The Present **mild language*

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Thread: The Present **mild language*

  1. #1

    The Present **mild language*

    Last edited by VonBradstein; November 13th, 2017 at 11:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Gosh, this is really good. I am such a fan of looking backward, especially when the moments at the time of an event may be unclear as to what is really going on. The day a parent leaves us is one we never forget, but you have brought a poignancy that is remarkable. Good job.

    So on to the critique. I think the imagery is a little over done at times. It isn't too far into this piece that we figure out that the old man is very ill and dying. I am assuming that the narrator is recalling this day from his childhood (“Nothing you’ll want to play with right now anyways.”) and while you use descriptions that an adult narrator might be familiar with, they sort of disconnect the reader from the child's experience. In fact, for just a moment I thought it was not a child at all, but a man watching his father die. ("
    His precious mop of graying yet usually healthy hair lay limp and greasy across his head like a poisoned weed. Most of his visible skin was flushed with strange, creamy patches. Like lemon-butter taffy or stale angel food cake left out too long. Then there was the smell. A reek of old sweat emanated from the parts of him that had been missed by his hospital sponge-baths. It hummed strong through the clinical air, manifesting some neglected barnyard stink. Dad I knew usually smelled of Polo cologne.") You don't really show how the child is feeling at the time. Was he crying? Did he realize that his father was dying? Was he afraid when his dad started coughing? Did he think he should get help? Was he confused as to why he was there? Since we don't really know his age, it's hard to tell if these emotions or fears were even present in the child, so this is just a guess, but I don't think he would be using words like "poisoned weed," or "barnyard stink." Just my thoughts.

    If you wanted to just record the event and have the adult narrator continue with the verbiage, then I would suggest you say in the beginning that this is what you remember the day your dad died, or something like that. Later in the story, dad sounds as if he has some dementia ("“I look all right?” Dirty fingers pressed his forehead. “They wanted to give me stuff that would take away my hair. They’ve been trying to pipe me full of that crap for months.”) so it may be that the story isn't about a child's experience after all and in that case, some of the imagery would work. Clear as mud, right?

    You did such a great job of setting the scene in the hospital and I really loved the final couple of paragraphs; the boy in the story suddenly comes to life and we see his emotion, his unwillingness to let the small vestige of his dad's smell encased in a baseball be lost. We know now that he loved his dad. Even realizing that the ball smell like him, smelled like summer days gone by, was a wonderful turn for your reader. ("It takes a lot to smell a sound, but it isn’t impossible."). It left me smiling, and yes, hopeful for that little boy. Thanks for the opportunity to read this. Enjoyed it.
    Last edited by SueC; October 15th, 2017 at 06:42 PM. Reason: editing

  3. #3
    Last edited by Pluralized; October 22nd, 2017 at 02:08 AM.
    It all starts with a name and flows from there. A ridiculous moniker springs to mind and it launches like a multi-lubed slippery-sloop down chutes made of buttery-floops. Down, down, down. We watch, spellbound. Rapturous. Glockenspiel. We do our due diligence with penitence and penicillin. Do what’s due, then dew drops on your moon-pops.

  4. #4
    It seems you're pretty practiced- the flow of the story was pretty good. All ideas were clear and articulate. Visually, I flowed along with the story with ease. My favorite line was...

    A hot-looking slime ran across his wrist where a pink, plastic bracelet hung.
    A really good description and immersive image.

    On the whole, it was a short, quiet tale of loss and it's resonance. I liked how the boy's character seems consistent- emotionally reserved or repressed, direct, and yet in the end it shows that the significance or impact of his father wasn't lost on him, he just has a different way of weathering it.

    Not bad. This might sound silly, but I admire the crisp writing. Neat and no excess. It doesn't linger too much, but it doesn't rush in either- like a person taking a thoughtful walk home.

  5. #5
    This piece made it through the October writer of the month vote!

    Not that it appears to be there anymore, this is a bit weird now really...

  6. #6
    Yeah, I would have liked to read your piece. Well, congrats anyway.

    "Now let's all agree, never to be creative again."


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