage.

I got a fair bit of feedback on A Dance to Remember that a school principal would never condone a deliberate provocation - even if by friends of the provoked - to create sympathy. That said, the ruse worked and same sex couples were accpted at the Homecoming dance. Way to go, but is it real? The whole Gay Prom movement has arisen in major cities because most school districts, even in the most liberal areas, will not accept same sex couples at school dances. This is without question a violation of civil rights and everyone knows it and everyone feels powerless to do anything about it.

In Educating My Parents, young Trevor faces a dilemma. Caught up in the moment at the Homecoming dance and having outed himself by dancing with Dave Reynolds, he knows it's only a matter of time before his Evangelical parents find out, so he knows he has to tell them, but how? Trever is your typical computer geek, and so he concocts an elaborate scheme in which his parents "discover" a trace of carefully selected websites that he hopes will lead them to conclude that he's questioning his sexuality, he's conflicted, and that he really has no choice in the matter. What he didn't know is that although his computer doesn't have any parental controls or spyware installed, his father has been using their firewall to trace his son's surfing habits for years.

Halloween Hero is a personal favorite creation of mine. Told from the POV of a straight boy who is forced to choose between his best friend and his gay brother, it quickly builds momentum as their family disintegrates around them. I know that some readers have found the ending to be somewhat formulaic; perhaps it did deserve more time. In any case, I didn't see much point in belaboring the conclusion once the house of cards started to fall. Halloween Hero was written in its entirety in a single sitting. It came to me in an instant and it is one of the most enjoyable pieces I've ever written.

My First Thanksgiving begins a two-part ordeal in what will undoubtedly be one of the most controversial stories posted on this site. When Dude read it, his first impression was, to paraphrase, 'we don't like to discuss religion on this site, and I hope you are not concluding the series with these stories.' Some of my editors and readers have told me they are outright in awe of these stories, and others have told me they hope people get out of them what I hoped to convey. I cannot overemphasize the trouble to which I have gone to insure sensitivity to cultural and religious differences in the presentation of these two stories. Because I am Jewish myself, I wanted to be sure that I was being fair in every way possible to the Muslim character in my story. I therefore put out an appeal for Muslim editors and beta readers and eventually selected Fun Tails as a Muslim editor, and BeaStKid as a northern Indian editor, the two together giving me as close an approximation as possible to having a Pakistani editor as I was likely to achieve.

The impetus for My first Thanksgiving came from a colleague of mine, who immigrated to America from Pakistan and became one of the first to be granted asylum as a gay man because he had been sentenced to death by stoning for being caught in the act of having sex with another man. Using the fundamentals of his story, I concocted a similar premise, but with a pair of young teenage Pakistani boys. My First Thanksgiving traces the plight of Altaf as he makes his way to America, falls in love with Randy Bernstein and is faced with adapting to a new and strange culture. Invited with his mother to the Bernsteins for Thanksgiving, at first Muslim-Jewish tensions flare at the dinner table, only to be supplanted by the revelation that he and Randy are boyfriends.

The Un-Christmas started out to be a light-hearted look at Christmas from the viewpoint of a couple of non-Christians, but ended up being anything but light-hearted. When Altaf immigrated to America, he left his first boyfriend behind in Pakistan to face death by stoning alone. Refused burial, Fareed's parents had little choice but to turn to the Hindus for cremation, unbeknownst to Altaf. Though not forgotten, Altaf had largely put Fareed out of his mind until one day when he received a package that turned out to be Fareed's ashes. Consumed by guilt, he lashed out at Randy, at first causing Randy to fight back. But then something amazing happened. Turning to the very institutions that spurned Altaf and Fareed, he found a message of hope and love. Together the boys rediscovered religion as they laid Fareed's remains to rest and as the world around them celebrated Christmas. I am particularly proud of what I accomplished in writing this piece.

Finally, there is A New Year Resolution. This being the Midwest, things couldn't be expected to go smoothly for the teens of Naptown. When young Trevor heard the pastor of his church call him a sinner in his Sunday sermon, his eyes saw red. Not only that, but the pastor started a petition drive to have the high school's GSA banned and to remove certain text books from the curriculum. Fortunately, help came from an unexpected source - the pastors gay son.

So, will there be additional Naptown tales? As long as there is intolerance toward gay youth, I expect that there will be inspiration for me to write further. I have two more stories in the works currently that I expect to publish this spring. The first will be titled "All My Heart", and will be told from the POV of a straight girl who falls in love with a straight boy - well, at least that's what it will look like at the beginning. I'm not going to give anything else away for now. The second will be titled "Class Election" and will be about Dave Reynold's bid to become next year's sophomore class president.

Anyway, please feel free to comment on my stories, or to hijack this thread if you want to. :wink:

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Well now, I'm hardly going to hijack a thread I started myself, and frankly, I don't think that's a physically possible act, much like some of the other suggestions I've been told to do. :icon_twisted:

In a way it's too bad that people don't respond more to story threads, but then, I guess it is the same with commercially published books and stories, the authors don't get much feedback there either. I must say though, you've done not only an excellent job on those stories, but also on your thread post on them. I think anyone who doesn't read is short changing themselves quite dramatically.

I eagerly await new 'instalments'. :blush: :blush: :blush:

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Well now, I'm hardly going to hijack a thread I started myself, and frankly, I don't think that's a physically possible act, much like some of the other suggestions I've been told to do. :blush:

In a way it's too bad that people don't respond more to story threads, but then, I guess it is the same with commercially published books and stories, the authors don't get much feedback there either. I must say though, you've done not only an excellent job on those stories, but also on your thread post on them. I think anyone who doesn't read is short changing themselves quite dramatically.

I eagerly await new 'instalments'. :blush: :blush: :blush:

I thnk there would be more discussion if each story had a link to the discussion topic on the AD forum. There's a PM comment form at the end of each story or chapter, but that doesn't invite the kind of discussion that would occur if more people came to the forum when reading a story. Make it easy! If they aren't members, they can sign up. Anyway, that's my opinion.

BTW, I've loved the Naptown Tales since I started reading them way back when the original Broad Ripple Blues was posted elsewhere. They sure look good on AD and on CW!

Colin :icon_twisted:

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Altimexis:

I've told you several times that I really like these stories, and I'll say it here publicly. They are great, and I look forward to each new episode.

I'm glad you're going to bring Dave Reynolds back. I grew very attached to him when this all began, and though he's shown up in other tales, having another based on his doings is very welcome.

C

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