Part V and more …

war is not a joke

Part V

They say all good things must come to an end; and while you’ll have to be the judge of how good the story was for you, we’re about to reach Part V, the final two chapters of Connected.

In life, there is only one definitive closure for human beings. But since Nolan, Josh, Tommy and Andy are young, life goes on and closure for them remains in some far distant future. We may not know exactly what happens to them, but we can wish them well and hope for the best as they start the next stage of their journey through life.

The same can’t be said for legislative amendments. They have a definite shelf life. They pass or fail, are withdrawn or modified, and so the final two chapters of Connected focus on what happened to the McPherson amendment and thus primarily on Andy.

I realize some of you are less interested in the political tale and may decide to skip these final two chapters. But if you decide to stick it out, I hope you’ll find both of them interesting and perhaps even exciting.

Even if you’re not interested in what happens to the amendment itself, I would encourage you to read them as events surrounding the amendment will also provide one final important insight into the relationship between Andy and Tommy.

If you stop reading now, you’ll miss that and I think you’ll be missing a lot.

What Comes Next

Following the conclusion of the story, I plan to take some time off for a well deserved vacation, one in which I plan to disconnect myself from the internet. Chapter 52, the last chapter, will be posted at The Annex on June 11, 2012 (later on Nifty), and I plan to depart on my little vacation on June 16th.

For those of you who follow the story here, I’ll have a little time to respond to any immediate e-mails or comments I receive after posting Chapter 52, but anything that comes in after June 15th will have to wait until I return toward the end of the month. Be assured, however, that I will respond to anything that does come in after June 15th . . . assuming the airplanes take off and land safely, of course 🙂

I want to thank everyone who commented on the story (or any portion thereof) and/or sent me an e-mail about it. There were a few unpleasant experiences, but most of you were terrific and I appreciate the support and encouragement you provided. I consider you friends.

As for the lurkers among you, well, I’m sorry I didn’t get to know you better, but I hope you enjoyed the story. I did my best; and while nothing is perfect, I’m proud of the story.

I plan to leave it up at The Annex, at least for the immediate future. Should I decide to take it down at some point, I would plan to give advance notice before doing that so you may want to sign up to receive e-mails about new posts at the blog (click on the Sign me up! button to the right).

The blog will probably be going inactive as well. I did it originally mostly because it seemed like a way of bringing some information to your attention during the seven days you had to wait patiently for each new chapter.

It seems like many of you did read it, but few commented or chose to disagree. It never became much of a dialogue and it also takes a lot of time, time I would rather invest elsewhere. I’m not saying I’ll never post anything here, but it will have to be something I feel really strongly about to make me do that.

I do plan to leave the the blog up, however. Should I post any future stories or have something else of importance to tell you, the blog would be the way I would notify you.

About Connected and Writing

Writing Connected took a very long time; in fact, years. If you could see some of the early drafts and compare them to what I’ve published online, you would laugh. But even after I started posting it online I’ve continued making lots of changes along the way. I’m debating whether to rewrite it entirely and try to get it published in book form, but I’ve outlined some of the problems with that in my response to one of the comments at the end of Chapter 44.

In any event, at the moment, I’m mostly just tired of the whole thing so I think I need some time way from it before deciding what to do next, if anything, with Connected.

As mentioned before, I did think of a sequel (and did actually write prequel that focuses on Andy’s life before arriving in Washington, including the time he spent together at Harvard with his friend, Sam Jeffords). But it doesn’t add a whole lot; and as for a sequel, there were a couple of problems I could never resolve.

First, I couldn’t come up with another big issue like war to build a sequel around. If you have a suggestion for one, feel free to share it. Beyond that, however, I began to see that I might have to take some of the characters we all like so much in different directions, professionally and sexually, to build an interesting story. I discuss that a bit more below, but the bottom line is that I like Nolan, Josh, Tommy and Andy and I didn’t want to put them at risk. They’ve provided us too much pleasure.

To some extent, you learn from your readers; and while a lot of what you learn is helpful and good, it can also be constraining at times. One of the things I’ve learned is that readers like characters who are nice, sex that is mostly plain vanilla, and endings that are happy. It’s hard to blame you for that. There are times when I feel the same way myself. People read fiction mostly for fun, not to be dragged through despair.

But there are times when I feel constrained by all of that. You never get to explore why Coach became a pedophile or what happens to someone like Wayne who can’t accept who he is. Or take Teddy, for another example; he interested me because he liked to cross-dress. I could have done a lot more with that and Andy’s masculinity issue, but I toned all of that down a lot to try to make Teddy more acceptable as a character.

I think I succeeded in that and I’m glad because I like Teddy, but I also think it would be difficult for a lot a people to relate to Teddy if I tried to make him into a major character. He’s just too different from most of us.

It isn’t just characters that are different though. There are varieties of sex and sexual practices that I would find it interesting to explore in a story, but that just wouldn’t be right for most readers, at least in my opinion. The same holds true with characters.

Based on the feedback I got, Tommy was my least popular character for a long time because he was doing something “wrong” by hustling for a living. So, in the end, I toned him down some to make him more acceptable to readers and hopefully most of you have come around and see him as a human being, not as a whore. I guess people can accept sinners as long as they repent.

There are times when I think the only way for me to proceed as a writer and to grow as one is either to write just for myself (because I’m hopelessly corrupted and can’t do myself any further damage) or to write using multiple anonymous pseudonyms so I could try some topics that wouldn’t interest a whole lot of people and, to be honest, I would have trouble putting out there knowing that the audience might include younger readers.

I probably won’t adopt that course. On the other hand, I can’t see myself doing multiple “relationship” stories (i.e., boy meets boy, boys fall in love, boys have polite sex and live happily ever after).

At the moment, I don’t have any another story to post. I’ve been toying with one off and on that I might spend more time with now that Connected is ending. But I probably wouldn’t be posting it until the end of the year at the soonest and I’m not satisfied with it at the moment in any event so I make no promises. If you have a story idea you would like me to consider, feel free to share it with me. Again, I don’t make any promises, but I’ll listen.

One thing I am fairly certain of, however, is that I won’t be publishing on Nifty again. I have nothing against Nifty. You can find some fine stories there and a built-in audience. But you inevitably lose some control over your intellectual property as an author if you decide to post at other sites.

So, if you’re one of those who read Connected on Nifty and think you might like to read another story by me, assuming there is one, you’ll need to bookmark this page and check back periodically to see if I’ve posted anything new.

Have An Unanswered Question?

I’ve tried to touch on most of the things I thought some of you might want to know more about. If you have an unanswered question or a comment on anything I’ve said, feel free to share it below or to send me an e-mail.

I guess that’s it for now. It’s a bit sad to see things ending, but we still do have two chapters and I hope you’ll enjoy them both.

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14 thoughts on “Part V and more …

  1. Hey,

    Great story, if you do decide to do a sequel gay rights issue would be a good topic! Now that Connected is coming to an end, a great story that had me puzzled when it split over to Tommy’s POV.

    I do have a question though, if you plan on not writing until later in the year where will you post the story?

  2. First, let me thank you for this awesome story. I found it about three months ago. I spent a whole weekend getting caught up on it and have been addicted ever since. I understand that all good things must come to a end but this is one of the best short stories I found in a long time, I will be sad to see it end. You have a true talent please don’t stop writing. I know you  posted on your blog that the last two chapters of this story were going to be filled with more politics than relationship but I think you did a wonderful job with Chapter 51. Honestly, I think it’s one of the best chapters in the whole story. I am really looking forward to the conclusion of the story. So once again thanks for the escape you’ve provided and I hope you decide to write again. Please e-mail me if you post another story I will definitely read it.
    Thanks
    Mark

    1. Did you say short story, Mark?

      Kit grins 🙂

      Thanks for the encouragement and support. I’m sad to see Connected ending, but I’m hoping this upcoming vacation helps to recharge my batteries. While I have some personal things I need to address when I get back, I would like to try my hand at another story after that.

      Whether I’ll succeed remains to be seen. If I do, however, it’s likely to be a LOT shorter than my first short story 🙂

  3. What an amazing ending to an amazing story Kit. From the beginning, your story had me crying, had me laughing, had me crying again. I must admit, the chapters with all the political information I kind of perused, not really paying much attention to them. All that D.C. scheming pretty much goes over my head. =)

    But the storyline with Josh and Nolan and then again Andy and Tommy had me riveted. And of course when Tommy and Josh met up again after all those years had me in tears. The whole way you connected the boys was incredible. You are such a talented writer. I’m sorry to see this story end, but I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Have a wonderful vacation.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. In the beginning, it was nice to know I had one female reader. But I figured that I lost you at the end of Part I. It’s terrific to know you stayed with the story all the way through to the end and even better to hear you enjoyed it.

      1. Hey Kit!

        Thanks for responding to my comment! I think I only commented once or twice at the beginning, but I never stopped reading. I was a diehard fan and checked everyday for updates! 🙂 I loved the story. It was a very emotional ride, from Josh and Nolan meeting and realizing their feelings for each other to their life in college to their move to DC. And Tommy’s tale, knowing how he related to Josh, was so sad. Just hearing about those young boys working the dangerous streets b/c they had no other form of income. My heart just broke
        for them. The whole story with Andy and Jesse was tragic also and I can see why the McPherson amendment was so important to Andy. It was like he was trying to avenge Jesse’s death, wanting the President to pull out of the war. And I think Wade was right; even though the McPherson amendment didn’t pass, knowing it received so many votes would only encourage the President to look at it more closely. And then you wrapped up the whole story so nicely (and made me cry again, damn you! 🙂 ) by having Tommy finally admit his love for Andy. A job well done Kit! =)

  4. Hey! 1 year ago, I started reading this story, and I got hooked. I’m lost for words with what to say, but all I could say is “thank you”. I felt like I also grew up emotionally with Nolan, Josh, and Tommy, and it really opened my eyes to what culture other places have. 🙂

    1. The words thank you are always appreciated, Michael. You can hardly ever go wrong with those. So let me just say thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the story. If the story put you in better touch with your emotions and helped you to grow, it did a lot more than I had planned originally and I’m happy about that.

  5. Dear kitkatkid:

    I want to congratulate you on your great story. Normally I would not have read something about such young people (i.e., young as they were when the story began), but the quality of your writing attracted me and convinced me to see where you were going with it. Ultimately I hung on till the end, and I am very glad that I did.

    As you observed in your blog, society is rather phobic about a number of things that you raised in the story. I know you worked for a long time on “Connected”, but to me it looked like you steered around these things with a steady hand; e.g., Tommy being saved from a (nasty, brutish and short) life in prostitution by Andy’s love, and Andy in turn being healed by Tommy’s love.

    You ended where I hoped you would. (All right, I’m the sentimental type, but I don’t think it was cloying at all. Nor do I feel that the route to the outcome was predictable.) The story-line and backdrop (political) were much richer than most gay literature that I can think of (certainly on-line, although I am willing to learn otherwise). I think a story needs that kind of treatment in order to rise above the standard that one often finds.

    The story does deserve to be published and/or be made into a film, as I believe others have suggested.

    (Let me say that this is only the third on-line gay story that I have ever commented on, and I even wonder if you are not the author of one of the other two, a story that I also thought stood a good chance of being made into a film – but that was before the backlash against gay rights and gay being got going in the 2000s).

    You are a talented writer, and you have found your voice with this story. Also, you come across as a very thoughtful, caring and nice person. That is much appreciated by this reader.

    If I may make a suggestion, take your time finding your next project. In case you have not done so already, read “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. I am not sure that “intériorité”, “interioridad” or “Innerlichkeit” have made it into the English language yet (interiority?), but you will find much of that in there.

    Best Wishes and God Bless!

    Dan

    1. What a terrific comment to welcome me home at the end of a long, hot and much too humid week here in Washington! The dog days of summer have been taking their toll on me and it’s at times like this that I envy my Canadian friends. But your comment has revived my spirit and will make my weekend a much better one to boot. Thanks!

      I guess it really hasn’t been all that long, but I’ve been feeling pretty much abandoned as the summer has progressed. The number of people reading the story has dwindled to a trickle and no one has had anything to say about it since June. So getting this comment is much appreciated, Dan. I’m glad you enjoyed the story and even happier you chose to let me know that. As I said, it revives my spirit and gives me renewed hope that I haven’t been totally abandoned.

      I don’t hold out much hope for publication on Connected, to be honest, unless I decide to self-publish it at some point down the road. From what I’ve learned, I pretty much cut my own throat in that regard when I published it online for free. Publishers have made it clear to me that the audience for gay stories is small. They’re not willing to take a chance on Connected because they don’t think they can make any money off of it. Personally, I don’t agree with that, but what do I know about the publishing business? Not much.

      I have thought of expanding the story by adding some new material and adding back some material that I eliminated along the way in an effort to make the story shorter. There is so much more that could be said. But I also realize that a lot of stories go on much too long, sometimes to the point where you wonder what attracted you to it in the first place. I was concerned about not wearing out my welcome with readers and it was already quite long by the time I did eventually wrap it up. If you have any thoughts about whether more (about the war, about some of the characters, including some like Jesse, Sean and Teddy that didn’t get a lot of play) would have been welcomed, please let me know by dropping me an e-mail or just responding with another comment here.

      As for film, well, I know nothing about movies at all. I have absolutely no idea how I would even go about contacting someone about that. And I suppose I also wonder whether any film maker would be interested given the age of the characters. But it’s an interesting thought.

      How thoughtful, caring and nice a person I am is hard to say. But if I ever do get around to self-publishing the story, any profits I make would be given to organizations that help runaways and throwaways like Tommy, Sean and Teddy. The need is so much greater than people can begin to appreciate.

      I do have another project underway that I hope might be done toward the end of the year. It’s a much shorter story to be honest, something I am doing just for the fun of it and to see whether I can pull it off. It’s not a big project like Connected. I’m not sure whether I have another big project in me. I’ve started and then abandoned a couple of stories. I find I can write a terrific first chapter, but the muse seems to abandon me pretty quickly thereafter (probably because I don’t have a big theme to build the story around). Oh, well, I could always do a sequel to Connected if everything else fails. But I’m not sure the original audience would appreciate that, especially sentimental types like you. Life can be hard and tends to wear us down.

      In any event, thanks for making my weekend. It’s nice to know people still get pleasure out of the story. Encourage your friends to come visit as well!

      Kit

      (Decided to edit out your last name as I wasn’t sure if you wanted that published).

  6. Incredible. Easily the best I have read on Nifty over a decade… I will be in the front of the line if it ever becomes a book, or as soon as you decide to write again,

    1. Thanks, Max. I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

      I’m working on a short story that I may post here (but probably not on Nifty) come November/December. I’m not really satisfied with it and it won’t be as good as Connected. The question is whether it will be good enough to share and that remains to be seen.

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