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Nigel Gordon

Creative Writing Course - Discussion Group

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Colin I must apologise. I just posted a piece of my own here, before noticing that the previous post in this thread is a piece from you - which I read when you posted it but failed to make any comment on. I can only think I must have been in a big rush when I read it.

I do remember that I was vastly impressed that you wrote a very complete story with a satisfactory ending as well as a convincing beginning and middle, in so few words. There's a lot of technical stuff about exercise routines, I'm thinking you perhaps have a gym membership yourself?

Bruin, no problem!

I enjoyed your Kulvinder protagonist. After reading it I thought about men who might be Kulvinders because they want to meet someone who's gay and don't have a clue about how to do it. You wrote a story that by the time I got to the end turned out to be very sad. I don't think I'll be able to go into our local 7-11 and not think about Kulvinder.

I thought about a way to extend the Stortfordian' Society story. What if he decided to decided to reseal and mark the envelope "Addressee Unknown" and take it back to the post office the next day. But as he started to write he thought it would be very funny to write "Addressee Deceased" instead. The story could continue with the problems caused when some busybody in the Society decided to post a death notice for him, since none had been observed previously. More stereotypes could be included in this extension.

About my story: The feedback I got included comments that there was too much technical detail about the gym, and one comment said it read like a gym ad. So I excised the extraneous detail, renamed my protagonist Carolyn, and posted it to Codey's World. As I commented earlier, I'm taking advantage of this course to write material I can use later.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I have a new project at work and it has (of course) a short deadline: July 9 for the prototype page designs along with the database (MySQL, fortunately) and all neatly connected to "demonstrate" that it could actually work. When it's done and (if) it's accepted it's going to be a huge project to complete. Lots and lots of $$$$$$.$$. Anyway, I'm behind and still in week 7. And I haven't started my 1,000 word story. Gahhh!

Colin :icon_geek:

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Each of the men of the tribe is expected to complete his hunting and gathering before he is permitted to scribble on the walls of the cave.

That's a perfect summation of my current conundrum, James. Foo.

Colin :icon_geek:

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What???!!! I've just received an e-mail inviting me to buy a 'statement of participation' certificate for £24 + postage - that's about $50 all told I expect. The certificate doesn't say how well I did on the course - to get it I have only to have completed 50% of the units - and they want £24 for a piece of paper that indicates what? That I clicked a lot of buttons on a website? Well, whoop-de-do.

I could suggest where they can put their certificate....

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Can I put in a defense for FutureLearn with respect to the certificate of participation.

  1. Compared with some other MOOCs I have done the fee of £24 + postage is cheap. One US course I did was asking $200 for a certificate of participation.
  2. Some of the FutureLearn courses are approved or can be submitted for CPE requirements. On those courses you have to complete all the sessions and have achieved a certain standard in the online tests to get the CoP.
  3. They do have to pay for the provision of the courses somehow. My local college is running a Introduction to Creative Writing and that costs £240 for a six week course two hours a week. I'm not sure you would get much more out of that that one does from the MOOC.
  4. For most people the Certificate of Participation is a waste of time and money but for some it can be important. There is one person who has been on a couple of the course I have done (Maths and Programming) who is being home schooled. Getting the CoP provides supporting evidence to their local Education Authority of the work they are doing.
  5. You do not have to purchase a CoP if it has no use for you, but if it is useful for you they are there for you to get.
  6. There are some people who just like collecting certificates, if their fees help pay for my courses who am I to object. I've done a number of courses with FutureLearn now but have only purchased a CoP on one, that was one which I could use for evidence of CPE.
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Oh Camy how splendid! Thanks so much! I'm printing it out and will stick it on my wall to encourage me to write more. And I know Rampton Cutesybuttock III is a much more authoritative examiner than the leaden OU.

In response to Nigel, I take all points - you're quite right and I shouldn't carp since the course was free. And the purchase of the certificate is optional.

But it does cause me to ponder - is the purchase of the certificate actually funding the course, in part or in total? If 2000 people participate, and a quarter of them buy the certificate, that's £12000 and that's a lot of money The actual printing of certificates costs next to nothing of course. If I'm right about this, it's surreptitious crowd funding and something akin to what we've come to expect from reality TV programmes, which in the UK at least have started putting up fake competitions along these lines:

Jack and Jill went up the....

A/ Pole

B/ Hill

C/ Creek

Text the correct answer, either A,B or C, to 777333 for a chance to win £150,000!

(in very small print across the bottom of the screen)Texts to this number cost £1.50, players must be 18 or over and have permission from the bill payer to play.

They know from experience that they will get hundreds of thousands of takers, excited that they know the answer and anxious to win the jackpot - and that the revenue from the calls will pay the prize money many times over, the residue making a significant contribution to the cost of making the programme.

It's a tactic that I would have thought would be beneath the OU. Why not honestly admit you're crowd funding, and ask for donations towards the cost? Have it out in the open?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not lodging an official complaint with the OU or FutureLearn, I'm just having a whinge among my mates - that's you lot....

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So far as I am aware the charge for the CoP actually goes to FutureLearn not to the OU. It is also in line with what the other European MOOCs are charging (30 Euros plus postage). The take up of CoPs varies according to course but in general is from 1% to 5%. My understanding is that at the moment FutureLearn is being funded by the British Library (which is where they are based) and the participating institutions but in future there is a requirement on them to become self-funding. When that becomes the case they will become reliant on the funding from sale of CoPs.

About two years ago I did some work on the business model for MOOCs - at the time some associates were looking to see if it was possible to run an alternative degree programme using them - and we had a presentation from some US academics who where working in the field. In their presentation they put forward the argument for funding them by charging for Certificates of Participation on the basis that (a) only persons who had taken the course and found it worthwhile would pay for the CoP so that encouraged course providers to run a good course and (b) it provided a way to provide University level tuition at a low individual cost.

At the moment most of the institutions involved with MOOCs around the world are feeling their way. I've done a couple which have literally been the same as the taught module in the University, to such an extent that the video presentations were actual videos of the lectures given in the course. Those doing the MOOC being about a week behind the actual students in the University. We were also doing the same online tests, which raised some issues. To be honest I found neither of them really worked. The FutureLearn courses have, if anything, gone too far the other way by designing courses specifically for online learning which have little or no relevance to live course in the institutions.

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At the moment most of the institutions involved with MOOCs around the world are feeling their way.

This course certainly feels that way. It has been of some value to me - made me think about building characters.

Tomorrow is the last day of the course and I have just under two weeks' worth of the course still to do. Fortunately I have a lot of time tomorrow so I'm still hopeful of completing it in time.

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This course certainly feels that way. It has been of some value to me - made me think about building characters.

Tomorrow is the last day of the course and I have just under two weeks' worth of the course still to do. Fortunately I have a lot of time tomorrow so I'm still hopeful of completing it in time.

Don't worry about tomorrow being the last day, the course stay available for a bit after the end date to allow people to finish them. I finished one two weeks after the end date.

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Here's my final short, as posted. It's 845 words.


Untitled. (strong language)

Two things happened that bleak January day that changed Daniel's life forever: one the result of the other. From the relative warmth of the porch, where he was removing his clogged snowshoes after clearing the drive, he saw Emma Pierson walk by the hedge at the bottom of the garden, and his heart soared. Wondering if today was the day he should profess his love, he realised Emma wasn't alone. Hand in hand she walked with a long haired, rosy cheeked, blonde girl he'd never seen before - bastard dead bitch - and they were laughing; smiling and cooing at each other like love birds he'd seen in a documentary on the telly. Emma turned, briefly looking at him, and he found himself waving at her, his face a gleeful rictus that bled away to misery as she turned back to the girl and kissed her long.

As if from heaven itself he heard Emma's high tinkling laughter, but this time ... this time she was laughing at him; at him, when all he'd ever done was adore the ground she walked on; laughed at him, the one and only person who truly loved her. A red blaze of anger coloured his vision as he watched them walk on. It was only once they'd turned the corner and were out of sight that he managed to prize his nails from his palms and hobble to the kitchen where he staunched the blood from his wounds. Fancy that, he thought, and as he gazed at his personal stigmata his eyes flickered to his mother's chef's knife which she used for cutting vegetables. Now, he imagined it dripping a red that wasn't tomato juice. He giggled, a high ululating sound that even he could hear wasn't normal. Collapsing in a kitchen chair he picked up the knife, drew it from its plastic scabbard and looked at his wrists. He couldn't go on without her, he simply couldn't. Emma was everything to him, everything that he'd ever dreamt. Yet now god, in league with that bastard dead bitch, had seen fit to take her away. Quietly, racked with angst, he began to sob. Later, as was the way of things, he made a decision.


Watched by journalists and paps, kept beyond the police incident tape by three burly beat officers, John Moran stood on the snow covered front lawn and dry heaved, again. He knew his leather elbowed tweed jacket, cavalry twill trousers, and graying mutton chop sideburns labelled him as an an anachronistic oddball in the eyes of his men and the press, but he didn't care. The important thing was that he still remembered his first murder case. Compared to this bloodbath of body parts it had been quite genteel, he thought, as he tried to empty his stomach for the third time. The attending CSI hadn't managed to give him an accurate body count, as yet, but she'd said it was close to double figures. Stomach empty, Moran walked back to the house. He slipped on another pair of plastic overshoes and walked upstairs to the top floor, pulling on his latex gloves. Nodding at the constable guarding the bedroom, he went in and closed the door behind him.

The room was pink. Pink painted walls with a darker toned carpet; pink shelves full of hand covered books in pink wrapping paper. The frilly counterpain on the double bed was pink, too, and on the pillows lay a large Pink Panther with its arm draped around a raven haired girl's severed head, her glazed blue eyes pleading for justice. The teenage boy sitting on the bed, calmly holding a razor against his carotid artery, wasn't pink; he was red. Covered, seemingly from head to toe, in maleficent blood. The two other occupants of the room: a firearms officer holding a pistol in his lap and the psychologist sitting next to him glanced up as he entered, but said nothing. Moran sat down in the remaining chair and crossed his ankles.
"Hello Daniel, I'm John Moran. I'm a police inspector, and I need to ask you some questions."
"She shouldn't have kissed her," Daniel said, "she really shouldn't. Goodbye mister Moran." Twice he slashed his throat. They could not save him.

Initially, the media tried to blame Daniel's parents for their son's murderous rampage, and the police for his death. Then, once it became clear the boy hadn't known the girl - other than watching her from afar in the school's cafeteria - peer-pressure and bullying were blamed, then those who had helped set up the school's LGBT society. The police never revealed what they found on the boy's seized computer, but finally, blame was pinned on 'the pernicious influence of the internet on an immature mind' and the public's eye swivelled to tennis at Wimbledon.

Six months later, and with no specific reason for the bloodbath found, the case was closed. Until the next time, John Moran thought as he watched his team box up the paperwork, Until the next time.

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Here's my final short, "Andy’s Roommate" – 1,412 words

When Andy started his freshman year in college he finally realized and accepted that he was gay. He discovered that he liked looking at the all the guys on his floor. It was a men’s-only floor in the dorm, so a lot of guys walked around, some nearly and a few totally in the buff, lounging in their rooms with the doors open, walking in the hallways, and especially in the showers.

Andy loved all the eye candy, but the real catalyst for his realization was his roommate Brandon. They’d become friends, then best friends. They studied together, they ate together, they went to football games together, they met up with other guys and girls from their dorm to hang together, they seemed to do everything together. Everything except date individual girls. They had the same explanation: as first-year computer science majors they were overwhelmed by the course workload. For Andy with his straight-A’s through high school that wasn’t accurate; for Brandon it was.

As fall semester progressed Andy found he was more and more attracted to Brandon. When they were in their dorm room Andy tried to be careful and not stare, but more and more often he’d be caught. He’d see Brandon grin, or hear a chuckle or a comment like “You want a picture?” followed by laughter. At first his response would be “What?” as if he hadn’t been doing anything, just innocently sitting and reading. Somehow that morphed into a “Sorry” to which Brandon would respond “No problema.”

After midterm exams Andy started to notice that sometimes when he looked at Brandon he’d already be looking back. At first Brandon would smile and quickly return to his book, or his laptop, or the TV. After a few more days he’d smile, continue to look at Andy for several seconds, then look away. Then after a week Brandon would look at Andy and not look away until Andy did.

That scared Andy. He wanted to stay in the closet with the door tightly closed. He worried that the way Brandon kept looking at him might mean he suspected that Andy was gay. They had become best friends, but Andy didn’t know Brandon well enough to trust him about the gay issue.

Andy tried to avoid looking at Brandon when they were together. But it seemed like whenever he’d sneaked a peek he’d see Brandon looking at him and grinning.

Andy didn’t know what to do. Should he admit to Brandon that he was gay? He had no idea what Brandon’s reaction would be. The subject of gay guys had never come up. There didn’t seem to be a reason to talk about it. Andy hadn’t heard about any guys in the dorm who were gay. It appeared that ‘gay’ just didn’t make it to Brandon’s radar. Or Andy’s, for that matter.

The problem of his attraction for Brandon got to the point where it became the only thing Andy could think about unless he forced himself to focus on school assignments. He recognized that his attraction had started as lust and turned into love. He freaked that if they happened to stare at each other again he’d totally lose it and do something stupid, like grab Brandon and kiss him.

He decided the safest thing would be to avoid looking at Brandon. That meant he’d have to stay away from Brandon. That frustrated Andy, and made him cranky. He could tell that Brandon knew something had gone wrong in their relationship, but he never said anything about it. That frustrated Andy even more, and to keep his sanity he started staying away from their dorm room and Brandon as much as possible.

Andy returned one night around midnight. He’d stayed in the library to study hoping that when he got back Brandon would be asleep. He unlocked the door, slowly inserting the key and opening the door as quietly as possible. The room was dark except for moonlight that filtered through the blinds on the only window in the room. He closed the door and tiptoed to his bed. He set his backpack at the end of the bed and undressed. He eased into bed slowly to keep the springs from squeaking. He took a big breath and let it out as a sigh, again without making any sound.

Andy could feel the tears welling in his eyes, and he let them flow. He’d never been so sad in his life. He turned his head and looked across the room. He could just make out Brandon in the moonlight, asleep in his bed, the guy he lusted after, the guy he loved. Life was so fucking unfair! Why did he have to be such a wimp? Why couldn’t he just come out and tell Brandon how he felt? He knew the answer. If Brandon hated him and rejected him, he’d lose the guy who’d become his best friend.

He heard Brandon stir then turn on the light above his bed. He sat up, looking at Andy.


“Uhh... yeah. Sorry I woke you.”

“You didn’t wake me. I’ve been waiting for you to get back.”

“Oh. Sorry.”



“Why do you hate me?”

Andy stopped breathing. It felt like his heart had stopped. He looked at Brandon, trying to figure out what to say. There was only one thing to say that made sense.

“I don’t hate you. I love you. I... I’m in love with you.”


“I said I’m in love with you, Brandon. Since we moved into the dorm together, I’ve liked you. You became my friend, then my best friend. I fell in love with you. I’m gay, Brandon, and I love you. I always will. You might hate me because I’m gay, but I’ll still love you.” Andy started to cry, and buried his face in his hands.

He heard the sound of Brandon getting out of bed and walking across the room, then the sound of his springs squeaking as Brandon sat next to him. He felt a strong arm reach around his shoulder and pull him into a hug. Andy put his arms around Brandon and they pulled each other into an embrace.

Brandon whispered in Andy’s ear, “I’ve fallen in love with you too, Andy.”

Andy pulled back from the embrace and stared at Brandon. “You mean you’re....”

“If you’re asking if I’m gay, I don’t really know. Except for you, guys don’t turn me on. All I’m certain about is that I’m in love with you. I’ve been hoping that you’d feel the same about me, be in love with me too...” Brandon’s voice trembled, “...and you are? Really?”

“Oh, my God, yes! Haven’t you seen how I’ve been looking at you? How I’ve tried to not look at you? I’ve been so afraid you’d figure out that I’m gay and you’d hate me. That’s why I started staying away from the dorm. So I wouldn’t have to look at you all the time and you’d bust me and then you’d know I’m gay and hate me. I’ve been miserable. I love you, Brandon. I couldn’t tell you, it freaked me that you’d never talk to me again. That you’d want to change dorm rooms. So yes, I’m in love with you.” Andy sighed and grinned. “And it’s not just love. It’s lust, too. I’ve been lusting over your hunky body.”

Now Brandon grinned too. “You fucking doofus! Didn’t you see me looking at you too? And smiling when I did? You’re as dense as I am! And by the way, you’ve got one gorgeous hunky body too, dude! I’ve been trying to keep from jumping your bones all semester!”

Andy and Brandon looked at each other and started laughing. It was almost uncontrollable, and while they were laughing they held each other in a tight embrace. They kept trying to shush each other, worried that everyone in the nearby dorm rooms would hear them. They finally stopped laughing, then started giggling like schoolgirls.

Andy ended the giggling by putting his hands on each side of Brandon’s face and moving so their lips were together in a long, soft, sensuous kiss. Then he leaned back and said, “I want us to be roommates, together forever, Brandon.”

Brandon reached up and with his thumbs wiped the almost-dry tears from Andy’s cheeks. “There’s nothing in the world that would make me happier than being your roommate, and be together forever, Andy.”

Colin :icon_geek:

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Here's my final short. It's 1764 words. It's formatted almost the way they insist on - double-spaced, indented paragraphs except for the first paragraph in a section, but they say speech should be in single quotes, with quotes within speech in double quotes. I've reversed that, I always put speech in double quotes and I wasn't prepared to change that even for them.

Kulvinder (adult theme)

The Leigh Delamere Services on the M4 motorway is not a great place to spend a Friday afternoon; Kulvinder had been hanging around there for over an hour and was on the verge of giving up and going home when finally he spotted a possibility. He had been browsing magazines in the shop, trying to be inconspicuous. There was a steady trickle of men who came in, picked up a magazine, usually about cars, or motorcycles, or sport, and flicked through it before replacing it in the rack and moving on. They were just passing time, perhaps while their womenfolk were using the facilities.

Trying to look absorbed in the magazine in his hand, which he'd hardly registered was called Time, out of the corner of his eye he was watching the actions of a man who'd just entered the shop. He marked him down as a little older than himself, dressed in a business suit, white shirt with the top button undone, tie slightly loosened, scuffed shoes. His greying and receding hair contrasted with a smooth unwrinkled complexion. Kulvinder's own grey was limited to his temples; he flattered himself it looked distinguished.

The man strode purposefully up to the magazine rack, scanned along the top shelf until his eye settled on Attitude magazine, between Gay Times and the long line of wrapped porn magazines that took up the rest of the top shelf. Kulvinder willed him to take a copy, plucked up courage and himself took down a copy of GT, but the other man stared at Attitude for a moment and then walked away and out of the shop. Another false hope. Kulvinder slid the GT magazine under the other in his hands and went back to staring at the close-typed text of Time, unseeing.

Ten minutes later he was still at his post. There had been one or two men – it was always men – who came, browsed a magazine and then left. No-one had touched Attitude or GT all afternoon although occasionally someone carried one of the wrapped magazines off to the paypoint. Kulvinder took no interest in the wrapped magazines, had no curiosity about the contents, hidden behind the semi-opaque polythene. You could just make out the image on the front cover which in most cases consisted of a pair of breasts. He did wonder about the men who were able to carry such material to the girl at the checkout and brazenly meet her eye as they paid for their purchase. He had never yet plucked up courage to take a copy of GT and pay for it. Once he had shop-lifted one but the guilt that wracked him afterwards prevented him from repeating the experiment. It didn't stop him from reading the magazine cover to cover and re-reading most of it before putting it in the car park waste bin, though.

He told himself that GT magazine was not pornography, but a lifestyle magazine and that it was legitimately on display so that homosexuals, who were now respectable members of society here in the UK, could purchase it and read it to inform themselves of issues relevant to themselves and their lifestyle. He knew such reasoning would never work with his wife, though, and as for his mother... ay, ay, ay. He could not bring himself to make such a purchase, despite the anonymity offered by this shop many miles from his home.

To his surprise, the man who'd looked as though he might be about to purchase Attitude returned, just as purposefully as before, and without hesitation reached for and took down a copy of Attitude magazine. He glanced for no more than an instant at Kulvinder and at the two magazines in his hand before striding off to the checkout.

Kulvinder stood frozen to the spot for several long moments before shaking himself and, galvanized into action, he began walking after the other man. Glancing down he realised he was still carrying Time as well as GT. He hesitated, intending to turn back and replace Time on the rack, but then thought better of it. He could use Time to hide the cover of GT from prying eyes. He would be paying for a magazine whose only use to him was as disguise, but he thought that money well spent.

There was a queue, two customers between him and the purchaser of Attitude. The other man was making no attempt to hide his magazine and even held a light conversation with the shop assistant while he paid.

“Would you like a bag for that?”

“No, thanks, the car's just outside.”

“Well it would have to be, otherwise you'd have had difficulty getting here!”

“Well, yes...” Grins exchanged, Attitude man walked off towards the exit door. Panicking, Kulvinder almost called out to him as he disappeared into the concourse.

The queue moved agonisingly slowly but eventually Kulvinder faced the young girl at the checkout, gritted his teeth and handed over both magazines. She scanned each in turn and in a bored voice shifted her gum into her cheek so that she could announce “Seven pounds twenty-five and do you want a crème egg for a pound?”

No, he didn't, but handed her the exact money and bolted for the door. There was no sign of Attitude man anywhere in the concourse that he could see so he went out into the car park.

Hurrying around the corner of the building he almost bumped into the back of the man he was looking for and had to compose himself a moment before calling out to him.

“Excuse me?”

At first the other man did not react, perhaps assuming the call was not addressed to him. Kulvinder called out again. “Excuse me? What did you buy? What magazine?”

Attitude man turned, puzzled, but his face cleared when he recognized Kulvinder. He must have been more observant at the magazine rack than he had appeared. He turned the cover of his magazine towards Kulvinder, who, boldened, showed his GT magazine. Pointing at the cover Kulvinder tried to ensure the other man registered what it was he had purchased. He made the point clearer: “I prefer this one.”

The other man grinned tolerantly. “Well, I prefer this one. I'll fight you over it!” - and he smiled engagingly to clarify that he was speaking lightly. But then he walked off and Kulvinder couldn't think of any way to keep him. After a moment's indecision he ran after him and fell into step with him. The other man glanced at him, smirked, and, still walking, gestured ahead.

“My car's just here. Get in.”

Warning bells rang in Kulvinder's head but he ignored them, and when the man triggered the remote unlock of a black VW Passat and got into the driver's seat, Kulvinder pulled open the passenger door and slid in beside him. The other man extended a hand to be shaken.

“My name's Ryan, what's yours?”

“K... Ashok.” said Kulvinder.

“Well, Ashok, do you do this often?” - and after shaking Kulvinder's hand, Ryan let his own hand drop into Kulvinder's lap, where it squeezed his inner thigh gently. Kulvinder yelped, flinched, and picked up the errant hand and replaced it in its owner's lap.

“Wh... What are you doing?” he stammered.

Ryan frowned, taken aback. “Doing? Just a bit of fun, isn't that what you're here for?”

“I... I don't know why I'm here, not really. Not that. I need someone to talk to.”

“Talk!” Ryan snorted. “Bloody Nora, I don't half pick 'em.”

“I'm sorry. I'll just go. It's okay.” - and Kulvinder reached for the door handle.

“Hold on. It's not okay. Talk. Tell me what made you accost me like that.”

So Kulvinder sat back in the seat and talked. Ryan listened attentively, making little encouraging noises when he floundered, so he told him all about his life, the family business, his overbearing mother, his unhappy childless wife, his own inability to feel for her what he was supposed to feel, and his dawning realisation at the advanced age of thirty-eight that his sexual orientation was the other way and that he had no idea how to deal with that. He told how he had become depressed, making his wife in turn more and more unhappy, and how recently he had come to the conclusion that there was probably no solution to his problem and that his best course might be to end his own life. At this point in his story his voice was shaking badly but he kept going. He explained how as a last desperate attempt at coming to terms with himself he was trying to make gay friends, or at least one gay friend. Not knowing how to go about that, he had hit on the plan of watching to see who bought a gay lifestyle magazine, and then approaching them.

Kulvinder, at the end of his story, fell silent, and it was a while before Ryan said anything in response. Eventually what he said took Kulvinder by surprise.

“Give me your magazine.”

Kulvinder hesitated.

“Come on, hand it over.”

He passed the Gay Times across the handbrake and Ryan took it from him, and began leafing through the pages at the back of the magazine with a pen in his hand. Eventually he returned it to Kulvinder, opened at a page where he had circled two small adverts. Kulvinder saw that one was for Samaritans, and the other was GayWest, which described itself as a social group for gay men with a regular coffee morning meeting. There was also an e-mail address Ryan had written in the margin of the magazine.

“Phone GayWest and go along to one of their meetings. You'll find gay friends there I'm sure. And if you get to the point where life doesn't seem worth living, phone Samaritans – that's what they're there for. I've put my e-mail address there too, you're welcome to e-mail me any time, my e-mail is private. Now, hoppit, I've got an appointment to get to. You going to be okay?”

Kulvinder nodded dumbly and the water in his eyes began to leak out in earnest when Ryan leaned across and hugged him tight. He held on as long as he thought he could get away with, because something profound had happened – the sensation of being held in the embrace of another man felt so good, like coming home after a long absence. Suddenly life seemed bearable once more.

One day he would make a gay friend. He'd just have to keep trying.

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Okay... my comments on Camy's story, Colin's story, and my own story too:

Camy, your mind is... frightening! A very arresting story, confidently told. I confess I wasn't exactly sure at the end who got killed and how many died, but then Hamlet is much the same... :icon_thumright:

Colin your story is sweet and joyful and romantic and beautifully told. At one point the thought crossed my mind that the story was too good to be true, that it was too much of a happy coincidence that the two room-mates would find each other and fall in love. But then I thought of who wrote it and realised that fairytales do come true sometimes!

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Regarding my story... I went to a lot of trouble to format my story the way they insisted on, and then when I pasted it into their data entry box it was all single spaced and all the indented paragraphs lost their indent and it was in a sans serif font. Someone goofed and I don't think this time it was me!

The story is an update of the shorter story I posted here earlier in the course. I took note of the advice some of you dear people gave me and changed it and lengthened it. I got three reviews on the FutureLearn site, two very enthusiastic and one critical. The critical one started off by saying it wasn't the kind of story he would like to read so I felt entitled to wonder if he didn't like the gay theme. But he also complained that I don't do much physical description of Kulvinder and we get to the end still not knowing who he is. I must admit I thought there's enough in the story to get a goodish idea not of his looks but of his personality and certainly of the personal demons he's carrying. What do you guys think?

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There are always readers who want it all spelled out for them, and you have to decide whether they are part of your target audience. For my part, I always like having the opportunity to contribute my own imaginings to a story, and I believe it helps me to buy in and appreciate it more.

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There are always readers who want it all spelled out for them, and you have to decide whether they are part of your target audience. For my part, I always like having the opportunity to contribute my own imaginings to a story, and I believe it helps me to buy in and appreciate it more.

I agree, James. The image of Kulvinder is from my imagination, and could be significantly different than someone else's image. Mine is early 20's, lonely, living with his mum, closeted, fearful about a linkup, fearful about being exposed. Physical description unnecessary.

Colin :icon_geek:

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