Chapter 10 . . .

hmm ... i wonder if that board could support two :-)

Red seems to be the theme for October and the next couple of chapters. I’m thinking that cutie above was on Sean’s swimming team at Cambridge Latin. He could certainly be on my swimming team if he wants.

While I didn’t have time to put together a decent introduction to this week’s chapter, I will be putting up some information about the posting schedule for the next couple of weeks in a couple of days. Be sure to keep an eye out for it as I may not be posting very much else for a while.

In the meantime, as you’ll recall, Sean and Holden took in a baseball game at Fenway Park and then had dinner together back in Cambridge in our last chapter. As the chapter ended, they were on their way back to Holden’s room in Wigglesworth Hall to look at that math problem set that seems to be giving Holden so much trouble.

Let’s hope that’s the only problem the boys run into.

Be that as it may, Chapter 10 is now available for your reading pleasure. As always, have fun reading and be sure to let me know what you think. And do check back for another post later this week, probably on Wednesday or Thursday.

Chapter 9 . . .

nice bootie or bootay depending on preference :-)

If the Boston Red Sox were in playoff contention right now, you would have been subjected to another long post this week celebrating the joys of American baseball. Sadly, the Sox had a disappointing season this year so we can skip all that verbiage.

But at least their season is ending on a positive note unlike the Washington Nationals, whose season is ending with a dickhead manager named Matt Williams making a complete ass of himself because he has less sense in his entire body than my dick has in its head!

Indeed, for a baseball fan like me the only thing left to root for is the imminent demise of the New York Yankees, a team so base and depraved it sued for the exclusive right to be called the evil empire. Sued and won I should note!

“In short, the record shows that there is only one Evil Empire in baseball and it is the New York Yankees,” wrote the judges. “Accordingly, we find that [the Yankees] have a protectable trademark right in the term . . . as used in connection with baseball.”

So there you have it, people; of this there can be no doubt. The New York Yankees are indeed the evil empire and worthy of your contempt and hatred! Whereas the Washington Nationals are just a pathetic imitation of a well-managed baseball team.

Of course, not having baseball to celebrate this week meant I needed to find something else to celebrate; something in red as my little tribute to Beantown’s favorite team. So that’s how we ended up with that image above.

In case you’re wondering, I did indeed consider a red sock, but I’m not the world’s biggest foot worshiper. Don’t get me wrong; I love foot play as much as anyone else, but let’s face it. Other parts of the male anatomy definitely have priority.

The door was the clincher for me. I would be happy to open that door for that fine young man; wouldn’t you? And don’t ask which door I’m talking about :-)

Be that as it may, we learned about some of the pressures Holden is experiencing in last week’s chapter, but he’s not the only one feeling pressure so we’ll pick up our story at the end of Friday with Sean making his way home.

I’ve posted Chapter 9, which is narrated by Sean. It’s another long one, but have fun reading and be sure to let me know what you think.

Chapter 8 . . .

Robinson Hall

Rarely do I ask readers to think about what I write. Stories are typically read for the pleasure they provide, not to learn the difference between the right and wrong way of doing things in life (although a well crafted story may do that). But this week I hope you’ll read this lengthy posting and then think about it as you read Chapter 8.

If last week’s chapter marked the informal end of Part I, Chapter 8 represents the beginning of Part II. It’ll be narrated by Holden and may allow us to get to know a bit more about him; after all, life doesn’t come to a screeching halt just because we’ve met someone who’s captured our fancy.

It’s also a longer chapter, but one I hope you’ll enjoy. To set the stage, it’s the morning after Sean’s decision to spend a second night at Holden’s room in Wigglesworth Hall. It was an uneventful night. The boys slept in separate bedrooms and Sean was up early the next morning to go to work. We’ll catch up with him in Chapter 9.

By the way, I should probably mention I’ve buried a little joke within the chapter, two actually (although I’ve connected them); jokes you’re only likely to recognize if you’re familiar with Harvard (as I’ve now become). I kept thinking I needed to remove them, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to do that.

As the saying goes, it is what it is; and don’t worry if you don’t recognize them. There’s no reason you should and they’re not critical to the story in any way.

Much of tonight’s chapter takes place inside Robinson Hall, which is currently home to Harvard’s history department. Not surprisingly, that’s a picture of Robinson Hall up above. Like most buildings in Harvard Yard, it’s an interesting one. Sadly, that small image hardly does justice to it. But if you click on the image you’ll be able to access a much larger version.

If you do that, check out the plaque dedicating the building to the memory of Nelson Robinson, Jr., above the front door. Apparently the building was a gift to Harvard from his parents. Try as I might, I wasn’t able to find out very much about young Nelson except that he was shy and a member of the Class of 1900 who had been interested in architectural design and landscape architecture.

Sadly, as you can see from the plaque, he apparently did not live to graduate with his class.

Death at a young age is always hard; being forgotten harder still. But Nelson does have a building named after him even if it’s one of the more obscure buildings in Harvard Yard. Tucked into the northeast corner, it was the home of the Graduate School of Design until 1972. Hence the word ARCHITECTURE at the top of that enlarged image I pointed you to above.

As mentioned, the building is now occupied by the History Department. The Department says it’s home to about 100 to 130 graduate students and another 150 to 200 undergraduate concentrators (that’s Harvard speak for majors); apparently not all that welcoming a home if you’re an undergraduate, however, as we’ll learn soon enough.

By the way, notice the two griffons that flank the door of Robinson Hall, one of which you can view much better by clicking this link. What’s a griffon (or griffin or gryphon depending on preference) you may ask?

Good question; apparently it’s a legendary mythical animal with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion, and the head, wings, and talons of an eagle. Some, but not all, authorities claim that griffons are also part dragon. Not being an expert in such things, I don’t feel competent to settle the issue and will leave that to others more knowledgeable than me. But for sure griffons are part lion and eagle.

Because the lion is traditionally considered the king of beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffon is thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Griffons are also known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions, which apparently include the library/lounge in Robinson Hall.

Access to that library/lounge is apparently priceless indeed. I know that because it was suddenly closed to undergraduate students in 2014. At that time, a sign reading “this lounge is reserved for graduate students only” was placed at the library entrance, at least if an article in the Harvard Crimson is to be believed.

How gauche is that?

The explanation given by one Cristina V. Groeger, a representative of the Henry Adams Society, which is apparently the History Department’s graduate student organization, was somewhat less than compelling in my humble opinion.

“My sense is that undergraduates didn’t really use the space much,” Ms. Groeger is quoted as saying by the Crimson.

Really, Ms. Groeger, your sense? That’s what you and others relied on in deciding to close a portion of the facility you share to undergraduates? You made no inquiries about the matter among the undergraduate history concentrators? You just relied on your sense; is that it?

Or perhaps your lack of sense; I mean, good God, your arrogance is suffocating, Ms. Groeger, at least in my humble opinion.

Having learned about this unfortunate incident, I was not surprised in the least to also learn that a History Department that enrolls students like Ms. Groeger would only rank fourth best in the United States after Princeton, The University of California at Berkeley, and, GASP, Yale! That’s according to U.S. News & World Report.

Indeed, Harvard is not even the undisputed fourth best history department in the nation. It has to share that lowly ranking with Stanford and the University of Chicago.

Of course, would be defenders of the Department might point to a USA Today survey that ranks it number two (still below, GASP, Yale, it should be noted). But other surveys rate the department much lower still; not even in the top ten for that matter.

But that isn’t surprising, of course, when you have a priss like Ms. Groeger sensing things rather than doing enough actual research to determine that undergraduates weren’t using the library/lounge and did not want to use it. Indeed, it confirms my worse suspicions about Henry James, who appears to have been something of a racist and anti-immigrant xenophobe and a closeted homosexual to boot all his life.

Some question just how closeted he was; but, as Donald Trump would say, look at that face! Would any of you have slept with Henry James except under the most extraordinary duress if you were on the receiving end of one of his little mash notes?

If James was indeed celibate all his life, as I suspect, his celibacy seems to have turned him into something of a male priss. Is it any surprise Ms. Groeger should emulate her hero in being that way? By the way, in a moment of generosity, Ms. Groeger did allow that “undergrads can still use the non-circulating books in the Lounge, but the understanding is that the space is for grad students primarily.”

How very generous of you, Ms. Groeger; how very territorial and welcoming. By the way, who died and made you the arbiter of these things? More to the point, where the hell is the adult supervision in the History Department to allow such an outrage?

Ah, but there’s the rub I suspect. I may have been too harsh on Ms. Groeger. As the saying goes, the fish rots from the head.

Perhaps I’m making too much of this unfortunate incident. It’s just that I found the whole thing terribly upsetting in light of tonight’s chapter where I draw a much more sympathetic portrait of at least one fictional member of the History Department. Be assured I was totally unaware of Ms. Groeger and the actual members of the Department before I wrote the chapter.

More importantly, and the reason why I have gone on about this at some length, is that I want to encourage you as readers to contrast the figure portrayed in this chapter with Ms. Groeger, a graduate student and would be teacher presumably.

Who would you prefer as an adviser or teacher in college? Truth be told, Ms. Groeger is merely a symbol of just about everything wrong with American higher education these days.

She and too many of her fellow graduate students only seem interested in looking up to their so-called mentors, not down to their younger charges. Apparently, they totally lack any interest in, or curiosity about, the undergraduates they may be teaching some day; to have no interest at all in mingling with them.

What can you expect from graduate students like this? Not very much good, I fear.

In any event, Chapter 8 is up. Have fun reading and be sure to let me know how you feel about the chapter or even Ms. Groeger for that matter.

Site & Gallery Updates . . .

are those killer eyes or what?

Take a peek under the sheets as I’ve made a few changes around the joint this evening, including updating my About page to reflect the existence of the Galleries among other things. I also updated the Galleries themselves while I was at it.

Each of them now has fifty-five images carefully chosen from among the blog and chapter postings I’ve made over the last four years. And the best part is they’re only to get better in the future

How to comment . . .

I wanted to say a couple (hundred) words about commenting in this post because I suspect some of you may not be doing so for two reasons. How to do so may be confusing you; or you may be concerned your information will be abused.

While the commenting system WordPress uses is not especially intuitive, it’s not that complicated either if you want to comment but just aren’t sure how. For example, if you click on that Leave a comment link at the top of this post, you should be taken to the spot where you’re invited to leave a reply. Start typing a reply and still more boxes appear that give you some choices.

You can click on one of the icons for WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, or Google to log in to those sites and use information you may have shared with them. I don’t see any advantage to doing that, but there may be. If someone can think of a reason, let me know.

Alternatively, you can fill in an e-mail address and a name. The website box is optional and does not need to be filled in. After that you just click on the Post Comment button. You should then see the message you’ve written along with a comment that your message is awaiting moderation.

That just means your comment is waiting for me to approve it. I try to approve them the same day if possible, usually with a response from me. But it may take a bit longer on some occasions.

There have only been a very few occasions where I have not approved a comment. The most recent was when someone tried to use the comments to link to some right-wing wacko bird video that would have explained to you how Calvin Coolidge was really a better President than Franklin D. Roosevelt, among other things.

As I told the fellow, this is my site and I’m not prepared to let it become part of the right-wing propaganda machine that’s damaged American so greatly. Having said that, you can count on one hand the number of people whose comments have not been approved by me.

Like Holden, I’m easy :-)

Now that I’ve explained the process, let me add a few other words. Some of you may not be commenting because you’re concerned (as you should be) about divulging information on the internet. Here’s what I can tell you I know about that.

As for me, I don’t collect any personal information about you if you post a comment. If you provide an e-mail address, I won’t sell it to anyone or use it to spam you with tons of e-mails and your e-mail address will NOT be published as part of your comment.

I will probably add you to my mailing list if I remember (unless you ask me not to or later decide you’d prefer not to be on it and ask to be removed, which I will gladly but sadly do). But I only use that list to announce new stories so I haven’t been bombarding people with lots of e-mails.

I can’t be absolutely certain whether WordPress is collecting information on you and what they might do with it if they are. If that concerns you, you can provide a fake e-mail address as far as I’m concerned. Just be aware that I won’t be able to be in touch with you in that case.

From my point of view, you can also provide a fake name (and I would encourage you to only provide a first name in any event).

I would prefer that you not use Anonymous as a fake name because multiple people could use that, which would complicate things; whereas using something unique like Joe69 helps me to know that you may have posted before using that same nym.

Get your freaking mind out of the gutter, Kit; that’s Joe 690 you pervert :-)

Finally, and most important of all, I really like getting comments, even critical ones. That’s assuming they’re not malicious and I did have one person commenting at one time who was being malicious. But that’s one out of hundreds who’ve commented.

Comments help me understand what you’re thinking. If you think the story is moving too slowly or that I’ve contradicted myself or whatever, let me know. I may or may not agree, but hopefully we’re all adults and can have an adult conversation about things.

The other point I would make is that I love my characters, at least most of them. Your comments help me understand how they’re coming across to you and that’s important for a writer.

Finally, as I’ve said before, I can’t get better as a writer without people talking to me. Commenting is one way of doing that. E-mailing me is another way.

I’m happy with whatever works best for you and I know I’ve made some good friends this way. I’d like you to become one too.

Chapter 7 . . .

what is the boy in red thinking?

Some wrestling imagery seemed appropriate for this latest installment of our story, partly for reasons that will become evident soon enough but also because Sean seems to have been wrestling with himself quite a bit these last few chapters.

Indeed, Sean and Holden seem to have been wrestling in some ways as well although neither seems to have achieved the upper hand in their little match. That’s probably a good thing I suspect.

Finding a good wrestling image proved difficult, however. It turns out that high school wrestlers grimace a lot as they go about the task and grimacing is hardly ever aesthetically pleasing. They also seem to end up in some incredibly odd positions which, while occasionally interesting and perhaps even revealing, were not what I was looking for.

In the end, I searched the internet far and wide trying to find a compelling image. I looked at sculptures of wrestlers, both small and large. I looked at marble wrestlers and bronze wrestlers, wrestlers who were upside down and heels over head, but eventually settled on the image of the two wrestlers you see above.

While probably not entirely satisfactory, there was something about the look on the face of that boy in red that kept drawing me back to the image. Is he tired; resigned to defeat; planning his next move? Your guess is as good as mine.

Tonight’s chapter marks the unofficial end of Part I of The Opened Door. I had actually planned to make the division official, but forgot to do so initially and then it became too much of a hassle to fix my mistake. But take my word for it. The story does have two parts and Chapter 7 is the last in Part I.

It’s also a bit shorter than most of the rest, but hopefully these first seven chapters have collectively laid a good foundation for what comes next.

There weren’t too many comments or e-mails about the last chapter so I could be wrong, but apparently most of you missed the surprise hidden in that chapter. I won’t fill you in for now, but perhaps next week’s chapter will prove a better reminder.

In any event, it’s been another insanely busy week for me working on future stories so I had little time for any internet research other than my search for the right two wrestlers.

However, the good news is I’m feeling excited about the stories I’ve been working on; or, to put it another way, I haven’t experienced some of the agonies associated with this story so hopefully that’s a positive sign.

I still have a ways to go, however, so hold your breath. I could still manage to screw things up in the next couple of weeks. If not, you’ll start to see some of the fruits of my labor pretty soon.

Chapter 7 is up. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, feel free to let me know by posting a comment or sending an e-mail. As I mentioned to one person who commented on the last chapter, comments are like hugs for the author.

Depending on how you envision me, of course, that may or may not be a good thing :-)

Chapter 6 . . .

pensive but cute

I was busy this week working on the next two stories I plan to share with you, one of which will likely run simultaneously with The Opened Door later this year if all goes well. This is the American way after all. Buy one, get one free!

In any event, I did manage to do a lot of writing this week, most of it pretty good I think although you may beg to differ when I get around to posting the stories online.

The point is I was writing and didn’t have time to do my internet research for the week; and it was a short week in any event given the Labor Day weekend. Labor Day is a holiday we celebrate in America where we prove how hard working we are by taking an extra day off to relax or buy stuff.

It’s not one of the more popular of our holidays because it traditionally signals the end of summer; and also because it celebrates unions and the labor movement, neither of which Americans are especially fond of these days. In America we love to think everything we’ve accomplished in life is because of our own hard work.

God forbid we give any credit to the collective efforts of working men and women. Indeed, I kind of expect we’ll be changing the name of the holiday pretty soon to Entrepreneur Day or, better still, Capitalism Day, so we can celebrate those captains of industry who have done so much for America; like giving us ever increasing income inequality.

The point is it was a short work week in America as we prepared for the weekend; and since tonight’s chapter takes place inside Wigglesworth Hall again in any event and there was no obvious landmark or building to research, I was left with a dilemma. What image should I share with you this week?

The obvious choices were pizza, which is central to this evening’s chapter, or that picture up there of me sitting in my alcove scribbling away on my next stories.

Hmmm, Kit . . . pizza or me; pizza or me. Which do you think your readers would prefer?

Not that I actually have an alcove, of course; and I believe I may be the only person in the whole world who doesn’t drink coffee since I’m already much too wired. And usually I try to avoid looking pensive like that, of course. I don’t do pensive well. But other than that I suppose that could be a picture of me hard at work.

By the way, that image really does look much better in the larger version, which you can access by clicking on it; although that young man definitely needs a good moisturizer for his skin :-)

And if you prefer pizza to me after looking at the larger image and are reading this at The Annex, feel free to grab a slice from that image in the Gallery to your right. I would avoid the Cracker Jack bag though; that stuff can be hard on your teeth.

There are some fresh tomatoes and apples waiting for you in the Gallery if you’re reading this at the Café, but neither of those have anything to with tonight’s chapter as far as I know.

The point is that I don’t have any good gossip to share with you this week about Harvard so that’s how you ended up with that image above. He’s a fine looking lad and I’m sure he’ll eventually make his way to one of the Galleries.

Having said all of this, you may recall Sean was attempting to say good-bye at the end of the last chapter so he could go home. But Holden, being enterprising and knowing everyone in America loves free food, took advantage of Sean’s hunger and offered to buy a pizza for the two of them.

Given the choice between free food and being nagged by his mother, what do you think young Sean will do? But even if you suspect you already know the answer, you may still want to read the chapter because who knows? There might be a surprise buried somewhere in there for those of you who’ve read my other stories; or, then again, maybe not :-)

The only way you’ll ever find out for sure is by reading the next chapter, which is now up; and feel free to share your reaction to this week’s turn of events by commenting at the end of the chapter or sending me an e-mail.


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