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Kevin
March 2nd, 2013, 06:36 AM
They were boys from Reseda, Canoga, and Van Nuys; places now, that I would call the shits, but not as bad as some. Their grandparents, or Great-Grans, had come over from somewhere else. Many were Irish, or German; mutts mostly. The ghettos and old neighborhoods were unknown to the west–coasters. There were no Jets, no Sharks, and they paid no attention to surnames. Kieran, Kellin and Collin, barely recognized any kinship. They didn’t jump anyone. The gang fight was for the foreigners, not them. They were second or third from the best generation, but not even close…

Full of sloth and debauchery, we un-prepared from our futures, as it wasn’t supposed to be, but we were the low achievers, the ones who got stuck on the simple things, like letter grades and work ethics. Fluidity, both imbibed in the evenings, and ensconsed at the local beaches, called to us. Beer was important. We were all about liquids. Wetsuits and bong loads took the place of books and preparation. At seventeen we were the envy; at twenty-seven, lost and behind. For just a short while, we lived so brightly, with nothing much to get upset about.

WechtleinUns
March 2nd, 2013, 05:15 PM
The tone of this short piece of fiction presents itself as somewhat wistful. I imagine the narrator as a much older man, reminiscing about his past, or poring through an album of old pictures, and explaining them to his children. The voice switches from third-person omniscient, to first person plural/omniscient between the two paragraphs. This gives the impression of a great deal of elapsed time.

It seems safe to say that the first paragraph establishes the setting and overall conflict through the listing of specific details, and therefore does it in a precise way that is easily understood. The second paragraph is more ambiguous. Instead of presenting any sort of resolution directly, it hints at some sort of resolved conflict in the past, but keeps its focus on the aftermath of that resolution. The impression is one of inevitability of decay or decline.

The last line of the second Paragraph highlights and illustrates this point especially. "For just a short while, we lived so brightly, with nothing much to get upset about." Perhaps stands as a reiteration of this short piece of fiction in itself. The emotion, and the impressions conveyed by diction and the rhythm of the language successfully remain consistent throughout the story. This is good, because it gives the impression of a polished, well revised craft.

Over all, a very well written, self-contained piece of fiction, that leaves an impression that is all too familiar to some.

js1268
March 8th, 2013, 07:21 PM
i really like this piece of prose... it is thought provoking with a very contemporary theme... also, i'm a big fan of stories that shift tenses appropriately and yours is no exception.

well done!

abbymeg
March 10th, 2013, 09:52 PM
They were boys from Reseda, Canoga, and Van Nuys; places now, do you need a comma here? that I would call the shits, but not as bad as some. Their grandparents, or Great-Grans, had come over from somewhere else. Many were Irish, or this one? or German; mutts mostly. The ghettos and old neighborhoods were unknown to the west–coasters. There were no Jets, no Sharks, and they paid no attention to surnames. Kieran, Kellin and Collin, colon or semi colon - if these are the surnames and they barely recognise the kinship, possibly colon? barely recognized any kinship. They didn’t jump anyone. The gang fight was for the foreigners, not them. They were second or third from the best generation, but not even close…

Full of sloth and debauchery, we un-prepared from our futures, as it wasn’t supposed to be, but we were the low achievers, the ones who got stuck on the simple things, like letter grades and work ethics. Break this down perhaps? Fluidity, both imbibed in the evenings, and ensconsed at the local beaches, called to us. Beer was important. We were all about liquids. Wetsuits and bong loads took the place of books and preparation. At seventeen we were the envy; at twenty-seven, lost and behind. For just a short while, do you need this comma? we lived so brightly, with nothing much to get upset about.

I really enjoyed this; I see so many kids with this attitude and we try and tell them! It is really poignant with some fantastic ideas. I loved the 'second or third from the best generation, but not even close'. Wonderful writing.

My main questions are about the punctuation, especially your use of commas. However, I acknowledge that using these can be a stylistic thing. The reason I pick them out is because it is a flaw in my own writing that I tend to over-use them and now I see them everywhere!

I hope my comments are useful to you. Good luck with it.

pdwalke4
March 10th, 2013, 11:15 PM
I would agree with the above post about commas. I often wonder if I throw to many into my writing as though I'm trying to give some significant meaning to every sentence. As a teacher (though UK not US) I also recognize a lot of the same attitude. I would also say I agree with first reply. i feel as though I am seeing the story through the eyes of an old man on a porch watching, curious if this in the person you are telling the story through. (p.s damn American spell check on Google its recognise to us Brits not recognize grrrr)

Kevin
March 11th, 2013, 11:25 PM
Oh, some great critiques. Only 190 words yet there is polishing to be done. :) Thank you, Guys (Gals). Wecht- I wasn't sure what I'd done. I took a chance and tried to let it flow. A deconstruct: that's what you've done, right? Excellent. Spot on.
js- thank you. I always hope I might connect with the reader. Otherwise it's a flop.
abbey and pdwalk- You're both teachers, aren't you? Good! We can always use more. Thank you for taking the time. Yes, too many commas. I will leave them in for now so others might see. The placement of a colon or semi-colon after the surnames... Hmm, it hadn't occured to me. I'm not afraid to use those. Good stuff. Thank you so much.

js1268
March 12th, 2013, 12:04 AM
i'll be honest with you, kevin... i don't think you used too many commas... if anything, i'd remove the one between the words "be" and "but" in the first sentence of the second paragraph, and capitalize "but" for the start of a new sentence

Sally Frank
March 25th, 2013, 04:23 PM
I found the second paragraph to be much more compelling than the first. There was a lot of mystery to it that made me want to know more and understand what your metaphor was saying. I would start with that paragraph and then build on it.

Dictarium
March 25th, 2013, 08:39 PM
Despite the lack of the Oxford Comma (something that just rubs me the wrong way when not used), I really like this. It really conveys a setting and situation that I can envision in my head, both with many pieces filled and and others left to my imagination. I also like how it's not even a story, but rather just a couple of paragraphs establishing an idea; a tone of a community. It's as if someone was to describe a given decade of 20th Century America. It's got just enough of the key details to let us, the readers, know what we need to know.

The only bit of constructive criticism I might offer is that the fragment from "places now," to "as some." is a bit awkward to read. I'm sure it's possible to read it in the intended intonation and have it sound wonderful, but the way I'm looking at it it just comes off as something that could be fixed. Whether it's the syntax of it, the commas, or whatever, I can't tell. It just struck me the wrong way.

Otherwise, the rest is excellent.

Pluralized
March 26th, 2013, 11:03 PM
Kevin - I always like reading your conversational tone. This piece is short, but I can relate to it and it evokes a nice and carefree observation of a halcyon and bygone era, one which I'm sure we would have shared a forty-ouncer or two. :)

I like the way it starts off, as if in the middle of a conversation between good friends. Made me smile, and I can't point to the exact reason why.

sknox
March 27th, 2013, 05:39 PM
I wonder about the change in person. The first paragraph is third person but the next is in second person. Why the shift?