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  1. #1
    david lidz

    okay, I'll try -

    I submit for your ruthless review -

    a chapter of my own. It is not a first draft; neither is it a final...




    she wakes, and there is rain, dreary but soothing, its pitter upon the tin roof, music. She hears bagpipes. She forgets her fears, dismisses, for now, the summoning day, and to the music of the rain, under a pyre of flannel, then wool, then down, then wool again, she returns to the heroic warmth of her dreams.

    She finds Anne Boleyn, laughing in the Tower. She runs to her and bows.

    Please, my Queen, allow me, she prays. Fear not, weep no more, for I shall take your place. As I kneel before you now, so shall I kneel before the swordsman. Please my Queen, don't let's grieve what was miscarried.

    Miscarried? No. Taken from us. Taken from us. By miserable men. By a Merciful God. Taken from us. So shall I commend myself to Thee...

    Now she is alone in the Tower. In her gown, she peers out the arched window, and there, below, Anne mounts a palomino. The swordsman watches the Queen ride off.

    Another miscarriage. The swordsman looks up at the Tower.

    No! she cries, falling from his gaze. This is not right. This is not what I wanted. Please my Queen, come back. I did not mean to do this alone!

    I did not mean to do this alone.

    The rain stops.

    She tosses the blankets aside, and welcomes the frigid scalding of the morning air. And so we are given another day.

    There is a routine now. The bitter sting of loneliness long ago turned into an acquired taste, a habit, like the coffee she will brew, every morning, after grinding up herself the eco-friendly, fairly-traded guatemalan beans. Like the coffee, the anxious blend of pain, shame, regret and fear tastes best in the morning, when it is fresh brewed, that first jolt...

    Coffee later in the day is just something to do - just a way to stay awake, a way to keep things edgy and over-done.

    If you can't over-do it, Billy said to the little blonde last night, in the lobby of the theater -

    "If you can't over-do it, then it's not worth doing."

    She laughs when she remembers how he used to say this to her. She wonders if his beating her had just been another way of over-doing it. Maybe the cheating, too, the abandonment...

    She wonders if he Billy wasn't right, after all. After all, she still desires him most, misses him most. If that's not over-doing it...



    The only thing worth doing is nothing. This is where she has come to, she's happy to be here. This is who she is now.

    She sips the coffee, leaning against the counter in the kitchen of the abandoned home she has commandeered. Over the mug tilted against her nose, she peers at the orange chord snaking its way out the window. She glances at the dirt that still lingers under her fingernails, from when she buried the wire on her way to the outlet in the neighbors' garage, in the middle of the night. She smiles.

    Well, that was worth doing, she thinks, as she savors the coffee.

    "Doing what one needs to do to survive is worth doing," she says aloud, and with conviction, and then uncertainty wipes the smirk from her face.

    She waits and watches out the window, sipping, sipping, sipping. Neighbor One, as she calls him, emerges from his front door just as a Jeep Grand Cherokee crawls up the pocked and meandering driveway. Neighbor One shouts something unloving into his house, slams the front door, and trots to the approaching SUV. Five minutes after he is gone, Neighbor Two, aka Mrs. Neighbor One, emerges, and walks out to the garage. A young couple, on the brink of not-so-young-anymore, they moved to the country, she guesses, to live some yuppified version of a spiritual life. Honor the Mother and all that @!#$. And every morning they hop into cars and back down the Interstate and into the metropolis they go, a daily reconsideration, a daily reprieve from the dangerous country quiet.

    A daily retreat.

    This morning a little later than usual. She wonders why.

    Thirty-something Mrs. Neighbor One walks the hundred and fifty feet or so from the old country house to the old detached country garage.

    A moment later, the new green Prius emerges, and the tiny car struggles with the craters in the driveway before it disappears from view of her window.

    Hmmmm, she thinks, they're both late today. She grabs a bucket, and two one gallon milk jugs, slips into her flip-flops and heads out. The saturated ground oozes up over the soles of her sandals as she trods. The mud is cold between her toes, but the air is warmer than she expected. It surprises her. It's warmer out here than in my home, she thinks. Time to open some windows, maybe spring is here. From the spigot of Mr. and Mrs. Neighbor One, she receives drinking and bathing water, and then she slogs back -

    Home? she thinks. Maybe. Two months now, she's camped out here, undiscovered. Perhaps she will go introduce herself later to the Neighbors, tell them she is some kind of caretaker. A guise she is hatching, thinking this might prevent them from calling the cops. A student, maybe, studying - what? Trees? Rocks? Birds? Old Homes?

    Home? No that's ridiculous. One day she will be tossed from here, just like everywhere else.

    Home? If not here, where? she thinks. I do really like it here.

    She wonders how much it would cost to buy this house, this land. And then she chases these yearnings from her mind. It would cost money, and money means struggle, and thus she renews her vows of poverty and impermanence.

    But, now while she washes, her stomach growls. She prays to the God of Anne Boleyn: Let it be Thy will that I may stay here until Harvest. God that would be so nice. Here I will be Queen. I will plant a garden.

    Today I will find seeds.

    She will not demean herself with shoplifting. There are two men, however. One, her most recent ex -, Jeremy, she still has keys to his place. There will be food there, perhaps some money laying around, or something she can sell.

    And there is Levi. Who would do anything for her.

    If only I could love him, she thinks, the way he loves.

    Of the two, she favors looking to Levi. Though it is likely that he will be as destitute as she, still, he may have a few crumbs more. And if he doesn't, all she has to do is ask, and he will find a way to score. Perhaps she will let him make love to her. Perhaps while she is hanging out with him, the feeling of emptiness will subside.

    She thinks for a moment of bringing Levi back here, home. Then the brash and abusive Billy crashes in upon her fantasy, punches holes in her walls, wrecks her home.


    She washes her face, her hair, her armpits, the mud off of her feet. The cold water is exhilarating, but it hurts too. She wonders if Levi has paid his electric bill, and his water bill. The idea of a hot shower rolls around in her mind. She could certainly get one at Jeremy's, but it could get ugly if he came home...

    She tugs her jeans up onto her hips, and when her toes re-emerge, she smiles, because her feet are pretty. She has always loved her own feet. Life is worth living if one has pretty feet.

    She leaves the house and hikes a mile on a wooded path. She reaches a road, and walks west, occasionally throwing her thumb out...

  2. #2
    Keith .

    Re: okay, I'll try -

    13 commas on the 1st 2 lines. Stopped there.

  3. #3
    Smiling Curmudgeon

    Re: okay, I'll try -

    I second Keith's observation.

    I scrolled down to the end. In the last three short paragraphs you've used "she" or "her" 16 times.

    Don't be discouraged. There are easy ways to improve.

    This is quick and unpolished. For instance---

    She washes herself. (Does your reader care that the washing included face, hair and armpits?)

    ...has Levi paid his electric and water bill?

    A hot shower sounds wonderful. (Is that a little more active than "rolls around in her mind?")

    Again, that's intended only to give you ideas how to do it your way.

    Feel free to ignore.


  4. #4
    Dave S

    Re: okay, I'll try -

    It seems like you are trying very hard to find a voice here, and in doing so, youíre writing in a weird style. The overuse of commas is not clever, itís just plain bad writing. It sounds like this story might be set in the 16th century or thereabouts, and then a Jeep Grand Cherokee and an SUV show up. Iím curious, what sort of stuff do you read that would influence you to write this way?

  5. #5
    Sail Away

    Re: okay, I'll try -


    Your writing has a wonderful lyrical quality with a beautiful rich cadence. You captured the essence of dreaming, which is a very difficult thing to do.

    I believe you are on your way to developing a very unique and fresh voice. Not quite stream of consciousness. Hints of a prose poem, maybe. Different. Refreshing. Perhaps a tad experimental.

    I liked it. This is original. And, unlike the others, I feel this shows enormous potential.

    Thanks for posting.


  6. #6
    Linden Holidae

    I can't resist, Sail....

    Ok, David. First things first, learn about writing, and watch what kind of advice you take. Listen to those who are published, and to those who work the field or at least know something about it. Sail always seems to be positive, but here, it's not a matter of positive or negative, it's a matter of what flows to the reader, and what is rejected. Some things just won't sell, and most readers will reject it.

    I'm not published, but i'm learning everything i can, i know that the really good publishers won't look
    twice at something that is very unprofessional, you are addicted to commas and describing something to death. Listen to Smiling Cur, and CeCe, and there are others that have sound advice backed by experiance. Writing is fine and dandy, but if you want to make a living at it, there's some major guidelines you need to adhere to, or you'll be cast aside along with the others in the slush pile.

    Allow the reader to collaborate with you, they usually know what you're saying without all the description, just find the few, right words to clarify. The good things are great, except that they smash against the bad things, like sand in the readers throat, it's hard to swallow.

    I wish they would put a first things first on this site, something for new writers to look at and keep in mind.

  7. #7
    The Midnight Writer

    Re: I can't resist, Sail....

    not that original, sail, seen it done before and done extremely well.

    david, what the others said.

  8. #8
    Derek Wayne

    Re: I can't resist, Sail....

    You need to infuse your writing with a little thing called clarity. This is far too jumbled. Dreamy and unorthodox can be powerful, but this isn't. It needs a lot of work before anybody would care to read beyond the first paragraph. This doesn't mean there isn't potential.


  9. #9
    Gregory White

    Re: I can't resist, Sail....

    I liked it but don't know if I could read an entire book written in this style. However, if simple declarative sentences were thrown into the mix, I might.

    My favorite part (mine are always the ones no one else favors) was:

    "under a pyre of flannel, then wool, then down, then wool again,"


  10. #10
    Elena Solodow

    Re: I can't resist, Sail....

    I see massive potential as well, but you definitely need to rein in the prose.

    The first sentence absolutely needs to go. It was too much to absorb; too long.

    I would cut any dreaming out of this. The mentions of Anne Boleyn were too vague to be interesting, and I felt cheated thinking this was starting in the 1500s and then reading about an SUV.

    From my own experience, it's better to have focus in the beginning. Look at who your character is and what she's doing. Focus on that. What is she doing, and what does she need to do?

    You have a semblence of that here, but you wander too often. I would take a look at all of your long sentences and see what you're trying to say. Evaluate whether you need to say it. How many times do you need to repeat that Billy was abusive to her? Just for practice, re-write all of your sentences with an eye for making them as short as they can be. This should give you a better idea of what you really want to say.

    Hope this helps. You have a great start.


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