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Chris James

Unfinished Symphony by Alan Dwight

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I knew when I read the prologue that this was not going to be a fun story, but it was a brave story. So often we find stories are good escape material that allow us to run free from the cares in our lives. What Alan has written is more like a punch in the gut where the pain spreads slowly and lasts a long time.

Unfinished Symphony is a slice of life that is very real in its presentation and all about something we hope to never encounter in our lives. The characters he has developed all come to a point of pain and suffering in the story because it is unavoidable. But in tragedy these same people come together and their lives go on.

This is a serious read and I would recommend a large box of tissues be kept at hand. The emotions of a tragedy affect reader and author alike, so I am sure Alan suffered in the writing. He should not be made to suffer in the accolades he deserves for giving us this story. Well done, Alan...you are braver than I am.

Here is the link: http://www.awesomedude.com/alan_dwight/unfinished_symphony/index.htm

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This is really great writing from someone who knows how to do it. I read a lot of stories. Most of them I read, then move on to the next. Most don't linger in the mind. This one does. This one should be read by everyone. And Alan should feel awfully proud for having written it.

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Dear Chris, Cole, and Nick,

Thanks so much for your kind words. As Chris has noted, I wept a great deal while writing this story and again during the revisions. It was exhausting. I'm glad you liked the story. There are more to follow.

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Weeping buckets when one writes tragedies, yes, thoroughly understood. This is not a tragedy in the Greek sense, in that it does not come about through any flaw in the characters. Rather it is a tragedy in the more common sense of something unavoidable, and an immensely powerful one. Thank you, Alan, for your writing and your suffering.

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Unfinished Symphony is a beautiful fusion of coming-of-age, innocence, gentle romance and the simple bloody unfairness of life. It is profoundly moving, overwhelmingly sad in parts but always gives places to earth grief. I have experienced considerable loss, so expected to take what we are warned is a sad story in my stride. I was fine until I read Joey's poem: a simple expression of love and appreciation to Mark for his swimming coaching. From then on I walked with Richard through his tears and grief. Unfinished Symphony is the most beautiful thing I've read in a very long time.

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SPOILER ALERT

I hadn't read any of the reviews and perhaps wasn't insightful when reading the prologue, so the shock of the plot was completely unbuffered for me. It is tremendously well-done... a timeless masterpiece. We shouldn't expect work this good or demanding to be repeated in a hurry... it wouldn't be fair on the author.

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Dear Huw, Jeff, and Mihangel,

Thanks so much for your kind words. The feedback has been very interesting, several of the e-mails from readers who have lost people wondering if the story was autobiographical. Fortunately, other than the setting, it was not.

Alan

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I have only just started to read Unfinished Symphony but it is easy to tell that it is a quality story, very well written.

I want to briefly (yay, everyone sighs with relief) say that I understand about how the emotions affect both author and reader alike.

For a long time I tried to fight delving deeply into my emotional experiences for the sake of my characters. I should have known better; having studied method acting I certainly knew how to draw upon emotions, but when it came to creating the written word, reliving the pain and joy, are much more, shall I say, afflicting. I think it is because writing demands a degree of honesty with oneself, that acting uses to be someone else, albeit with integrity of purpose, if not applause. :wink:

In any case, the writing experience can drain the psyche, especially when it demands that we dredge the suffering we have encountered, whether it be in our own life, or as we helplessly witness it happening to others. Sometimes that affords us the insight into not only an incomplete masterpiece, but to understand that the nature of our transience is in having its own unfinished sympathy for life.

Alan's story has already been worthwhile for me and I'm certainly looking forward to reading the rest.

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Rick: I just came across your very kind remarks. I hope this gets to you. The story does have a previous thread but that doesn't matter. I really appreciate your comments. It is not actually a true story, although I suppose any writer includes a bit of himself in his stories. I'm so glad you liked the story. If it helps, I cried as I was writing it.

Alan.

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This is a beautifully rendered story of young love and how two boys meet and how they cope as one is terminally ill. Very nicely written. Alan takes us through the gamut of emotions of the two boys and emotions of other characters in this story. I feel it is a very moving and thought provoking story.

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I had no idea this story already had a "thread." I inadvertently started two by accident. My internet went kaput and when I returned I didn't see the post I had posted. So, now there are three "threads."

Anyway, to the topic: I agree with Rich wholeheartedly. Beautifully told, and stock just went up at the Kleenex factory.

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This is a truly wonderful story. If you read to the end of Chapter One you will be hooked, so set aside some time (and a box of tissues...).

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I have noticed that two new topics have been started for this amazing piece of writing. Can I request the Dude to move the posts to this, the original topic and delete the duplications. It is nice to see such a great piece of writing acknowledge but let's try to keep all the praise in one place.

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OK... all THREE threads have now been merged! Thanks for the suggestion, Nigel!

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Saw this in Dude Picks and decided to read it again. It has been five years since I originally read this story. Read it again in one sitting today and as before it had me in tears. This is a great story, well told my a master story teller. It is also a great piece of writing, which is well worth reading. If you have not read it, I recommend that you do. If you have read it in the past, it is well worth reading again.

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