Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Beginning 716

I am going. I have borne this bitterness too many years. The children are with their grandmother. I will come back to them in six days as though I had only gone to the moondark house. I cannot leave them to her. Look what she did to me.

There is starlight enough to see by. The long grass reflects it, the trees by the river swallow it. I walk in the light. No one can stop me.

No one will see me here, in the dark of the moon, in the dark under the trees.

All my life I have gone stumbling in the dark, surrounded by their eyes. Even my daughter, my star, looks on me with my sister’s cold eyes, with Uyali’s eyes.

Not even the stars will see me going from the moondark house. Not even Uyali will see me. The sound of the river will cover the sound of my steps, the shape of the land will guide my feet, and I will go free.

Sunrise. Birds crying. My legs are tired. My feet hurt. I keep going.


"How much did that one cost you?"

Mark stopped reading aloud and looked up from his Sony Reader, "Forty-nine cents."

"Huh. Well, for once, I'd say you got your money's worth."



Opening: Joanna Hoyt.....Continuation: Anon.

20 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:


ERROR

ERROR

CONTRACTION FUNCTION IS OFFLINE

--anon.



My brother and I now wait alone. Grandmother, Mother, Great Aunt Uyali, they have all separately gone to the moondark house. Though they cannot bear to be together, neither can they resist the call of the house. Especially on Half-Price Margarita Night. But Jimmy found Grandma's wallet, and we just ordered Dominos. So sneak over as soon as you can. Party time!

--John


"Lady, I'm sorry it's going to take six days to fix your car, but as you can see - " the mechanic gestured to his bustling garage, where fifteen cars sat and his mechanics busily worked in the cold. "There are some people ahead of you."

--Stacy


"Oh, ferchrissakes, 'Chelle. It's Mandrake, I told you, not Moondark. Suzie Mandrake's house. And frankly, on reflection, I think her baby shower might go a little better without you there."

--anon.

Joanna said...

This would look a little less confusing (maybe not much) with the italics--everything except the first para and the last line was meant to be italicized, to show two different people speaking.

Nevertheless, I gather this one didn't go over well. Oh well.

Evil Editor said...

I find it confusing. I will come back to them in six days as though I had only gone to the moondark house. is followed by Not even the stars will see me going from the moondark house.

This leads me to wonder whether or not she's going to the moondark house.


...looks on me with my sister’s cold eyes, with Uyali’s eyes. leads me to wonder if Uyali is her sister or if they're two different entities.

No one can stop me. Is someone trying to stop the narrator? If so, why can't they do so?

I don't get I will go free, as she's planning to return to her children, and thus not escaping forever.

I like: I cannot leave them to her. Look what she did to me. And I realize all of this may be cleared up soon, but I'd prefer if after the first paragraph or two you get on with making it clear what's going on.

Evil Editor said...

Italics generally show what someone is thinking. If the two speakers talking to each other, why not use quotation marks? If they aren't, you could skip a line before the italics.

Is Uyali a god? It would be easier to suggest a way to clear it up if I had a better idea what's happening.

Hanne said...

Ok, the continuation is too mean. This is atmospheric and sets a scene. The only confusions I have are with logic - the narrator is going free but coming back in six days. She (?) entrusts the children to a person she doesn't trust. There is enough (star)light to see by but no one can see her, not even the stars. If it wasn't for these repeating contradictions to puzzle me and break the flow, I would like its lyricism, Joanna.

Evil Editor said...

That WAS a mean continuation, though since I wasn't bothered by the lack of contractions, and I didn't see enough of a hint that any of the other continuations made sense with the tone and content of the opening, and I assumed the author was tired of waiting for feedback, I went with it. I'm prepared to replace the continuation with a better one if anyone has one.

_*Rachel*_ said...

There are a lot of sentences that start with "I." That repetition is done once too many times, as is the subject matter.

That said, some of this repetition is good. The opening has a surreal feel to it, dazed and a little crazy. That's good; I think that's what you want. Just don't overdo it.

I'm not sure if you really need the italics.

You say in para 2: I walk in the light. In para 3, you say: in the dark under the trees. Which is it? Both are literal images. If one of them--or both of them--is a metaphor, make it a little clearer. Or, "I pass into the dark under the trees."

I assumed a she. The way it's written, and how the people she mentions are all women.

Whether or not I'd keep reading would depend on where I found this. Anywhere else, I'd have some sort of blurb, title, whatever, to tell me whether it's SFF or what. (It'd better not be nonfiction.)

Dave F. said...

If the 2nd through 6th paragraphs stood alone then I could make sense of it. However, the first paragraph clashes with everything else.

I would cut the first paragraph. Then I would clear up the confusion between the sister and Uyali with minimal changes. Use it later in the chapter.

stacy said...

Hah! Please. My continuation made total sense. ; )

Joanna said...

Oh bother...my mistake; the first two paragraphs should be de-italicized, whch would clear up Rachels' point about the light and dark. The italicized and non-italicized parts are two separate interior monologues; the speakers don't directly address each other until the end of the piece. And yes, one is a bit unhinged. This is a fantasy flash-fic.

Uyali is the second speaker's sister, and is also the first speaker. I write it so the first part, at least, is clearer.

Evil Editor said...

You might try identifying each person. One way would be in dramatic play format:

UYALI (centered)

I am going. I have borne . . .


Or just a colon:

Uyali: I am going. I have borne . . .

Use italics for both characters when it's inner thoughts.

I don't think readers are going to get it if you just switch the font style back and forth to change characters.

Joanna said...

Thanks all. I see I was being much too confusing. Is this any better? Dave, does the first para still seem to contradict the rest?

Uyali:
I am going to the Dark Lake. I have borne this bitterness too many years. The children are with their grandmother. I will come back to them in six days as though I had only gone to the moondark house. I cannot leave them to her. Look what she did to me.

There is starlight enough to see by. The long grass reflects it, the trees by the river swallow it. I walk in the light. No one can stop me.

Emmeni:
No one will see me here, in the dark of the moon, in the dark under the trees.

All my life I have gone stumbling in the dark, surrounded by their eyes, blaming, pitying, wondering. Even my daughter, my star, looks on me with my sister Uyali’s cold eyes.

Not even the stars will see me going. Not even Uyali will see me. The sound of the river will cover the sound of my steps, the shape of the land will guide my feet, and I will go free.

Uyali:
Sunrise. Birds crying. My legs are tired. My feet hurt. I keep going.

Anonymous said...

Amazingly, it turns out that what seems obvious to oneself is often indiscernible to others. Identifying who is doing what may be intrusive and unnecessary for your enjoyment of the story, but these are your fantasies. When you're writing for others to read the work, more info will be needed. The standard quotes and 'said' tag are beautiful tools: so succinct, so widely understood: no additional notes/explanation needed.

Anonymous said...

I get what you're trying to do with this but I can't imagine reading a whole book in this pseudo- omniscient first person thinking. (Anybody have a better idea on what to call it?) Yeah I get why you're not using quotes because the narrative isn't spoke,it's thought, but combined with the over writing, and vague illusions it's crossing the line into weird. I don't mean to be harsh, but reading this (both versions) made me feel uncomfortable. I get you have a vision but I can't join you there. I'm sorry.

Evil Editor said...

It's not a book, it's flash fiction (see author's comment, 4:19), probably 500 - 1000 words.

chelsea said...

I think the writing is quite beautiful. And with the explanation about the two different speakers, I enjoyed this very much.

Dave F. said...

These two sentences bother me.
I am going to the Dark Lake. I have borne this bitterness too many years.

I think it could be:
I am going to the Dark Lake to relieve the bitterness that I have borne these many years.

And incorporate this sentence into the next sentence:
The children are with their grandmother.

Like this:
I will come back to get the children in six days as though I had only gone to the moondark house. I cannot leave them with their grandmother any longer. Look what she did to me.

It starts to pull together and it also gets tighter.

_*Rachel*_ said...

Joanna--I like that labeling; I understood it a whole lot better. Is it just me, or is E kind of sinister? I have a feeling they're going to meet and something weird/bad is going to happen.

I don't agree with Dave's last suggestion; it implies, "Look what [the grandmother] did to me," instead of, "Look what [Uyali] did to me."

His first suggestion, though, might help with what I noticed about all the sentences starting with "I." I'd just use a semicolon, though.

Bernita said...

Confusing, but I like it.

Anonymous said...

If this opening were a boxer, I would say it needs to jab more. I feel like you're trying to knock me out with each line.