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Usaravelli
September 14th, 2010, 12:50 AM
Ok so I've already met some very nice people and I've decided to take the plunge by sharing my Intro with you all. I have been blogging a story on my site, www.usaravelli.com (http://www.usaravelli.com) and here is an excerpt. I work with a content editor and so far it's been a lot of fun. Have received some very nice feedback but not sure if my Mom and her friends count. :) Here we go...

The late February sky was gray and as usual I could not get a parking space close to the condo. There was a chill in the air and just a hint of snow to come. I shivered as I pulled my coat closer to me walking quickly toward the stairwell. I had looked at the clock on the dashboard before getting out of the car and realized it was just after six. I step quickly, grateful to have made it on time after the long bus ride from downtown DC to the commuter parking lot at Wal-Mart. That’s where each morning he left the station wagon he bought last summer after leaving the baby with his mother since I left for the city far earlier than she desired to be disturbed. She was very specific about the timing of drop off and pick up and got extremely upset with me if I was 5 minutes late even though any sort of bus malfunction was out of my control. I dreaded the thought of again dealing with a dirty diaper and a little boy fresh from a 3 hour nap at the end of a long weekday. The woman had no sense, letting a child sleep for three hours each day, didn’t she know it kept us up at night, or perhaps she didn’t care. I climbed the steps to the third floor with a heavy heart the way I always felt when I had to confront these people on my own, not so harsh now that we shared a common fear one that would bind us together for just a little while longer. I always wondered if they knew what they had done to contribute to the predicament that I was now in and what it meant for the future of their precious first grandson.

I wait over 5 minutes afraid to knock or ring the bell too many times for fear that it will be perceived as aggressive, a blatant display of the impatience I feel for now I need them to be my allies. I hear muffled words, footsteps, and the click of a light finally. She answers the door just as I get ready to knock again and I swallow my irritation knowing they hold my baby from me on the other side of the locked door. She smiles wanly, “Hello Usara, Rahul is still sleeping.” She rubs her eyes, narrow, almost oriental in her features, her hair still jet black. A once beautiful woman now a mere shadow of her former self, stuck in a life of dependency on her children. Her sons her greatest accomplishment, precious jewels to this pious woman who now takes her place as the tyrannical matriarch fully expecting them to fulfill their duty to their aged parents according to Hindu tradition, self-righteously terrorizing the only daughter in law. The venom in her eyes has lessened now that she knows my troubles, still blurry and face still puffy with sleep; she adjusts her ponytail, and lets me in. She stumbles toward the kitchen murmuring that she will make tea, a daily ritual after the long afternoon slumber. All I want is my little boy. To wrap him up pack him up and whisk him home, away from the demons which haunt me in the little dingy apartment yellow infused light glowing bright into the dark stairwell at this hour. She lets me enter, and I look around, for my Rahul taking in the drawn vertical blinds yellowing already, shelves and tables cluttered with dusty trinkets and photos of a family I was not meant to be a part of.

We sit down at the table covered with a sticky plastic cloth brightly decorated with flowers and I sip the watery brew, afraid to turn it down for fear of offending them when all I want to do is go home. We are silent, each one consumed with our own thoughts, munching the “Ritz” crackers, a poor substitute for Tiffin. Finally she breaks the spell and asks me how things are at home. “The same,” I reply, “he doesn’t speak to me, he doesn’t come home for meals, and I’m so worried what will happen to Rahul, do you know what he is planning? How can he do this?” The words tumble out of me. I look to the older woman for answers but she has none, both mother in law and father in law, “his” parents look into their cups, mouths tight, tense lines of worry clearly visible, all of us fearful for the future of a little boy.

I set down my empty cup and go into the darkened master bedroom room to retrieve my baby; he sleeps so softly and peacefully in their bed, just a mattress on the floor. I lift him gently and squeeze him tight, absorbing his warmth, my son, his silky hair soft against my cheek, his warm cheeks flush with sleep and his perfect little body nestled against my breast, I breathe in his scent and immediately I want to take him home and wash off their odor. I miss him so throughout each day aching each minute spent away and each second that he spends with them, instead of me, for he is all I live for right now. I smile and make small talk as I put on a cheerful front, swiftly changing his diaper wrapping him up in the bright red Osh Kosh coat bought last year, two sizes too big. He struggles like a wiggly little worm reluctant to go out into the cold evening air. I carefully collect his things as they watch and shower him with words of love, calling him their little Raja. I look to my mother in law and ask her again, “what will we do, how can we go on alone? What will happen to us?” She blinks and shakes her head from side to side finally offering me her thoughts, speaking my name, this time gently rolling her R the way that Indians do. “Usara, you must be brave, you must do your duty, whatever happens Rahul will be with you, it is very important for you to you remember that. As you raise him he will be your partner and he will always be with you. You must have courage for your son. And so it began.

Bruno Spatola
September 14th, 2010, 04:51 AM
Can you break it up a bit please? I'm finding it really difficult to read at the moment. Copying and Pasting can put it in one huge chunk.

When it's easier on the eyes I'll give an in depth critique :)

Usaravelli
September 15th, 2010, 02:44 AM
So sorry! Thanks for the heads up to this newbie!

BoredMormon
September 15th, 2010, 03:18 AM
The late February sky was gray and as usual I could not get a parking space close to the condo

Was that the best you can do for an opening sentance? In any case it should be two sentances. The parking has nothing to do with the weather.


I shivered as I pulled my coat closer to me walking quickly toward the stairwell.

Try to avoid 'as'. Relate the events in the order they happen. Perhaps in seperate sentances. Its currently confusing. The next sentance is even worse. It reads as if you forgot to mention the time, and couldn't be bothered to go back and fix it.

I stopped reading about there. But a few things I noticed as I skimmed through:

-You change tense. ('I shivered' vs 'I wait'). Bad idea.
-You try to string too many ideas in one sentance. For now cut it down to one. Aim for simplicity and clarity.
-Look up the conventions around dialouge. There is a particular way readers are used to seeing it.

It needs a lot of work. But so does everybodies first piece. Unfortunately your family are either kind to a fault or not reading your work. No doubt the next one will be better.

Bruno Spatola
September 15th, 2010, 03:39 AM
I shivered as I pulled my coat closer to me walking quickly toward the stairwell. -- I would make it I shivered as I pulled my coat closer, walking quickly towards the stairwell.

I had looked at the clock on the dashboard -- I don't think you need had.

I step quickly -- You've switched tenses here.

That's where each morning he left the station wagon he bought last summer after leaving the baby with his mother since I left for the city far earlier than she desired to be disturbed. -- Comma after mother.

She was very specific about the timing of drop off and pick up and got extremely upset with me if I was 5 minutes late even though any sort of bus malfunction was out of my control. -- Comma after late.

I dreaded the thought of again dealing with a dirty diaper and a little boy fresh from a 3 hour nap at the end of a long weekday. -- a dirty diaper, a little boy, a 3 hour nap, a long weekday. You say a too much, it's a little jarring. Also, I think you should write three not 3.

The woman had no sense, letting a child sleep for three hours each day, didn't she know it kept us up at night, or perhaps she didn't care. -- Full stop after day.

I climbed the steps to the third floor with a heavy heart the way I always felt when I had to confront these people on my own, not so harsh now that we shared a common fear one that would bind us together for just a little while longer. -- Comma after heart, full stop after own. Semicolon after fear.

I always wondered if they knew what they had done to contribute to the predicament that I was now in and what it meant for the future of their precious first grandson. -- I liked that line, had a sort of tenacity to it. I would put a comma before and and remove that.

I wait over 5 minutes afraid to knock or ring the bell too many times for fear that it will be perceived as aggressive, a blatant display of the impatience I feel for now I need them to be my allies. -- Are you switching tenses on purpose?

She answers the door just as I get ready to knock again and I swallow my irritation knowing they hold my baby from me on the other side of the locked door. -- Comma after irritation. Remove locked, I already thought it was locked.

"Hello Usara, Rahul is still sleeping." She rubs her eyes, narrow, almost oriental in her features, her hair still jet black. -- Full stop after Usara I think. You describe the woman a but too much in this line. I'd take out her hair still jet black.

A once beautiful woman now a mere shadow of her former self, stuck in a life of dependency on her children. Her sons her greatest accomplishment, precious jewels to this pious woman who now takes her place as the tyrannical matriarch fully expecting them to fulfill their duty to their aged parents according to Hindu tradition, self-righteously terrorizing the only daughter in law. -- I like that. Describes her personality very well. Comma after matriarch me thinks.


To wrap him up pack him up and whisk him home, away from the demons which haunt me in the little dingy apartment yellow infused light glowing bright into the dark stairwell at this hour. -- To wrap him up pack him up? Comma after apartment.

She lets me enter, and I look around, for my Rahul taking in the drawn vertical blinds yellowing already, shelves and tables cluttered with dusty trinkets and photos of a family I was not meant to be a part of. -- This was hard to follow for me, a little too much going on.

We sit down at the table covered with a sticky plastic cloth brightly decorated with flowers and I sip the watery brew, afraid to turn it down for fear of offending them when all I want to do is go home. -- Too much going on again. Describe the table first, describe drinking the liquid after.

We are silent, each one consumed with our own thoughts, munching the Ritz crackers, a poor substitute for Tiffin. -- Full stop after crackers.

Finally she breaks the spell and asks me how things are at home. -- What spell? A little vague but I think I know what you meant.

The words tumble out of me. I look to the older woman for answers but she has none, both mother in law and father in law, "his" parents look into their cups, mouths tight, tense lines of worry clearly visible, all of us fearful for the future of a little boy. -- Messy. You cram too much information into too short a space. I didn't even realize there were more people present either, it sounded like just you and the woman.

I lift him gently and squeeze him tight, absorbing his warmth, my son, his silky hair soft against my cheek, his warm cheeks flush with sleep and his perfect little body nestled against my breast, I breathe in his scent and immediately I want to take him home and wash off their odor. -- Again too much crammed in here. Full stop after breast, remove the I after immediately.

All these mistakes made it very hard to read through smoothly. I couldn't get into the plot at all and didn't even care about Rahul.

If you made it less verbose and easier to follow, I may have enjoyed but there was just too much pulling me out of the experience. Clean it up, make some edits and I can see myself liking it more. I'd rather not have to point this much out.

Don't feel disheartened though, just work at it :D

Deeohgee
September 15th, 2010, 03:53 AM
I like the way you write, for someone like me it's easy to follow when it's more a stream of thoughts than a formal business presentation. I'm not good with critiques because I'm overly positive in some ways, but try to avoid over explaining yourself. I tend to do that often and I can see my writing style in yours. Like Tolstoy said "The two most powerful warriors are patience and time", I think you have the ability and diligence to perfect your art.

Usaravelli
September 15th, 2010, 04:01 AM
Interesting feedback. Thank you.

Usaravelli
September 15th, 2010, 04:03 AM
Thank you very much Deeohgee. I appreciate constructive positive feedback even if it has a little "ouch" in it.

I do this for fun and I will just have to remember that whenever I receive an honest opinion.

:)