End Notes

Thank you for reading this far. No, really. I appreciate it. I sincerely hoped you enjoyed it. Well, if you've got this far I assume you did. If you did, please tell me (e-mail, review or PM, or a note on my ff dot net forum – follow the link from my username/profile).

If The End of Summer was hard to write then The Attic Room, although a third of the length, felt like three times the effort. I decided at the beginning of The End of Summer that my fanfic work on Whisper of the Heart would uphold the values of the original anime. That meant that my work, if it was to be believable, in character and satisfy me, must reflect the pure and wholesome values of the original. This was a love between children, a certain type of love that never addresses more worldly, more complex issues. Maybe you think I'm hiding from reality by upholding these values. Far from it. As well as being respectful to one of the great animated movies of all time I believed my upholding of the values given us in Whisper of the Heart indicates a reflection of what we could and should hold true in all our lives. I think the kind of relationship we are shown in Whisper of the Heart and the kind of aspirations and struggles to succeed, the hard work and determination and the love and support of parents for their child that the anime shows us are even more valid today than they were in 1995. The contemporary world has slipped even further down the slope of social decline; if we don't hold on to these values firmly now, they may soon be lost.

So why did I write a short story that describes two young people losing their virginity to each other while trying to uphold those values?

I felt that this would be a really important moment in the growth of their relationship and also that it should be an event that would deepen and broaden their love. It should be an experience that teaches much, particularly trust, sharing and communing with another soul without words. Sex the first time is a landmark for most people. It was for me. My memories of the event are good and I wanted to impart that sort of wholesomeness into the story of these two teenagers. I love writing about these sorts of events - I don't mean sex but events that encourage, strengthen and uplift me and hopefully you, the reader. I was greatly encouraged during writing this. The sense of love, joy, trust, wonder, privacy, warmth, discovery, happiness, fun, tenderness and selflessness I depicted in the story are values I think the world today has begun to turn its back on. Spend an hour on any internet search engine and you quickly discover how the world now views love. This revolts me. I wanted to depict a sex scene unlike any other I've seen on film or read in a book. I wanted the union of these two young people to be as near perfect and stress- and guilt free as I could contrive. It's a story that when I read it, it makes me smile and feel good. I hope you do as well.

Additionally, I tried to describe the act of intercourse with reference to as few body parts and processes as possible. I refused to use many common coarse phrases and names of body parts which I consider to be just too pornographic. I hope you will notice the absence of many words that you might usually expect to find in a description of sexual intercourse. What I hope I've ended up with is almost an abstract event - dreamlike, one that makes the feelings and thoughts of the girl and the boy much more important than the acts they are doing. There is a lot of descriptive action of course but I tried to interlace with this the thoughts and responses of the couple and there is also a continuous dialogue between them – sometimes spoken, sometimes by looks and gestures, sometimes by physical contact. I hope the end result is heart-warming, encouraging, and in places, funny.

Whether this style of writing has worked or failed I don't know. I hope it has but I would appreciate your feedback on whether or not you think it works. Thanks.

-oOo-

I want to drop in here a note I wrote to another fan fiction dot net user. This person had written a note to me saying how much they liked the story but this person's comments made me feel that they had not yet experienced what Shizuku and Seiji experience in this story. So here's my reply:

I'm not totally sure where you are coming from or how old you are. Just in case your parents look at your 'puter you need to know that I'm 47, married and have a beautiful 12 year old daughter, who I love to the ends of the earth, just in case you (or they) think it's odd that I'm writing this stuff. No idea who or where you are except I know you are in the USA, and I'm in England so no worries there. Anyway if it bothers you that I respond to your comments then just don't reply, it's no sweat.

But I do respond because your comments are so cute and positive feeling. They inspire me ;)

I sort of take it from your comment that you've not done what Shizuku and Seiji are doing?

You need to know that I have described what I'd call a Perfect First Time. Sadly, it is hardly ever like this. From my own experiences I know it can be much less successful than this, things go wrong and it's not especially enjoyable. In my story the girl and boy have the real luxury of the privacy of a hotel room for a whole night and are in a really romantic Italian city. That's so rare for first timers – it's often somewhere much less romantic like mom and dad's sofa or the back of your boyfriends/girlfriends car or something equally ordinary. Often the girl and boy don't finish at the same time – if the girl finishes first its fine, she can enjoy more while waiting for him to finish ;) But if he finishes first then there can be problems and unfortunately teen boys do sometimes finish fast and this can lead to stress and worry and guilt and all kinds of bad stuff like that. Sometimes the girl or boy don't finish at all, it's quite hard when you are inexperienced.

When that happens you just have to give it time and get to know each other, do it often enough and you will learn what the other likes and does not like and your technique will get better. You will tune in to their moods and needs better and it will and does become a better experience. Above all, communicate with your partner. Talk about what you are doing and tell the other person what you like. It's easy to respond by making a noise; the kind of noise you make will be a clear message to your partner as to whether or not you enjoy what they are doing to you. Personally I find sound one of the more arousing aspects of physical communion, the noisier the better for me and you can really tune in to the needs and wants of another person when they communicate in this way.

However don't feel bad about it when it goes wrong – just work at it. On the other hand when it does go right it really can be fantastic, a shatteringly, mind-blowingly good experience. The main ingredient however must be love. I personally can't enjoy being with someone I don't totally love and they love me. That is rare and it's only happened with two women in my life, one of whom I've been married to for 15 years. I have had partners scream out loud and burst into tears with me (and I have burst into tears with them) and when it happens it's just amazingly good, it makes you feel so happy knowing that you mean that much to them. I don't know if I do anything to make this happen, I don't think I do, it's just them and their love for me (I hope). In this respect Shizuku and Seiji are very, very lucky kids.

I was very lucky my first time. My girlfriend although the same age as me was quite experienced and she taught me so much. She was very kind.

So when it is your time then please make sure you love the person and they love you, and try and be somewhere where you can sleep the night, waking up the next morning the very first time with someone is just magical – chapter 13 expresses how I felt the first time this happened to me. Chapter 13 is my favourite part of the story. For me my First Waking was almost a religious experience it was so good, it was quite a lot like I describe Seiji's experience in that chapter.

So it's fall in love first and do this second – never ever the other way around.

Remember, above all else it is love that is the most important. Love them. Have them love you. And love what you are doing with each other.

I hope that helps.