Date: June 19, 2021 12:26 pm Title: Broken Traditions
I appreciate this fic!
I don’t think it was a terrible idea for the show to have Pam and Jim angst in the final season. But the execution was not great. The context you’ve added with this fic makes the whole thing flow much better than how it played out on screen.
I’ve been married for 15 years and no matter how much love you have for each other going in, you really do have to make the conscious decision to communicate with each other over and over again. It’s so easy to assume your thoughts and needs are obvious to the person who is sharing your life, but they really often are not. This story does a good job of demonstrating the high cost of not communicating, without making either Jim or Pam into the bad guy.
I had two young kids and a full-time job when this aired, so I really grokked Pam’s feelings of resentment. Every business trip my husband took in those days was a trial - it was so unfair when he’d be out for drinks 3 nights in a row in a new city under the guise of “networking,” and I’d be just barely holding things at the homefront down alone, again. But it seems like most people who haven’t been in that specific situation just thought Pam was being selfish and petulant. But you are a thousand percent right - Jim never went back and communicated to her how important this opportunity was to him after their initial decision to turn it down. I always felt like if he had just told her frankly and openly at the outset that he really needed this, she would have gotten on board. But he didn’t say that, and once communication breaks down it takes work to build it back up. You’ve captured that really well here.
Hi Nectarines and thanks for reaching out with a review. I too, didn't have a problem with giving Pam and Jim an obstacle to overcome in season 9 - that's life after all, marriages even the best ones will have their hiccups but like you I wasn't sure the execution landed. But it was a sitcom with limited hours left to bring us that story. Like with a lot of what I write, I felt the need to to fill in the blanks (even though for a long time I didn't want to touch the angsty season 9 narrative).
I've been married coming up on 20 years myself. Plus I had to leave the place I spent my whole life and loved in a move so I too had some empathy for what Pam was going through - as it sounds like you did. Wow, you really knew what Pam was feeling.
But I think you got at what I saw was their true issue - communication breakdown. I'm not sure if you are only at chapter 1 or have completed the whole fic but I address that through out - that and the idea that marriage is work.
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I love hearing from readers, especially when one of my stories has moved them.
Date: May 14, 2021 06:26 pm Title: Waiting on a Sunset
Beautiful story. Really hard subject, but your writing made it so compelling. Thank you
Author's Response: Thank you so much. This was my first foray into the angst-driven story. I usually write fluffier. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed reading it. Thanks for reaching out. It's always so nice to hear from fellow MTTers.
Date: April 10, 2021 07:13 pm Title: Waiting on a Sunset
These decisions here feel like a more natural and less dramatic development than in the show... it seems like we got a much better sense of the push and pull on Jim in particular and how he arrives at the decision that he does than we did in canon, where a lot of his decisions helpful and less-than-helpful just seem very abrupt. You still get the big gesture, but it feels earned by this particular storyline and not just by the relationship as a whole, and it's accompanied by some actual conversation.
This also makes the very deus-ex-machina-y Pam-changing-her-mind-in-the-finale thing feel a lot more natural.
Love the callbacks to their history too, both the canon and what you've created. I thought the bookending sunsets was a lovely image, and you can really see them in this moment.
I know it's hard to click the completed button, but I think this one is worthy of going on the shelf - kudos to you for taking it on!
(The idk on the last chapter was just because I felt like I didn't have much to say! It was just well done!)
Thank you kindly. What I always aim for is that dose of realism (even if the show itself was sometimes a little far-fetched) so your review is truly a great compliment.
I may have mentioned before, I get some pretty magnificent sunsets where I live and a great inspiration for the scenes with them. Glad you enjoyed.
I feel different now that I have a season 9 fic under my belt. Like I've gained a perspective by having written something with all that angst.
thanks for being a reader and reviewer even when busy. (I get you too - sometimes a story is well done and powerful but you really aren't sure what you can say in the review - but even just a jellybean and a good job is so delightful to receive so many thanks for that)
Thanks for your support always.
Date: April 10, 2021 03:45 am Title: Waiting on a Sunset
Ahh, this was such a perfect ending 😍 I really liked both of them coming to the realisation at the same time, the 'I'm waiting on a sunset line' was just perfection, and then the entire scene in the park with the sunset, and the re-working of some of the lines from canon, all worked so beautifully. I also loved the description of their different kisses. I think I'm with you here that they both made mistakes/had things to learn - I think you've captured that in this fic so well, in a way that feels very realistic and touching. I loved all of this!
Thank you so much - I'm so glad you liked the ending. Like I said -it kind of was the ending the show had for them - I just sped it along a bit and so why not use the canon dialogue.
There were 3 elements that were in place from the minute I started working on this story and one of them was how it would end with them watching the sunset. The line came soon after - way before the final chapter was written - I love that it stood out for you.
The kisses part was also one of the parts I really liked writing- especially since I got to reference the questionable real first kiss...yes in my mind it counts.
I'm so happy you were along for the journey of this story. Always thrills me to hear when readers enjoy what was in my head.
Date: April 09, 2021 04:22 pm Title: Waiting on a Sunset
So... this was everything I hoped it would be. I love how you popped the dialogue from the Finale in there - in this context it also works so well. As ever, you nailed the characterisations, I can hear their voices in my head as they speak.
It was just lovely and heart warming to be honest, even in the darker moments - as I said in an earlier review, one can feel all the love between them and that never goes away. All the good JAM things in this story and reflecting on the whole thing, I think you built it to a perfect crescendo. Brava!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the ending and felt they still were themselves as they came to this alternate resolution.
I'm so glad what came out through the while story, even through their difficulties was their love, but also the effort they needed to put in to get to this place of understanding.
Thanks for your many reviews (which are like Gold).
Date: April 09, 2021 10:31 am Title: Waiting on a Sunset
"I'm waiting on a sunset." If that's not just the perfect line for all of this, I don't know what is. Seriously, that one line was just perfection.
Jim's thoughts as he waited for her were really nice to see. How he's really realized that nothing is more important that her and his family. He realized how close he was to losing it and how he'll do anything to hold onto it now. Lovely.
Pam being surprised he's not in Philly was kind of nice. It gave us that wonderful set up in the park as well as some time for her to clear her head too.
I kind of liked how you shifted things to a centered layout when they're at the park. After all this time being apart, it was a nice cue that they're finally together. Also it was kind of fun to have a role reversal of the parking lot hug. Pam is the one to start and it take Jim a second to catch up. Great was to stay on theme, but give it your own touch.
Speaking of that, it really feels like they're finally on the same page again. I'm sure there will be more conversations to be had. The wounds they've inflicted on each other took time to get there, and they'll take time to heal, but this is a big way of going down that path of healing. Hopefully a few 'nice mornings too,' so soothe things over. ;)
Great way to wrap this one up. It was really interesting getting their internal thoughts out like this. It showed that yes they had issues, but they're also strong enought to work through them. Great job.
Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat
Thanks - I've never achieved perfection in a fic before - really you are too kind.
You got it - you knew exactly what my intention was in the change to the format. I knew you would!
Yeah, I wanted to include the hug but it wasn't going to work in the original format. I also felt like in the show while it was beautiful and I loved it and as I mention it was all part of the bigger plot device, but to me it seemed just not quite enough to fix it all (I guess that all happened off camera) so I added the line to speak to that.
I'm so glad you enjoyed this one.
Thanks as always.
Date: April 08, 2021 02:22 pm Title: Shiny Stuff
Yes!!!!!!! I love that Pam called David! This story is so beautifully written, Max, I don't mind you dragging it out at all ;)
We need more David in the fics. I think David is a underappreciated, underutilized fic character - the man had unending patience with Michael, Andy and all the shenanigans that went on over the years -kind of surprised he drew the line at Jan (but she may have proved to be batsh*t in the end)...I thought about giving him some lines but decided this was not the place and leave it to readers to imagine that kind man's convo with Pam.
I thank you for the reviews and jelly beans and for joining me on this journey. It always makes the it so much more satisfying to share when you know others are along for the ride and your words and ideas are being appreciated and felt by others.
So jelly beans back to you.
Date: April 08, 2021 02:07 pm Title: Opportunities
Catching up with reviews - love love love this chapter, so much heart in this with Pam's description of why she fell in love with Jim and why she still loves him.
Author's Response: Thank you as always. The journals entries were some of the harder bits to write so I’m so please you enjoyed them.
Date: April 05, 2021 06:14 am Title: Shiny Stuff
I loved Jim’s note to Pam so much. I think (provided this doesn’t end in heartbreak 😱) that the idea of Jim leaving something behind deliberately, and having enough faith in Pam that he believes she’ll get there, is actually so much nicer than him just accidentally leaving an umbrella. And then the callback to the time a yogurt pot lid brought Jim back, and Pam appreciating what he gave up for her then, was just lovely. I really love how you’ve written all of their emotions and thought processes in this. (Also loving Clark here, lol). And now I’m actually on the edge of my seat for the next chapter!
I'm so glad you think so and it allowed me to give the umbrella symbolism that was inspired by the Setting Sail lyrics (last chapter but anyway).
The note also inspired by the lyrics to the Gold song (Jake Isaac/India Arie) but I felt it didn't need to be many words, as I said about Pam's note too - it was more about the lid that spoke volumes.
Glad you like the Clark bit. He seemed to bring the humor in the episode and since he was still pretty new I thought he'd be pretty uncomfortable with a crying Pam and would react as such.
I hope you will enjoy what's coming next.
Date: April 05, 2021 06:08 am Title: Opportunities
Oof this story is killing me, but in a really good way! I love the deeper dive into their therapy sessions here, particularly the part about it feeling unnatural for them to thank each other for all the small things they always do (I always thought on the show that that must have been weird), and the glimpse into Jim’s feelings about the documentary which I agree the show definitely skimped out on! I can 100% see Jim feeling like this. And then Pam’s journal entry about all the times Jim has supported and challenged her was so lovely. (I also loved the moment in the show when Jim drops to his knee to speak to her, so I’m really glad you included it here). And then argh the ending to this chapter!
I'm so pleased you have been affected by this story.
Yes, I've got to think that it would have been quite awkward - I think the show spoke to that, I maybe just took it a step further. That and around this time when they were finding out just how much of their lives was caught by the doc crew I was thinking might be more on their minds as they struggled through this crisis.
The exercise of the journal I think really got them looking inward and helped open their eyes to things that maybe they'd forgotten, taken for granted or got lost in the heat of their arguments.
Ughh that Jim gravel in that scen - how could I not. I watched that scene closely a bunch of times to get it right...their eye contact or lack of was painful.
The ending - sorry to put you through it.
Thanks for your words. Always great to hear from you.
Date: April 03, 2021 08:00 pm Title: Shiny Stuff
I love Jim's note to her. Simple, profound, and heartfelt. Really seemed to resonate with her too. Of course she gets the parallel with her note to him. I think you're right in that usually Pam is the one to be slow about change. She has moments where she leaps before she looks, but for the most part she doesn't do that. So it makes sense for me that she'd want to call David and really get to the bottom of everything.
So Jim took the cab not to the bus station but to the park. That's really interesting. It feels like he's trying to surround himself in memories where they were at their best or most powerful.
So now Pam seems ready to do something big. But of course there's another wrinkle. Hopefully it's nothing to big that Andy has cooked up for her. Also Clark was a bit of an ass there.
In regards to S9, yeah it was kind of hard to see more angst with Jim and Pam. However I also think that S9 is among the reasons why Jim and Pam are so relatable. It's not get married and happily ever after with them. The do get married, they are clearly still in love with each other, but there's still things and issues to work on. That's life. It's hard, it's messy, and there are ups and downs. I think it was a bold choice to have Jim and Pam go through some of that, even if it broke our hearts a little bit.
First off Happy Easter. Hope you are enjoying.
Yes, the message is simple but i didn't think it needed more. Glad you agreed. (plus it had the lyrics tie-in)
Anyway, it was more about the symbolism of the lid, now more than ever because of the traditions that they'd created with them.
In one respect I always felt there was a sort of symbiosis in the way they approached things. And most of the time it worked and worked well. And maybe it still will.
So my cliffhanger worked - wasn't sure if it would be seen right through after last chapter so I'm pleased it created a bit of the tension I was going for. I find that's always interesting to read/watch.
But it still is meant to be in the world of The Office and that means Andy and he was quite the tool in season 9.
The Clark bit was derived from the show (see script below) - I pulled from the script and then elaborated. I was going for he might have been feeling a little uncomfortable around her as she cried and not sophisticated and not sure what do do so he made jokes. I guess he was a little bit of an ass though. But it made for a good chapter title I thought.
Pam: Uh, to speak my truth, I'd appreciate if you hung that up cause we were in the middle of a conversation. [Jim hangs up phone]
I appreciate the sacrifice.
Jim: Ok to speak my truth, that was a little sarcastic. I think that's a little unfair.
Pam: Really? I've been putting the kids to bed by myself every night for a months. And you had to miss one phone call. Is that your truth, Jim? That's really your truth?
Jim: I guess I will swallow my truth.
Clark: Are you guys high? Because if so, to speak my truth, I would appreciate the sacrifice of including me in some hits off your kind buds.
Pam: We're not high.
Absolutely, I only think they had more story there, which maybe it was not possible since it would have had to happen in their heads and hearts and that's not so easy to do in a sitcom. Sure the flashback to the wedding and the verse was helpful as was the hug but IMO there needed to be more to get them back. And that's what I hoped I was able to get across in this fic.
Thanks as always for reading and sharing your thoughts. That's what is so rewarding about this community.
Date: April 03, 2021 04:38 pm Title: Shiny Stuff
I’ve been so terrible about reading and reviewing on MTT lately (or for a while), so I am trying to best to play catch up! I love that you are tackling the hard job of writing a season 9 fic, and lady I think you are doing an excellent job.
Season 9 is so difficult. Any of us who have been in a long term relationship or marriage know how easily things can start to break down if you don’t constantly communicate and keep each other abreast of how you are feeling. And it’s not easy to be honest and vulnerable, even with the person you love the most and have built a life with. I think that you’ve done an excellent job with showing that through their internal monologues, the letters and assignments, the small ways they try to reach out to each other while still dancing around the big hard discussions because they are big and hard. And you’re doing it with some really lovely moments and imagery; I especially love the bits about sunrise and sunset.
I know a lot of people have a lot of feelings about season 9 and the arc that it took Jim and Pam on. I don’t think we can say “Pam’s a selfish bitch” without ending that sentence with “and so was Jim,” because that is the truth. Jim was uncommunicative and secretive and Pam was uncommunicative and scared, and it brought out the worst in both of them. I don’t think it’s fair to paint Jim as the good guy in season 9 (and you didn’t, but I’m a bit hot under the collar about another review you’ve received) because working full time, single parenting, and wondering if your relationship is going to fall apart isn’t easy and wanting to keep your family intact isn’t selfish. Especially when there are clear instances of Jim having an absolute blast in Philadelphia without checking in on Pam or the kids and not attempting to put herself in her shoes. The thing about season 9 is that they both make awful decisions and it isn’t until towards the end of the season that they look at the issue as “us vs the problem” and not “me vs you.” But I shouldn’t take something that someone who thinks that having the thought process of an artist means you can’t understand how a fictional start up works says seriously.
Anyway my own feelings about your other reviews aside, I think you are doing an excellent job with a heavy subject. Jim and Pam both feel in character and easy to sympathize with, and we see how events like this in a marriage can be so hard to reconcile. I look forward to seeing how you take us through along the rest of their rocky path and back into the sunshine.
First off thanks for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. I said it before and will repeat it again, I never thought I'd be writing a season 9 fic but once I was inspired to, it kinda took over. I originally thought this would be a one-shot and not a multi-chapter.
Season 9 was difficult because of the Pam and Jim arc but as someone who has been married for long enough to know it wasn't without truth and realism. As I said, marriage is work - it needs to be cared for, even if you are soul mates, especially if you are soul mates. And we know sometimes these 2 forget to communicate - thinking they know everything the other might be thinking (this is shown in the Roy's Wedding episode). I know you agree there.
It was not my intention to show either side as right or wrong, and like you say they needed to stop looking at it from a me vs you and get to the heart of the problem. And that took some soul searching and outside help. Some thinking about their own history and remembering how they felt when all they wanted was each other and there was an obstacle in the way. I'm glad you feel I've been able to show both of them coming to realize where they made mistakes and how to get back. I'm so please you liked the sunrise/sunset parts. I was very into writing those. Where I live we get some unbelievable sunrises/sunsets and that was a vision I wanted to bring to life - plus there was the symbolism I hope came across.
I think the show (by the nature of it being a sitcom) glossed over some of the journey to get there and that was what I hoped to bring out a bit more. I loved the hug and the flashback to the wedding but I did feel that alone was just a first step. However in a sitcom it's hard to get at what might have been in their heads and pleased you feel that is coming across and in their voices.
Without saying too much (as it will be said when I'm done), there was something in the timing.
Once again I want to thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. It's truly one of the things I love most about this community, the way in which we can connect through shared love of reading, writing and Jam.
Hope you enjoy the ending.
Date: April 03, 2021 11:49 am Title: Shiny Stuff
Idk. I really liked this chapter. The way they're straining to understand each other, bringing in their knowledge of who the other is, wrestling with their history and their sense of their own flaws. Very real... and probably pretty healthy.
Very real - that is quite a compliment - so thank you.
Was there something that you didn't feel? The Idk you start with.
It was a journey to get them to where they are- something I'm not sure they were able to portray through the show since it happened in their heads.
Thanks for coming on the journey with me and always sharing your thoughts.
Date: March 31, 2021 09:26 pm Title: Opportunities
I think you've done well here getting at the complexities of a conflict that's intractable between two people who aren't good at conflict and are so in love they had never really conceived of the idea that they could find themselves in an intractable conflict.
I thought the water metaphor worked here, explaining how relationships are supposed to work and their anger and the way it all comes in fits and starts. The problem is that unlike with water, there's no objective view of how far the tide is in or out, and they're both making judgments on how high the sea can rise again based on their own perception.
I thought the way they're resistant to the therapeutic tools rang true. They're definitely going to take time to feel natural, and there's going to be a strong instinct to reject them. (I thought the detail of Jim being more worried about their bills and their financial future seemed right as well - it certainly puts his desire to break out from Dunder Mifflin in a different conflict.)
Obviously I love that you're digging into the way the cameras are impacting them here, and the way they're actively changing the story they document. (One of the things that ticked me off about Season 9 was that they had this HUGE card to play in making the documentary real, and they decided to utilize it in the most boring, unnecessary way possible. Grrrr.) It's especially interesting seeing JIM reacting to that, which I don't think we get in canon at all until the finale.
I liked Pam's journal entry a lot. A good sense of the history they're coming from at this juncture.
Oooof. Painful ending - not only do we lose out on the umbrella, we see the small gestures that have brought them together before all of a sudden aren't working for them, and they really don't know how to deal with that.
You're right, I'm not a season 9 fan, partially because I had enough angst with Jam, thank you very much, partially because I think it relies on both of them acting kind of out of character and partially because of Brian and partially because I don't think it connects well with the history of their relationship... so, a lot of reasons. But one thing I've discovered is that my issues with the execution of Season 9 do tend to loan themselves well to good fic, so I'm glad you're doing this.
I'm with you - season 9 was tough - sure all marriages can have problems, but I can't really give away my issues with what was going on without spoiling the story -but I will say these 2 have bad timing.
See this is what I love about your reviews - how you take an idea and expound on it - and written so well it should be added to the story. (the tides).
Yes, it seems like they were playing at the exercises in the show - they were coming from a real place but you could tell how hard they were - that's why I added the journals - I thought this would help them get at their truths a bit more. (plus we know from OL what a big journaler JF was). Sometimes things come out better when you can write them down.
You know me and how my Jim is very AWARE of those cameras - after all I think he was the most aware of them on the show. I took the opportunity that the promos were airing to have them realize just how much they caught and just how much it was shaping things - including their current conflict.
Always so thrilled to get your reviews and appreciate the time you take to share your thoughts.
Date: March 29, 2021 08:40 pm Title: Opportunities
So I like the marriage counseling scene. Feels very much like how they would have been advised to do all the "speaking your truths" and "look for opportunities" that we saw in the show. Good way to get the backstory for that. Really liked the lines about how the water in a marriage still needs to flow. I assume those are the lines from your Rabbi, yes?
Pam's thoughts were very interesting to read. Both in her head and what she wrote. And then, there's the note with the lid. I mean, one of the biggest gestures she ever did for him and now he gives it back to her.
The image of Jim waiting in the cab and her not coming out feels just heartbreaking for him. They both know the meaning of that note and so far it seems like it hasn't mattered. Just oof.
So where do we go from here? I have no idea. It felt like they were making progress but then Jim is off in the cab. Great writing to bring out a ton of emotion.
Actually those were all me. The whole counseling scene, while having never been through it, it came to me a lot easier than writing Pam's journal entry which I struggled though to get her voice correct.
(the Rabbi's lines began at ...Happiness is not a gift. It is something that is achieved. Success in a marriage is much more than finding the right partner, it’s a matter of being the right partner.” and the right partner part I've discovered is a well known saying. But in my many years of marriage I have often heard his little speech in my head).
Not sure if you knew this was where it was headed when he took that lid out of the garbage - but that was the idea that this whole story was built around. The thing that popped into my head when I heard the song, Gold. Glad it stood out for you.
Thanks as always my friend.
Date: March 29, 2021 01:12 am Title: Opportunities
This is such an insightful take of all of the complicated and nuanced emotions both of them were feeling at that time. Marriage is work, even the best of marriages, and I think you perfectly captured that here. I really loved the journal entry too! Fabulous job.
I struggled through that journal entry, searching for Pam's voice and what she might be thinking back on. I'm so pleased you mentioned it. I feel like maybe I got close.
Writing this story had me rewatching my wedding video and thinking back on everything from then until now. We agree on that - marriage only works when you work at it. But the rewards are so worth it.
Thanks again for reading and sharing what you thought. Always a thrill to get reviews.
Date: March 28, 2021 06:44 pm Title: Opportunities
The umbrella paragraph starting with "He picked up the umbrella that he purposely left at the end of the desk so he wouldn’t forget it again..." is one of the loveliest bits of layering I've ever read. Good onya
Ah yes, the umbrella - if only he'd left the umbrella instead of a gold circle and a pink note....(I'm responding to this and the review you wrote after this - the one where I kicked you in the gut)....
But thank you - wrote and rewrote that section I can't tell you how many times...I knew what I wanted to get across in my head and heart but wasn't sure how to translate it to words so I'm glad it worked for you.
Thanks for the words and onya- always appreciate your insights and reactions.
Date: March 26, 2021 09:45 pm Title: All In
Ooooh, a lot going on I like in this chapter.
I think you've captured the discomfort of Season 9 really well, both for them and what it felt like for the audience watching them go through this. I was struck by their sense of how shaking it is that they're at this point of needing a therapist at all, which I felt like is definitely something that would have been striking to them. And I'm glad we get to see them wrestling more with their issues internally - Pam being aware of her fear, Jim being aware and feeling guilty of the position he's put her in.
It also fears really, alarmingly true that Pam having a lot more on her plate emotionally might just not allow her the resources to do what she wants to do, which is definitely an undersold part of the problem in Season 9.
In general, I really like how much you're rooting this in their history - which was something I felt like got left out of Season 9 in canon a lot, how this conflict was building off where they had been before and how they would have seen it in light of where they were before. It's great that you're bringing that back into it.
I miss you when you are gone for long stretches. I understand it - you have other things to do besides read and review FF but I do miss getting your take on things (not only my writing but other's too, I appreciate and read your reviews on other stories - sometimes you can see more than I can). Your insights can even help shape what's to come so always glad to see your reviews.
Anyway, like I said up front I never thought I'd be writing a Season 9 fic. While I had the first 4 seasons on repeat play, I only truly watched season 9 once. Maybe because of the troubles they were having, I preferred my angst to be leading to more fun in the office not to the end of the show.
But between the songs and catching some season 9 episodes on Comedy Central reruns and some encouragement from a writer I respect immensely I started with a story and a rewatch and once I did I realized how much I felt the story had so much more to it and how strongly I felt about certain things which will be revealed later.
I get the sense you are not so much a season 9 fan. I'm so please you like what I'm doing to give it more depth. I agree that the idea of them in counseling would be hitting them hard. I guess when you love as deeply as they do, when you are connected as they are, when there are troubles, they come hard and deep too. (TWSS- sorry had to) and they need some help getting through them.
Anyway glad to see you - just in time for the next update which I hope to get up later this weekend.
Date: March 22, 2021 06:03 am Title: All In
Honoured to get a mention (thank you!) but I did nothing really! I really love how you’re writing this.
Love hurts sometimes. You are so realistic in how this is playing out. The imagery and allusions are spot on, and again, we can feel the pain, but also the hope of two people who really love each other but have disconnected. And that happens in adult relationships sometimes, even the best ones.
Communication is an evolving process and you are really showing how they are trying to make that journey to attempt to reconnect. Sometimes it’s successful and sometimes not. But what I love most about this (I’m so naughty starting sentences with ‘but’ and ‘and’!) is the love they have for each each other is shining out like a beacon. And I LOVED that you really examined Pam’s character traits. They are so well considered. Jim seems to recognise that but he also recognises his own needs and right now there is a clash of goals. And this is what makes it all such a balancing act.
I say this as someone who has been (happily) with my husband for over two decades - anyone who says relationships / marriage is easy all the time, is lying. One has to work at it, sometimes there is miscommunication, or no communication, a lot of it is about understanding the other person, what drives them and their character traits so you bring out the best in each other, for each other. One doesn’t always get it right but it’s about thinking before acting and understanding motives (usually good motives in healthy relationships, just the execution can be poor.)
I think for the most of what we saw play out on screen over 6 seasons of their being together, they managed that (and I believe it was a lesson they took with them to Austin) but in this period for them they did lose their way with each other because they stopped communicating.
Gosh, that turned into a critique of marriage counselling!
This wasn’t tough to read at all because that’s what I took from this chapter. It is beautiful and hopeful. I hope we get a happy ending!
First off - It helps more than you know to have an opinion when certain lines are giving you pause so yes a mention is warranted.
I think we long time marrieds can really appreciate what was happening between them during season 9 and what it takes in a marriage to keep it strong sometimes. Life is always rosy and love as powerful as it is won't fix all the problems that can arise, especially when communication breaks down (and we know these two have a tendency to go inward sometimes). I have a feeling you will love the next chapter based on the things you've said here and I can't wait to get your reaction to that one.
I'm so glad it's coming across that no matter how hard the problems are now, it is not from lack of love for each other. If anything it is the opposite. It's that deep love they have for each other that is actually making it so much harder. Kinda what Brian had said about his and Alyssa - when they stopped fighting they realized they no longer cared.
I'm really chuffed (hope I'm using this right) to get such praise from you for this one. Knowing that readers (no matter how many or few) are resonating with what I write is so uplifting. So thanks so so much for being so present for this one.
Date: March 21, 2021 08:11 pm Title: All In
First of all I loved the start of this chapter. The description of the sunrise was just beautiful. Moving onto the counseling sessions I do find it interesting the sunset Pam described and everything that went with it. Even in their struggles they're very similar in thought.
However it's when we dive deeper that the truth does start to come out some. However for both of them I feel like this is progress. To me it feels like they're processing their feelings. Almost as if they have to settle things down in their own heads before they can figure out how to say those things to each other. In that regard, I don't think it was hard to read. Informative to be sure.
Great job with the introspection. Really looking forward to seeing where they go from here.
The start of this chapter was one of the first things that came to me (after the gold yogurt lid bit) when I heard the song Gold. I enjoyed writing that part - really flexed my descriptive writing muscles.
You are very perceptive my friend - I intended it to come off as baby steps. Like I said never meant to be a one and done - the show made it seem like they went for one session and poof problems solved.
Thanks always for your insights and appreciation.
Date: March 21, 2021 11:19 am Title: Broken Traditions
I really like this concept, and I'm glad you're exploring it. Much as I was ready for this story to end, the ending is a little pat. You've done well here making these little wake-up call moments just that... little moments, not guaranteed to set them back on the path to where they want to be. They're in a serious conflict, and finding their way out of it isn't going to be easy.
I really liked the repurposing of their new tradition in Beets on The Trees and Christmas in their Hearts - partially just because I enjoyed it in the first place, and you did good work demonstrating in a subtle way how far off the same page they are in the different things Pam throwing out the yogurt lid signifies to each of them.
As someone who finds both of their actions in Season 9 a little OOC, I like the work you've done here grounding Pam's fear of change in specific events in their recent history... it adds some context to how Fancy New Beesly and her willingness to shake up their lives has gotten to this point.
This is pretty painful to read, given the job you've done drawing out how they keep enmeshing themselves even further in the trap they're caught in. I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with it.
I guess you could say I've become a little obsessive over these yogurt lids - so much so that I'm tempted to buy then when I go grocery shopping and truth be told I abhor yogurt (except the frozen kind that with all the sugar added it no longer could be consider yogurt) so I'm glad you are enjoying it, even if it's painful to read.
I agree that there was something troublesome in how they acted in Season 9 or was it that we never really saw them in conflict before and let's face it no matter how much in love you are there's bound to be a little in any relationship - maybe we just weren't used to it. But I also feel like there was so much more to be said about what was happening there that needed to be explored.
You know just how many things I am working on- that this story (not my usual fluffy happy kind) rose to the top of my slush pile you know it had to get inside of me...I heard that song Gold and it just got into my gut. I know you're not a music guy (at least within the context of fics) but it's such a gorgeous song.
Thanks for the insights and reactions -love to get your reviews.
New chapter up very soon.
Thanks as always for all the support.
Date: March 19, 2021 12:21 pm Title: Broken Traditions
This is really well done, Max! You have a real handle on all the little underlying issues they were having in season 9 and the pain Jim felt at seeing the lid in the trash was palpable.
"There was nothing left for him at Dunder Mifflin, aside from her. But they were married, had a family. He no longer needed to stay in a dead-end job just to be near her." - I think this is a very real thing that gets glossed over often. He *only* stayed at that job for her, and he was capable of so much more.
"Despite all her growth since he’d met her, she still had trouble looking at change as a positive thing." - This. I think seeing how big his 'little startup' was spooked her and she just wanted to keep the status quo after that first visit.
"How it seemed like everything they’d built up for themselves was crumbling as he borrowed bricks from the bedrock to build something she had no part in." - perfectly said.
"Last night, over dinner, the words finally spilled out, expelling from her body, dropping onto the pristine white table cloth like oil stains that might never come out." - Lovely!
There is nothing I enjoy more in a review that hearing what stood out to the reader so you can imagine I am so touched by this review. And coming from you even more so since I am in awe by your writing and insights...even your review is a treasure to read.
Thank you also for the words of the encouragement as this story sparked - it really did give me the courage to go for it.
I am really glad I ran with this and that you are in agreement there was so much more to the story that wasn't addressed.
Thanks again for it all.
Date: March 19, 2021 04:20 am Title: Broken Traditions
Where to even start with this, so many great things.
You’ve captured a moment where two people whom love each other very much are just in different places, and how that can cause a fracture that can sometimes become something much greater and lead to a breakdown in a marriage.
I love (in a creative writing capacity, hate for JAM to be feeling sad) that you’ve shown their tiredness and resignation at the situation, too - especially Pam’s.
You know I love detail and I love the little details you’ve inserted in here, *especially* the yogurt lids!
And just the quality of the writing. Top, top notch, I really want to read more of this and how it unravels and resolves. Wonderful!
Where to start with my response - thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means so much that you enjoyed this - even though they are sad - and you still can appreciate the story being told. As you know I usually write much fluffier fics so this departure had me a bit apprehensive.
I'm all about those yogurt lids! Funny thing is I abhor yogurt! Yuck - only way I eat it is when frozen (the kind that has so much sugar it's really ice cream and no longer anything even remotely like yogurt - like not the Pinkberry kind (did you have Pinkberry there?)
You say resolves as if you are sure...wink. It's not a long one 2-3 more chapters and they are mostly written so you'll see soon enough.
Thank you for the praise and support.