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This was really beautiful, Johnathan. Not only do I congratulate you for stepping out of the zone of what you usually write but you wrote this so tenderly. I really felt that the marriage had been saved as George embraced all aspects of who he was as a man, a father and a husband. When people can't be themselves, they're doomed to live a life of misery. I get why you made someone cry. This tugged at he heart strings in a wholesome way.

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Thank you so much, Hannah. I'm relieved my foray outside worked. You've summarised George and his situation very well: all he wants is to be himself and have the support of his family and his audience (including you!) to do so. It's a rare thing to have both and I believe I'm as fortunate as him in having such support when it comes to my writing - so that also includes you. 😊 Good luck with your next Gibberish challenge tomorrow!

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Now that - I have to say - is phenomenal.

Seriously.

There is some kind of poetic beauty in the rhythm of the words. It's not just the story, but the rhythm.

Wow! And what a perfect wife! Every bloke should have a wife like that (I'm like that - I hope - don't question that, btw). Hmm - you don't have to answer this question but is there any autobiographical element to this story? if so - then damn well done is all I can say. If not, then even better - because that's seriously brilliant empathy.

What an amazing little piece of writing! I'm so glad I got to read it. Thank you!

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You're too kind, Evie. I'm glad you enjoyed the poetic elements. I can't help these creeping into my prose when the emotions rise, no matter if it's love, death or war. Having such a wife is indeed a precious gift. Your question is pertinent not impertinent, and I'm sure other readers might also ask it: George and I have in common an apprehension at being on a stage before a critical audience. Otherwise, it's all down to empathy, immersion and imagination.

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I adore your introduction. Not just about adopting a character, but that thing about school prizes. I remember that! I think in my case one book I chose was about computers, and another was about dinosaurs, and another was about astronomy.

It's really amazing how such things stay with us for the rest of our lives. (For me too, btw, this was 1980s).

Ok, so now I'm going to read the story...

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Thank you, Evie. So good to hear I'm not the only one with polymath tendencies! There were few personal computers about in the late 70s, but that interest began as an older teenager. Also glad some memories are intact (don't know what happened last week, though!).

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