So...how exactly did the stories on this site get from what they were in the beginning to what they are now? That's what this section explains. The change in what my motivations were throughout the short, but seemingly long, history of the Shack Out Back
It all began with a little idea that I called "New Kid In School", and if I had known that it was going to cause me this much trouble, I would have left it alone! Hehehe! When I first started, I was living in a small studio apartment with my very best friend in the world, who I had been madly in love with since we were 14 years old. I was still pretty new to the internet, still extremely private about my feelings and my identity, still wrestling with who I was and what I wanted. That's when I stumbled onto a wonderful site by the name of "Nifty". NEVER...and I mean NEVER...had I seen such a large archive of stories that were about gay love and could be both risque in their content and sexually explicit (realistic)! I was literally in HEAVEN for months! And stories about teens at that??? You have no idea! I'm just glad I didn't sprain anything 'important'! Hehehe! It was a goldmine for me, and it explored a side of me that I had kept so secret and in the dark that Nifty became a constant favorite of mine.
In a matter of months, I read through almost every story in every section that I liked, some being better than others, some more memorable than others, some more erotic than others. But I enjoyed it all the same. Then...came a 'drought'. Literally. I remember searching for someone to post something new, and when they did...it was usually something that was either really short, really unappealing to me personally, or just....lame. ("Sorry") And this went on for some time, and since I was tired of reading the same stories over and over again that I couldn't really 'feel' anything for, I thought about maybe writing one of my own. I mean, I figured that it couldn't be much worse than anyone else's right? So I held on to the idea for a while, and kept waiting for another author to come along and change my mind before I embarassed myself in front of the whole internet community. Then...it happened.
Hanson's first album had dropped, and naturally, Taylor was catching the eye of every gay boy, teen, and man on the planet. That's when I came along a story with Taylor in it. Oh HELL YEAH! I've GOT to read this one!!! So I checked in, and it was written by an author that I still respect, love, and worship to this day, Dean Lidster. The story was one of the first ones that I had ever read that didn't jump into a sexual situation after the first paragraph. It actually had....FEELINGS involved! And a PLOT! And dialogue that was realistic and funny. And details that inspired my imagination to picture everything exactly the way he told it. I had never seen that before. So I followed it back to his website, and found an Eddie Furlong story there as well! Hehehe! This guy had gained a LOT of points with me by that point. After that, I immersed myself in his writing and read every word. I remember writing him for the first time, and he was so busy that he sent me a quick note to tell me that school was "absolute BEDLAM" at the moment, and that he'd have to get back to me later. I still have that email saved. :)
Dean's stories led me to another young author by the name of Jaxsper Finn, an absolutely delightful writer, and a bonafide hottie on top of it! (Hehehe, if you're reading this Jax, don't deny it! You KNOW it's true! ::giggles::) He was bringing an entirely different vibe to the table with his "Real World Hanson" story, and quickly became another favorite of mine. There was a time when I sat back and thought, "Now I have good authors to read from all the time, so I don't HAVE to write my own stuff." But that soon changed. And their work, instead, inspired me to try my hand at it too. I'd been writing for most of my life anyway, and now that I knew it could be done well...I figured..."Why not?"
That very night, "New Kid In School" was born. There wasn't much to it, a typical story about two boys that meet, naturally they're both gorgeous, naturally they both have sex at the end. But I wanted to put some feeling into it, I wanted people to look at my writing the way that I looked at some of my favorites. So I typed the whole thing out...in an EMAIL, no less! Yep, I got Nifty's address, put 'submission' at the top, and just typed it in. In one sitting, four hours or so, and one quick look through to make sure that it wasn't TOO horrid. Then I hit 'send', and it went through. At the time, I didn't even know if they would accept it or not. I had never submitted before, and I certainly didn't think the story was that good. It was sappy, not enough heart to do what I wanted, not enough sex to catch the Nifty crowd. That's what I was thinking the whole time, and didn't expect to get much from the whole thing except for the satisfaction of knowing that I tried. But I got the email that said, "I've added this story to the archive", and jumped for joy. I still remember going back there time and time again just to see the name on the list at the high school section! Hehehe! Well...by the end of the night, I had gotten two or three emails from people telling me that they liked it a lot! I was overjoyed that I actually had people tell me that they read it and loved what they saw. The next day, I had more. Then more. And I had NO idea that it was going to even be read by that many people, much less LIKED! I mean there were THOUSANDS of stories on that archive, split up over so many sections. How was I supposed to know that people would find my crappy little story? So I decided to write another story...and so the tale begins.
I wrote a second story, "Eddie and Me", in an email as well, to see if lightning could strike twice. Something happened to the power in our apartment, and as I was reaching the end of the story...the power shut off and erased the WHOLE THING! Arrrrgh! So I tried it again the same night, got about halfway through it, and I lost it AGAIN!!! That was a good time for curse words that most people would be sent directly to HELL for! But...tired, groggy, desperate for something new to say that the first "New Kid" chapter wasn't a fluke...I wrote out a very quick third revision of "Eddie and Me", and hurried up to send it before it got deleted and I ended up throwing my webtv out of the window! After this ordeal, I knew a website would be necessary to save my work. That way I wouldn't have to worry so much about losing something precious over something as silly as a power surge. The Shack Out Back was born that summer as a shabby, HTML-challenged, website on the Tripod server.
The second story was okaaaaaay (and by 'okay'...I mean it REALLY sucked ass!), but the response was nothing like the first one. The responses came in, sure, but it was obvious that "New Kid" was better. My third story, "Boy Next Door" did even better than "Eddie and Me"...but "New Kid" was still the reigning champ, and people were begging for a sequel. I was worried about how a sequel would go, because I had never planned for one. But there was no way that I could avoid it. So I gave in, after much fearful hesitation, and wrote a second chapter to the story that got the most attention. Instantly, it got a following, and they now were begging for a third. By the end of the week, I had to consider making "New Kid" an actual series. Possibly even a continuing one. I still tried writing other stories as well, and that's when I made the decision to actually make a hobby of the whole thing. I never expected to have any fans, and I REALLY didn't expect to have a 'following', by any means! But it happened, and I started pumping out new ideas once a week. Sometimes more.
At this time, my stories, the plots, the sex, were my own way of trying to put some of the feeling that I felt was lacking in a lot of the other stories during Nifty's 'drought'...but my stuff was still based on the writings of other stuff that I had seen on the archive before. Basically, I believed that people were there looking for sex. *I* was there looking for sex when I first found it. And that's what I was going to give them. Not only did it please the fans of the 'masturbating majority', but the people searching for love and romance found some of what THEY were looking for too. That mix was what I kept consistent in every story, and it was a HUGE release for me! The sexual tensions from living with the big love of my life, the sexual frustrations of not having a boyfriend or girlfriend, the attractions to teens that I had kept under wraps, all that pent up energy that I was bottling up came out in my stories. Sex here, sex there, sex everywhere! Hehehe! EVERY fantasy that I had held back and tried to push out of my mind since my hormones first kicked into gear, just blew up all at once. The only goal for the stories back then was to make them so hot, so erotically potent, that no one reading could get to the end of it without...um...well...'without'. I'll leave it at that. :)
But as the fan base grew, and the site got more attention...that was soon to change.
It was too late to turn back now. I had already been bitten by the bug, and was writing almost every other night for an audience that seemed to almost 'double' with every new story that I put out there. It was almost automatic for me to write late at night, my words became a machine, and ideas would pop up faster than I could keep up with them. I started keeping notes on file cards, slips of paper, receipts, paycheck envelopes from work, whatever I could write on when an idea jumped in my head. I used my memories of boys that I had been with, boys I WISH I could have been with, boys I probably SHOULD'VE been with, and boys that I was too afraid to talk to back then. The stories began to change shape, now becoming an outlet for all of the thoughts that a gay boy usually keeps to himself in those lonley hours when he wishes he could be like everybody else. Kids that I knew from high school and junior high began appearing as characters, some more than once. (If you read "Boy Next Door", there is a boy in it that I altered a little bit to make him more 'fictional'. A dark haired, slightly shy, artist....you might know him. His name in real life is Ariel) And every story that I added to my growing collection of stories was a way for me to somehow 'work out' the details of my past. The dreams that I had, the real life experiences that I had, and I added on happy endings to display the way I wish things had gone.
The stories got a little bit longer, a little bit deeper, and a lot more varied in content. There was just one big problem...."New Kid In School". No matter what I did, no matter how much effort I put into the other stories at the time, "New Kid" was still the top of the mountain. And I couldn't do anything to even challenge the king with something new. Once the fourth chapter left off with a cliffhanger that let everyone know that this was going to be a continuous series, it was all anybody asked about anymore. So I began a new schedule. Writing a "New Kid" chapter every OTHER week, and a brand new story in between. NEVER posting another story at the same time with "New Kid"...that was sudden death. I was hoping to give one of the other stories a chance to breathe and find an audience of its own, but anything posted against "#1" was smothered and pushed into the background. So that was a challenge that I was determined to overcome. Then...tragedy strikes.
Due to my "questionable content", my website was promptly cancelled by Tripod, without any warning whatsoever. All of my data lost, all of my stories gone. I was crushed, and to be honest, didn't really have the energy or the desire to start all over again from scratch. It was at that time that I found out just how much my fans loved the stories, and they pulled together to not only give me back all of the files that I had lost, but to set me up with an entirely new space for my website! Thanks to those loving people, I was quickly back in the game, and the Shack lived on. To those people who gave me their support...I love you. You saved me, and I can't say enough to show you how much I appreciate it. Every single person that might be helped by this site, is a mark on your good karma as well. Thank you.
I began writing again, and a flurry of new material bursted onto the site as often as I could get them out. During this time, the message board on the site was thriving, the guestbook was filling up, and people from all over were actually referring my stories to other people. It was like being a 'celebrity' all of the sudden, in a weird way. I didn't even know how to react to it all. Jaxsper Finn and I were pretty much going chapter for chapter between his story and mine, and we'd talk about them after we finished reading each other's work. It was just cool to be talking to other people who felt like I did, and who understood me. I think that opening up to other people helped me to open myself up to stories that I probably wouldn't have thought of before. And that's when I got an idea for a new story. Something different from "New Kid", but could possibly be a contender for the reigning champ. Deep down, I doubted that it would really be able to go toe to toe with everybody's favorite, but I wanted to give it a shot, and at LAST....the site got it's second big hit! "A Class By Himself". It was the very first series to get the same level of attention, and the readers now had two stories to root for. It was great...but I wasn't prepared for what happened next.
"New Kid In School"....8th chapter...the first break up of everybody's favorite couple. I was enjoying the pride and joy of having a small but loyal following of about 20 to 30 people that would write from time to time. But when I posted this chapter and left it as a cliffhanger...I found out just how many fans the story HAD! I had NO idea that many people were reading! But the next morning I woke up to a flood of emails the likes as I had never SEEN! People that I had never heard a single word from were suddenly telling me how worried and sad and scared they were about how the chapter left off. To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. From that moment on, the audience pressured me almost daily to fix the situation and quickly! Hehehe! They were reading! They were really READING! I was aware of how many eyes were watching me, and thanks to that little fight between Ryan and Randy....the Shack was boosted into orbit, and soon it had visitors, guestbook signatures, message board posters, and emails from all over the globe! So I'm thinking...
"What the HELL did I get myself into???"
Now I had a MUCH larger audience to 'perform' for, and that was extremely intimidating at first. Still is, actually. I couldn't just strive for perfection anymore, I had to hit perfection with EVERY story...with the intention of going PAST that! And thanks to the feedback and attention from the loving people at the Shack, that inspired me to go even deeper into the plotlines of each and every story. I worked harder than ever to make the stories have a seperate feel to them and a different message. My mind was going in so many directions at once, and I didn't even know which stories to write first before starting another one. "New Kid" remained a site favorite, the soap opera that no one could get enough of, and there were a few other contenders that came along, expected to be the next 'big couple' on the story list. "Lessons In Love", "To Be More Than Friends", "Arcade Junkie", "If Only In My Dreams"...there were a few contenders, but "New Kid" was still getting the most attention, especially once Sam, Matt, Tyler, and Ariel became permanent members of the cast of characters. The site grew, and the message board was now full with a host of new people. I was loving every minute of writing the stories, and I was extremely happy to be entertaining so many people with the stories that I was creating on a continuous basis. But it was the environment of the message board and all of my friends there, that took the website and my writing a step further.
More than ever, the Shack message board was being visited by kids who were looking for some advice, adults looking for help, and the outcry for a friendly shoulder to lean on. My emails turned into votes of confidence from people who trusted me with some of the deepest secrets and pieces of their lives that they had never shared with anyone else before. These stories were actually HELPING people! They were relating to my words, to the love in the stories, and to the problems they faced everyday. I wasn't just entertaining anymore...and I had a responsibility to at least try to heal some of the wounds caused by a world that I still hadn't made sense of myself. The stories got longer, now reaching an average of 40K a story, and I began to talk about things a bit more seriously after that. I focused more on that special love that nobody wanted to see, that nobody wanted to believe in. New sections appeared, like the "Quotes", "About Me" FAQ's, and "Somebody, Somewhere". At this point, I left my memories behind me as far as story ideas were concerned, and I started digging into more current feelings to write new material. That made a huge difference, and the site turned into a helpful community of individuals that truly cared for one another. I had never seen anything like it before, and it was a home to TONS of people who were either looking for help, or were looking to help others. I had never been so proud, and still am to this day. I consider it one of the greatest things I've ever done, and I'll defend it with my last breath if I had to. Or shut it down before I let it turn into something that I couldn't tolerate anymore.
The site was booming beyond belief, and when the June 19th anniversary rolled around, I dropped a bomb on them that they weren't ready for. That NONE of us were ready for. Somethng that I NEVER thought would work, a story that a lot of people didn't even read at first because the concept of it sounded so....weird. Maybe even 'silly'. But that story redefined everything else that I had done on the site before. It was something that I poured my life, my heart, and my soul into, as the one definitive story of my life and my desire to help people see the world the way that I did...and it ignited a frenzy that I couldn't have predicted if I TRIED! That summer..."Gone From Daylight" made it's first appearance. And it was HUGE!!!
The story was described as my first "Erotic/sci-fi/horror" story, and there were many people who told me that they 'might' read it because I wrote it, but it wasn't really their thing. By the end of the summer, even by admission of those same people, "Gone From Daylight" had become another undeniable hit, and people were craving for more. This made me work even HARDER to keep up the standard set by the other stories before this monster got posted. Talk about terrifying! I had NO idea what to follow that up with! So I made sure to give the most popular series extra attention so everyone could cool down before trying anything new.
"New Kid" was still going strong at the time, but now it was getting heavy competition, once "A Class By Himself" got it's second and third chapters, and "Gone From Daylight's" first showing being spread through word of mouth faster than I could have even dreamed. Some stories like "Beneath The Surface", "Sibling Rivalry", "Wishful Thinking", and "A Perfect Picture" made good showings and got great responses, but it was obvious which stories were the 'undisputed kings' of the Shack.
Then...after the site exploded with a shitload of new attention, things got beyond my control. Emails were coming at me in blocks of 40 to 50 a DAY, and they were being returned as fast as I could answer them. The message board was growing so fast that I couldn't even keep up with the names anymore, and the demand for new stories was coming from 100 directions at once. "Class" fans wanted new chapters, "New Kid" fans wanted new chapters, "Daylight" fans wanted another taste and SOON, and the more I wrote, the quicker they digested it and asked for more. I was outnumbered by a LOT!!! But I don't think anybody believed me, hehehe. I loved what I was doing and how far the site had come...but the joy of it all was beginning to fade.
It was inevitable. I was working, going to school, trying to live my life, AND write stories. All while keeping in contact with 100 different people in emails, with 100 different birthdays, and 100 different problems, and 100 different questions, and 100 different requests for new stories from me every single day. Then...that number seemed to increase every single week. More, and more, and MORE. I was now sacrificing parts of my real life to fulfill an obligation to the people online. I was carrying ths emotional exhaustion into my life, and found myself getting cranky and edgy a lot of the time. The nature of those 'in need' changed as well. My emails and the message boards were no longer about 'asking a guy out' or 'coming out of the closet'. No, now things became much more serious. Now my emails were filled with depression, people contemplating suicide, abuse at home, rape, deaths in the family, heartbreak, kids being kicked out of their houses...and all of them asking the 'Great Comicality' to listen and give advice. I was 24-25 years old. I hardly knew how to handle my OWN life, I had no idea how to help 'other' people with such serious issues. Still, I tried to be a friend, to help, to comfort. To use every bit of energy that I had to give them the shoulder they needed. But it got worse...that only led to more and more requests for help, I was getting life stories from people by the dozen, emails twice as long as the stories I wrote, some of them longer than a chapter of "Gone From Daylight", and the expectation that a TRUE friend would answer back the very next day. Suddenly, from all four corners, the misery and pain of an entire world fell on my shoulders all at once. I wasn't prepared for that at all.
On top of that, the stories were now getting stronger criticisms from the people who had been reading from day one. My pride and joy, my hobby, my one true passion...was now becoming a worrysome 'job' to please the masses of people that were brought there by their growing popularity. Now they were saying that the stories were "Only about sex", and "Why don't you try it this way...?" and "How about you add...?" and "This character is annoying" and "Keep it happy, don't get so depressing. You're making me sad." and "Why are you writing THIS story? Get back to "New Kid" and leave the others for later"...it went on and on. I was trying sooo hard to just keep going and keep the fanbase happy, but it seemed impossible. Stories like "Nothing Wrong With Love" got criticisms that went from 'Not what I want to read' to things that were downright hurtful because of the adult/youth theme. "Some Time Alone" got trashed, "Worth Waiting For" was crushed, "Wish, Wonder, and Wait" was dismissed without much feedback at all. Those three stories, along with some others that followed, were my attempts to write the best stories that I possibly COULD, considering that I was attempting to keep things together. I spent a lot of long nights trying to get back the attention of people who were now throwing rocks at almost everything that I did. The message board became erupted in occassional wars from time to time, and it was causing more pain than pleasure for its visitors, due to some childish bickering and the inability to let things fucking GO instead of fighting tooth and nail over something so trivial. I was getting emails from people calling me a pervert and a freak and a child molester, my site was shut down a second time, and here I was trying to write quality material while being literally CRUSHED under the weight of a billion people's problems that I didn't have the power nor the license to help them deal with. My friends online didn't hear from me for weeks at a time, some of them were angry, some of them extremely hurt. Many left me without another word, some stayed just long enough to call me an asshole before giving me the finger and saying they never wanted to speak to me again. I didn't understand. All I wanted to do was help, all I wanted to do was write...but I was getting hurt on a daily basis, having my confidence shattered, having my attractions pissed on, and my stories criticised to the degree where I didn't even see the point in continuing.
Then...it got worse. Things began to go sour in my real life, and the pain continued. But this time, since I was using all of the energy that I had to repair the Shack, write stories, and solve the problems of my online fans and friends...I had none left for myself. Eventually, I had to leave. A few times in fact, and I thought it would be forever. I wanted to help, I NEEDED to help, the people around me. I loved doing it. But it was too much. WAY too much! From soooooooooo many fucking places at once! Due to a rush of people over the summer and earlier during Valentine's Day, the site would crash and the server would be down for weeks at a time. My email was now hitting EIGHTY a day, slowing down the webtv system drastically, and I didn't even have TIME to write anymore! My online files were now being raided constantly by people who couldn't wait for me to finish the new stories and post them in their entirety. Private information was being passed around about me behind my back, things that I told people in the STRICTEST confidence. My emails to people were being shared between other people, my stories were showing up on sites without my permission or any credit, rumors began to fly around about me. WEIRD rumors, like I had been arrested for sleeping with a minor, or I was really an old man, or that I was really a woman. People were tracing me to whatever chatrooms I went into, even when I chatted under assumed names, and started sending me messages while I was talking in private with someone. I had people watching the message boards for my posts, checking the time on it, and then tracking me down to talk to me while I was online. The 'celebrity' thing wasn't fun at all after all that! I was getting crank calls at my HOUSE, and my real name was being whispered into other people's ears. I was opening up little by little, already hard enough for me to do...but it was never enough. I'd answer one question, and get ten more. I wanted to be a friend to these people. I wanted to do something good and maybe make someone else's life better than mine was growing up. But it didn't work because there was no way humanly possible for me to keep up. Emails piled up beyond my control, now getting months and months behind. Everybody wanted to chat, but not 'publically' with the rest of us...always one on one, for super long periods of time each. It seemed like everything I did to help one person, hurt ten others, and everything I did to help those ten, made 100 more jealous, and everything I did to help 100, made 1000 more angry! I was trying SO very very hard, to the point where I wouldn't even fucking SLEEP, but nobody could see that but me. And after a few weeks had passed without an answer to their email, I'd write to say hello...and get a reply telling me that I didn't care, I never did, that I was a liar, that I forgot their birthday or their anniversary or that I broke a promise, and they were hurt and bothered and furious and offended....and I just...I couldn't get anyone to see things from my side. In their eyes, I was just playing favorites and being lazy and rude and having hatred thrown at me from a different handful of people every single day. So I burned out. I completely and totally burned out. On everything. That's when 'Comicality' began pulling disappearing acts from time to time. Because it got to the point where I literally HATED what I was doing. Something that I had once loved so much, something that I did to better the lives of my fans that had found me and praised me so highly at one time...just started to hate me with a passion. The email fights, the message board scuffles, the story complaints, the pressure to do better and better and BETTER...I was disgusted beyond belief. Nobody was listening to me, they made it my responsibility to be there, and there was no escaping that. There was ALWAYS an emergency, there was ALWAYS an argument, there was ALWAYS a criticism, there was ALWAYS somebody who NEEDED an email, NEEDED me to read their story, NEEDED to have a private chat, NEEDED advice, NEEDED a new chapter to something....and what I needed, what I was living through in my life, what problems I was dealing with...didn't matter anymore. I was helping people until I was tired and emotionally drained...then they'd say 'thanks', run out to have fun with their friends, fall in love with somebody ELSE, and then come back to talk to me when they had another problem a week later. I began to regret ever creating the site, I began to regret answering every email when I knew that there were SO many authors who didn't, I began to regret giving a damn and investing my heart into people to the point where they could hold me captive with their guilt trips and their needs and their tears of self pity. If I didn't love them so much, I would have given up and shut them out long ago. But I couldn't do that. The sad part is that I still wanted to help, still wanted attention, still wanted to keep my friends close to my heart. I just couldn't do it. So I just...stopped. I removed myself from the whole situation so I didn't feel so guilty about not being able to pull off the impossible. I didn't think I'd write again after that.
The last straw came in the form of a Shack battle that pushed me passed my limits, combined with a painful heartbreak here in real life that ripped my heart out and stomped on it without ANY rhyme or reason whatsoever, and a big fight with my very best friend that caused us to stop speaking for a month or more. I walked away from the site, shut down the message board and refused to let anyone post there. I shut down the site where the homepage, hit counter, guestbook, and everything else stayed frozen for months, and shut down my email so no one could find me. I was done with it, for GOOD!
It hurt. LIFE hurt. But I took time to get through my troubles, to lean on my friends, to talk some of my problems out with those who would listen to ME for a change...and I discovered something that took my writing to a level where it had never been before. While I was away from the Shack, I missed it. Not just the attention and the fame and the love letters and all...I missed being able to pour my heart into something like I used to when I was writing. I had made myself a vow to not go back, but with so much on my mind, I began writing things on my own, just for me. For ME. It was something that I had never really done before with the Shack stories. I was writing whatever was on my mind, completely unrestricted. Without having to worry about it being 'entertaining', without the pressure for a sequel right after the first one was finished, without the criticisms, without worrying about 'too much sex'/'not enough sex', without expectations, without flames telling me what I should feel wrong about and what makes me sick in the head, and without the severity of the world's troubles wearing me down to almost nothing. I took time to get my life in order, made up with my best friend, recovered from a few heartbreaks, relaxed a bit, and with a refreshing attitude, began to write again for the public.
I reopened the Shack in a new place, started the counter, guestbook, message board, and emails again....this time making sure that I didn't fall into the same traps that I did before, and the Shack popped right back up to the top where it was before. It was as though no one had skipped a beat. THIS time, the stories came FROM me, and they were FOR me! What people said about them was no longer my concern. It wasn't as big a deal for me anymore. My stories felt like they were 'mine' again, and they became much more internal, expressing feelings that I was dealing with on a day to day basis now. People I knew online and in real life. The stories matured to a whole new level, and I began to enjoy them even more than before. Now I could write about my life as it was happening, I could express my current feelings without digging into old high school occurrences and missed opportunities. New stories like "Decisions Of Love", "Never Again", "Arcade Junkie 3", and "Save Or Sacrifice" allowed me to get rid of soooo many heartbroken frustrations, so many weakening sobs that were murdering me from the inside for months before I let it out. A lot of sad and angry stories around that time. They were tears that I turned into words for those people who could relate to them and understand. The people who had been there, and could possibly be on my side. The emotional content of my writing escalated with each new story, and that's when the site's next big hit, "On The Outside", was born. It was a blessing. ESPECIALLY since "Gone From Daylight" had evidently become the Shack's new version of "New Kid In School"...the story that cast a shadow over anything else that I could possibly do in an attempt to top it. I began thinking of a whole new list of stories at once that were going to come from deep down where I was afraid to go before. MANY of which I am still working on to this day. Over 70 stories in total were started and announced, and they sit in the 'unfinished' archives waiting to either be completed or scrapped. New security measures were needed, and all of the stories were split into a minimum of three parts, then hidden on different sites with codes that only I knew. Not only that, but I didn't reassemble or edit them until minutes before posting them to the site (Some times, when short on time, I don't even edit them until after they're posted. Which is why the library occassionally gets an 'unedited' version of a story that doesn't get straightened out until it's on the site) By the time the "Rainy Day Update" had hit, I had found the ability to honestly and easily express much deeper parts of myself, and used that in stories like "Final Hour", "Someone For Me", "My Only Escape", "My One True Weakness", and "Just Out Of Reach". Some other stories were met with mediocre responses, some with criticisms. Naturally...it's never a good feeling. Especially for something so incredibly deep into who you are as a person. I was writing from a part of my soul that got to the very heart of my being, and every word is written with my life's blood. But...I pushed them to the back, and just kept going. Some of those same mediocre stories, "Always" and "Magic Man", will be continued anyway. They are too important to me and to a lot of other people to just let them fade away into a gallery of stories that no one will ever see. I figured that I'd just have to face the backlash as it comes. As long as the message is heard by the people who need it. I've taken hits before.
The new method of writing and just being myself in the best way that I knew how, not only made the Shack an enjoyable place again for me...but it spilled into my real life as well. It became my own self therapy, and everything that I absorbed became a part of the stories. My thoughts, my feelings, my pains, my fears, my triumphs, my losses. I got closer to knowing and understanding myself a lot better than I did before, and this site is responsible for helping me to rise above all the bullshit that was keeping me down for so long before. It's a good feeling, and it changed my life.
Now? The Shack has grown so amazingly far beyond my expectations that I don't know how to even begin to appreciate the love and attention it has gotten in its 4 year lifespan. Considered centuries in 'internet time'. I don't stretch myself as thin over emails and the message boards and the chats and the "they need, they need, they NEED' like I used to. I'm not afraid to continue any story that I feel needs it. I don't worry about structuring it towards an audience, I just write it and 'worry' about it doing well once it's finished. Hehehe! I worry either way, but I like this way better. The stories are still here to make people think, or feel, or reminice, or connect with...and I certainly hope they're still entertaining. But everything that I write now is for me. Everything. It's a pleasure to share it with everyone, and I always want to make it as beautiful and as enjoyable as I possibly can. But...in the long run, it's an expression of my soul. And I couldn't care less whether the majority of folks 'get it' or not. It's a mere shrug of the shoulders. My writing has become so internal these days, that a great percentage of everything I type will probably never get posted. Whole stories, beginnings of stories, personal rants, painful releases, sexual fantasies, random thoughts...I write them out daily and tuck them away where no one can read them but me, and the extreme few people I choose to share it with. They've become visible and concrete displays of my mind, my heart, and my soul struggling to work together to understand each other and the world around me. That's all, nothing more, nothing less. And a lot of them aren't MEANT to be interpreted and criticized and related to. They're for my peace of mind, and other people's opinions don't apply. So why bother taking the chance at being offended by someone who was never meant to understand it anyway? It's a whole new level now, I can't play the same games I used to play.
The continuing sagas of "New Kid In School", "On The Outside", "A Class By Himself", and "Gone From Daylight", are STILL...to this day, among the most popular stories out there, and favorites to Shack veterans and rookies alike. I can now get deeper into them without restrictions. I can write them out without any difficulty at all when I'm in the mood. And if I'm not? Then I just don't write. I've got parties to go to, people to see, love to find, sex to have, places to travel to, phone calls to make, and family to spend time with. The stories are there if you want them, or they're on the way. If anyone can't wait, if the Shack is having a 'drought' of its own...then learn from me. Find a Jaxsper Finn or a Dean Lidster of your own, get inspired, and give it a try. If you learn ANYTHING from this little history, it should be that you NEVER know how far it'll go! Hehehe!
I've dealt with a lot of pain on this website. I've fixed a lot of my regrets, I've battled a lot of my demons, I've met a LOT of really good people, I've lost some very good friends, I've experienced life through the eyes of my readers, I've experienced death through the suffering over those I've lost, I've come out to the people I trust most, I've shut myself off from people that I love but can no longer open myself up to, I've had my heartbroken, and I've fallen in love all over again. All because, late one night, I took a chance to write out something that meant a lot to me. From curiousity, to sexual frustration, to challenge, to fame, to burnout, to rebirth, to awakening...I've found a living, breathing, part of me in this series of computer codes and pixels. This entire site is 'Comicality'...it's all me. Every fiber of it is something that I have personally added from my heart, and it makes me smile to know that you guys get a chance to experience the sides of me that I had ignored for so long. Thank you, just for being there.
Stories will come and go, and I suppose at some time, they'll stop. And you will move on to find other places to take root online that will be even more special than the Shack is to you now. Maybe you'll even create one yourself. Either way, just know that the Shack was once a place online, that 'Comicality' was a man that wanted to help with every breath that he took, and that my life is better for having been here with you all.
I've come a long LONG way from that private unknown author who was doing his best to entertain the masses. From 'putting on a show', to trying to provide an online shelter of sorts, to being on the verge of a breakdown, and now...to this introspective look at myself and all I've been through. And how it makes me stronger. This site was once my cry out to the world to hear my thoughts...why not again?
This page was last updated on February 11, 2016.