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  1. #1
    Tracy Carpenter
    Guest

    Chapter One Rewrite

    I think I finally found a good balance. Accept, I really want to place this phrase somewhere, but not sure it fits well where I had it before (after the first sentence of the first paragraph.) Any suggestions?

    "Seventeen years of Ohio summers couldn't possibly unleash the chains only the Midwest can impose on a suffocated world traveler at heart."



    Chapter One

    Like a child squeezing her mother’s hand on the first day of kindergarten, pink and maroon cherry blossoms, bullied by mid September, clung desperately to their branches.

    “How tall are those trees?” I asked my grandmother one day, pointing up high, straining on the very tips of my toes. This was when she didn’t walk with a cane; she only limped. “If I got to the top, could I reach a piece of the sun?”

    “Oh, Jay Bird,” she sighed achingly. “Even if you lived to be as old as me, it still wouldn’t have grown tall enough to boost you.” She must have felt the air change as the naïve child before her began to lose the very part of herself that, if bottled up and sold, my grandmother would buy in a nostalgic and longing heartbeat.

    “But,” she then added quickly, “if you want the sun badly enough, you’ll get it.”

    “How?”

    “Well… God will do one of two things. He will either stretch your arms the length of the sky, or stoop down to earth and give you a piece of the sun himself.”

    Just like innocent hope is bound to fade away somehow, until now, my dreams no longer depended on these trees. They were merely background that illustrated barefoot adventures, undoubtedly leaving us dirty and in trouble. Until now, these trees simply held our swings and captured our runaway kites. They were just trees, nothing more, acting as our hide and seek posts and lining the edges of our photographs that, if were not there, would certainly not be missed.

    Until now, they were just a piece of the air we breathed.
    But now, catching myself slipping back into a time when her hair was brown and her mind present, they were so much more than trees. Amongst jackets once folded in the backs of closets and new colors, colors not as fresh, colors dulled by lingering time, those scattered pink and maroon flower petals were our goodbyes to, not just summer, but to something much bigger.

    And if I close my eyes, I can freeze them still in the air. And if I close my eyes, the sun is bright and the grass is green. And if I close my eyes, September doesn’t come.

    I close my eyes a lot.



  2. #2
    Mark Phillips
    Guest

    Re: Chapter One Rewrite

    Yeah, Tracy that pharase was after the first sentence of the first paragraph. I think, though, that the sentence might work better if placed at the beginning of the paragraph right after the dialogue. I think it would serve as a nice opening to your narrative about the trees and change.

    Tracy, this piece of writing is very impressive to me. I agree with Lizzy in the other board, your work is indeed poetic and I think it brings a quality to your work that is hard to find. Through your edits I believe you have sharpened this piece and made it very engaging, readable, and profound. You have achieved the clarity you need without harming the poetry that you weave into the piece.

    Keep up with your writing and good luck.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: Chapter One Rewrite

    OK, Now, finally, I know what you're talking about with that sentence. However, I think that "release" is the word you're looking for.

  4. #4
    Dave O
    Guest

    Re: Chapter One Rewrite

    The first sentence should be...

    "Like children squeezing their mother's hand..."

    After all, you're talking about more than one cherry blossom.


    "Just like innocent hope is bound to fade away somehow, until now, my dreams no longer depended on these trees."

    I'm not sure I understand this analogy. I get her dreams no longer depended on the tree, but it seems strange to contrast this with innocent hope fading away. Rather, it seems to be hope is being renewed... Perhaps I'm approaching this the wrong way.

    "But now, catching myself slipping back into a time when her hair was brown and her mind present,"

    Talking about grams right? I'd make that a little clearer. Also, we know grams is old but nothing you've written suggests that her mind is not "present."

    On the whole though, I really liked this piece, especially the ending. I have to agree with Mark, it's very poetic which may not be some peoples' cup of tea, but I enjoyed it and would definitely be interested in reading more.

  5. #5
    cara k
    Guest

    Re: Chapter One Rewrite

    Tracy--

    This is beautifully written. But there are some areas that were unclear to me.
    I like the sentence about Ohio, but I agree with Joe that it should be 'release' instead of 'unleash.' I don't think the sentence really fits with this excerpt, though.

    "Just like innocent hope is bound to fade away somehow, until now, my dreams no longer depended on these trees." I agree with Dave that this comparison is unclear. I think the combination of "until now" and "no longer" make it especially questionable.

    "...of our photographs that, if were not there, would certainly not be missed." This implies that the photographs would not be missed. "if were not there," reads a bit awkward to me. Your writing is so fluid that it deserves a better phrase, imo. I think that sentence would be fine if you ended it with "photographs." Sometimes less is more.

    "Amongst jackets once folded in the backs of closets and new colors, colors not as fresh, colors dulled by lingering time, those scattered pink and maroon flower petals were our goodbyes to, not just summer, but to something much bigger." I was puzzled when I read this sentence for a couple of reasons. If the colors were new, how could they be dulled by time? Also, the flower petals were amongst the jackets in the closet? Now, I know this isn't the case, I know what you meant, but when I read it, I pictured jackets in the back of the closet. Literally, along with the flowers. If you're talking about the memories of those jackets and blossoms, maybe you could insert the word 'memories' somewhere.

    In this sentence, "And if I close my eyes, I can freeze them still in the air," do you really mean that you are picturing the flowers still--as in not moving--in the air? If so, leave it be. If you meant that you are still able to picture them in the air, you need to move the word 'still.' I just wasn't sure. I wonder, though, why they are frozen in memory, and not blowing in the wind? Interesting.

    As for the rest of that paragraph, please don't ever change it.
    Reading your excerpt was a pleasure; good luck.

    --Cara K

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