Galleries

let's hope he's spied someone skinny dipping :-)

As you know, I like to break up the text at my web sites with images like the one above. It makes things less boring for one thing; in addition, sometimes images illustrate something about one of the story chapters I’ve published or the point I’m trying to make in one of my blog postings.

I’ve been doing this I started these sites back in 2011 so I’ve posted a lot of images over the years. Recently I discovered WordPress includes a feature that allows you to post images in galleries you can include in the sidebar to the right.

I’ve decided to test that out on both of my sites. Keep in mind The Café Palermo is primarily a blog, one that talks about issues relevant to the LGBTQ community or political issues that affect Americans more broadly. The Annex is the site where I post my stories.

In short, the important thing to me on these sites are the words, not the images. But I put a lot of time into finding the right images so I figured I see whether the galleries add anything to the overall experience.

Not all of the images in the galleries may have headlined a post. I’ve often tested multiple images before selecting one. I’ve included some of those as well; and I’ll try to make sure the images on the two sites don’t overlap. If the galleries work out, I’ll probably add to them in the future.

For now, if you have any views on this, feel free to comment or to send me an e-mail.

Chapter 4

doomed, all of us doomed :-)

Just to reassure everyone, the image above has little to do with tonight’s chapter. Neither Sean nor Holden are doomed, thank God! Otherwise our story would be over much sooner than planned. Since the chapter takes place mostly inside Wigglesworth Hall, however, it seemed only appropriate to share this image with you after completing my internet research this week.

By the way, consider the name Wigglesworth for a moment; is that a cool name or what? Wouldn’t you love to live in a dormitory named Wigglesworth if you were in college? Or better still to make passionate love to someone named Wigglesworth in Wigglesworth Hall for that matter?

Think about the possibilities; once you finished the deed, you could actually ask your partner whether he or she got their wiggles worth? Thanks for that, Dan!

As for the image, I just happened to be reading my copy of The Day of Doom before sitting down to write this post. Originally published in 1662, that’s a religious poem written by Michael Wigglesworth.

Not that Wigglesworth Hall is named after Michael Wigglesworth; it isn’t. From what I could learn doing my research, the place is named after Edward Wigglesworth; not just one Edward Wigglesworth but two of them, a father and son.

The father, apparently known to some as Doubting Wigglsworth for his more questioning religious views, was a member of the Class of 1710 while his son graduated from Harvard with the Class of 1749. Neither of those classes held reunions this year as best I could tell, but apparently the father and son lived for nearly seventy years on the site where the residence hall is now located.

So that’s how Wigglesworth Hall got its name.

By the way, the father was the first holder of the Hollis Chair of Divinity at Harvard, the oldest endowed chair in the United States, the first professorship in theology in the country, and considered to be the most prestigious endowed professorship in America in the early 19th century, at least if Wikipedia is to be believed. The father was appointed to the Chair in 1722, his son succeeding him in 1765.

Neither of these gentlemen apparently is noted for much else although they were, respectively, the son and grandson of Michael Wigglesworth, a much more interesting character in my humble opinion. Yale historian Edmund S. Morgan has characterized Michael Wigglesworth as a “morbid, humorless, selfish busybody;” someone who exemplifies all the negative stereotypes we have about Puritans.

Whether Morgan can be entirely trusted in this harsh judgment is hard to say because, although educated at Harvard, Morgan taught most of his life at Yale, perhaps best known as Harvard’s arch-rival and the loser of the last eight meetings between the Harvard and Yale football teams.

It can make one bitter.

As a totally irrelevant side note, Yale was apparently founded in 1701 “to counter Harvard’s drift from orthodox Calvinism” (at least if an article at Christianity.com is to be believed).

How about them apples! Bulldog, Bulldog, bow wow wow!

Quoted below is an especially lewd paragraph from Wikipedia about Michael Wigglesworth that seemed to me to be worth noting.

[Michael] Wigglesworth believed that he was essentially not worthy of believing in God as a result of merely being human. When he underwent a series of nocturnal emissions in his early life, he was thereafter convinced of his damnation. Through his diaries, he recounts his struggle to remain pure and good, despite continually relapsing into what he viewed as man’s natural depravity.

Omigod, the horror! Michael Wigglesworth apparently considered himself damned because he had wet dreams as a boy.

Shocking as that may be, it’s apparent Michael did find other outlets for his, uh, emissions as he did go on to father Edward Wigglesworth, who in turned fathered his own son, also named Edward, both discussed above; and although not relevant to anything else in this post, I should probably note the younger Edward also fathered a son named Edward Wigglesworth as well.

Sadly, however, none of the three were ever nicknamed Fast Eddie by the local girls , at least as far as I could find out on the internet.

Which is not to say Michael Wigglesworth didn’t have issues, of course. He did. Among many other things, he apparently lusted for some of his young male charges as a teacher at Harvard. If the link works, which is doubtful, you can find out more about this here; although, compared to Michael’s youthful emissions, the article I’ve linked to makes for rather, uh, dry reading.

If the link doesn’t work and you insist on knowing all the disgusting details, try googling The Curious Case of Michael Wigglesworth and you may be able to access the article.

Alas, you may also be disappointed as it seems Michael heroically managed to avoid doing anything nasty like bedding one of the young lads; much to their regret, perhaps, although Michael was definitely not the hottest dude in Cambridge from the images I’ve seen of him.

Whew! Is all of that interesting or what? You see the lengths I’ll go to provide you with worthless trivia about Harvard.

In any event, as you’ll recall, Sean eluded campus security last week by gaining entrance to Wigglesworth Hall and then being rescued by our story’s second main character, a student at Harvard College named Holden.

We learned a bit more about both Holden and Sean in that last chapter; and we’ll learn still more tonight. Whether it will be enough to keep you happy is hard to say. But, then again, as Michael Wigglesworth understood all too well, happiness can be a pretty elusive thing in life.

Don’t believe me? It’s all there in The Day of Doom, which describes a judgment day on which a vengeful God renders his decision on each of us, going into detail as to the various categories of people who think themselves excusable who will nonetheless end up in Hell.

Let’s hope you’re not one of them for reading or commenting on this chapter :-)

Welcome . . .

original logo

August 20, 2015 Update: As you can see, I’m still tinkering a little, but I’m pretty certain I’m going to stick with this theme. I do have one question though. Do you find the listing of stories by chapter further down on the right of this site helpful?

The reason I ask is that you can always access story chapters through the drop-down menus near the top of this site. In fact, I suspect you can probably access them easier there than to your right. I don’t have a problem leaving them available on the right if they’re helpful. It’s just that they go on forever as I add more stories.

In any event, feel free to let me know if you have an opinion on this one way or the other. Thanks.

August 18, 2015, Original Post

Welcome to the all new redesigned Café Palermo and The Annex. We took all the royalties I’ve earned from the sale of my stories and plowed them back into the joint in an effort to better serve our many customers, including you.

I hope you like the new design. After some stumbles, I think we’re going to go with this one although I may tinker with various elements even after making this announcement.

To those of you who were here from the beginning back in June, 2011, this is the third major redesign of the site. There was the original Misty Look which you can see by clicking on the link. And then there was the now departed Greysed theme. Both of them served us well, but I guess change is inevitable.

But, then again, who knows? Like Marty McFly of movie fame, I would never rule out going back to the future :-)

To me this new theme, Delicacy, and the changes I’ve made to it make for a cleaner design; one that’s brighter and less gloomy. However, the major benefit of the redesign is that it will allow me to add some new stories with dropdown menus to the top of The Annex in 2016 without having to spend a lot of time reorganizing everything I’ve written so far.

Comments and suggestions are welcome, but my sense is most of you are more interested in the stories than the site design; and that’s fine too. Hopefully the design of this site will make things easier for you as well, not just for me.

Chapter 3

Wigglesworth Hall

I realize a picture of Wigglesworth Hall may not do very much for you, but I wanted to give you some sense of this freshman dorm at Harvard since many of the chapters that follow take place inside it. Sadly, finding a good picture of the place isn’t easy because Wigglesworth is actually three buildings that span much of the length of Harvard Yard from east to west.

The picture above captures a portion of the most eastern building, including the Dexter Gate exit, and comes from the Freshman Dean’s Office. Here is the text that accompanied it.

Wigglesworth, built in 1931, was previously home to Bill Gates, Leonard Bernstein, and Ted Kennedy. As one of the larger dorms, “Wigg” is divided into three buildings with 10 vertical entryways, the smallest of which is known as the “Wigglet” (the other two buildings are affectionately known as the “Mid Wigg” and “Big Wigg”). All rooms have in-suite bathrooms and lovely hardwood floors. Wigglesworth is known for its easy access to stores and restaurants along Massachusetts Avenue, such as J.P. Licks, Panera, and Au Bon Pain, as well as Widener and Lamont Libraries.

Here is still another picture that gives you a better sense of Wigglesworth’s length, but it doesn’t show the Dexter Gate exit or the entrance through which Sean gained entry into the building at the end of the last chapter.

If you clicked on that link, that’s the back of Widener library to your right although the picture doesn’t even begin to convey the massive size of the building. In the linked picture, the exit onto Massachusetts Avenue is directly behind Widener between the two parts of Wigg you can see to your left. Here’s a picture of the Class of 2015 taken from the front of Widener that gives you a better sense of its size.

The map below should give some some sense of how all these buildings relate to one another. To your far lower left, you can see where Harvard Square is located. Allow your eye to move directly across closer to the center of the map and you’ll find Widener Library, along with Wigglesworth Hall below and the undergraduate library, Lamont, further to the right.

Notice how Canaday, another residence hall to the north and the largest, is formed in the shape of a question mark. Some people think that’s the only thing Harvard got right about the place, but let’s not go there :-)

Harvard Yard

.

Some of the rest of these buildings will make appearances at various points in the story, as will some that you cannot see on the map at all. The corner of Everett and Oxford Streets where Sean began his run toward the Yard is not visible in this map. Unfortunately, the more territory I grabbed in this screen capture, the less detail one could make out.

Here are two more screen captures, one showing the northern end of Harvard (including Everett and Oxford at the top) and the other the southern, including the Business School from which Warren apparently graduated and learned his business ethics.

If you’re interested in some other views of Wigglesworth, you can click on this link or this one (both of them taken from the Massachusetts Avenue side) or even this one (taken facing in the other direction from closer to the other end of Wigglesworth).

Wigglesworth is the second largest of the thirteen freshman residence halls in the Yard. There are four others not in the Yard. Only freshmen are housed in the Yard by the way. Upperclassmen generally are part of the Harvard house system; there are nine so-called river houses located between the Yard and the Charles River to the south of Massachusetts Avenue as well as three others at the Radcliffe Quad.

Harvard has about 6700 undergraduate students. There are also about 14,500 graduate and professional students who attend the University. Among other things, Harvard is known for having the largest academic library in the world and the largest endowment, about $36.4 billion.

Whew! What a useless bunch of stupid facts; if The Opened Door doesn’t sell well, I may have to get a job as a tour guide at Harvard :-)

It only goes to show how much useless stuff you can find by doing a little research on the internet :-)

In this and the next couple of chapters we’ll be introduced to the story’s second main character, the mysterious voice heard briefly at the end of Chapter 2. For now, however, we’ll be seeing him primarily through Sean’s eyes and what he says to Sean, not through what he may be thinking or feeling.

While we can learn a lot about him that way (and about Sean as well), we’ll learn even more when the story begins switching narration between the two main characters in Chapter 8.

In any event, enough with the introduction. Chapter 3 is up. Have fun reading and be sure to let me know what you think.

Change is good, dollars are better

says the GOP candidate for President :-)

August 17, 2015 Update 3: I need to get ready for later this evening so I won’t say very much here. The second theme I tried over at the Café had problems as well, particularly trouble showing links and that annoying sidebar that faded in or out depending on where your mouse was placed. Keep your fingers crossed, but I think this may be the one :-)

August 16, 2015 Update: It looks like the new theme over at the Café may have a problem displaying comments easily. I know it’s possible to comment because I’ve had one already and responded to it. And it looks like you can read the comments if you click on the title of the post and open it up as a separate page. But to me that’s kind of clumsy because there’s no way of knowing whether someone has commented in the first place (like that little bubble you can see up above). I’ll have to check into this more to see if I can figure it out. Stay tuned.

August 15, 2015, Original Post

I’ve been thinking about changing the WordPress theme for my sites for a little while now, partly because it would help next year when I hope to bring at least one or two new stories online. And then there was that last minute change in plans that leaves me at home this weekend. As you can see, I’m bored at the moment :-)

To avoid making this too big a shock, I’ve implemented the redesign on the main part of this blog initially. Some of you may not care one way or the other, but I think this new theme provides a cleaner look. And that’s probably a good thing on a site featuring naughty stories, don’t you think?

In any event, feel free to take a look at the redesigned Café Palermo. Then let me know what you think by posting a comment or sending me an e-mail. To make the comparison easier, I’ve retained the old theme for the moment on The Annex. That way you can check back and forth to see what you think and render a better judgment.

I’m not saying you’ll have the final word on this as readers. But I would be quite interested in your opinion and any problems you find with the redesigned site. As I said, feel free to leave a comment or to send me an e-mail.

And have a nice weekend as well. I’m still holding out hope for my own :-)

Chapter 2

love those undies dude :-)

Much like that boy up above, I spent a lot of the past week turning myself upside down in search of an image that would capture the essence of tonight’s chapter. I had to reject some because they would have given away too much. Most of the rest were either boring or copyrighted.

In the end, I decided to feature the cute lad himself. Who knows who he is? He could even be someone we’ll end up meeting in this chapter for all we know; or perhaps not. It’s all in the imagination after all :-)

If you haven’t already done so, I want to encourage everyone to visit my new Links page. It’s still a bit rough and there’s not a lot there yet. But I’m hoping I’ll run into some other other authors who would like to exchange links. That might increase the number of people reading our stories while also pointing you to some other sites you might enjoy.

If you know someone whose stories you like, feel free to pass that information along and I’ll check to see whether he’s interested in exchanging links with me. Or if you visit other story sites and want to put in a plug for my stories, that would also be welcomed. I wouldn’t suggest you do that on Nifty or IOMfAtS, however.

In the meantime, please visit the first site listed on the Links page. Mark has been helping me out in more ways than one this week and I want him to feel the love from some of my own readers as well.

Tonight we’ll discover what happens to Sean, at least in the short term, but not before we find out what the rest of his day was like. You’ll be introduced to some new characters and learn more about the ones you’ve already met. In the end, however, we’ll find out what fate has in store for Sean.

Will he escape the cops pursuing him or will he end up in jail? If he escapes, how? And what happens next? If he ends up in jail on the other hand, will it be with Bubba or perhaps someone entirely different from the redneck he’s worried about?

There are lots of possible outcomes for Sean, but the only way you’re going to to find out what actually happens to him is by reading Chapter 2. I will say this. If you read this chapter and it doesn’t do anything for you, this may not be the story you’re looking for :-)

Not that I’m trying to discourage anyone from continuing with the story. I do think it gets better, especially in Part II. But I also believe this is a pretty good chapter. If you agree, don’t be shy about letting me know either by sending me an e-mail or commenting at the end of the chapter.

For now, have fun reading and be sure to encourage your friends to stop by the Café for a visit.

Links . . .

links

If you visit the main part of this blog and look at the menu at the top of that page, you’ll see I’ve created a new links page. It’s a little rough at the moment, but I wanted to get it up as soon as I could and hopefully it’ll get better when I have a little more time to work on it.

This is going to be a place where I can exchange links with other authors. Both of us benefit by encouraging our readers to take a look at other story sites; and hopefully you’ll benefit as well by discovering some new sites you may enjoy. You can access that page directly from here by following this link.

At the moment I only have one other site listed there, but it’s a special one. Mark Peters is a gay author known to readers around the world, especially in his native Australia. He’s kindly volunteered to include a link to my site at his and he’s also put in a plug for me on his main page that has brought a bunch of new visitors to my site. Thanks, Mark, and welcome to all of you who’ve discovered this site because of Mark.

If you stick around you’ll find I like exchanging views with my readers, whether as comments on my stories or directly via e-mail. I’m always looking for ways to attract more people to this site and would welcome whatever suggestions you have. I need all the help I can get :-)

In the meantime, feel free to read any of my completed stories: Connected, Summer Boys, Summer Dreams, and With Apologies Mr. Dickens (although this last one might be more fun to read around the Christmas season).

The links I’ve included will take you to the synopsis for each of those stories and help you decide whether it might be something you’re interested in reading. And if you’re not from the United States, don’t worry too much that Summer Boys, Summer Dreams is about American baseball. I tried to avoid getting bogged down in a lot of detail and ultimately it’s a love story that I think anyone can understand.

Alternatively, feel free to just settle in and read the Prologue and Chapter 1 of my new story, The Opened Door. I’ll be posting a new chapter to that one every Monday evening around 9:00 p.m. eastern time here in the United States.

Be sure to take a look at Mark’s site and feel free to comment on any or all of the stories you read here. I’ll do my best to respond. In the meantime, thanks again for stopping by and have fun reading.

Chapter 1

But just why is the gate there then?

At the end of the prologue last week, we left Sean on the ground leaning against the wall of Widener Library in Harvard Yard. In this and the following chapter we’ll learn more about what brought him there before finding out whether he’s fated to spend the night in jail with Bubba and how that turns out if he does :-)

Keep in mind that almost everything that happens in these next two chapters is taking place inside Sean’s head as he recalls what’s brought him to the Yard; and that’s happening much more quickly than you’re reading it, of course. Sean is only taking a rest after all and his mind is racing through everything leading up to his current predicament.

Turnout for the Prologue this past week was smaller than I hoped for so I would like to encourage everyone to do whatever they can to call attention to the story. Just think about it; if everyone has one friend who enjoys reading and you persuade him or her to visit this site, my audience would double from paltry to insignificant :-)

I did have one response to my posting over at the blog and I’m pursuing that suggestion. I appreciate it very much and I’m open to receiving others. I understand this isn’t your job as readers, but I’m human after all and can’t help wondering whether the time and effort I put into building and maintaining this site is worth the effort.

In any event, Chapter 1 is up. You can access it via the drop-down menu at the top of this page or by clicking on the appropriate chapter link to your left. Have fun reading and feel free to let me know what you think by posting a comment at the end of the chapter or sending me an e-mail.

The Opened Door . . .

Lies! Lies! Lies!

Tonight we begin a new story after what seems like forever. I’m probably more relieved than excited to be starting this story because it’s definitely one I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Writing can be funny that way. Some stories come together quickly and practically write themselves. With others it’s like pulling teeth to get anything down on paper; at least that’s the way it is for me.

Some stories are even a mixture of both. I’m working on one now where Part I came quickly and easily. Part II is also coming along the same way although I had to walk away from the story for months before the inspiration for how to finish it finally came to me.

Not that the story is finished, of course, but writing the initial draft has come pretty quickly all in all. By contrast, like I said, writing this one has been a struggle. I think the main reason for that is that I was trying to do too much in the story originally and there were times when it was easy to get lost in the weeds while trying to hold the whole thing together.

From the beginning, however, I felt like there were too many strong scenes in the story to abandon it entirely so I set it aside for a long time. When I finally came back, I tried to simplify it in a variety of ways. I think I’ve done that to some degree, but whether I’ve simplified it enough remains to be seen. You’ll have to be the judge of that.

For all my efforts to simplify, the story is still about a lot of different things. It’s about family and friendship and being on your own for the very first time in life. Family is not a topic I’ve explored very much in my previous stories and how well I do it in this one remains to be seen. I think I’ve done a pretty good job as far I’ve gone, but I probably could have done more.

I’ve explored friendship before, of course, and how friends can be true or false. That gets another look in this story although there are times when I wonder even now whether I’ve overdrawn the point too much.

Being on your own is still another topic the story is about. It seems exciting at first because you’re young and you have all these hopes and dreams you want to fulfill, kind of like a budding author in some ways I suppose :-)

But soon enough life intrudes and you begin to discover it isn’t as easy as you thought it would be. Life has a way of wearing us down and resisting that temptation is not always easy.

In the end I asked myself what was the most important thing I wanted the story to be about? What I decided was that I wanted it to be about first love.

I hope everyone reading this story will try to recall what it was like to be young and to fall in love for the very first time. Whatever else it may have been like for you, it isn’t always easy for some people and that’s what I’ve tried to capture in the story; the tentativeness, the uncertainly, the fears, doubts, insecurities, all masking the flicker of hope that has begun to burn deep inside.

Again, as with everything else, you’ll be the judge of how well I’ve done that. Just keep in mind there’s a difference between love and sex. You’ll get more love, or at least the aspiration for love, than sex in this story :-)

There are a couple of points I need to make. Like with many of my stories, this one takes place in a real American community on a real college campus. And while I’ve tried to keep the community and the college real, there are times when you have to take some license with reality.

While a lot of the places mentioned in the story are real enough (and recognizable if you’re familiar with the area), there are others that are fictional inventions designed to facilitate telling the story. In some cases, I was probably just trying to avoid a slander suit :-)

The point is that the story is ultimately fiction, not fact. Some of the facts of the story are real enough, but others are made up. There’s no need for you to worry about any of this; whether fiction or fact, the people and places are there to contribute to the story narrative, which also mingles fiction and fact.

The Open Door consists of the prologue, which we’ll begin with tonight, and twenty chapters. The prologue and the first seven chapters are narrated by the character you’ll meet this evening. Beginning with Chapter 8, the narration will shift back and forth between the two primary characters although not necessarily from one chapter to the next. In some cases one of the characters may narrate two chapters in a row.

I know some of you saw the prologue when I published it last month as a sneak preview. I’ve only made a few small changes, nothing substantial, so you don’t necessarily have to read it again although it’s shorter than most of the remaining chapters will be. I think you’re earlier comments carried over, but I hope people looking at the prologue for the first time tonight (or whenever) will also feel free to comment.

Just keep in mind that you can comment anonymously, but only if you provide me with a real e-mail address which will not be published. Only first names will be published as part of your comment as well.

Since some of you will be reading it for the first time, I’ll just set the stage by telling you that it takes place late one evening on a college campus in a prominent New England community in contemporary America. The character narrating the prologue is running as fast as he can for reasons that will become evident soon enough. As with all of my stories, italics are typically used to let you know what a character is thinking or saying to himself.

By the way, if you’ve moused over that image up above and are wondering what the embedded message there is all about, Google “three xxxx” where “xxxx” is the word you’ve discovered to find out the answer and learn one of the secrets every freshman at the college is taught soon after arriving on campus.

What you learn will come in handy as well if you’re ever in the area and take a tour of the place. You’ll know how to answer when your tour guide asks why the statue is called what it is and the rest of your group will probably assume you went to school there :-)

In any event, enough with this introduction; have at it and remember to let me know how you feel by leaving a comment at the end of the chapter or by sending me an e-mail.

My new story . . .

the opened door

I’ve been running behind schedule ever since I got home from my trip, but wanted to let everyone know that I’ve now posted the synopsis for The Opened Door.

That’s the title of the new story I plan to begin publishing here on July 27, 2015. You can click on this link to read the synopsis; alternatively, you can access it via the drop-down menu at the top of this page or scroll down and reach it by clicking on the link to your left.

Not wanting to give away too much, I decided to go with a shorter, less revealing, synopsis this time around. I know that many of you probably looked at the prologue to the story when I published it as a sneak preview last month; and my friend Tom H., who read several different versions of the synopsis, would probably be mad at me if I chose one of the longer ones.

Tom’s not a big fan of giving away very much when it comes to stories, but I appreciate his help all the more :-)

The starting date I’ve chosen is a little later than I was hoping for because I’m currently working on still another story that I’m excited about. I want to press ahead with that story while I can because I’ve had a creative breakthrough after finishing the first half of the story months ago. I’m hoping this one will turn out to be my very best story ever although it’s different from my other stories so not all of you may agree.

It’s more serious for one thing, more grounded in history, and I’m trying to weave a political tale within the story much like I did in Connected. That’s all I’ll say for now, but stay tuned. If things work out like I hope, I’ll have more to say at some point down the road.

As for The Opened Door, I’ll have more to say about it on July 27 when I start publishing it online. If you have comments or questions on the synopsis or anything else, feel free to respond here and I’ll see what I can do to help out.

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