Robert Buckley

What were the chances …?

I can’t speak for other writers, but for me an unsolicited comment from a reader is worth more than getting published, or even getting a check in the mail. For a total stranger to tell you she read your story and that it affected her … wow, you can’t put a price on that.

Like a lot of folks around here, my first time exposing my scribblings to the public came courtesy of ERWA and the Story Gallery. And while email addresses of authors are tacked on the stories that appear in the gallery now, some time ago readers were encouraged to share their thoughts with authors about stories. And, if you think seeing your words in print is a thrill, wait until you get your first fan mail from someone you don’t know saying, “Hey, I really liked your story.” Then it’s Release the endorphins!

I can’t remember ever getting a negative response to a story, but I remember one that was somewhat unsettling.

I don’t have any particular system for choosing names for my characters, particularly last names. Most are relatively common surnames, so no one is likely to confuse a character in one of my stories with an actual individual, even when I pick a name from someone out of my past – except for this one time. Oy!

I was pondering a name for a female character who was a psychologist and settled on the name of a kid with whom I shared a few classes at high school.

The story was chosen to appear in ERWA’s story gallery, and shortly afterward I received an email from a young woman who was urgently curious to know how I had come up with the surname of the character of the psychologist. She explained that it was her family name and only 35 people on the entire planet had it.

It was a classic Uh-oh! moment.

I replied explaining I was trying to settle on a name that fit a female psychologist and that I remembered the name of  the kid from high school. I described him and told her his first name.

“That’s my Dad!” came the reply.

Like I said, Oy!

I braced for her to demand I change the name or take down the story. You can’t tell, after all, how someone might react to having their family name in an erotic story. I explained that her dad and I weren’t friends, but only shared a couple of classes, so only knew each other casually.

She replied, “That’s amazing.” Then she shared that she was in college studying psychology, and wasn’t that also a coincidence.

We kind of chatted back and forth for a bit, as she told me what had become of her dad. I offered that he would likely not remember me at all.

Anyway, that’s how we left it. Except, feeling a bit more relaxed about the situation, I asked her how she liked the story. She said erotica wasn’t really her thing and that it was one of her dorm mates who had read the story on ERWA and brought it to her attention. I didn’t think to ask her what her dorm mate thought of the story. Afterward, I couldn’t help feeling like I had dodged a bullet of sorts.

The story was never published anywhere else but in the Story Gallery, but if I’d ever submitted it elsewhere I would have likely changed the name.

And so … a bit of a cautionary tale. What were the chances?

Another writer’s curse

I don’t care what you do. Your severest critic is you. And if you are a writer, increase that severity to an infinite power.

We second-guess ourselves mercilessly. We fuss over minute details. We agonize over using just the right word. Some of us have trashed completed stories after a final read because our inner critic dismissed it as so much drivel. But while our inner critic can prove debilitating, for the most part it keeps us on the straight and narrow and doesn’t let us down as a rule.

But there’s another drawback to having such a strong inner critic. You can’t turn it off. We’ve so honed our critical eye that, if it’s not able to fuss and flail at our own creations it will turn on any target of opportunity. And so it’s gotten to the point that my inner critic has made it difficult for me to enjoy many popular entertainments.

I’ve become remarkably difficult to please.

I recently watched a very well-regarded movie. It had garnered a couple of Oscar nominations and wins, much critical acclaim. But after I viewed it I was annoyed. I just couldn’t buy many of the scenes and plot twists. One character who started out as a knuckle-dragging cretin morphed 180 degrees into a thoughtful, noble character in the space of one scene. A number of other scenes left me shaking my head mumbling, as if that could happen.

I’m not talking about a lack of willingness to suspend disbelief, something we all must do to get into say, sci-fi or fantasy. This was a contemporary drama throughout which I kept thinking this stuff just couldn’t happen.

I find myself finding fault with a lot of movies, books, etc. And I wonder if  it’s just me.

I made my living as a copy editor. I’m retired, but misspellings and bad grammar still jump out at me. It was all I could do hold my tongue when I noticed pizzeria was misspelled on the awning of a local pizza joint I was patronizing. So, as you see, I’m already a bit hypercritical. But lately, it seems worse.

I’m beginning to fret whether I’ll ever be able to settle back and watch a movie, particularly one afforded critical acclaim without that voice interrupting, You gotta be kidding me. Who the heck wrote this? Are they serious?

It isn’t just me, is it. Please tell me other writers have been vexed by an overabundance of fussiness. And if you have, is there any hope for us?

Pitchforks to guillotines

When the #metoo movement got under way I was cheering along the sidelines with just about everyone else who was appalled, but perhaps not surprised, at the volume of complaints by women who had had to endure sexual harassment ranging from crude remarks to physical abuse. The up-swell of indignation from women who had been mostly silent or muffled was profoundly uplifting. But even as I applauded I anticipated the inevitable backlash.

All great notions eventually become co-opted, usually by the self-righteous, simple Simons who take it upon themselves to take up other folks’ crosses, unbidden, and impose judgment on who is and is not true to the movement. Like the peasants weilding pitchforks who give way to committees sentencing offenders to the guillotine.

I recall watching a panel of women giddily anticipating the accusations to come against men going back decades, with one even suggesting that women who did not come forward with their own j’accuse were betraying the sisterhood. It was eerily similar to the McCarthy-era call to name names. How soon, I wondered, would the blow-back commence?

What does this have to do with writing, not just erotica, but any genre? There already exists a serious form of censorship that confronts all writers. Publishers now employ political correctness checkers who scour manuscripts and galleys for anything that might offend. I wonder, though, if they are wasting their money, because time after time, it has become evident that you can’t avoid offending someone who wants to be offended. Take the recent social media scourging of a Caucasian girl who wore a prom gown based on a Chinese garment. The initial instigator, without revealing whether he was Asian or not, said she had no right to wear it. You might as well proscribe white people from eating Chinese food.

I recall getting into a spirited argument with two editors at a newspaper I worked for over the use of St. Paddy’s day. The edict had come down that we were to avoid it at all costs, and this in a city where a good portion of the population considered themselves as Irish as Pat Murphy’s pig.

I was astounded. Yet I was told the term Paddy was offensive to the Irish. Notwithstanding my opinion that you can’t offend the Irish, I offered to take my editors on a stroll through a nearby neighborhood and count all the businesses with Paddy in their names: Paddy’s Pub, Paddy’s Hardware, Paddy’s Florist.

But I might as well have been taking to the three monkeys.

As a writer I’ve encountered PC censorship. Once I submitted a short story for an anthology that was initially accepted with enthusiasm. Then the editing process began.

The story centered on a pair of first responders who had a romantic history between them but were on the verge of breaking up. During the course of their shift they would find themselves in a life or death effort to rescue a pair of kids from a tenement inferno and come this/close to losing their lives.

Later, in the privacy of the back of their ambulance, with their bloodstream saturated with adrenalin, their lust and need for each other erupted in a physical encounter that would include fist pummeling (the woman on the man), shredded clothing, buttons flying, panties ripping, cursing and piston-pumping sex.

The editor said I would have to rewrite the scene because it was a rape.


The editor said it was a non-negotiable point. It was a rape because the woman had not explicitly given her consent to the encounter.

Wait a minute, I said. These two are crazy about each other, even if they are going thr0ugh a rough patch. They are steeped in adrenaline and hormones. Do you really think they are going to take a time out to she can say it’s okay if they fuck like demons?

I eventually satisfied the editor by adding a line where she screamed I want this. But it seemed to me silly, unrealistic and unnecessary.

Later in the process the editor said another reader damned it as a white savior narrative, because the characters were white and the fire occurred in an immigrant neighborhood. At that point it occurred to me that the story was being edited by a committee and each member had a PC checklist. I began to wonder what the hell they liked about the story in the first place.

I would not be surprised if consent becomes a bigger issue for writers of erotica. Even surpassing the days when calls for submissions almost all insisted on  sex-positive stories. For those of us who like to write with a sensible dose of realism, and all others who have any experience with just living, sex isn’t always positive, and neither is love.

For real folks, and believable characters, sex – and love – is indeed a battlefield.

Fallen Behind the Times

Just a few years ago in this space a much missed friend and extraordinary writer made her farewell to erotica. Remittance Girl wrote of vulnerable, sometimes wounded characters, mostly in Asian settings so startlingly sensual as to evoke in one’s mind all the aromas, tastes and even the feel of the air that set the place and the time. I used to tell RG that while she was a hell of a writer, she was an amazing cinematographer.

Her stores weren’t so much about sex as they were about how the sexual drive, a human’s sexual needs drove their lives and their choices, even if they themselves weren’t aware of it. Her stories did not have happy endings, and loose ends were never tied up. They were far removed from what one would consider a stroke piece or romance.

And about the time Fifty Shades of Gray was moving through the genre like a tsunami of crassness, she refused to give an inch and fall in line with many who were saying maybe this wasn’t such a bad thing for the genre and its writers, since a rising tide lifts everyone’s boat after all.

So she penned a final blog post here in which she said her kind of story had become irrelevant as the genre became inundated with romance, with all its expectations and requirements and never-stray-from-the-path structures. So she said goodbye to all that.

Like RG, I’m feeling a bit irrelevant these days, too, for reasons similar to those cited by RG, but also by a general sense of feeling passed by.

I’ve never written the sort of story one chose as a masturbatory aid. While sex was always important it was not the whole story. At the time I wrote them, though, they were well received by folks I respected who found them erotic nonetheless. The only time I was nominated for a genre honor (a Silver Clitoride – seriously, you can’t make this stuff up) it was for a story that didn’t have a single sex scene. Some three years since RG took her leave, I’m beginning to see such stories have lost what allure they had and are even dismissed as not erotica at all.

I used to think erotica was a big tent, but there seem to be so many more gatekeepers these days who insist if it isn’t aimed straight at the genitalia it doesn’t belong.

Well, that’s one thing. Another is that I’m afraid I’ve made myself irrelevant in another way, by remaining in place. I’ve never embraced social media. I have no Facebook page. I don’t tweet. Instagram? I’m not even sure what that is. The greatest thing since sliced bread for me was email; that should tell you something. I don’t own a smartphone, so have never downloaded an app. And though I have a simple cell phone I rely mainly on my land line.

I am so far behind the times, I don’t think I could accurately write a contemporary story. There is another language at work, a truncated language full of abbreviations and acronyms and I have no idea what they stand for.

This feeling really hit home for me recently while I was riding on a commuter train. I love mass transportation. I used to get a lot of my inspiration watching people on trains and buses, reading their faces, putting stories to their expressions.

Now people don’t have expressions. They stare trancelike at their gadgets, faces frozen. Being on that train was like being in a coma ward.

Still, I’m not lamenting the brave new world. It’s nobody’s fault but my own that I haven’t kept up with technology and all its benefits that even my four- and seven-year-old grandsons master as second nature. It’s just, at this stage, it’s just too tiring to catch up. Or maybe I’m just lazy.

But if I can’t accurately depict the world I live in, I wonder if I should even try.

Suffering and Art … puhleeeze

Recently, over on the Oh Get A Grip blog, Lisabet Sarai noted a preponderance of famous artists who suffered from some sort of mental illness, and wondered if suffering for your art was essential to creativity.

I was reminded of that as I underwent the new protocol for screening for depression. If you haven’t had your annual checkup, be prepared to be asked a series of questions ranging from the softball – have you been feeling down lately? – to the startlingly hardball: have you tried to kill yourself?

 My interrogator was a bit taken aback at my response when she asked me if I’d felt depressed anytime during the past few months. First I said yes. Then I laughed, out loud and heartily.

I quickly assured her I wasn’t off my rocker.

“C’mon,” I said. “You know what I’ve been through. If I wasn’t depressed, I’d be afraid there was something wrong with me.”

This time she laughed; after all, she had my recent medical history in her hand.

As the end of last year approached I was contemplating an easy slide into retirement, which was to include a nice chunk of change in the form of a $50,000 severance. Around Christmas time, the place I worked for declared Chapter 11. Kiss that severance goodbye. Not to worry, though, as I had squirreled away enough for a decent nest egg. But damn, that 50 grand was going to be my European river cruise money.

About five weeks after that great news I was hospitalized for seven days and diagnosed with a scary auto-immune disease. Today I’m taking about 15 pills for breakfast, some of which come with vexing side effects.

Then, just to drop the hammer on the bump left from the last brick that fell out of the sky, I came out of the hospital with a crippling sciatica that I blame on the bed and which I still haven’t shed entirely.

By that time, I was beginning to understand how easily people came to believe in witchcraft and such, because I was convinced someone was going bat-shit crazy with a voodoo doll of me. Talk about a series of unfortunate events.

So, yeah, I was depressed. But I had reasons to be depressed. And I wasn’t at all uncomfortable about being depressed.

In fact, I embraced my depression, got crabby and enthusiastically vented my irritation. And while I cursed my fate with gusto, in no way was I going to trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries. After all, I am the son of an Irish mother who often advised, “Might as well go ahead and feel sorry for yourself, because no one else is going to.”

Yup, just a waste of time.

Meanwhile, I had come to detest th0se awful pharma commercials where they list all the god-awful side effects of whatever overpriced miracle drug they are trying to flog. Don’t talk to me about goddamned side effects.

Nor could I stomach any more of those uplifting and inspiring stories news shows feel obligated to feature these days about folks who have overcome some debilitating disease.

The commentator would always gush at the conclusion, “Oh, that’s so inspiring.” To which I would grumble, “Aw, fuck you.”

See, when I’m hurting and miserable, I don’t need to be faulted for not founding a university.

On the other hand, I recalled the sage words of a lonely but brilliant man, an outstanding grammarian whom I considered a mentor at a Connecticut newspaper I worked at a century or so ago. In a voice that made you wonder if he gargled with gravel, he’d lament, “No matter how bad things are, no matter how fucked up you might be, some asshole will always come along and say, ‘Well, things could be worse.'” Amen.

I know there are people more afflicted than I; so what? Geesh, don’t turn it into a competition. Is there such a thing as suffer-shaming?

Don’t misunderstand me. I would never diminish another human being’s ordeals or sufferings. Particularly, folks who suffer from clinical depression. I have lost friends to that accursed ailment.

Maybe some writers and artists have been able to channel their suffering into their art. I did attempt to get my mind off my woes by plopping myself in front of a keyboard and managed to eke out one story. But practically speaking, when you’re hurting, and you’re a normal human being, you can’t really think of anything else.

Any advice to the contrary brings me back to some bad old days of my childhood when fat nuns who looked like they never wanted for anything in their lives would tell us poor kids, “Offer your suffering up to God.”


As for just being crazy, and not even realizing you’re suffering, I have no experience with that … yet.

So, don’t bother me about suffering artists. And when the storm of slings and arrows blows your way, remember it’s your right as a human being to gripe and get crabby. You’re not obligated to inspire anybody. Piss, moan, and persevere … the art will take care of itself.

I’m Not Buying any of This

I recently caught up to a much-acclaimed movie that I had missed when it arrived in theaters last year and came away wondering what all the fawning critics were thinking of when they praised it to the heavens. The movie was so full of improbable events and exaggerated characters that I just couldn’t take it seriously. One character in particular was portrayed as a violent, and intellectually challenged cretin through 90 percent of the film, but by the end had abruptly – and jarringly – changed 180-degrees to a savvy hero.

No … no way. I’m not believing this.

My disappointment got me to thinking of the many times I’d taken a book I had invested my time in, only to fling the damned thing across the room because I’d run smack into a wall of disbelief.

My wife devours mystery novels, but I avoid them. Too many times I’ve been disappointed by denouements that wrapped up the case using characters or clues that hadn’t been mentioned anywhere in the previous pages.

For me, a story is also ruined by a character who abruptly acts out-of-character. “Tis’ a far better thing I do …” without any foundation, but rather a sudden decision to stick one’s neck in the guillotine because it seemed like a good idea at the time, just makes me bitter for wasting my time.

It makes me suspect the writer got lazy after failing to tie up loose ends.

It’s also disrespectful to the reader, since the writer seems to think they’re idiots and won’t notice the glaring improbability.

Erotica asks readers to suspend disbelief to a degree even beyond what readers of science fiction or fantasy are willing to allow. Science fiction and fantasy asks us to believe in worlds that could exist. The important word there is could.

But erotica asks us to believe unlikely erotic encounters could happen in this world.  And since we all live in this world, we all have a sense of what’s likely, unlikely, or just wishful thinking.

That’s why straight stroke stories never appealed to me, particularly the kind where two absolute strangers decide to go at it on the spur of the moment. Forget the mile-high club, too; what, with all the news about passengers groped on airliners?

I realize it’s fiction, but as G.B. Shaw once said, if it’s fiction, you can believe every word is true. Um … unless I can’t.

Impact causes extinction

Most folks who study these sorts of things pretty much agree that the dinosaurs went extinct right after a giant meteor impact, but has anyone else noticed how impact has nearly caused the extinction of what was a perfectly serviceable if homely word?

I’m old enough to remember when impact was, for the most part, a noun, and the only things that impacted were asteroids and wisdom teeth.

It hasn’t been so long since I first noticed the word impact used in place of affect. Since I’ve made my living mostly as a newspaper copy editor (now retired, thank God), at the time I thought it was a clever way to hyper-emphasize how something, perhaps a piece of legislation, would affect the average person. In fact, I had always tried to get reporters to liven up their writing and wean them off tired fall-back hyperbolic adjectives such as the overused and usually misused massive. On that score I failed, and it continues to be a sign of lazy writing: massive fire, massive search, massive earthquake. No, kids, none of those things is massive.

Then there was the time I futilely tried to explain to a reporter why a hole could not be massive. But, I digress.

Anyway, impact took hold and spread like the flu until now it is rare to hear anyone use the word affect. Watch any weather broadcast and you’ll be told how a storm will impact your weekend. Segue to the news and you’ll be told how Trump’s trade war will impact the stock market. The word has even spawned impactful. As if we needed a new adjective.

I understand that language must evolve and new words are added every day, but I’ve always been suspicious of words that started out as nouns and somehow morphed into verbs. Don’t get me started on tasking and journaling. It smacks of cutting corners and laziness. I suppose it’s another product of social media communication, where everything is truncated or abbreviated.

Call me an old crab, if you like, but I think it affects communication, and not in a good way.

Shaka, when the walls fell

There’s a captivating episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in which Captain Picard attempts to establish relations with a race that communicates entirely in metaphors.

As the Federation representatives pose clear, direct questions to the Tamarians, they respond with phrases that puzzle and frustrate the enterprise crew, such as “Rai and Jiri, at Lungha.” Or, “Shaka, when the walls fell.”

It is only after Picard and the Tamarian commander are forced into a life-or-death predicament do they, out of mortal necessity, work through their misunderstandings.

Lately, I’ve felt a bit like the Tamarian, as more often cultural references I toss out are met with a “Huh?” or just a look of befuddlement.

For instance, I lately referred to Aristotle Onassis in the presence of two young medical students, both of who asked, “Who’s that?” They were in their twenties.

Another time, remarking on a side effect of a medication I’m taking, I complained, “This stuff has swollen my feet and ankles so much my legs look like they belong on Cabbage Patch Kids.”

Again, I was met with a stare and “cabbage?”

A couple of summers ago I was vacationing in a lovely Hudson Valley town and had worked up a thirst for a nice summertime cocktail. I ordered a Tom Collins. The bartender, a young woman, asked “What’s that?”

Had the drinks of my youth fallen out of currency? Had I outlived them?

We all make cultural references. They are the metaphors with which we communicate. And when they falter or fail, it is disquieting in a profound way, not unlike being rendered mute.

Young people of every generation have had their own cultural references and their own slang, but it seems to me as communication technology has progressed faster than our ability to keep up with it, language has become more compact, less layered, shallow and banal.

I was born after the golden age of radio, but I knew about radio shows, such as “The Shadow” and “The Inner Sanctum.” How? My parents used to talk about them.

If I were to mention Paladin or “Have Gun, Will Travel” to anyone younger than sixty, I expect I’d draw a blank stare. Are parents not passing the knowledge down to their children?

Cultural knowledge, which includes such trivia as the names of old television shows, and dead personalities, is part of the collective consciousness of our civilization. I think we all lose something if it decays and evaporates.

And it can leave an old codger like me feeling, well, rather isolated. There’s a proverb that says you only truly die after the last person who has any memory of you dies. I’d add to that, when your cultural memories are no longer shared.

Reading Past the Good Parts


There was a time, not too long ago, when people would share books, furtively, often without any intention to read the entire book. In fact, they perhaps had gone to some surreptitious lengths to acquire and share with a small number of friends a book containing one or two passages, perhaps no more than a page or two in length. The readers didn’t care if it was literature, they just wanted to get off on an account of a sexual act. Kids in high school and proper housewives both got wind of such passages in works with D.H. Lawrence’s name on it. Word would get out, chapter and page. Screw the rest of the book, although, perhaps it might pique their curiosity enough to give the novel a go … just to work out the context.

For anyone born on the cusp of the century it must be near impossible to imagine such a time, when they live in a world in which hard-core porn is as easily available as the daily weather report.

I think of the lengths people went to to get their thrills from a snippet of literary erotica back in the day. After all, reading and possessing such books were once illegal, and even when the courts had thrown out the bans, a proper household could still be embarrassed if such a tome were found within its walls.

I got to thinking about that around the same time I realized I had begun to read past the good parts. It’s true. The last few erotica stories I read were written so well that I hurried past the sex scenes. I was really into the story, the plot, the characters, and I couldn’t bother slowing down for the sex. Of course, that got me to thinking why I even bothered to read a piece of erotica, if it wasn’t for the good parts. I even began to think that in some way I had let down that gaggle of high school kids gathered under someone’s back porch back in the dark old days arguing over which page contained the nasties.

I guess a good story is a good story, no matter what label you put on it. Maybe labeling a good story as erotica fetters it in a way a so-called mainstream story can’t be, no matter how many depictions of sex it contains. Maybe we should do away with labels and genres and … oh boy, my head’s beginning to swim.

Yeah, I think I think too much.

Where’ve I Heard That Before?

Toward the conclusion of Costa Gavras’ 1969 political thriller ‘Z’, an array of high-ranking military figures being interrogated by the investigating magistrate describe the attacker during a political assassination as “lithe and fierce, like a tiger.”

From the low-life thugs who carried out the killing to the highest ranking officer who condoned it, they all utter the same phrase. The magistrate takes it that all of them were in on it and all of them have been coached.

I’m reminded of Gavras’ bit of satire whenever I hear another phrase that writers and editors have become fond of using: It took me right out of the story.

It’s a phrase that spurs the suspicious chief magistrate in me to ask, did it really take you out of the story, or did you think it should have taken you out of the story?

ITMROOTS is most commonly applied to lapses in POV. Beginning writers are schooled in keeping their stories, or at least individual chapters in a single point of view. To fail that is to commit the cardinal writing sin of head-hopping. This is sound advice, as sound as grounding oneself in the basics of grammar and maintaining a single tense.

But I worry that sound craft is being turned into dogma, because dogma, after all, hinders not only craft, but art.

I was born right smack in the middle of the twentieth century. I enjoyed books, of course, but the dominating art forms of my day were movies and television. Perhaps for this reason, supposed POV faults don’t bother me all that much. Because the camera, for the most part, when it pulls back from a scene, it appears all POVs are covered. True third-person omniscient. Great directors – Hitchcock comes to mind – then could slice into a scene and pare the POV down to one single character. Hitch, however, usually kept it in our POV, the audience.

 It bothers me when someone cites head-hopping that I just don’t see. How am I missing this?

ITMROOTS is also applied to other perceived faux pas in writing, and in all honesty I also have been taken right out of a story by any number of things, such as anachronisms in historical settings, a shift in tense, an action by a character inconsistent with what has gone before without explanation. That was a big problem I had with Gone Baby, Gone.

Then there’s just bad or mundane writing. A late and much missed friend of mine used to say of some writers, he or she writes perfectly, but with a tin ear. Hey, you know it when you read it.

I suspect ITMROOTS originated in a creative writing course. It sounded okay and spread through the writerly community. Like all once-glib phrases, with time it has become set in concrete. Editors use it frequently, and it always makes me cringe, because I wonder if the dogma is perhaps quelling a new style or innovation.

New fiction is emerging that employs different, or perhaps no punctuation. Right now I’m enjoying Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End, a western saga told in the manner of a rambling monologue without quote marks and what I can only describe as improvised punctuation.

I can also think back to Peter Matthiessen’s Far Tortuga, in which white space was deftly used to convey great interludes of silence, or just the sounds of a vessel plying the seas at night.

Still, I worry that the dogma is hindering creativity and experimentation. Particularly when an editor says something or other assuredly takes the reader right out of the story. Really? Because I’ve never heard a pure reader use that phrase, nor seen any study that proved readers are ever taken right out of a story by anything other than bad or dull writing. My experience has been that readers don’t get into a story in the first place and so never get to the point where they get taken right out of it.

We who have been schooled in writing perhaps need to sit back and ask this: Does it work? And if the answer is yes, decide for ourselves why.





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