Feb 22·edited Feb 22

Here' the follow up on section 2 from my last comment. You may see this first so I'll reiterate that I'm in editor mode and being thoughtful in my critiques, not mean:

Thoughts on section 2:

…”a lot of furious”…is that grammatically correct? Could you not just say “a lot furious”? or is that also wrong? Feels better when I use the latter.

So you “wake up”, feel furious, explain the history and mentality behind that furiousness and your no books but that one policy and stuff then it seems like all of a sudden in May 2008 you arrive home. What happened to waking up on Father’s Day being furious? Feels like it was forgotten or dropped amid the conversation. Father’s Day is in June, but you are in May the month before. Feels disjointed chronologically. Maybe put in some wording like, “…only weeks prior to this furious feeling I came home from the gym to say, ….” Something to feel less jumpy on the timeline. Also, your wife would have “looked at me” instead of “looks at me”. The present tense on your flashback adds to the disjointed chronology. Unless the flashback is a longer story I wouldn’t go changing tenses like that as you are trying to keep readers with you on that Furious Feeling Father’s Day Morning. Mayb even consider referencing back to the present moment of that Father's Day morning you are in a few extra times. Yes you mention it and bring us back in the last couple paragraphs but in the middle it still feels lost to me. I like and want that back story, it just doesn't read like a "back" story but more like a story in the present. Which makes sense in your own head as you lived it and can reflect on it and relive it like it is present tense again. I cannot relive your flashback with you unless it is a solid half page of stuff. One or two paragraphs for me as the reader is still gonna have to be past tense and I may need a reminder of the present that I'm still supposed to be in. I notice that you quote books and scriptures to yourself in you mind fairly easily. I don't do that. I have a few good portions of quotes and scriptures in my head, maybe enough info to look them up or search them out but not the full thing in my head. Your memory is fantastic. I get lost in the longitude of your memory with my own shorter reading memory. Not sure if I'm just a weak minded kind of person or more of a status quo type of person. You may need to consider pacing the memory requirements of readers who might not stay with you over a whole page describing one morning but referencing books, multiple chronological events, and others stuff relevant to it.

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Okay, so I'm late getting to this but hey, I'm here. Also REMEMBER, I'm in editor mode. No harsh feelings here, just cold hard grammar nazi and creative writing critiques going on. I love this stuff, I enjoy it. I also love the content. No real issues with the base story itself. Just remember, I'm not being mean, I think I'm helping with my words and they come from a place of kindness, even if critical in nature. Plus I only have so much space before things get crowded. So for that I'm splitting up my comments. Below is my comments on section 1:

“I first saw my ego, my great protector” … I get it, but I kind of don’t get it. What do you mean by “saw” it? How did you come up with the personification of your ego. Is that a typical philosophical thing or is it how you visualize it? I know you are looking to explain the protector part but maybe explain why you use the language of “saw” instead of realized or understood or imagined or something like that. I see the beauty of the world. I see myself in the mirror and then when I close my eyes I can visualize that same beauty, that same reflection and I can even animate it and make it an internal reflection of myself. I can interact with it, talk to it and it almost feels separate from me. (Some might consider this a little crazy) but it fits the Hollywood dynamic of self-reflection. Perhaps others don’t see things internally, but they might be able to hear them. All things to consider when approaching people who are not visually stimulated and artistically inclined to animate their imagination like you.

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Wow amazing! Love this!❤️

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I have low vision, so I listened to this rather than physically read it with my eyes. It’s a new thing I’m trying, one that I held off in for a long time because it somehow felt like giving up. I’m glad I listened. I want to say it was magical, but that’s not it. It was the calmness that comes from really listening to someone without sharing your mind with the part of you that’s just listening in order to respond. I think it is a beautiful beginning to your story. I enjoyed breathing when you breathed and repeating the phrase you chose along with you. I appreciate how you describe that inner simmering rage. I relate to that. It was helpful to hear someone else grappling with what I have felt alone grappling myself. Keep going!

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What a great start to this new adventure. Looking forward to how it will unlock new freedoms within my own heart. No pressure 😜!

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Feb 11Liked by Kelly Flanagan

soooo I read it, and re read it and re re read it. I am not sure if what comes next is what you are expecting us to do. That is what I understood: that you were willing we would give you our opinion and be part of the making of this book. So, before anything, I really hope I won't hurt your feelings by playing the game.


- paragraph 1: I think you should develop the reason/the why of being a place you called "a prison of my own making". I don't think it needs to be long, but maybe you should develop the frustrations you feeling which drive you to the anger, which feed this anger.

- paragraph 2: "I've never written..." this part does not feel to be right. You pass from writing about what you are going through to addressing us. It is the only paragraph in those 2 chapters where you doing that. I don't think it is coherent wit the rest of the entire text.


In the first part, you are preparing to list the myriads. So here is what I propose:

- No need for "for instance". Just go straight to "I'm trying to be....". I don't think the first angry guy needs to be there either. It could be like this :

>I’m trying to be a good husband. My wife married a relatively happy guy who could be a little neurotic but who adored her. It seems like a terribly unfair bait-and-switch to have become this depressed and angry husband of hers. My wife didn’t marry an angry guy.

- No need for "also". As a list, just go I'm trying to be a good father. You should develop a bit on how you try. Illustrate what/how you are a good father.

You forgot an article before "new white carpet", you could add "a/his".

>I’m trying to be a good father. My anger is wounding my boys. I remember that Mother’s Day morning when Aidan pulled a potted plant off of his dresser onto A/HIS new white carpet (...)

Concerning "I don't slow down": I think you could to rephrase it because I can feel the guilt (been there) of not being a good father you want to be a that precise moment. I think you could got lioke "I did not slow down" And then finish the last sentence as it is, present time.

- No need of "Not too mention" Just go straight to I'm trying to be a good Christian.

The use of "they" disturbs me: it is not fluid to pass from Sunday school to they. Maybe you could invert this sentence like: inconvenient stories were not told/taught to us: like the one (...), or the one (...). The one (...).

To me, the use of "roots" doesn't ring right. What do you think about "foundations", "influence"? something in that vein. Maybe influence would not be either right because it could open on something else. I understand what you mean but "roots", I am not sure.

> I am trying to be a good boy. Underneath it all, unconsciously. Make people happy and they’ll make you happy in return: I guess, the equation makes some sens. To please people to receive the kind of love in return which will finally make me feel at home. — Never mind that it has never worked for more than a day or two. That, I tell myself, is other peoples’ fault—the people I get angry at—and I just keep working the equation, trying to solve for the answer I want.

I am not too sure about "feel at home". I think I understand what you mean but it could be an interpretation, could you be more explicit ?

- My wife looks at me like I’m crazy. I am.

You repeat twice "untethered" in that sentence

>if you define crazy as running away (???) from reality, which I am. I’m untethered from the reality I was given. I’m trying to listen my way into a new reality.

The "screwing up" sound a bit too much: she's not filling up the plan... something like that.

- No need of "so" or "but" in that sentence : I’m not hungover when I awake, I am angry.

I think it gives even more power to describe the state you are in (i so get that, I can be so angry at the world sometimes).

> Nevertheless, I have a new habit now. I don’t get up. I breathe. I move inward. I listen. I recall the words of Nouwen that I read the day before.

for this sentence, I would go straight to the point too.

> I don’t get up, I breathe. I move inward. I listen. I recall the words of Nouwen that I read the day before.

You talked about this new habit. so no need to repeat what you have already said.

Again I hope you will not be hurt by those comments. It is just a point of view of a bookworm who spent/spend hours in so many different pages, in so many worlds.... I really hope you'll find my comments constructive and helpful.

From this side of the ocean....

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Feb 11Liked by Kelly Flanagan

I am so happy you decided to write another nonfiction book because from reading Loveable to True Companions I believe I looked for and found my true self. I am very hopeful reading The Inner Gathering will spark my resolve to understand and to continue to practice knowing that I am worthy. Reading chapters one and two already hooked me. Experiencing loneliness at an event that is filled with family, friends and good times is so relatable to me. Sharing your personal stories and your journey through those stories inspire, teach, and humanize me and I am sure many other readers too.

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Feb 11Liked by Kelly Flanagan

My husband, Bill, and I listened to the reading. What a great option to hear the writing directly from Dr. Kelly. I enjoyed hearing his inflections and voice instead of the voice in my mind. Again, we found the writing compelling (left us desiring to hear more), humorous (recalling similar situations in our lives), and thought provoking (a great gift to have words to my feelings so that I may consider my response). I have no comments or suggestions for changes.

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Feb 11Liked by Kelly Flanagan

Oh soooooo good!

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