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Rick Beck's Redemption


Trab

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What I love the most about Rick's Outside The Foul Lines series is how real he makes the baseball practices and games. Makes me feel like I'm there, participating.

Colin :hehe:

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I know what you mean, Colin. Mind you, the thread isn't about that story, but the point is the same. Rick's descriptive abilities, both physical and emotional, make his stories very real and immediate.

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I'm in awe at 'redemption.' This is as good as any writing i've seen on the net, bar none. Further, i'm very grateful to have found out what happened at the close of 'Farmhand.' This gives me a nice sense of closure with the tale.

Have to admit that I'm not as big a fan of 'outside the foul lines' as I have been with the rest of Rick's work, but I still read it every time there's a new chapter. When i'm not reading it, I think 'Well, he's just telling us the story, not showing us. There's no sense of immediacy that I associate with really good writing..." and then I read the next chapter and find myself getting pulled in anyway. I think it's the voice that he uses, that of Dooley, that does it for me. I don't know.

cheers!

aj

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I have mixed thoughts on Redemption.

It's well written, of course, good style and characterization, I just feel that the story went nowhere and was unnecessary.

The picture we get of life on the farm after the events of The Farmhand isn't any different from what we were lead to believe it would be like at the end of that story. There were no surprises in the fates of any of the characters, except for the marriage and the son, but even that wasn't of much consequence.

As for the reunion of the two old lovers in the whirlwind. I kept thinking it was so wrong and that if they were going to be together anywhere, it would be only fitting that they be together at the farm.

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What makes that interesting, is that I never read The Farmhand, and went straight into Redemption, not even realizing that there is a prequel.

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That's too bad, Trab, because The Farmhand was a wonderful piece of writing and storytelling, one of the best I've seen on the net. It's too bad because some of the drama of it has been stripped away if you've read The Redemtption first.

I thought the latter was also well written, but I have to agree with Fun. It didn't seem to say much, and what it did say was somewhat depressing. Perhaps it was just that after The Farmhand, I was eagerly expecting more of the same.

It was still great writing. I just would have loved to see the sparkle of it's predecessor repeated. Only my opinion, of course. Others here have said it was marvelous, and I won't argue at all about that.

C

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What makes that interesting, is that I never read The Farmhand, and went straight into Redemption, not even realizing that there is a prequel.

That's too bad, Trab, because The Farmhand was a wonderful piece of writing and storytelling, one of the best I've seen on the net. It's too bad because some of the drama of it has been stripped away if you've read The Redemption first.

I thought the latter was also well written, but I have to agree with Fun. It didn't seem to say much, and what it did say was somewhat depressing. Perhaps it was just that after The Farmhand, I was eagerly expecting more of the same.

It was still great writing. I just would have loved to see the sparkle of it's predecessor repeated. Only my opinion, of course. Others here have said it was marvelous, and I won't argue at all about that.

C

I read Redemption without having read The Farmhand first. I don't feel that I missed out. In fact, based on Cole's comment about Redemption being depressing I'm glad I didn't read The Farmhand first. I didn't think that Redemption was depressing. I thought it was sad, and yet joyous in a way because Bob and his father arrive at a resolution of their strained relationship, the reason his father ignored him after his mother died is explained, and the details of his father's relationship with Seth are revealed to Bob. If I'd read about all this already I don't think Redemption would have impressed me as much as it did. Now I can go back and read The Farmhand and enjoy it, even though I've read the spoiler of spoilers already.

Colin :hehe:

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To me, it was depressing because of the way Robert treated his child, after having been treated poorly by his own father. I really liked Robert and felt achingly for him when Sven died. I was shocked to find how kaolinitic his feet were in the later story, to find he'd treated his own child as abysmally as he'd been treated. I was saddened to learn the figure I'd held in such esteem was so terribly human after all, and disturbed that he didn't learn some lesson from his own childhood that would have led him to do better with his own son.

As much as The Farmhand lifted my spirits in that Robert overcame so much and perservered, and even when he was shattered by his great loss he was able to soldier on, it was depressing to see how he couldn't give some of that spirit back to his child, some of the love he had in abundance. His reason for not doing so, to me, was empty of the love and feelings he'd been shown to have in the former story.

Just my take on it, of course. Others could have a completely differnt read on it and still be correct. I tend to feel for the child in most instances, and was dissappointed a man I so admired failed in the one responsibilty that all fathers share.

C

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I tend to feel for the child in most instances, and was dissappointed a man I so admired failed in the one responsibilty that all fathers share.

Ah, but the power of good writing is that you cared so much about the characters, the story affected you this strongly. You have to hand it to Rick for achieving that with a completely fictional story, even if the message was ultimately depressing.

I agree that the motivation for the father's detached attitude towards his son was kind of lacking, and his explanations were limited. But I've met people like this in my life, so there's no denying that people like this exist.

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Ah, but the power of good writing is that you cared so much about the characters, the story affected you this strongly. You have to hand it to Rick for achieving that with a completely fictional story, even if the message was ultimately depressing.

Oh, I certainly agree. Powerful and moving writing. If I had a complaint, it was the figure of one story was so diminished, so changed, in the second. I never said that it wasn't realistic. In fact, what happened here is probably more likely than his spirit could remain undaunted after his tragedy.

C

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  • 4 months later...
Guest Brandon T.

Haha. Masterful is my favorite word to describe anything Rick Beck writes. He's the end-all, be-all for me in this genre. I have not read this one yet, but I'm off to do that right now. Read the Farmhand, had me gripped and sitting upside down by the end of it. He leaves no character unchanged or untouched in his writing. He alters everything with those magic fingers of his, pulling out them these emotions that don't fight the flow of the story or the flow of the character. So often in online fiction, you get moments where the writer overreaches and pulls too much from a character and that ruins a scene of what could be great emotional honesty and fidelity to the events in the character's life. Which leaves the reader trudging through whiney characters or characters who complain endlessly. Or emotional ambivalence to the point where you just want to bite your fingertips off. Because the characters vascillate SOOOO MUCH. And really, their conflicts aren't even that bad! It's like watching my mother trying to pick blue or red of the same shoe in the store a lot of times when characters get emotional in online stories. But Rick Beck doesn't d that. His characters and how they feel are so organic with the overall story and the overall feel of the work that their emotions and thoughts enhance the reading.

He's great. Can't wait to read this. =)

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  • 4 months later...

This is a great thread, guys. I don't know if any of you are aware that Rick is legally blind, and

the limited sight he has is spent reading his mail, and of course, writing. I am going to send some of this to him in larger type, as I think he will be encouraged by it, and who gets too much of that?

Obviously, I think he's everything you say, and more.

Tracy

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was a pleasure delivering your comments to Rick, Everyone, matched only by my pleasure

in bringing this back.

Rick says:

'It is particularly gratifying that respected writers enjoy my efforts at expanding the conversation about what it means to be a gay man. I do my best to draw on my own experiences and knowledge of the men I've known to bring them into the discussion. The email I receive is the fuel for my work and it expands again my understanding of the complex male state of mind. We do not wear labels well and just when you think you know it all, you discover the tip of a new, previously unidentified faceted emerging from someone on the other end of an email.

'I can't ever know what it means to be a gay man. I'll continue to search and to write about people who defy labels and reject being classified as this or that. We are all from a unique past set into a unique environment and each of us compromise who we are to varying degrees.

'Being able to hear comments from inside Awesome Dude is the best thing that's come my way in ages. I work alone and the only feedback is from email. Each one is a single individual who is or is not particularly pleased with what I have to say. Writers writing is more revealing and easier to allow me to feel as though I may be accomplishing something worth the time I invest. Tracy is open and of the moment and the spirit that encompasses me. Her efforts on my behalf are life altering. Love & Peace, Rick Beck.'

Tracy

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  • 6 years later...

This is in Dude's Picks from the Past and it is well worth it. A fine story well told and one of the best pieces of writing I have come across, on or off the web. Well worth reading.

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Have you read the prequel, The Farm Hand? I think it certainly is one of the best stories on the web. An amazing work.

C

Yes Cole, I have and I agree with you, but personally I think Redemption is a better piece of writing.

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I thought the latter was also well written, but I have to agree with Fun. It didn't seem to say much, and what it did say was somewhat depressing. Perhaps it was just that after The Farmhand, I was eagerly expecting more of the same.

"Redemption" impressed me precisely because it was not more of the same. In a later era, a virtual outsider (Robert junior) gradually gained insight into his father's love life. After Robert senior had loved and lost twice, surely we can understand his emotional remoteness from his son and everybody else. Yet their meeting really was a redemption for Robert junior, whose warmth at the end of the story leaves us with hope that he may later let some real love into his own life.

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SPOILER. Don't read this before "The Farm Hand".



I've given it some more thought. Obviously the two stories are very different.



"The Farm Hand" is deeply satisfying, with its rich variety of characters conditioned by the unending struggle with the farm. It ends as a tragedy, with one of the main characters dead (Sven), one of them broken (Ralph), and the main one left desolate (Robert). Continuing the story from that point would seem almost indecent.



Instead, "The Redemption" is bleak, with only two main characters. Robert junior finds the rural world of his childhood in decline, with the local town crumbling into ruins. Yet the gradual understanding of his father's past shows him a degree of love which he has never experienced in his glittering television world. He becomes a more real person, even making the pilgrimage to Sven's grave with his father's ashes. The word "redemption" says it all.



Anyway, these stories have introduced me to Rick Beck's writing, which is about to give me a lot more pleasure.


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I had to smile at the title of this topic: Rick Beck's Redemption...I was unaware he needed redeeming. The Redemption is a fine story and in line with much of his major storytelling. I will always read whatever he posts and learn from it...isn't that what we are supposed to do?

As a writer I am no ordinary reader because I look for the values behind the mask each author wears. Over the years Rick has provided us with some wonderful reads and I look forward to the next one. (Hint Hint)

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