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English 10


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What I love about this story are the layers of discovery Mark encounters through his writing along the way. Each layer he uncovers gives him something new to know about himself, and by the end of this brilliant tale he is able to see himself clearly as a more fully realized, more rounded human being than he had believed himself to be. He is not the person he (and we) thought he was at the outset: we learn along with him that it is all too easy for a young person to accept and act upon a stereotype of oneself.

Wonderful concept wonderfully executed, Cole.


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It is wonderful indeed. I felt myself twisting and turning in sympathy with Mark's angst, and anger right along with him.

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English 10 Part 2

The subtle triumph of Cole's narrative is that it is two stories. Just as Mark's composition is in two parts, so is this story as much about Mrs. Martinez, his teacher, as it is about Mark. Mrs. Martinez's ability to recognize Mark's potential and to draw him out -- by challenging him, frustrating him, enraging him, and most of all, by having the flexibility to give him room to attempt and then to achieve, is what makes this so much more than another tale of teenage high school angst. This teacher has seen beyond Mark's facade, as a good teacher must; she has done it before and she will go on to do it again with other students, whose lives she also will repair. These are the teachers we remember in our own lives, for they are the ones who make all the difference.

Thank you, Cole. You must have had some dynamite teachers of your own.


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Once in a while I come across a story that leaps out at me and says 'I'm important'. By which I mean it does more for me than tell a story, provide a few minutes or hours of amusement. This one lifted me, made me feel the angst of being fifteen and in charge of a body with which I'm not fully familar and in which I'm not yet quite comfortable. And it put me in the chair of a teacher faced with helping generations of fifteen year olds come to terms with their fifteen-ness.

That's amazing. Even more amazing, Cole chose to do it using a scenario that's been done to death - teen comes to terms with burgeoning sexuality among school friends and enemies. Who'd have thought such an original story could be made out of essentially the same setting as half the stories on Nifty! Wonderful skill and precision storytelling, Cole!

Lovely, now I'm going to read it again.

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I've been snowed under with work and only just got to reading Cole's latest, English 10.

There comes a time in some artistic works when a certain moment grabs the spectator, the audience, the reader, and as in this case, where they find themselves filled with mirth that would lead to laughter if they weren't also driven to being on the verge of crying from the accomplishment before them.

In English 10 however, there is no one moment, there are many of these moments and there is a word to describe them. It is Joyous.

Like Mark seeking to retaliate against his impression of his teacher, Cole has cleverly manipulated us (as readers) to feel the happiness that Mark eventually attains. He does this by involving us in the story at many levels, which I won't discuss because the joy should come from the experience in reading this outstanding short story, rather than from any review.

There is no sentimental shortcut in this story to the emotions that beset the reader, just the logical progression of events leading to a revelation we could not fathom at the start. The turning point (and there is more than one) that occurs at the second 'The End' is worth experiencing many times; like a favourite moment in a ballet or a play. You just know you cannot stop reading but you do, and you revel in it.

As if you need convincing of a genius at work, the essay that Mark writes in the story is exactly 3500 words including the titling. That is quite a feat in itself.

Yeah Cole gets his 3rd appreciation award. For me it is one of those stories I am glad I lived long enough to read.


To Cole Parker

For his Short Story

English 10

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You guys are all way too nice!

I had a lot of fun writing that story, working it, making it do what it does. Some stories are more enjoyable to write than others, and this was one pretty close to the top of my list.

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, however. Pecman has an enmity for the present tense. When I wrote the two sections that are in present tense, I did so expecting some words of disapproval from him, indeed expected scathing and skewering words, and the unanticipated silence is strange to behold. I myself really liked those two places. I was trying to change the feel of the piece to bring the readers more into the story at those points, and felt the use of prensent tense was the way to do it. Here I was all ready to defend myself, but there's been no assault! I feel a little cheated, somehow!

Again, thanks for the extremely kind words. Being suffused in such appreciation goes a long way toward keeping the pen to the page, for me.

And what can I say about another of Des' awards of merit? A trinity! Amazing, that's what it is. Thanks doesn't seem to be saying enough, somehow. But it's all I have to offer. Thanks, Des.


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I would like to say I read English 10 and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I didn't.

Instead, I experienced English 10 and thoroughly enjoyed it. WOW!

More than worthy of Des' third award of merit.

Just amazing.


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 years later...

One of my favorite Cole Parker stories has reappeared as a Pick from the Past.

I've always liked the stages it goes through, or perhaps phases is a better word. And the revelation about word count is priceless.

Glad to see this one back in the spotlight.


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