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AwesomeDude turns Eight Today!


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Ahem… unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, let me beg a few moments of your time to mark the eighth anniversary of AwesomeDude.com.

Back in 2003/2004 the idea of starting a site for a small but talented group of authors of high quality gay fiction occurred to me.

Not being a gifted writer myself – other than writing my own news scripts for ABC Radio & TV and National Public Radio – I did enjoy reading really good stories about gay young people, especially upbeat and romantic stories. I suppose many of us adults read romantic gay fiction to compensate for the lack of romance in our closeted younger years.

Of course in those days it was hard to miss the Nifty Archives… the huge and ubiquitous site (which turned 20 this week) with hundreds and hundreds of stories of various genres and writers of varying degrees of skill and creativity. Yeah… it’s easy to dismiss Nifty as having a lot of awful stuff on it.. but there were also a number of great stories and authors.

There were also a number of good private sites… many run by authors to primarily showcase their own writing and some also posting stories by other selected writers. Some of the notable ones were Nick Archer, Dabeagle, DeweyWriter, The Glass Onion and Storm Nation.

I thought it would be fun to assemble a group of great writers, many of whom were posting at Nifty, and offer them a place to showcase their stories. I received encouragement from a number of folks I’d known from Nifty… WriteByMyself, Sequoyah, Nick Nurse, Keith Morrisette and Dave McMillan -to name a a few- and with a word borrowed from a character in the story Storm Nation… called the site ‘AwesomeDude.’

AwesomeDude, by the way, was also the nickname of my best friend Roger, who was not gay but was openly feline. I was never AwesomeDude.

The site caught on fast after our opening on April 3rd 2004 and the AwesomeDude Forums came three months later… as I was exhausted in hooking up readers and writers by third person emails.

OK.. the brief history out of the way… what I really want to say is that, despite my inability to write a convincing line of fiction… I am delighted at what the site has become today… and it’s all because of you the talented authors, dedicated editors and avid readers.

What with the state of flux of the world economy… and the pressures of our everyday lives it’s nice to have a little oasis where we can retreat, relax and be ourselves.

Thanks for all your support, your stories, your readership, your donations and your love. I hope to keep on ‘keeping on’ with your help to make AwesomeDude even better in the years to come.

Mike

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Congratulations Mike, AwesomeDude has been an inspiration for me.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I found a site called 'AwesomeDude,' and of the available sites for gay romantic fiction this one didn't look like it was run by authoritarians. So I just had to join.

So in memory of Roger, the AwesomeDude, I thank you for the years of fun and great romantic fiction, and the Forums which are dear to all of us.

:wav:

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I must echo what's been already said. I found this site a few years ago almost by accident, then voraciously read through a huge number of the stories here. It wasn't until much later that I joined the forums and made my own first tentative attempts to post my thanks and thoughts, as well as taking a huge risk and, with heart hammering wildly, posted my first flash fiction here, wondering about the reception I'd get from it, and almost dreading to check in to the thread the next day to see what people said, or indeed if anyone would say anything at all.

Well, the response I received was overwhelmingly encouraging, and that led to more. Thanks for giving us all a place to read, and write. Happy Birthday Awesomedude!

Now, I'm finding there to be a distinct lack of chocolate birthday cake in the vicinity. Something needs to be done about that. And I'm looking for the game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

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I must echo what's been already said. I found this site a few years ago almost by accident, then voraciously read through a huge number of the stories here. It wasn't until much later that I joined the forums and made my own first tentative attempts to post my thanks and thoughts, as well as taking a huge risk and, with heart hammering wildly, posted my first flash fiction here, wondering about the reception I'd get from it, and almost dreading to check in to the thread the next day to see what people said, or indeed if anyone would say anything at all.

Well, the response I received was overwhelmingly encouraging, and that led to more. Thanks for giving us all a place to read, and write. Happy Birthday Awesomedude!

Now, I'm finding there to be a distinct lack of chocolate birthday cake in the vicinity. Something needs to be done about that. And I'm looking for the game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

What he said. I joined up not long after it's inception. Was never a dull moment.

Wasn't Cole on cake patrol? As for pin the tail on the donkey, Dude, RUN!!

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Congratulations, Mike. One thing I have to disgree about is that I think you are the Dude, and you are Awesome. So there. That's my opinion and I'm going to stick to it.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Congratulations to Dude and to the AwesomeDude site. I'm very thankful a place like this exists.

The Dude saw me post about (gasp) a gay story. It was the first time I'd ever posted to admit publicly I'd actually read a gay story. I commented on the story. I was foolhardy enough to offer to edit it. Dude I guess liked my comments and said he intended to start a site, and would I join? I said yes. -- I was not out at the time. It took a lot to post that first time and say I'd read (and liked) gay fiction. Well, I volunteered on the new AwesomeDude forums, did some editing, some techie stuff, and...I grew a lot. That is thanks to the people here at AwesomeDude and other friendly folks. In August of 2004, I came out to someone in person for the first time. Wonder of wonders, I was not rejected by that friend, and I began to discover well, many people already had some idea and to them, it wasn't such a big deal. To some others, it was a big deal, though.

In late 2004 and early 2005, Codey joined and after some time, I began editing for him and took over prepping web pages for him at Dude's and Codey's request. I then helped Codey start Codey's World and was active volunteering there for several years, and here at AwesomeDude as needed. During that time, I came out to friends online, so that now, anywhere I post, yes, I'm openly gay. -- Some friends and family in person, I haven't told, either because I haven't seen them face to face with time to speak privately -- or because I know they won't accept it, me being gay. At this point, if they don't know, why? Have they not been paying attention? Do they not want to know or guess that Ben is gay. (And yes, I heard that "Ben Gay" joke growing up...a lot.)

Why say all this about me? Because I was reluctant to admit I was gay, I like guys. (What made the biggest difference initially was reading stories where I could see, not gay sex, but gay people who wanted the same things I did, a regular life, friends and family and work, and love, very ordinary love, just with...another guy, or girl, as the case may be.) I grew a lot, first to say, yes, I do like guys like that, and then, to become involved, active, vocal in support of people and stories, things that matter.

There are a great many people out there who go through life unsure if they can be themselves, or in some cases, sure they cannot be, because of what they experience. Many aren't sure if they can join in and say, yes, they like reading gay fiction and poems, or they are gay, or that just maybe they'd try writing too. I think it's vital to have places like AwesomeDude, Codey's World, and many others, to give people the chance to see they too can be themselves, and that there are other people out there who will like and love them, gay or bi or straight or whatever.

There are also many people out there who are happy and well adjusted living as openly gay, bi, lesbian, or transgender people. Their examples, as people and in the ideals they live by, are vital. So much of the world doesn't understand what being gay really means. If they understood, perhaps they wouldn't be so prejudiced and fearful, and just perhaps, the world might be a little brighter and more inclusive for everyone. Yes, it's been noted I'm a dreamer (and write long posts). Heheh.

Congratulations again to AwesomeDude. I'm really thankful for the people and stories here, and I hope my contributions have helped brighten someone's day a little from time to time.

There are lots of people who'd like the stories here. Read on!

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The fact that you published poetry first took my eye, Mike; that was practically unheard of then (and you are still among the few). What blew me away was the sensitive, intelligent discussion of it, and in fact of all the writing posted on this site. It was an amazing discovery for someone making do with Nifty for online gay writing: AD was a site where not only could I predictably find thoughtful, creative work by and for our GLBT family and friends, but also wonderfully interesting and stimulating discussions of those writings and of the world around us. Thanks to links you provided I began to discover other equally thoughtful family sites, but yours is the one I've always returned to as my home base on the internet.

Thank you.

James

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It's largely thanks to AwesomeDude that I have a positive self-image. Growing up with only negative information about gay people, and then living an early adult life with no contact with gay people to correct that, it wasn't until I ventured online and discovered AD that I discovered how welcoming, warm, supportive and generally happy and well-balanced gay people can be. It wasn't until I appreciated that fact, that I was able to hold my head up and be proud to be gay. Thank you for that, AwesomeDude, and Mike!

Yesterday I found myself with a little time to spare and popped into one of the pubs in Bristol's gay quarter to quench my thirst and enjoy an hour's banter with the landlord and customers there. As usual, I got a hug from him when I left. Life is good; a world apart from the life I led before AD helped me out of denial!

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