89 Comments
Dec 29, 2023Liked by Adam Nathan

Phew...

No inhale .

Just exhale.

I didn’t realize I was holding my breath.

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Lor, thank you for this acknowledgment. I've been holding my breath for responses. 🙏

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Same

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Same

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Oh my god, I gasped out loud when Michael handed over the envelope with the yellow paper. And then when she read the poem “to the children, to all of them.”

Just beautifully rendered.

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Thank you, Holly. I look forward to a quiet place and some calm to go through your work and so many of these other contributions. This has been a really special exercise. Draining for me - perhaps for you? - but worth it.

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Dec 29, 2023·edited Dec 29, 2023Liked by Adam Nathan

So did I! A truly powerful moment.

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Jesus, Nathan. Wow. This line:

After a long while he said, “We are a family of secrets. They drag us down like we’re wearing clothes in the water.”

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Ben, thank you for bringing this into the world. You created a whole day here on Substack that has been an enormous contribution. I don't think any of us really know how to acknowledge you here. This was a gift. Thank you.

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This story wrecked me, in the best way possible. Thanks for helping it come to life, Ben.

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Adam Nathan

Reads like a taut Ruth Ozeki. Sublime.

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I'm always embarrassed I've never heard of the people I should have, but I will clean up my ignorance here and find some of her work. Quite the pile building up on the nightstand. 🙏 Thanks for the acknowledgment. It's particularly meaningful from people I admire.

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A Tale for the Time Being is stunning.

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Yes! I thought so, too!

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Oh yeah. Great comparison!

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Adam Nathan

Beautiful and sad. Loss is a very, very deep lake.

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It is. I've been thinking about our conversation around sadness in writing. I don't know why my work is so sad. I don't feel my life is sad - or that I've felt grievous losses, but for whatever reason that's my turf. A lot went in to this one. Thanks for the note.

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I’m so fascinated by this comment. As someone who has always felt a deep well of sadness - despite having a comfortable life with only the usual quota of losses - I feel this. Life is such a mystery.

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As I thought about putting that observation out there afterwards, I had a little rush of embarrassment that I'd lost writer's 'standing' not having suffered more. Oh, fuck me.

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😏 (Is it wrong of me to be happy to meet someone who hasn’t suffered “enough,” too?)

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No, but as I heard somewhere, "Things going great? Well, the next call is for you." 🤣

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I can’t “like” this - too true. 🤨

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I'm completely blown away. Holy cow.

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Thank you so much, Mark. This has been a labor of love to say the least. The response has been deeply gratifying.

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Oh my goodness... this broke me open. Absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful.

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What a wonderful - and relieving - first comment. Thank you. You have no idea (actually, you do) when you press the publish button what you're in for, whether it works, flops, etc. I will be over at your essay house shortly. :-) Thanks again.

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Wow, masterfully written, and searingly painful (but thank goodness for the reconciliation at the end). It's amazing that you could weave such intricate, multi-generational impacts into such a tight little story!

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Thank you, Sydney, and I'm relieved you felt the reconciliation at the end. For me it's a story about grief, of course, but its also about a certain class of redemption. I'm glad there was a sense of that for you.

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Wow, Adam... This was incredible.

So moving. So emotional. So layered. I'm completely blown away.

It's true what you wrote: "The imagination has no limits." Especially yours.

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I rarely write fiction, Troy, but was quite liberating for me: a different voice, freedom over the storyline, a female protagonist, some research on Japan. The stakes were very high for me hitting publish. I'm relieved it was heard by enough people to make me feel good about it.

You are queued up for me, Troy. I need to settle from the focus on myself and my own writing today to really take in other people's words. Soon. I may be going alphabetically through them. I plan on reading every one, so if you don't see anything for awhile, I haven't forgotten you.

Btw, you would be a perfect person to write my prompt. I'm not sure I'm willing to share what it is, but if it is you, I'll let you know. 🙏

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The stakes were absolutely high, Adam, and you nailed it. I don't know if you've read 'The Overstory' (it's my favorite novel), but this really felt like one of the early chapters in the "roots" portion of the novel. And for what one guy's opinion is worth, that's how great I think your piece is.

I definitely did not get your prompt, but hope the person who did was able to make magic from it. I hope next time I do though! And no rush on the read, they are all so beautiful so far and it's going to take each of us a bit of time to go through them.

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Yes, agreeing with Troy, here. It has echoes of The Overstory (what a devastating novel).

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I had a similar feeling. The chapter with the Chinese-descended father who plants a mulberry tree and his two daughters who grow up playing under it.

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I can’t resist:

The best time to read that was 20 years ago…

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Julie: That was one of my favorite stories in the novel, and I loved her character. So devastating.

Adam: That's absolutely true, but since I can't resist either, the second best time to read it is today!

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Stunning, Nathan, wow...

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Thanks, Mya. This project was intense as you know. I look forward to reading your work.

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Masterfully done. The way we dance with all the contingencies in our life. I’m a memoirist and this piece gives me the courage to tackle something I’ve been resisting for a long time. I look forward to reading more of your work. ,so moving. Thank you.

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Apologies for the slow acknowledgment here. Dance we must. Please tag me when you share. ❤️

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Adam Nathan

Wow this came from a short prompt. So profound, all the deepness, all the rich character development. You held my gaze and wows. Bravo!

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Thank you. That is really generous. The prompt was intense.

I'm aware this was really long, but I ended up giving myself permission to blow past the word count limit. I'm sure it will cut readership, but it took on a life of its own. After awhile I was just trying to stay on the horse.

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I loved all the twists and turns of this story, and the reveal at the end about the phone book - I gasped. Your description of her father’s study and their house was spot-on. A Brutalist house for the setting of a story about secrets and cruelty and loss = perfect. So many lovely (and lovingly drawn) details to add to the heavy emotions. Beautiful.

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I thought of you with the architecture. I'm relieved that wasn't a miss. I like the idea of the house shutting down room by room, light by light. My grandfather basically went from a frozen food freezer to his tv chair to his bed for a decade alone in his house. Very different dynamic, but something about a house shutting down. You get all this.

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Yes, the house shutting down, room by room, it struck a chord with me, too, my mother, the architect. I've a short story in my archive called Click Clack which I'd love to share with you two when you've a spare ten minutes or so. It's about an architect who has a stroke... Your protagonist reminded me of this ailing, failing power.

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Yes, this really struck me, too; the brutalist house, I wanted to quote so much of it.

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Adam Nathan

Stunning, Adam. Powerful stuff. Michael handing over the envelope, especially.

Also, I just loved this line:

"He fucked me a little too successfully."

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That little envelope was a big discovery for me. It shaped a lot. That and the car pulling out of the driveway. Those came very early.

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Brilliant surprise / reveal. I gasped.

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Devastating.

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Thank you, J.E. I look forward to reading your own work. This has been a true adventure. Now that I'm coming out of the white water of my own shit, I look forward to all of the other worlds.

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This story is going to live with me for awhile. Really well done.

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