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The Tull Unification

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Guest Dabeagle

The Tull Unification is a mix of a great number of things. I wanted to tell a story that was not completely linear so that readers wouldn't feel jerked around as they waited for the next chapter.

*spoilers*

Jack in the Green had its roots in a story that I was asked to critique. I had some problems with the story that I won't go into here, but I liked the idea of taking a dying character and how our survivor handled that and came to terms with the loss and moving on. The root of this chapter is about love, but this time between two boys that have no sexual attraction to each other - just best friends. Jethro Tull is used as a component to bring attention to certain moments and to establish a dialogue between Nick and his dear friend, Charlie, that would endure throughout the story. Through it all the idea was to leave doubt as to whether or not Charlie had some influence on events from the great beyond. In keeping with the Tull theme, Nick's last name, Coronach, is the title of a Jethro Tull song.

Chapter 2 brings us Mike Tulley, a guy that finds himself drawn into foster care through a strange encounter with a young Tull fan and his case worker. This begins a very true to life series of events - applying to be a foster parent, the classes that are required and the inspections, endless forms, etc. This chapter lays the groundwork for both Mike's love interest and the process by which a child can be selected for your home. This turns out to be Colin. Mike's last name, Tulley, was made up for the Tull connection, of course.

Chapter 3 brings us inside Colins' head. Colin is loosely based on a child who was in the foster care system in NY who we were asked to be a resource for, but which never materialized. His parents adopted him as an infant or toddler and then disrupted that adoption when he was 12 or 13 because he was gay and their religion, and they as well, were intolerant of that. The very idea was so mind boggling to me that it felt like a story that had to be told, with a better outcome. unlike our Colin, this other child aged out of the foster system without ever getting a family of his own. Colin McIlduff got his name from two people: Colin Kelly, aka Colinian, about whom I had many discussions about foster care. McIlduff was the name of the surgeon that performed my father's heart bypass.

Chapter 4 brought us Wyatt, a tightly wound young man whose world comes apart at the sight of Colin's dimples. Wyatt, in addition to being tightly wound and disciplined, is a fan of preparation - or being prepared. Because he hasn't found someone who reaches his imaginary standards, he hasn't come out in order to pursue anyone, romantically. But Colin throws him for such a loop that he makes a colossal error in judgement that may cost him any chance with Colin. Wyatt Beltane got his name from: Wyatt is the name of the infant son of the clinician who helped me with Colin's psychology. Beltane is another Tull song title.

Chapter 5 came from Ian's perspective. His chapter revolves around the foster child he gets, named Robby. Robby displays the behaviors of several different children we have been involved with. Some were of our own son, some were from a girl we fostered this past summer, others from stories or details about other children we had looked into for adoption. The frustration level is also genuine, the self doubt and the idea that maybe you are in over your head. Ian's name was originally based on this young man that works at the local auto parts store who got my parts while working on my VW Bus this summer. The G. Bostock was added in due to a note from Camy wondering when we'd see Gerald Bostock, who is a figure from Tull lore.

Chapter 6 brings us back to Nick and his mess of a love life with Matt. This is a turning point chapter where the threads of mysticism with Charlie, the Tull references and our people begin to form a coherent tapestry. Nick is brought together with Colin and forms a strong bond to set us up for the the final two chapters.

Chapter 7 is at editing at the time of this writing but focuses on Mike and Colin, coming from Mike's POV.

Chapter 8 will be the final and come from Colins' POV.

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Well, with all the personal connections, it's no wonder this story is coming through so real and heartfelt. Well, that and the fact that Dabeagle is just plain good at that anyway. In addition, we're again getting some great Dabeaglesque characters. On the quirky scale I'd have to rate Wyatt at the top; endearlingly so, but a real riot.

Oh, and another thing: it's with really mixed feelings that I learn there's just one chapter left to go. I'm looking forward to seeing how Dabeagle resolves the story, but I'm going to miss all these guys.

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When I took 'Introduction to the Writing of Short Fiction' at UC Berkeley the instructor told us that a story ends when the author resolves everything that happened to that point. She said that it's more difficult to craft a resolution for a novel than for a short story because there are usually many more loose ends to tie up. Not to put any pressure on Dabeagle! Of course, he could relent and give us five or six more chapters. I doubt there's be any disappointment from his readers. Or maybe a sequel?

Regardless, The Tull Unification is a great story about an important topic that tugs at my emotions.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Guest Dabeagle

The last chapter is with the editor and will post next Saturday.

I'm very pleased with the way it's ending. Will there be things not entirely tied up? Yes. However I think it is a largely happy ending that is also realistic.

Thank you to all who are commenting here, I'm very happy you have enjoyed the story and felt moved to comment on or discuss it.

I do not expect to pick up these characters again. As Graeme will be happy to remind you, I have other unfinished business.

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I'll second the frustration. I've had this title in my Bookmarks forever, it seems, and have never stopped hoping for an update. I think the tension between Adam and Bernie is wonderfully authentic, and generally speaking remember the story most for its presentation of adult issues, on the one hand, and teen issues, and loved it when they intersected.

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