Gift of Humanity

Last December, I wrote a story for a Christmas contest based very loosly on the adventures of two people I know who defied custom to help people as they emerge from prison. Unlike a lot of my fiction, I was able to ((lg:Gift of Humanity (Expurgated)|produce a version)) without explicitly sexual content. I feel comfortable sharing that version with professional contacts who ask about my writing. I just got around to posting that version on my website and so I wanted to share it here. I didn't place in the contest, but I'm proud when I compare my work to the other entries.

It has been really wonderful to share this with coworkers and my parents and be able to say, “See, that’s what I’m about when I’m asking people to think more about love.” The story actually started great conversations with my parents. My father has been volunteering helping mentor prisoners, and the discussion created an opening for us to talk about the challenge of integrating people back into society.

Personal Impact

I may not have won the writing contest, but I won the contest of life with this story. Talking about it helped my fiancée and I grow closer. Then later, she borrowed from the main character in the story when it was time for her to let me know how serious the relationship had become.

The Expurgation Process

I knew when I finished the story that I could trim out a couple of scenes and make it something I would feel comfortable sharing more widely than some of my more explicit fiction. Actually performing that trimming was hard: I was worried that I would find the sex scenes I trimmed didn't affect the overall story. I don't see anything wrong with writing sex scenes to appeal to the prurient interest of the reader. However, I hoped I was doing something more. This was the first real test of whether that was the case.

As it turned out, my fears were groundless. I actually had to reshape the characters somewhat in order for the story to make sense with the sex scenes trimmed. The female lead needed to be less assertive and her boyfriend needed to be more confident in the relationship. I needed to appeal more to the reader's stereotypes of how relationships work for the story to flow.

The change is small but significant.

I hope you enjoy and would value any feedback you have.