Date: September 05, 2018 12:49 pm Title: Epilogue: The Return
hi, im new here and i just started reading some jim/pam stories and also your fic happened to be my favourite. its so.. bittersweet. i swear, i cried my eyes out, under my blanket, reading your fic, as if im the one who's losing someone. i just love the story so much
Author's Response: Oh, my goodness! Thank you so, so much! I am so incredibly happy that you enjoyed this so much. :) Being someone's favorite is just...wow, that's really an unbelievable honor. Thank you for reading, commenting, letting me know about your experience--all of it! Most days I try to write for myself, but--let's face it--your comment is the kind that keeps me going. Thank you so much. I've got another long fic going, "False Claims," and I hope you take a gander at it. But even if you don't, I'm so happy you took the time to read this whole fic and comment. <3
Date: September 04, 2018 04:59 pm Title: Epilogue: The Return
I read that Camus quote and the tears started. Geez, here we go...
-Darryl and Jim are a great duo. You wrote that pair spot-on. Can we pleeeease get someone to write a Full House AU with Darryl, Jim, and Dwight? Please? Someone?
-That pool memory was funny but can we talk about Pam's "accidental" encounter with edibles!? Because that whole image was amazing and that upholstery comment was perfection. I feel like Jim's pointed 'Artists pay attention' was Pam's day-after explanation that he resurrected in this conversation? Maybe not, but I could see it.
-Oh, man. Why did I read this in Starbucks? That Christmas present bit... I just love this appreciation of her for something simple but so important AND still very in-character to be Pam. I feel like Pam "in canon" is a good gift-giver.
-"The sun sets..." all the way to end ~ I think the college girls studying at this community table are worried about me. I'm fine, I'm fine.
Oh, Shutterbug this whole story was a wonderful journey. I will say it again, thank you for sharing a very personal experience in a way that conjured so many emotions. But also, you did it in a way that was so respectful to characters who we love and feel connected to. I can't wait to have the time when I can sit down and reread this from the beginning. I know I will have an even deeper appreciation for the beauty of this story; it might even knock me on my ass. ;)
I'm sorry it took me so long to respond, OMG, but--BUT--thank you, as always, for leaving such a long and thorough review! It means so much to me, especially because I know you were invested in the fic and were really following along. :)
And to respond, point by point:
- I LOVE Darryl. Love. Such an underrated character. He does not appear in fic nearly as much as I'd like to see him. Him and Dwight, honestly. They're my favorite, other than Jim and Pam, to write. And a Full House AU is up for grabs for anyone to write--I have already dove into a new long fic (that sadly does not feature Darryl much, but does feature Dwight quite a bit), so I don't have room for this one on my radar, but I hope someone takes it up, because it would be cute.
- I actually have a one-shot or two about edibles that I'll get around to writing one day. I live in Colorado and my only experience with pot has been the edible variety, so...you know, I feel like it's natural to write about it.
- Pam is 100% a great gift giver. The comic book convinced me of this. (For what it's worth, I think Jim is a fantastic gift giver, too, but only to people who he pays close attention to. But I think Pam does this to everyone.)
- You are totally fine. ;)
Thank you again for reading along and leaving me such incredible comments. I always looked forward to what you had to say. If you DO reread this, please let me know what you thought of the whole series, knowing what you know now. I truly appreciate your feedback and, again, thank you so, so much for taking the time to leave me such long comments.
I'd love to write a fic for you. Email me and we should talk about what kind of fics you'd like to see. :)
Date: August 30, 2018 04:17 pm Title: Epilogue: The Return
This story has been a roller coaster for sure. The journey to deal with grief and loss is always hard. The way you went about this process with equal parts humor and heartache make this such a personal story. You dealt with this subject matter in a very real way that shows that even though there is pain in life, there is also beauty and hope as well. The way you had it ending with Jim looking out over Pam's sunset was a beautiful way to bring this tale to a close. Well done.
Author's Response: Thanks so much! When I set out to write this story, I just hoped to explore...pretty much everything you mentioned. And hoped to do it in a thoughtful way, that would make readers think about all these aspects of life (and how it might play out in our beloved characters' lives). And based on your lovely review, and others, I feel like I've done that. Thank you for reading and taking this little journey with me! It means a lot to me to have people stick with a story for this long and share in the whole experience with me! Thank you! :)
Date: August 27, 2018 07:28 pm Title: Mile 1,182
Wow. This chapter was certainly one to process. You describe this scene of Jim's transition through the grief process beautifully but realistically painful (*spoiler alert: I sobbed. Again*) A few lines really got me (okay, the whole chapter but specifically...):
"Those pounds, added to nearly a year's worth of bitter, biting grief...">>imagery for real grief that is amazing
"Bones are different from wood."
That whole part about "Stay here with her...but only for an instant">>I mean, you know I ugly-cried, blew my nose, fanned my face. YOU are the reason I can't read fanfic in front of others. :)
"I hope you like it here"
When he kisses the rock and then "the present blends with the past, and he doesn't try to separate them">>cue the ugly-crying routine
So, not all sad, here are some other beautiful moments. Yep, I 100% believe Jim watched the whole doc. (I guess my head canon always had him openly doing this with Pam actively refusing and going off to paint or swim while he watched it.) I also 100% believe that after their transplant to Austin, Pam watches it. Still critically and skeptically, but I think she watches it.
Breaking into them singing Everybody Hurts together was PERFECTION! I was just discussing this scene today with an office friend who is an uber Office Fan, and we were talking about how that scene is so great, mostly because of Dwight. Fantastic scene to recall.
And who could ever forget the Meredith Palmer blah blah blah Fun Run?
Well done, Shutterbug.
Reviews like this make my day. Seriously.
And getting an ugly cry? That's like a dream come true. ;) I'm glad this had some real emotional punches for you (the "bones are different from wood" was one of my favorite lines of the chapter, partially because it was a very late addition and I was glad it came to me).
Thank you so, so much for your dedicated readership and for leaving phenomenal comments like this. :)
Date: August 27, 2018 11:35 am Title: Mile 1,182
I had to see these falls, so I googled them, of course. So very beautiful. I enjoyed imagining the spots where this might have taken place. Seeing the falls made the story even more vivid and heartbreaking. I, too, would love to visit the falls. Maybe this will go on my bucket list. Wonderful story Shutterbug.
I'm glad you looked them up! They're so stunning. Permits are very difficult to get, but I'd love to try someday.
Thanks for the nice comment! :)
Date: August 25, 2018 08:46 pm Title: Mile 1,182
A very moving chapter. I can very easily see why Jim would do this. Pam's an artist and his greatest tribute to her is that she becomes part of the natural art of the land. Heartbreakingly beautiful.
Hi Warrior! I love what you took away from this, and I'm so glad you shared it with me. :) If you haven't seen photos of this place, look up Havasu and Mooney Falls (there are, I think, five falls in total, but those are the two tallest). It is such a stunning, gorgeous place--as you said, natural art.
Thank you for leaving such a nice comment (again!). It makes my day. :)
Date: August 21, 2018 02:01 pm Title: Mile 1,031
Oh, Shutterbug. I get excited to reread fanfiction once it is complete. Don't get me wrong, I love to follow WIPs (I so enjoy the anticipation of what will happen next), but I know there will be things that I missed with each update, and rereading let's me absorb some of those details since I know how it ends. Occasionally, there are moments when reading a WIP that make me so excited about the end because I want to see how it all ties together. (THAT'S NOT SAYING I WANT THIS STORY TO END OR THAT I DON'T LIKE IT. I LOVE IT. If you write 75 more chapters I will soak all of them up like a greedy puppy.) This chapter did that for me though. I am a fan of the Ultimate JAM Happy Ending and will endure some angst to get there, but your beautiful writing and the imagery you paint and the emotions you evoke (in the whole story, including this chapter) drive me to shelve some of that sentimentality. Because, god, reading this made me Feel Something.
I've read this chapter three and a half times now. Once in the waiting room of a doctor's office in an "Oh, goody! An update!' frenzy. Then again in a "Wait, did I read all of that the right way?" The third time I only read it halfway. I decided to go back to Chapter 1 and reread Jim-on-the-road scenes (not his lovely memories) and finish with this chapter.
I broke at "Mom's proud of me" in Chapter 7. Drippy tears, sniffling nose, lumpy throat. *Agh! It's starting again while I'm thinking about it and writing this review!* The end of Chapter 8 had me still shaken (although that chapter alone was a doozy for me) now that I know where this is going.
I think writing anything--ANYTHING--is a vulnerable process, but thank you for taking that a bit deeper by sharing your personal experience. I imagine this was very difficult to write.
I so look forward to where these next few chapters go. Absolutely lovely story (even through all the rough and painful parts).
Whew, so much to respond to! Firstly, thank you for taking the time to write all this and give me all of this feedback. I really appreciate it. Secondly, I'll try to tackle all this in order!
I'm so honored that you're re-reading some of this, even if it's just some parts of it--that's so incredible. I filled this story very deliberately with small details that I've brought back here and there, and I expect those to get missed, partially because it's taken me so long to write it, but it always thrills me when people go back and read things over again! I'm so glad you enjoy piecing together details like that and seeing not just how each section unfolds but how the entire story works together. That's so great. :)
I have to tell you that, honestly, I adore happy endings and am a huge, huge sap. But this was an important story for me to tell. I felt very compelled by it, even though I knew there would be very sad moments. I don't, however, consider it a "sad" story, overall. I hope you'll see what I mean in the final installment (yet to be written, but I DID just update the story with the second-to-last chapter). And, as you say, regardless of how readers view the story and its ending, I hope they Feel Something.
And thank you for mentioning specifics! Some of those parts you mention were tough for me to write because I knew how the whole story played out. I knew how those meanings would change for readers once they reached this chapter. For me, all of the memories are even more powerful, knowing the entire framework of the story, so it's really gratifying to read your feedback about all this. It's what I was hoping would happen with some readers. :)
Thanks again, Duchess. What a wonderful, lovely comment.
Date: August 19, 2018 06:12 pm Title: Mile 1,031
I have to add that this was extremely powerful --- a totally unexpected development that hit hard. I'm trying to read other authors' installments and I can only picture Pam crumpled on the road. Obviously, you've drawn a very vivid picture that is refusing to leave my brain. So I'm saying WOW and wailing at the same time.
Author's Response: Thank you! Coming back for more--I really do appreciate it! I wanted this to be powerful, even hard to read. Thanks again for stopping by to give me some feedback!
Date: August 18, 2018 08:22 pm Title: Mile 1,031
Wow. It took me a few days to really gather up an appropriate review to this chapter. Mainly because, as I'm sure I'm not alone, my knee-jerk reaction was to be mad, really. I tend to avoid stories that have Pam or Jim dying, so this came as a shock, especially when this story is always one that I look forward to having updates from. But as I got over my anger (which was quick, by the way; this is just fanfiction after all), two things happened. The first being that I read your post notes, and let the chapter reorganize itself in my brain, taking what you had to say in mind. If this is your catharsis, then I hope that it was a healing as the writing was beautiful. Because you truly do paint pictures with your words. It was incredibly brave and selfless of you to share all of this with us. The second was that I allowed myself to piece together the story from beginning to end with this new information in mind. Though not my typical cup of tea, I can now see all of these little moments as a catalogue of all that Jim is holding near and dear to him in the wake of Pam's death, all piecing together in this sad, wonderful journey. I'll end up rereading it all in its entirety once your other two parts are posted. Thank you for sharing with us your pain and your story and your own little window of Jim and Pam.
Author's Response: Thank you for leaving me such thoughtful feedback--this is wonderful. I'm sure you're not alone in your reaction, and I had a feeling that some readers would react that way. It was definitely a risk of leaving out a very specific warning for a major character death. I'd considered that question before I even started writing the fic properly. I'd even asked the mods if it would be okay to post it without attaching that specific warning, because the last thing I wanted to do was truly upset anyone. But, that being said, I also don't generally agree with the major character death warning for many reasons, so I chose not to use it. I think this story has or will have more of an impact if the death was unexpected. I'm sorry that you were angry, but I'm glad that the story has made you consider it with some serious contemplation. That's all I can hope to do, as a writer--to hope that my readers give some serious thought to what I've written, that it impacts them in a significant way. I'm very happy to hear that you're sticking with it--I suspected that some readers would drop off after reading this chapter, but I'm glad you're not one of them. Thank you again. I really do appreciate that you took the time to tell me all of this.
Date: August 16, 2018 11:24 pm Title: Mile 1,031
Wow. I had to go back an re-read that end part several times to make sure I'd read it correctly. Definitely a shock to be sure, one I did not see coming at all. It was very well written as it did in fact trigger quite a few feelings. I think this is the first fic I've read on this site that deals with an issue like this. However, life isn't always fair. There are ups and downs that we're never ready to face and a chapter like this exposes that. Very well written for such hard subject matter.
Author's Response: Hey there! Thank you for this thoughtful review. I was aware that this would shock some readers, and it was a risk, but I didn't want to spoil this with too many specific warnings. I thought about being more specific, but I felt the impact of what happened should resonate and shake readers in order to appreciate not just the rest of the whole fic but what comes next. I appreciate that you rode with this and took the time to leave a thoughtful review like this. Thank you!
Date: August 16, 2018 09:04 pm Title: Mile 1,031
Wow Shutterbug. While I was reading this, I was thinking how it sounded so real, with details that only someone who had been through it would know. And yes, it is disturbing -- it must have been so difficult to write. I hope it is somewhat cathartic as well. Gentle hugs, friend.
Thanks, love. There are some major differences between my experience and what I wrote, but I included some of my own experiences to (1) weave in details that could help me describe how the world looked, felt, sounded (etc) during a crash like this, and directly after a crash like this; and (2) experience some catharsis. (All the details about the world being colorless, about how you can't feel physical pain--only pure panic...that is all based on my own experience.) Before now, I never wrote out anything that came close to my own experience. And I didn't want to write my exact experience (I was alone, and had much more extensive and serious injuries than Jim here--I actually did lose two teeth, but I also broke my jaw in two places, broke my collar bone, and suffered extensive, deep road rash that put literal holes in my face and arm--ew, I know) but I wanted to write something that could give me an outlet while still fitting in with these characters and their worlds. I hope I did an okay job, and I hope that it's still compelling to read.
And, honestly, this isn't really about me. I wanted an outlet, yes. But I wanted to tell a story about loss and recovery, because I believe that humans have incredible capacity to mend and recover--physically, emotionally, psychologically. And a part of me always wondered how Jim would cope with the loss of Pam--an early loss, after fighting for so long to just be with her and create a life, then work through problems and re-create a life with each other in a new place. So much goes into a relationship like that, and I liked the idea of showing not just the journey of creating that relationship, but losing it, and then finding a way to accept and make peace with all of that.
So, more to come, obviously. Thank you for reading and for leaving such nice words. :) I really do appreciate it. d84;
Date: August 03, 2018 08:28 pm Title: Mile 980
This was just fun. Of course the Halpert kids inherited their parents knack for deviousness. That was a lot of fun to read. Glad to see an update I was wondering if this story had been forgotten about. Hope to see more soon.
Hi there! Thanks so much for the review! Definitely not forgotten about. Life has been...challenging, let's say. I don't get to write as often as I used to, but it's always one of those things in the back of my mind.
I felt like it only made sense to have the kiddos take on some, erm, characteristics of their parents. ;) I'm glad you enjoyed this. Thanks again--so much--for leaving such a nice comment. :)
Date: July 31, 2018 08:27 pm Title: Mile 918
So. I’m just gonna take my blanket and pillow and sit in the corner while I have a bit of a cry, ‘m’kay? Not to get in a whole debate of Season 9 character-slayage of Jim buuuuuut... I found their marital problems confusingly reassuring. Couples can have, do have, marital strife that’s not just about people cheating. And the “stay up all night and fight” idea is not all wrong. I’m so glad you tackled this post-ep scene. My head canon won’t get there yet BUT I love the premise. When Pam told him to stay and fight, well, I just wanted to hug them both. Well done, Pam!
Oh, thank you! Sometimes it's gratifying to hear that a chapter has gotten an emotional reaction, so thank you for sharing that!
And, you know, yes--I agree. I don't think there was character assassination in canon, when it came to Jim. I thought it was incredibly realistic. People change their minds. People lose sight of the best things in their lives. The grass can truly look greener. Etc., etc. I liked that the show went there, and I wanted to continue the journey the show started. As someone who's gone through a divorce, it's an important issue to address, even in fic, and actually, this whole fic came about because I had ideas for a few select chapters, and this was one of them. I wanted to write this from the beginning, so it was exciting to get here.
Thanks again for your comment--I really do appreciate it. Thanks so much for reading and letting me know your thoughts!
Date: July 31, 2018 08:01 pm Title: Mile 723
I absolutely love this story. But that bit at the end with the crabs?! Ugh. Fabulous.
Author's Response: Aw, thank you. <3 I latched onto the crab thing because, like Jim, crab is my favorite food. (Not soft shell--King Crab is my personal favorite, but all crab is good crab, as far as I'm concerned.)
Date: July 31, 2018 07:15 pm Title: Mile 328
Agh! I’m obsessed with this story. I have too many thoughts about their life in Austin. I look forward to where these parallels are going to go. As soon as I read about the Throop pronunciation I got all giddy thinking about your local-knowledge, knowing it would be invaluable!
Aw, thank you so much! Not as much of this takes place in Austin as I originally thought, but the latest chapter does, and the one after it will as well.
I'm so stoked you got a kick out of the Throop pronunciation. I grew up in the Scranton area--was there until I was 22--even went to the University of Scranton (and I was so excited when I saw our logo/crest hanging up in the office set). So I really enjoy working in some local references and knowledge. I had a whole fic set of just local references that I might get around to writing one day. Gotta finish this one first, though! Anyway, thanks so much for being such a supporter and lover of my story! Your reviews have made me so happy!
Date: April 29, 2018 04:09 pm Title: Mile 918
Oh, ouch. My heart. So well written and heartbreaking!
Author's Response: Thank you! <3 It's kind of hilarious how we both came out with stories/segments about the same incident within a day of each other! Great minds! :)
Date: April 28, 2018 08:52 pm Title: Mile 918
God, I was just saying the other day how I wished we would’ve gotten to see this fight. This hurt. Real bad. But you did well. They needed to yell at each other.
Ha, yes, I really wish we could have seen something like that. Even the beginning, even if it was unfinished in the show. That would have been awesome.
But thanks! Sometimes I like making readers feel the hurt (I felt it myself, honestly). :) Thanks so much for reading and commenting! It's so very appreciated. :)
Date: April 23, 2018 08:45 pm Title: Mile 829
In just love this story. I love the slices of life mixed in with memories and flashbacks. You’re a very talented writer and I am looking forward to the next installment!
But for real, take your time. You will have readers here when you update, so don’t feel pressured to stay on a schedule. And yes-hallelujah for therapy! Hope things are settled and happy for you in your life, and I look forward to seeing more from you in the future!
Hey there! Thank you so much! I really appreciate your lovely feedback! It made my day, truly (and the encouragement helps me feel less guilty for putting the fic aside for a while). I definitely have a lot of happiness in my life. (But still, therapy is the beeeeest.) :)
Thanks again for reading and leaving me such nice words!
Date: February 06, 2018 01:57 pm Title: Prologue: The Road
Still waiting patiently. Trying to be patient. Poor Jim has been on the road for a while! :) Come back!
Author's Response: Hi there! I'm so sorry to keep you waiting! I'm working on the next installment now. Thanks so much for being patient. (My job changed and I've been balancing a lot. I hope you understand!) Lots of love to you!
Date: December 21, 2017 11:37 am Title: Mile 723
You're hitting all my favorite kinds of JAM fics now! First the "working in the past leading to sexy times" in the last chapter and now "Pam taking care of Sick Jim", yes!
I think you're doing such a great job of having Jim come across things that remind him of the past in a very realistic and believable way, and also going beyond the usual things like the teapot or grilled cheese and going deeper with references like Jim loving crab.
Can't wait for the next installment!
Author's Response: Aw, thanks! I really appreciate that! Thank you for taking the time to comment (you must be an all star reviewer for all the writers here, which is just amazing). So sorry I've been MIA (again!). Life keeps happening. New job (same organization), which has been...an adjustment, let's say. A good change, but it's taken a lot of energy that I come home and am like, "It's so hard to sit in front of the computer for even longer." But I'm going to hopefully put in a good couple days of writing this week and at least get the next installment up! :)
Date: December 21, 2017 11:25 am Title: Mile 692
I'm so happy you're back and what a chapter to return with! I love a good "working out the past" fic especially when it ends up like this 😉
Also my fave line from Africa has to be "sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti" because it's such an awkward amount of syllables 😅
I realized I never replied to this! Gah! So sorry! Thanks so much for the read and review!
And, OMG, that line from Africa is easily the MOST RIDICULOUS simile in all of music. :)
Date: November 30, 2017 04:12 pm Title: Mile 692
And here I thought this story was over. I’m glad you’re back :)
The return was HOT! Definitely worth the wait ;)
Sorry about that--I didn't plan on not writing for such a long stretch. Life happened. (Although, I always write more in the winter, when the weather isn't so gorgeous.) Anyway, it's nice to be back!
And thank you--for reading, commenting, enjoying! I really appreciate it, and I hope to get another section done soon (this weekend or this week) so as not to keep people waiting again! This next one moves away from heavy emotions for a bit, so that makes things easier for me. :) Thanks again for reading and commenting!
Date: November 30, 2017 01:25 pm Title: Prologue: The Road
I really love this story. You do such a good job establishing the dynamic of Jim and Pam’s relationahip, and I love how you’ve mingled past with present and created these bittersweet moments. I absolutely love your idea of how the hot sauce packet came about; it felt like I was reading right out of the script of The Office!
Thank you so much. :) I've wanted to do a frame story for a while, but nothing seemed like it suited the format, but I'm pretty excited about this one. I'm glad you like it!
It absolutely makes my day when someone tells me that what I've written feels close to the source material, so thank you for that! So much of that first big chapter took on a life of its own, and the hot sauce packet wasn't even originally part of the outline for that chapter. It just showed up in the middle of drafting it. :) I don't know if that happens to you, but it's really fun when you get this little gift of an idea you didn't expect in the middle of writing. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.
Date: November 28, 2017 11:51 pm Title: Mile 692
Wow, so nice to have you back! Powerful. Sweet. Delicious! Long, sweet sigh. :) Love Africa, especially a Capella. And I always get the lyrics wrong. For years I thought it was "there's a bathroom on the right" instead of "there's a bad moon on the rise". Hopelessly dorky. Anyway, great chapter!
Author's Response: Thanks so much for the warm welcome back and your lovely comment! Lyrics can be tough! And that CCR lyric is a classic misheard one. ;) Thanks again for reading and commenting! Means a lot to me!