change . . .


Another Writing Group writing assignment, (love my writing group!) This one will explain where I’ve been for the last three months, as I haven’t been active online or writing much at all:

_____

change

by scavola

Quarters stacked on a shelf in neat piles for easy counting, five dollars plus some, just short of two loads. I need to do like four loads. I could make do with two, one work uniforms and one sheets, but how long has the rest of the pile been sitting there? I sniff it . . .

I sort the laundry, putting colors in the hamper and bundling up one minimum load of whites and two more loads of whites that should probably be three. Five loads would be fifteen dollars. I could go to the bank and, checking my wallet, buy a roll of quarters or two. The bank, or actually, credit union, is twenty minutes away. And I’d have to take a shower and wear my good clothes, not my grubby clothes.

I might as well go to the laundry mat ‘cause they got a change machine and it’s always “laundry day”, people wear whatever’s clean, for better or for worse. The nicer laundry mat, with soccer moms in t-shirts and leggings, is like thirty minutes away. The shitty laundry mat, with obese women in inappropriately unbuttoned day gowns, is right around the corner; I don’t think I’d go back though, if anything because their old machines don’t get my clothes very clean.

Fuck it. If I go out and grab a few quarters then I can just go to the apartment complex’s laundry room. The machines are smaller and don’t do as good a job but I can run back home during the wash and dry cycles. At least I can during the week days; on the weekend there’s too much chance that people will fuck with my shit or steal it. My shit hasn’t been fucked with or stolen, but it’s that kind of apartment complex with that kind of people. (We were in the news recently, a baby boy stolen right out of his mother’s arms. The baby boy was recovered but still, who does that?)

At the Wow-mart across the street I can pick up a few things and hopefully get some quarters in the process. I grab my loaded hamper and head out of my ghetto apartment, past the dumpster that’s ripe with spoils like the trash compactor at work. By ‘ghetto’ I don’t mean urban or black, but Eastern European. Old men, who all look like Ed Asner, dressed in dark suits, hats, and shined shoes, stroll around with their hands behind their backs clasping rosary beads. Old women, who all look like Ed Asner, wearing black from head to toe, sit on lawn chairs on the grass, rosary beads in one hand, cigarettes in the other, watching over children running around half-naked.

There’re silhouettes of people hanging out in the stairwells as I drive by. Younger folk wearing a mismatch or ill-fitting clothes, like they got them free (or stole them from the apartment complex’s laundry room). They stare at me, as if longing for a ride somewhere, anywhere. Only about half of the people here have cars but they can all afford cigarettes, booze, and cell phones . . .

I have to loop around the access road to the highway to get to the ghetto Wow-mart. By ‘ghetto’ I mean run down and dirty. There’s a shiny new Wow-mart in a better part of town, but that’s like twenty minutes away and they turn their noses up at me like they know I don’t belong there, even though I once did. Are my clothes mismatched or ill-fitting? They’re the same clothes I’ve had for years, maybe that’s the problem. Or maybe it’s my ten dollar hair cut. I bring in a cart from the parking lot as I go in, a work habit.

By ‘ghetto’ I don’t mean black, because everyone here is a shade of gray, quite drawn and dull. No one greets you at Wow-mart, no one smiles or even makes eye contact. (If we don’t smile and make eye contact where I work, we get disciplined.) Customer Service is busy and I know why, everyone wanting to return shit they found on the street for cash for meth. Turning away from G.M., (a retail term meaning ‘General Merchandise’), I head towards their grocery department. I get out my list. When you’re poor, you make a list and stick to it so that you get only what you need, except for maybe Fritos. I don’t need Fritos, but I want Fritos. They don’t make generic brand Fritos, I checked, and name brand is pricey, but I think I can spare some change for Fritos.

My order comes to $17.94. Fuck! I should put back the Fritos, but I want the Fritos. “Can I get some quarters?”

“Huh?” the cashier asks, now looking at me like “are you gonna be a problem?” She hands me a couple of dollars, a nickel, and a penny. I offer a dollar back to her, which she stares at like it’s loaded.

“May I please buy some quarters?”

She grabs the phone. “Customer needs assistance on aisle five.” With the mash of a few buttons, she signs off her register, resigning herself into a reclining position, arms crossed over her chest. Customers groan and pull out of line.

“What he want?” the manager asks the cashier.

“Quarters,” she says, rolling her eyes.

“He want quarters?” the manager asks; the cashier nods. “You give him change?” The cashier rips off my receipt to show the manager, who grabs her glasses from a chain around her neck to read the receipt. “You done,” she tells me, “thankyoushoppingWow-mart.”

“But I need change,” I say, offering her the dollar.

“You want change?” she asks with a scoff; I nod. “Then buy some gum!”

My cushy Fortune-500 job in the city, where I only occasionally picked up a pen or typed on a computer, my secluded retreat in the mountains, (with a full-size washer and dryer), my friends, living large, my body, my youth, the last fifteen years of my life . . . lost to the recession. I’m back where I started, back home, but with only professional experience and an MBA to show for it. With my experience and education, I’m now only qualified to stock shelves at a supermarket on the graveyard shift. They work me like a dog, treat me like an idiot, and still I don’t make enough to make ends meet. I’m too old for this shit. At the end of the day, I hobble into bed and crash until I have to (struggle to) get up and go back to work. Beyond survival, I don’t have the luxury of anything else. Am I making a living?

I want change. I need change. I buy some gum.

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the secret . . .


Another Writing Group writing assignment, (love my writing group!) This one I’ll be submitting (to be considered) for publication in a periodical / gay lit. mag., so any critiques would help!

_____

The Secret

by scavola

Against the onslaught of frenetic beams of colored light, a mass of people gyrated in silhouette to a tribal beat enhanced by synthesizers. The deafening music left no room for thought, only feeling, and that feeling was elation. Young and full of life, in the warm press of bodies they shared this in bumps and grinds.

In the shadows, I stood alone, sipping my drink. A girl said “hi”, placing her hand on the high-top table. With one look, I deemed her unworthy. I wasn’t sure what I looked for but whatever ‘it’ was, she didn’t have it. I knew what she liked, my eyes, I have ‘bedroom eyes’. Otherwise, I was average, or even less than.

“Why are you all by yourself?” she asked, her hand moving to my shoulder.

“I’m here with friends.”

“Yeah? And where are they?” As her hand travelled across my back like a tarantula, she moved in closer. She reeked of, what’s that scent? Vanilla with spice and a hint of boiled cabbage . . . oh, that’s it, desperation.

“Good question. I guess I should go find them, thanks.” I gave her my best insincere grin.

“Whatever,” she said, rolling her eyes as she left.

I lost track of my other friends, but didn’t lose track of Justin. His fair skin glowed in the black light as did his bright white t-shirt and pale blue jeans. The rest of us had to dress up in pants, shirts, and even jackets, the proper plumage for the mating dance. Justin could dress down and still look good. The boy next door, he wasn’t exactly handsome, maybe cute with his bulbous nose and wide ears, but he had ‘it’ to the point it was blinding; like staring into the sun, nothing in periphery mattered. A Goth-girl wanna be eclipsed him, drawn to him like a moth to a flame.

Careful little girl, I thought, you might get burned. I grew tense and more and more so until the others came to me, ready to go. They asked me where Justin was, since we were typically inseparable. I made a bee-line to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and told him. He needed a minute. “For what?” I asked, giving the girl my best ‘eat shit’ look.

We all waited ten minutes, and then I told him again, pleading. After ten minutes more, I told him again, forcefully. The next time, I yanked him off the floor by his belt, breaking him away from the girl before she kissed him.

“She liked me,” he said in my ear, over the din of the music. “She gave me her number.”

“I’m sure she gives lots of guys her number.”

“You’re just jealous.” He shoved me away a little forcibly.

I backhanded his chest. “I could care less. You could hang out with her all night if we didn’t have to go.”

“Where is everybody?” His glare, white hot, burned.

“They were here a minute ago.” The room now spinning in silence, I’d lost track of them again. “Maybe they got tired of waiting . . .”

“Son of a . . .”

He was drowned out as my head collided with a wall. The shoving would’ve been the end of it, if security hadn’t spotted us and thrown us out. In a tangled mess, we struggled, limbs flailing. By the time the others found us, I was on top, holding him down. Something I’d enjoyed, something I should’ve enjoyed, now it made me uncomfortable, feeling his anger rise. I hopped up and tried to put some distance between us but the others had to hold Justin back as he raged.

“Tell them!” he yelled, “Tell them what you told me last night!”

He broke away, his fist coming right at me. I parried the blow, twisted his arm behind him, and knocked his legs out from under him. He yelled as his knees ground against the concrete, ripping his jeans and abrading him.

“Chill the fuck out!” I pulled his arm up until it was too painful for him to struggle and then a bit more.

This would turn out badly, but how badly hadn’t been decided. I looked to the drawn faces of the others; they were as scared as I was, but not for the same reason. I couldn’t hurt him like that, even though he could hurt me, but I had to do something.

I forced him down to whisper in his ear. “You promised . . .”

Through clenched teeth he muttered, “Fuck you faggot.”

I shoved him hard and stormed off, for the first time, alone.

 *****

The night before, the ‘last night’ Justin referred to, he and I had had yet another talk about how I’m too affectionate, and we’re getting to old for that, and people make comments, and, “Are you sure you’re not gay?”

Outing someone while driving down dark, winding roads at fifty miles per hour isn’t the best idea, as in that moment my life flashed before my eyes, childhood sleepovers, the high school locker room, how Amy, Carla, and Vickie paled in comparison to Tom, Dick, and Harry, and yes, Justin, especially after ‘the incident’. I managed to stay on the road and replied, “Maybe.” This was the first time I hadn’t vehemently denied it.

“That would explain everything,” he said, patting me on the back, “but no poopy-dick for me.”

“Whatever,” I said, swallowing my heart.

In consideration, he nodded. “I’m happy for you, now you can start living your life, and I’ll be there for you.”

“You won’t tell anybody?” I asked, now scared of the reactions I’d get.

“I won’t say anything ‘til you’re ready, I promise.”

I quickly leaned in and pecked his cheek, which he rubbed sorrowfully with a ‘yuck’. He let me kiss him again when I dropped him off at home, for me to feel what it was like. He was that good of a friend.

*****

Justin told the others after I’d stormed off, but I didn’t know it then. It remained a big secret until I was ready to tell them, which, after what had happened, wasn’t for a long, long time.

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online presence / ‘marketing’ results


I was wondering if my online presence had anything to do with sales increasing / decreasing, so I correlated the two. SALES is easy, as that’s a given. For blogger / wordpress, I counted the posts I made each month and the views my blogs received each month, (wordpress is just a mirror of my blogger blog). Twitter is the number of tweets obviously. Furaffinity is a fan site and I counted the number of journals I posted and the number of art works I had commissioned. The results are thus:

Now, the first three books of the ‘Duke’ series were released in September, October, and March. After that, it’s clear that sales were directly proportional to online effort. I do see that primarily blogger and then twitter, which alerts followers of new posts, together directly mirror sales. I’ve looked at each separately, and can’t see that either is directly responsible for sales or that there’s any relation to subject matter of posts / tweets. It’s just this, the more effort made, the more posts and tweets put out there, the more views my books get and hence, more sales.

So, as we know, it’s important for authors to have a blog and twitter and to stay active on them, to be an active member of the reader / writer community.

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another story . . .


I was reading a book on writing and was inspired to write this . . .

 

frozen

by scavola

The staccato rhythm of typing sputtered in the throes of death and then broke as the man wiped tears from his eyes. He took a moment; did he have anything to add? As he looked through the icy window, his life flashed before his eyes. The book covered his childhood through his teen years. No, he decided.

“THE END”, he typed, and collapsed into the chair.

If only he could write a different story, a story of love without loss, or a story of overcoming loss.

Abruptly distracted by barking, he wiped at the window, clearing the frost. A black dog bounded about the edge of the lake. With the precision of a fire drill, the man jumped into his boots and ran out the door. He donned his coat, hat, and gloves as he ran, securing his body heat from the icy breeze. When he got to the edge of the lake, he doubled-over. Steam billowed from his mouth as he caught his breath and quickly surveyed the situation.

After tying himself off to the dock with a rope, he glided across the ice. With tell-tale cracks, he lay flat, distributing his weight as he crawled to the hole. Peering in, he saw a form floating.

I’m getting to old for this, he thought, as he slid into the icy water.

 

*****

He woke with a warm glow . . . woke?

Fuck, he cursed to himself, recoiling. His hard cock had been nestled between the boy’s cheeks. Scrambling out of bed didn’t help, as the thick member jutted in the boy’s direction.

The boy winced; his eyes squeezing shut to hold back the . . .

His pants a damp heap on the floor, he snatched up the duvet, balling it in his crotch. “I’m sorry,” he blurted as he backed towards the door.

The boy was frozen, either frozen in terror or simply still frozen.

The man hurried to the kitchen to make some warm tea. Still, he couldn’t help but have noticed the tenting of the covers.

*****

“Just tea,” the man said, taking a sip himself. He held the cup to the boy’s lips. A cold hand met his to steady the cup as the boy strained to lift his head. The man snaked his arm around him, supporting him.“That’s enough,” he said, as the boy choked a little.

“Thank you,” the boy sputtered through chattering teeth.

“You’re still freezing.” He took a mental inventory and came up short. “I’m sorry, but this is the best I can do.”

Without reservation, he spread the duvet back on to the bed and resumed his position. Under the covers, he slid his arms under the boy’s armpits and his thigh between the boy’s legs, holding him tight. The boy’s icy chills spread to him as he shared his warmth. The boy either couldn’t or didn’t resist.

“I’m sorry,” he said again. “What were you doing out on the lake anyway?”

“I was just . . . I don’t know.”

“Well, you picked a fine time to do it.” The man chuckled, jostling the two. “My truck’s dead, the phone’s dead, the storm’s dumping a foot an hour of ice and snow.” He glanced out the window to a wall of solid white.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, I’m just glad I was here. I was supposed to leave yesterday. I got caught up finishing my book.”

“You’re that writer.”

“You’ve heard of me?”

“Ryan Devlin . . . I like your books.”

“You’ve read me?” The boy nodded. Interesting, as he only wrote gay fiction. “My name’s not Ryan though.”

“Really?” the boy asked.

“Ryan is my pen name, my real name’s Dustin.”

“Huh.”

“Huh what?”

“My name’s Dustin.” The soft nape of his neck, the start of stubble on his jaw line, had he ever looked so young? “Why’d you choose Ryan?”

“Ryan was a . . . friend of mine, a good friend, who died.”

“I’m sorry.”

He grew comfortable in their warm embrace, too comfortable.“Do you want more tea?

“No.”

“Can I get you anything?”

“No.” The man started to shift, to put a few inches between them . . . “Don’t,” the boy said. “Can you just hold me?”

“Are you sure?” The boy nodded, so he shifted back. “I’m sorry,” he said, poking the boy.

“It happens,” he said with a chuckle.

His thigh still between the boy’s thighs, he could feel the hard root. “So do you want to tell me what you were doing out there?”

“I was done.”

“Done?”

“My dad was yelling at me again, he didn’t like me being gay.” A story he knew all too well. “My dad didn’t like that my boyfriend was older, he called the cops.”

“And your boyfriend killed himself.”

“I tried to go on, but it seemed pointless.” While he’d like to say ‘it gets better’, he knew it wasn’t always true. “It was like I reached the end of my story.”

He couldn’t hold back the welling of emotion and the dam broke, tears streaming from his eyes.

The boy reached back, parting his cheeks. He snagged the tip of the man’s cock with his hole and then pressed on to it.

“Oh god,” the man moaned, penetrating the barrier gripping him to the squishy warmth. “We shouldn’t . . .”

“Please,” the boy said. He took the man’s hand, placing it between his legs, where he was still hard.

Gently rocking, he began to tingle, all his frustration bundled in his loins, and, tensing, bursting forth in blinding joy. It was a moment frozen in time, as he’d never left the lake. The rope, tied off to the dock, was taut. The black dog still bounded about, barking.

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a picture is worth 1,000 words . . .


Had this writing assignment for my writing group, and took it quite literally:

(It’s quite a puzzle to be solved. Some my be interested in solving it, others not. I’ll give you a clue, there’re 30 sentences with 30 colors each . . .)

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

by scavola

Brown, white, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, white, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, white, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, brown. Brown, white, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, white, brown, brown, brown, white, white, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, white, brown, brown, brown, white, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, brown. Brown, white, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, white, white, white, white, white, white, brown, brown, brown, white, white, brown, white, white, white, white, white, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, brown. Brown, white, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, brown. Brown, white, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, pale pink, pale pink, pale pink, brown. Brown, brown, pale pink, pale pink, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, pale pink, brown, brown. Brown, brown, white, pale pink, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, brown, brown. Brown, brown, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, brown. Brown, brown, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, brown. Brown, brown, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, brown. Brown, brown, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, brown, brown. Brown, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, light blue, light blue, light blue, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, light blue, light blue, light blue, white, white, white, white, white, white, brown. White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, light blue, dark gray, dark gray, light blue, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, light blue, dark gray, dark gray, light blue, white, white, white, white, white, white, white. White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, light blue, dark gray, dark gray, light blue, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, light blue, dark gray, dark gray, light blue, white, white, white, white, white, white, white. White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, light blue, light blue, medium gray, white, white, white, gray, white, white, white, medium gray, light blue, light blue, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white. White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, gray, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white. White, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, pink, pink, pink, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white. White, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, pink, pink, pink, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white. Gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, pale pink, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray. Gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, pale pink, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray. Gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, pale pink, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray. Gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray. Gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray. Gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray. Gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray. White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, medium gray, medium gray, medium gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray. White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white. White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white. White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white. White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white, white.

Another clue:

Update: I snuck the result of this piece onto the bottom of the “Duke Artwork” page on my blogger blog. In my writing group, this piece led to a good discussion on the nature of writing, use of words, and active/passive reading. What do you think? It’s not fiction, but writing, and it does convey an image, right? SOLUTION

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a day in the life . . .


I wrote this for my writing group. It was supposed to be about joy, but turned out to be about the lack thereof . . .

_____

The sunlamp turns on at 09:00; I roll away from it.

Fluffy hops onto the bed, abruptly crossing over me with pokey paws. He sits beside my head, making a squeaky, drawn out ‘meeee’, and then scrambles away as I backhand him.

Morning finally comes as I have to get up, well, I don’t ‘have to’ as much as I don’t prefer the alternative. I toss back the covers and stumble out of bed to the bathroom.

“Meeee.” He follows me to the kitchen.

Pick up plate, rinse off plate, grab tuna, spoon tuna on plate, return plate to floor . . . (Fluffy nibbles at it) . . . open coffee maker, remove grinds, insert filter, add coffee and water . . . (coffee maker grumbles to life) . . . butter the small pan, crack and scramble egg, fry egg, open grapefruit snack cup, drain and place on plate, flip egg, adding cheese, fold egg, remove from pan, place on plate, grab fork.

I take my time, savoring each bite. By then, the coffee maker is sputtering out its last drops. Ah, coffee . . . decaf, of course, to inhibit tension. I head back to the bedroom, if anything, to grab my cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, of course. I enjoy the spicy vapor rolling off my tongue.

I sit on the bed and turn on ‘The View’, but turn the volume down, too much cackling first thing in the morning, but I do enjoy the calm strength of Whoopi. Today’s guests are more reality show stars that I don’t know or give a fuck about. “Kendra sets the record straight about recent allegations of cheating”; no, Kendra just needs to stop whoring.

“Meeee.” This is when he starts scratching at the bed like it’s one big litter box and I’m a giant cat poop. I don’t know if that’s what he’s doing, but that’s how I take it. I get up and he sniffs where I sat, scratching. Ear bud, blue light, unplug. Phone, 100%, unplug. JOY, 30%, unplug. For some reason I only get a 30% charge out of it these days. I sit back on the bed to a “meeee.” I ruffle his head and he pins back his ears and purposely sinks his teeth into my hand, which is a sign of affection?

Facebook: Cathy’s made a few posts. Twitter: The ‘4 new tweets’ turn into 50, as Justin Bieber had a concert last night. Goodreads: Oh! One note and three updates. The note is about other groups bashing my group. This used to be fun before I got labeled ‘transphobic’. But hey, there’re some good posts about our BOOK CLUB book, and no one left the group last night. Yay . . . Email: Request for documents for the short sale. Request for documents for the student loan deferment. “Bill is now available”, “bill is now available”, and “don’t let your policy lapse!”

Oh! Time to flip over to Wendy Williams. I turn her up a bit, because she’s fun. Today’s guests are more reality show stars that I don’t know or give a fuck about. “Darnella sets the record straight about recent allegations of cheating”; no, Darnella just needs to stop whoring.

I crawl back into bed to Fluffy’s scratching.

*****

Crap! I’ve slept the day away again. I check my phone. Mortgage company called. Credit card company called. Facebook: Cathy’s made a few posts. Twitter: ‘10 new tweets’ as Trump’s on a tirade. Goodreads: No updates. JOY, still at 30%.

Fluffy’s sleeping now, curled up under the covered side table in the living room.

I might as well work out. I change into my shorts and turn on the old TV and the old Xbox. I select a thirty minute ‘flexibility’ workout, as I’m still stiff from yesterday. I grab a glass of ice tea, decaf, of course, and my cigarette. I take a few draws and sips.

March in place, step touch, kicks, side steps, march in place, step touch, kicks, side steps . . .

Double lunges, V-steps, skip up and back, (I mock skip, as the floors in this apartment are shit), double-lunges, V-steps, skip up and back . . .

Transition time, I take a few draws and sips.

Side crunches left, side crunches right, side crunches left, side crunches right . . .

Transition time, I take a few draws and sips.

Good. She’s got me on the floor today doing back stretches. By the time we’re done, I’m loose and limber. I take a hot shower and crawl back into bed. I sleep on and off through Ellen, Anderson, and the local news.

*****

Facebook: Cathy’s made a few posts. Twitter: A few random tweets. Goodreads: No updates. JOY, still at 30%.

Fluffy hops onto the bed, stepping around me to sit and stare at me. I ruffle his head. He follows me to the kitchen, not because he’s hungry but because he wants to play. As I prepare protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates, I pop out of the kitchen to chase him through the living room. I take my dinner back to the bedroom to eat while watching Diane Sawyer. With all that’s going on in the world today, we have a puff-piece about remodeling your spare room for rent. Mom, dad, teenage boy, teenage girl, and a complete stranger? Yeah, like that’ll work.

Facebook: Cathy’s made a few posts. Twitter: A few random tweets. Goodreads: No updates. JOY, still at 30%.

‘The Big Bang Theory’, I don’t really care for it but it’s on. I won’t watch ‘Two and a Half Men’ though, John Cryer freaks me the fuck out with his duck lips. I check the local listings, nothing’s on until ‘The Big Bang Theory’ again at 10:00. I put on reruns of ‘Star Trek the Next Generation’.

I row before it gets too late. I put on music and light (solo) porn. As the young man pretends to sleep, pretends to wake, and then pretends to enjoy pleasuring himself on camera, I stroke back and forth to the beat of the music. Twenty minutes later, I’m worked up, breathing heavy, and sweating, and the young man has a contented smile on his face. I take another shower and crawl back into bed.

Facebook: Cathy’s made a few posts. Twitter: A few random tweets. Goodreads: No updates. JOY, still at 30%.

I open a Word file, expand the subdocuments, and scroll to the end. A jumble of words need to be put together for the story to end. I stare at the words . . .

“Meeee.”

He sits beside the bed, staring up at me. A second ago, he was sound asleep curled up under the covered side table in the living room. I pat the bed but he doesn’t hop up. I stare at the words . . .

“Meeee.”

“Fine!” I get up and chase him into the living area, from under the table to under the tree, (I left the tree up, but took the decorations off, because he likes the tree), to the bedroom closet, to the living area . . . if I’m lucky he might play with a toy. When he’s done, (unresponsive), I give him some treats and head back to the bedroom in time for ‘The Big Bang Theory’. It’s a repeat. How many season of that show are in syndication? The same six episodes always seem to be on. I turn off the TV for the night.

Facebook: More active now! Bob’s ‘liked’ another weepy rescue pet ad. Both Marie and Donna posted pictures of their baby girls. Twitter: a few random tweets including Towleroad news, which I look forward to, but the news isn’t that interesting today, just anti-DOMA, anti-DOMA, and Neil Patrick Harris. Goodreads: No updates. JOY, now at 20%.

I ponder this as I close the Word file, the story untouched. It’s time to get settled into bed so I’m not up half the night. I don’t plug in my ear bud, phone, or JOY, as I haven’t really used them today. I fire up the Kindle and open a new book.

“The prose is too simple, reading more on a YA level, and is quite redundant . . .” I turn off my inner ‘editor’.

“Typo . . .typo . . . oh, I wouldn’t have done that . . .” I turn off my inner ‘writer’.

As a reader, I enjoy the book. It takes me back to high school swimming class and all the insecurity and turmoil. I relate to the main character, but not his condition as he has a micro-penis. The story, at first troubling, is now sweet . . .

Fluffy crawls onto the bed, stepping around me. He climbs on top of me and starts purring. With light needling, I get the ‘paw-paw’ dance, the highest honor a cat can bestow. He needles the covers, still purring. When he’s given all he feels I deserve, he hops off and curls up at my feet.

I was quite wary of what would happen, as the main character got more than naive, but fortunately, he didn’t screw things up. I finished the two hundred page book in one sitting. Sure it’s late but I enjoyed it. Turning off the light, I lay my head on the pillow with visions of sugar plums dancing, well, sugar plums in the locker room showers after swimming practice . . .

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NO GAY FOR YOU! (Updated)


(Original post)

It was six months between my research periods for school, so I decided to continue it six months later. I look at the‘Best Sellers in Gay Fiction’ on amazon.com, taking note of the gender of the author and page count. I guess the most important finding in this research is that it’s still hard to find gay fiction in the ‘gay fiction’ category at amazon.com.

Well, male authors continue to get squeezed out, down from 50 to 25 to 20%.

But book length is up, the number of short stories cut in half in favor of novels. I guess this is a reflection of readers demanding higher-caliber books than have been offered so far with indie and self publishing.

In that regard, good news, if you’re looking for gay fiction novels, offerings are up from 6.25 to 8%! (but still down from 25%)

My psychic prediction: as readers demand higher-caliber books, readers will turn away from M/M Romance to more traditional gay fiction, and while the quality of books written by women will increase, so should exposure to books written by men.

We’ll see in six more months!

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