May 19th, 2012

Friends Forever?

Okay, this is something that's been bugging me for a while and has stalled progress on my story in a big way.

The setting is modern day Japan, and there are two main male protagonists.  They were relatively close friends as children (though they bickered a lot), but circumstances irrelevant to this post separate them.  They meet again several years later...and this is where things get tricky.

The older of the two, for purposes of the plot, becomes very devoted to his old friend's well being not long after the reunion, which goes badly as the younger one is, due to a major trauma in his life, not the person he once was; the past friendship doesn't mean anything to him anymore and as thus is quite hateful towards his former friend and his devotion.

So here's the problem: what is it about the younger guy, apart from their shared past, that would cause the older guy to continue to be so close to him despite being treated like dirt?

Here's what I DO know about the older guy (for greater context if it helps anyone):

1. He never knew his father.  At all.  His parents split before he was born.  At this point I'm not sure whether or not his mom will remarry.

2. His childhood was rocky; he suffered from severe asthma and had few friends apart from this other guy.  Things improved in both health and friendships as he matured, however.

3. He is heterosexual, though I could change that if need be.

Finally (and most importantly):

4. This devotion of his is not merely a desire to continue the friendship.  He could probably care less.  This is almost an obsession with the other guy, and (though I haven't decided yet) he may give up his life for him and has already come pretty close, though it still doesn't mean jack squat to the other (I like to think of the Bruno Mars song "Grenade" here).  So what's up with him?  Under what circumstances would a guy like this get so obsessed with a friend?

Research wise I have done little, though I did at one point search "why would a straight male become fixated on a male friend"...and I got a bunch gay porn sites. :P

17c military life

I'm writing in a slightly alternate 17th century setting and find I need details about life in an army (French by preference) in the period 1650-1670. I've done quite a lot of research already, but unfortunately there's a scarcity of good available secondary material that actually looks at the details of daily life (though there's tons that talk about the administration, the political context, the strategy, principles of siege warfare, and flags/insignia/weaponry/tactics - the latter primarily from a war-gamer, model-painter or re-enactor perspective). The best data points I've found are stray references embedded in other discussion, which only takes me so far. Can anyone help me with either info or references/pointers?
 
Some of the areas I particularly am looking for details about include:
  1. How many servants & other civilian staff, and of what sort, would a top-ranking general of high noble status have with him while on campaign? (I'm thinking someone like Turenne, Condé or Luxembourg). I know that Condé for one never seems to have gone anywhere with less than two secretaries, and in the 1690s the teenage Duc de St. Simon, as a volunteer & very junior officer, had at least 5 grooms & 2 "gentleman servants" in attendance. 
  2. Where would these servants & civilian staff be housed, while the army is encamped? I assume that given the opportunity the general would have commandeered the biggest house in the vicinity for his headquarters, but that doesn't work so well while you're on the march or laying siege to some town. Most of the descriptions of camp life I've seen date from the 18c, by which time there were a lot fewer servants traveling with the army, and a lot more separation in ordinary life between masters & servants, so I don't really want to extrapolate too much from them.
  3. What were officers' tents like? Would all officers be expected to camp in the same place as their men, or did they congregate separately? How big would a general's tent be? How many tents might he have, & how arranged? (George Washington had 3 - one for sleeping, one for dining, and one for his baggage. But again, it's hard to extrapolate from Washington to a Condé or Turenne.)
  4. Who was the general supposed to feed every night? i.e. Besides himself & his servants & staff, who would be expected to dine at his table on a routine basis? When officers were not invited to dinner with their commander, what were their normal meal arrangements?
  5. What did the commanders eat? What did their senior/junior officers eat? Was their bread issued every 4 days like the troopers' ration, or did they get their bread fresh?
  6. Were the horses that hauled the artillery & the baggage kept in the same place as the cavalry mounts, or separately?    How far from the troops would they typically have been? How about the grooms, the smiths, etc. who tended the horses? Were any of these ever mingled with the teams & personnel of the (civilian contractor) supply convoys?
As I said, any information or pointers toward information (either online, or primary/secondary offline sources) would be welcome! 

educating children appropriately about gay love/sex

I am fairly new to this community and this is my first post so please be gentle! I am trying to find information on how to explain to a child between the ages of 9 - 11 about gay sex. In the story, her Father is in a committed relationship with his lover and she is asking questions. I am not looking for anything graphic (no squickiness) but need to know what kind of questions she would be asking. When I was that age I knew the mechanics of sex but I grew up in a rural area. This chid is from an urban, upper middle class social group. I have tried using google with phrases like "explaining gay sex", "gay sex education", "questions children ask about gay sex". I would be interested in links or actual references to books (especially children's books). I have been directed to wikipedia, Amazon, Barnes and noble, and gay web sites. Any help you could give me would be really appreciated! I am not very technological and technology often times defeats me.
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