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Author Topic: PC086: Tio Gilberto and the Twenty-Seven Ghosts  (Read 22318 times)

SirJolt

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Reply #40 on: January 19, 2010, 08:02:46 PM
H
I'm one of these people who believes that the author's reading is just another interpretation of the story, so I don't mean this to be any sort of last word on the subject.  Just wanted to share my two cents.

Yeah, you're just the guy who wrote the story... what do you know?  :P

From a literary criticism point of view, there's almost no importance placed on authorial intent; it has an awkward tendency to undermine modes of critical examination :(



Bdoomed

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Reply #41 on: January 19, 2010, 09:25:36 PM
I thought bdoomed's reading was great.  I especially appreciated his casual, friendly tone, which is a great match for the voice of the story and for James's character. And the brief burst into song for "one singular sensation" was perfect.  :)
I'm glad I could do your story justice! :) I had fun reading it, especially being straight. :P

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Scattercat

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Reply #42 on: January 20, 2010, 09:24:12 AM
I liked this a lot, but then, it did match fairly closely with my own writing style, leaning heavily on symbolism and making metaphors literal in order to serve a thematic end.  The ghosts were excellent in every respect, even their stereotyped "gay" behavior (they are, after all, fossilized imprints rather than the actual people), and I loved the metaphorical depth they brought.

My only gripe was that Kaspar seemed to go really quickly from enthusiastic boyfriend to vicious rejection.  I mean, at the time of the "breakup," they've been having sex steadily for almost two months.  This may just be my strong monogamous streak showing, but it feels weird to have such an extreme reaction to such a minor situation.  I mean, yes, usually the line about "boundaries" is a prelude to breaking up, but it's not like Kaspar didn't know James was leaving at the end of the summer anyway, right?  Kaspar's abrupt shift makes a teeeeensy bit more sense if he already knows he's got the Bug, likes to pretend he doesn't, and James' hesitance reminds him of it, but then I'm stuck trying to reconcile his apparent fondness for James and their long talks about their future together with the idea that he'd try to talk James into barebacking it when he knows he's positive. 

I dunno.  I have a hard time getting from "Maybe we should set some boundaries" to "Get out of my house into the freezing cold without a coat and don't come back!"  That seems like, at absolute WORST, a "Well, you can just sleep on the couch then," and that only AFTER an hour of vituperative verbal conflict.

The fact that I spent more time talking about the flaw than what I liked is not representative of the actual division of my feelings.  This is definitely in the nineties, percentage-wise; possibly the high nineties.

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Reply #43 on: January 20, 2010, 02:32:25 PM
H
I'm one of these people who believes that the author's reading is just another interpretation of the story, so I don't mean this to be any sort of last word on the subject.  Just wanted to share my two cents.

Yeah, you're just the guy who wrote the story... what do you know?  :P

From a literary criticism point of view, there's almost no importance placed on authorial intent; it has an awkward tendency to undermine modes of critical examination :(

I like the author to come and put in their interpretation, but as Ben said I consider it just another interpretation.  If it doesn't mesh with the view that I had based on the reading itself, then I'll just know deep down inside that I'm right.  ;)  But seriously, I think it's cool when the author's stop by.



benfrancisco

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Reply #44 on: January 20, 2010, 04:39:53 PM
Please keep the comments coming and feel free to throw questions at me if it strikes your fancy.
thank you for the story!

I do have a question...why did Tio Gilberto have to hurt the cat?  :(  I liked his character a lot, up to that point

Hi, Danooli.  It's funny because people have often pointed to that moment as one of the strangest parts of the story, and of course it's one of the few that's drawn from a "real-life" experience.  I feel odd explicating it too much, but my own interpretation is that Gilberto is having a moment of grief and anger, mixed with survivor's guilt (and a fair amount of alcohol). He takes his anger out on the cat, because, like him, the cat has survived.  Despite that, I think Gilberto's a good guy.  He's usually very kind to the cat and other animals.  :)

But as SirJolt well put it, authorial intent is not terribly important. :)  Would be interested to hear if anyone had other reactions/interpretations of that moment. 



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Reply #45 on: January 20, 2010, 07:53:33 PM
But as SirJolt well put it, authorial intent is not terribly important. :)  Would be interested to hear if anyone had other reactions/interpretations of that moment. 

FWIW, I read that moment pretty much exactly as you intended.  I thought it was pretty clear.

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danooli

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Reply #46 on: January 20, 2010, 10:09:26 PM
my own interpretation is that Gilberto is having a moment of grief and anger, mixed with survivor's guilt (and a fair amount of alcohol). He takes his anger out on the cat, because, like him, the cat has survived.  Despite that, I think Gilberto's a good guy.  He's usually very kind to the cat and other animals.  :)

thank you :)  i did wonder at that interpretaion, but i had also noticed at the beginning when the dogs name was mentioned (LOVE the dogs name, by the way!) but the cat was simply the cat. 

felinity aside, this story has stayed with me in a noticeable way the past few days. i like it  :)



MacArthurBug

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Reply #47 on: January 21, 2010, 02:25:37 AM
good good story. GREAT reading BD (unlike some other narrators) your singing was fantabulous as well. I liked/hated being left hanging in the end. Really? all that build up and we don't get to find out. harrumph.

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SacredCaramel

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Reply #48 on: January 21, 2010, 06:19:41 AM
Despite the serious undertone to the narrative, the visual imagery had me in stitches.   ;D 

Forests of hankies wiping invisible tears, floating top-hats and feather boas, and, of course: "Daniel! Johnny! I told you to leave them alone!"  Can't remember now if I got the second name right . . .

This one MUST be made into a short film.



Yargling

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Reply #49 on: January 22, 2010, 04:25:36 PM
I listened to this on my first train ride for a few years, and it was enjoyable - also seemed to bring me luck as I go an offer on the job I went for  ;D

I enjoyed the story, although some of the descriptions of various 'acts' went beyond my comfort zone, but thats my thing, not a fault with the story...

My only gripe was that Kaspar seemed to go really quickly from enthusiastic boyfriend to vicious rejection.  I mean, at the time of the "breakup," they've been having sex steadily for almost two months.  This may just be my strong monogamous streak showing, but it feels weird to have such an extreme reaction to such a minor situation.  I mean, yes, usually the line about "boundaries" is a prelude to breaking up, but it's not like Kaspar didn't know James was leaving at the end of the summer anyway, right?  Kaspar's abrupt shift makes a teeeeensy bit more sense if he already knows he's got the Bug, likes to pretend he doesn't, and James' hesitance reminds him of it, but then I'm stuck trying to reconcile his apparent fondness for James and their long talks about their future together with the idea that he'd try to talk James into barebacking it when he knows he's positive. 

I think the idea was Kaspar is one those user type people (not unique to gays btw  :-\). You know, the passive-aggressive sort who use people and flip out over the smallist things, especially if they get caught doing stuff they shouldn't (i.e. spreading HIV in his case, it seems). Also, I think the mention of him trying to barge into the toilet was a hint of that too.



lisavilisa

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Reply #50 on: January 22, 2010, 04:44:48 PM
In regards to Kaspars change of heart.  I wonder if the view we had of him in the beginning was through the MCs "love goggles".  So when Kaspar dumps him it appears to come out of left field because the MC's been blind to anything that didn't fit how he saw Kaspar.

It's a shattered delusion.  The way it ends conflicts so much with how you saw things, it feels like they transformed into another person instantly.



Scattercat

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Reply #51 on: January 22, 2010, 07:57:06 PM
It's a shattered delusion.  The way it ends conflicts so much with how you saw things, it feels like they transformed into another person instantly.

I think that would work better if it was more explicit.  That is, I'd buy that as an explanation if the MC's view of Kaspar had changed at all, if he had looked back and seen Kaspar's actions with a new light; instead, he just seems shocked and confused (as was I.) 

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lisavilisa

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Reply #52 on: January 22, 2010, 09:13:05 PM
  That is, I'd buy that as an explanation if the MC's view of Kaspar had changed at all, if he had looked back and seen Kaspar's actions with a new light; instead, he just seems shocked and confused (as was I.) 

I guess the line about Gilberto and his ghost driver smiling in nostalgia when the MC said " how could he do this after we got so close over the last 6 weeks" really resonating with me.  It made me think of how common his situation is.  How it involves realizing the person you'd been dating was largely in your mind, and it takes a while to absorb that. 

I may also be projecting a bit, but his situation is a cliche for a reason.



eytanz

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Reply #53 on: January 23, 2010, 03:53:18 PM
I wonder if a mod would be willing to split the microphone discussion out of this thread. Its a bit distracting when there are too seperate, interesting, discussions going on in the same thread.

I really liked this story, though it made me rather sad for a while. And it made me feel old, mostly because the narrator felt so young and foolish to me. The story also made me think quite a lot about my perspective. I've never really associated homosexuality with HIV. I mean, I always knew that historically gay men were highly at risk, but by my late teens, in the mid-ninties, I was educated that as a straight man, unprotected sex is just as risky for me. But then, well, I wonder if that education would have been as succesful if unwanted pregnancy wasn't also a risk.

I also thought bdoomed did a great job as a reader.



stePH

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Reply #54 on: January 23, 2010, 04:23:42 PM
I really liked this story, though it made me rather sad for a while. And it made me feel old, mostly because the narrator felt so young and foolish to me. The story also made me think quite a lot about my perspective. I've never really associated homosexuality with HIV. I mean, I always knew that historically gay men were highly at risk, but by my late teens, in the mid-ninties, I was educated that as a straight man, unprotected sex is just as risky for me. But then, well, I wonder if that education would have been as succesful if unwanted pregnancy wasn't also a risk.

There are numerous protections against pregnancy that do nothing to prevent the spread of disease.  Meaning, even if you know the girl is on the pill* or Depo or whatever, you'd still better wrap that willy.  ;)

(*working at Planned Parenthood, I've seen more brands of BC pill alone than I have brands of aspirin)

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eytanz

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Reply #55 on: January 23, 2010, 05:29:57 PM
I know that, of course. But a condom is practically the only form of birth control that I, as a male, could guarantee was available when I felt the need for it. Every other form relies on pre-planning on behalf of my partner, and therefore not something I could rely on (esp. not in the days when the partner herself inhabited a hypothetical future)



Bdoomed

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Reply #56 on: January 24, 2010, 02:57:42 AM
I wonder if a mod would be willing to split the microphone discussion out of this thread. Its a bit distracting when there are too seperate, interesting, discussions going on in the same thread.
And lo, write it so that Bdoomed did take his staff of moderation and did split the topic thusly.  And the people rejoiced, and did feast upon the lambs and geese and orangutans and small rodents.  And the land was thusly made peaceful.  And the people did return to their regularly scheduled programming.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


stePH

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Reply #57 on: January 24, 2010, 06:53:53 AM
I know that, of course. But a condom is practically the only form of birth control that I, as a male, could guarantee was available when I felt the need for it. Every other form relies on pre-planning on behalf of my partner, and therefore not something I could rely on...

And, as I hinted above, it's the only one that helps guard against catching an infection through intercourse.

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Listener

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Reply #58 on: February 04, 2010, 02:26:28 PM
I liked the story. I thought the author really captured James's voice and his inner monologue. The scene with the ghost driving the car was EXCELLENT, and the fact that James didn't even blink even more so.

But I hated the ending. The story didn't end. It just... stopped. James was uncomfortable, the ghost opened a window, and...

FWIW, I don't think James had HIV/AIDS, unless he'd already caught it from having unprotected sex back in college. I'm not a doctor, but I don't think it sets in THAT fast. The test will show if you have it, yes, but many people live asymptomatically for years before realizing they've got it -- IIRC that's one of the ways it spread so quickly through the gay community in the 80s.

The reading was very good, especially given that it was done last-minute. He captured James's voice, both internally and externally, very well. Not a fan of Casper's voice but he had to differentiate it somehow.

More interesting to me would have been if Ganymede haunted James, or if they'd gone back to the house and Ganymede had joined the other 27 ghosts.

I also wonder how Gilberto supported himself. At age 54, I don't think he's eligible for social security, and while he owns his home, I don't know if he's on welfare, or unemployment, or what. Or maybe the money comes from James's parents (helping him out) or his own parents (perhaps via inheritance). It doesn't really matter, but I guess I'd like to know.

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Reply #59 on: February 04, 2010, 02:49:07 PM
FWIW, I don't think James had HIV/AIDS, unless he'd already caught it from having unprotected sex back in college. I'm not a doctor, but I don't think it sets in THAT fast. The test will show if you have it, yes, but many people live asymptomatically for years before realizing they've got it -- IIRC that's one of the ways it spread so quickly through the gay community in the 80s.

I'm sure he didn't have AIDS, as you said it didn't have time to set in.  But he could very well be HIV positive.  Even if he would stay asymptomatic for many years, it still changes everything to know you WILL have full blown AIDS at some point.