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Thread: The Stranger and His Guitar

  1. #1
    Seductive Artist of Words Articulate Lady's Avatar
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    The Stranger and His Guitar

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    The following story is based on real life events from my life:

    Memories in my mind. A smokey filled room, bustling with chatter. Sitting with my Honey Jack Daniels, I strike up another cigarette on my pillowlips as the mysterious guitar player across the room starts playing “When a Man Loves a Woman.” My heart strings are pulled as I sit there and think, “when is it my turn, I was beautiful once wasn’t I?” The bustle gets louder as the couples take to the dance floor while I wallow in self-pity. It’s just another Sunday night in a strange town that I call home.

    I close my eyes and think to myself, why do I care? He doesn’t love me. He doesn’t know me. But as I look across through the smoke I see him there, just strumming his heart on the strings of that guitar. Damn, I love that man, that stranger. From the first strike of that chord I became his, and he doesn’t even know it. “In another life my love, in another life,” I whisper. He doesn’t love me; not because he never will, but because he is careful. That’s what it seems like anyway, just from first glance. I want to walk away, but I am too weak. All those love songs he plays are in my head. Why do I believe in love? I am just like the princess at the top of the tower thinking he will come for me, but I am just a fool listening to this stranger, thinking he is mine.

    Thirty-seven years. Wow. I never truly felt love and had love back in all that time. Maybe once when I was 19, so never say never. But was that love? And when I walked away from that so-called love all those years ago, he looked back and said “no man will ever love you again.” And to my demise, no one ever has since then. He put a curse on me, a spell, that all my future loves will all be unrequited And true to form, I was never loved after that.

    And here I am again, in the same place, the same place that I always am, on the short end of the stick. Men have used me, and I have travelled with my broken heart to so many bars in so many towns. But through all of it, time and time again, I have loved every single one of them. Unrequited. Shameful. Hopeless.

    Smoke fills the room. Honey Jack Daniels on my pillowlips. Big brown eyes lift up from my glass, as I gaze in his direction. A shattered wish, from a shattered dream.

    That man I love looks at me from across the room. I love him for his flaws, I love him because he is a stranger and my heart is open. When I dance with him in my mind’s eye as he strokes those guitar strings, I tell myself that he’s it. The one I have been waiting for. I fantasize about this man, this stranger. I love him because he is a dangerous man for me. He is dangerous, because he could pull on that guitar like the strings of my heart. I could be a puppet to him, just going through the motions.

    I walk up to the man with the guitar. I drop a dollar in his cup and as I walk away, I say, “I love you” He looks at me and smiles, and watches me as I go. He is a stranger but he haunts me in my dreams and in my mind. I KNOW him, because I know my own pain. It’s where I feel so small in a world of giants. I look back and think, “yes, I was abandoned too, my love”. He recognizes that same glimmer of a tear that I have often shed, for he knows that tear well.

    “This is for you; you awesome stranger. You have stirred emotion in me I haven’t felt in what feels like a lifetime. I walk out into the rainy night, and all I can hear is his husky voice. That husky voice that sends chills up into my spine and my nether regions. I walk away though, because we are on the wrong side of an impossible dream. It’s dangerous to love a stranger even though my body and mind are plagued with lust. I will walk away from you, into the night, because in my mind I know here in darkness I will dwell, because it’s safe. Because its home. But stranger, in another life I would have moved mountains for a man like you. I would have walked with you through fire into the dawn.”

    I am not sad though, far from it. The stranger made me feel again. I felt something in that bar more powerful than any of those unrequited loves have ever given me.

    My heels click on the streets empty now, as I head back to the hole I crawled out of. And out of my beautiful lips I say a silent prayer. “You saved me oh stranger, more than you will ever know.”
    Things dangerous to come to.
    To see behind walls,
    Draw closer,
    To find each other,
    And to feel.
    That is the purpose of life


  2. #2
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    This is great. You capture that sort of late night smoky bar experience pretty well; lonesome hearts sink sorrows in drinks. As a guitar player myself it's the sort of thing I'd love to inspire in someone (well, maybe not the drinking, but the sentiment; anyway I have yet to quite crack it for some reason!)

    I would say though that you might want to watch for repetition in both words and images; eg:

    the mysterious guitar player across the room starts playing “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

    See if you can come up with some way of avoiding that, to make it flowing and perfect. Watch also for the word "just", which you use 5 times in the 1st 2 paras. It's like sand, you know; if you're not on top of it it gets everywhere.

    Your motif of "heart strings" and "heart on the strings of his guitar" works really well - and of course this is a music-type environment so some careful repetition can work, as you demonstrate.

    I guess the first two paragraphs do somewhat repeat the same ideas. Can any of them be smooshed together? Then you could fill that space with some more imagery.

    Phrases like "That’s what it seems like anyway" is a bit filler-y; write it as you would like it to seem, rather than telling us "it seems way XYZ". Ditto "true to form". That seems unecessary if you can paint us a sufficient picture that tells us it is true to form anyway - which you do.

    But yeah - very much enjoyed. I guess it is more a personal piece rather than narrative or story - or will you be doing more with this?


    *

    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

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    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous

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    - Wham!

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  3. #3
    that's pretty good. very vivid and lived in.

    you must live a interesting life.

  4. #4
    I enjoyed reading this. I think this is how we think, how we peruse in our heads. We often go from one image to another, to try to explain our heartbreak, even to ourselves. We come up with phrases we like, phrases that "hit the nail on the head," and I can see that in your piece. Not everyone is reflective, so you can imagine it is a gift to be able to look at past experiences and try to give them a name. This piece seemed familiar to me; those of use who have lost at love have a connection. Good job, you.

  5. #5
    Seductive Artist of Words Articulate Lady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    This is great. You capture that sort of late night smoky bar experience pretty well; lonesome hearts sink sorrows in drinks. As a guitar player myself it's the sort of thing I'd love to inspire in someone (well, maybe not the drinking, but the sentiment; anyway I have yet to quite crack it for some reason!)

    I would say though that you might want to watch for repetition in both words and images; eg:

    the mysterious guitar player across the room starts playing “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

    See if you can come up with some way of avoiding that, to make it flowing and perfect. Watch also for the word "just", which you use 5 times in the 1st 2 paras. It's like sand, you know; if you're not on top of it it gets everywhere.

    Your motif of "heart strings" and "heart on the strings of his guitar" works really well - and of course this is a music-type environment so some careful repetition can work, as you demonstrate.

    I guess the first two paragraphs do somewhat repeat the same ideas. Can any of them be smooshed together? Then you could fill that space with some more imagery.

    Phrases like "That’s what it seems like anyway" is a bit filler-y; write it as you would like it to seem, rather than telling us "it seems way XYZ". Ditto "true to form". That seems unecessary if you can paint us a sufficient picture that tells us it is true to form anyway - which you do.

    But yeah - very much enjoyed. I guess it is more a personal piece rather than narrative or story - or will you be doing more with this?
    Thank you very much for your wonderful feedback bdcharles! I will take a long hard look at it again, and see if I can take some of your advice to heart. I have a tendency to repeat myself, even when speaking, and it seems it comes across that way in my work. I love the word "just." "Just take my hand, just hold me, just give me the damn remote!!!" Haha. That word does tend to pop up more than I would like.

    In looking back at it, I suppose I can put together the first two paragraphs, and come up with some more imagery. That would be tricky considering it is a very emotional piece. It is indeed a very personal piece, but I would love a story to develop with that guitar player, so we shall see.

    I am very glad you enjoyed it, it is always nice to meet a fellow artist. You make valid points in your critique and I will try to put it to good use.

    Thanks again!

    Quote Originally Posted by max acorn View Post
    that's pretty good. very vivid and lived in.

    you must live a interesting life.
    Thank you very much! I don't know how much of an interesting live I have, but there have been moments. That is true for everyone is it not?

    Quote Originally Posted by SueC View Post
    I enjoyed reading this. I think this is how we think, how we peruse in our heads. We often go from one image to another, to try to explain our heartbreak, even to ourselves. We come up with phrases we like, phrases that "hit the nail on the head," and I can see that in your piece. Not everyone is reflective, so you can imagine it is a gift to be able to look at past experiences and try to give them a name. This piece seemed familiar to me; those of use who have lost at love have a connection. Good job, you.
    Thank you so much SueC! I am glad you enjoyed it. Throughout my life, there seems to be a recurring theme with me, and with men. Those experiences brought this piece to life for me in many ways. Again I am very grateful you enjoyed it!
    Things dangerous to come to.
    To see behind walls,
    Draw closer,
    To find each other,
    And to feel.
    That is the purpose of life


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