HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 48
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    114

    Trying to get at the theme in the beginning of my story.

    I check what people are writing on Facebook often. *I have a lot of friends on there. *I actually figured out why Facebook has such amazing popularity. *People are compelled to share the story of their life with other people. *They cant help it. *It is as big a compulsion as eating and breathing. *People need to tell others that things are going well in their lives. *The funny thing is though, they are not sure if what is happening in their life means that things are going well and they should be happy. *They need other people to confirm that the events in their life mean they should feel good. *My friend Allison posts, "My weddings next Friday, can't wait." A whole bunch of people post a thumbs up on her status. *They like it. *They post back. "Congratulations Allison." "Enjoy every minute of it." "You deserve all the best." Because she is getting married she thinks she is supposed to be happy. *And do you know why she is right? *Because everyone agrees with her. *She needs that agreement to confirm her belief that she should be happy, and of course, she probably is happy. * Conversely, John is stuck in a traffic jam. *He posts from his cell phone, "Backed up at the Lincoln Tunnel for over an hour now." His friends confirm his belief that he is dealing with a problem. "That sucks buddy." "I feel your pain." John has sufficient agreement that being stuck in the traffic jam is not a good thing, and of course it isn't.

    I do not have anything good to post. *I have a problem that I am considering much bigger than John's traffic situation. *If I posted my problem, everyone would post back, "I'm so sorry." We are all praying for you." "We love you." And I would feel loved, and I would feel justified that what is happening in my life is really a problem. *That justification would only add to my suffering.

    I was at the bank the other day to withdraw money. *I didn't have to actually walk into the bank because I have a debit card that allows me to use the cash machine outside. *The man in front of me is mad.
    "This is bull****." he says. *He is a middle aged white guy like me so he must assume we are the same. *He sees me behind him, and he shares his gripe.*
    "I have to choose English on this thing. This is America isn't it?" He waits for me to respond. *He needs my agreement about what he is labeling a problem but I don't give it. I just gave him a half smile then took my turn on the machine. What a dick I thought. *He's getting cash from a machine, probably driving home in a new car to find his house with air conditioning and cable television waiting for him, yet he found a problem in his life. *He has to click an extra button on the cash machine and he is inconvenienced for a second. Poor guy. It is difficult for me to hear people complaining about silly things. *I realize he is unconscious, walking around listening to his mind as it finds things to call problems.

    I have been living in the rehab hospital for over a month now. *I am not the patient. I am a father who sleeps on a chair next his sons bed every night. *There are other fathers like me here. *I have befriended a man named Tony. I don't think that is his real name because he is Korean and doesn't speak English very well. *I doubt Korean parents name their children Tony, but that is what everybody calls him here. Tony can't speak to his 17 year old son Alex. *Actually, Tony can speak to him, but Alex can't answer him back. *Alex was in a jet ski accident where he was hit in the head and spent 10 minutes under water before he was noticed by his friends. *Alex can't move any part of his body. *He cannot speak, and he is fed through a tube. *All Alex can do is blink. *Tony has spent weeks trying to interpret meaning from Alex's blinks but has been unsuccessful. *Tony is distraught and he walks outside to the front of the hospital to smoke a cigarette every twenty minutes, and then he walks back in again coughing his head off. *I don't know how to help Tony. I want to. *I feel fortunate to be able to speak to my son. *My son, Jesse cannot walk or sit up. *He is fed through a tube like Alex, and as hard as he tries to swallow on his own, he cannot do it. *Not being able to swallow causes him to drool, and I spend a lot of my time suctioning saliva out of his mouth so he doesn't drool all over himself. *Jesse has a trach in his throat and a tube delivers oxygen to his lungs. *His mind has not been affected from his ordeal, and he is aware of what has happened to him. *I can speak to my son though, and for that I am grateful. I am holding on to the possibility that Jesse will heal. *My entire life seems to be hanging on that tiny thread of possibility.

    I won't presume that I am qualified to tell people how they should look at their life. *I have looked at many beginnings to autobiographies where authors list their qualifications for writing about a certain subject. *I have only one qualification. *I have suffered. *Not as much as some, but enough to know what intense suffering is. *I have had the luxury of intense suffering to bring me into a state of conscious awareness.



  2. #2
    Amy Lou
    Guest
    Hi Greg, I promise I will take a look at this when I've not had so much wine and Friday night passes! LOL This weekend perhaps? Looking forward to reading this and I've written a little little ditty about Facebook you might find interesting, I'll send along later, until then, my status update is as follows: Watching Dexter!
    Goodnight!
    Amylou

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    1,142
    Greg, I tried reading this but I kept getting knocked off message by the asterisks. Is this a formatting problem or are they intentional? Help, please.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    114
    The asterisks are not intentional. My Ipad put them in.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    3,866
    This may not belong here, but I have to insert it while I'm thinking of it. Earlier, someone in a previous thread suggested to check out memoirs that are already on the shelves to get an idea of how they are written. I just picked up the memoir of the woman who grew up in the FLDS church, the one who eventually escaped (or whatever--I didn't get that far yet) and went on to write her story. IT IS BORING AS HELL. Talk about all tell and no show. This is definitely not a memoir anyone should look to for a good example.

    Sorry about the asterisks, Greg. You just talked me out of an iPad. FWIW, your excerpt is much more compelling than the book mentioned above.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    114
    Thank you Jena,

    Actually the Ipad has never done this before. I have to say that it really is a great tool for writers. I wrote over 300 pages on my Ipad while sitting in doctors waiting rooms. Everytime a thought comes to me, it is so easy to put it down on the Ipad.

  7. #7
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    I think the premise of your first paragraph is ridiculous. You really think people don't know whether to be happy, sad, or irritated about a situation until someone else confirms their feelings? I think you could safely delete the first paragraph. It in no way advances your story or provides needed (or even truthful) information. Delete.

    You feel loved when people write responses on your facebook. That just confirms in my mind that people no longer know how to relate to each other. They only know how to stay in contact.

    You know when I feel loved? When someone hugs me. When someone brings me a dinner to ease my stress. When someone goes out with me to try to buck me up. When someone buys me a book and hands it to me personally and tells me how it helped them in a similar situation. When someone is willing to just sit with me and say nothing. Love is blood and bones, not keyboards and monitors. Delete that paragraph as well. Again, nothing there that advances your story, and zero info I need to know.

    Delete paragraph #3 for the same reason.

    Ah...paragraph #4 - at last, the story! There's your first paragraph, but it's all cluttered up with superfluous crap. Who the heck cares if the guy can't speak English well, or that Koreans don't name their sons "Tony"? You use inappropriate prepositions, shift tenses, and use weak or just plain wrong words. Read it corrected and without all the crap, and tell me if you think it's better:

    I have lived at the rehab hospital for over a month now. I am not a patient, but a father who sleeps in a chair next to his son’s bed every night.

    There are other fathers like me here. I befriended a Korean father named Tony. His son Alex was in a jet-ski accident. He hit his head and spent 10 minutes under water before his friends noticed him. Alex can't move any part of his body. He cannot speak, and he is fed through a tube. He can only blink. Tony spent weeks trying to interpret meaning from those blinks - unsuccessfully.

    Tony is distraught. He walks outside to the front of the hospital to smoke a cigarette every twenty minutes, and returns coughing his head off. I don't know how to help him. I want to.

    I feel fortunate to be able to speak with my son. Jesse cannot walk or sit up. He is fed through a tube like Alex, and as hard as he tries, he cannot swallow. He simply drools, and I spend a lot of time suctioning saliva out of his mouth. He has a trach in his throat and a tube delivers oxygen to his lungs. His brain is undamaged from his ordeal, and he knows what happened to him. I cling to the hope that Jesse will heal. My life hangs by that tiny thread of hope.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Rhinebeck, NY
    Posts
    4,623
    Dear John-O! Well, I guess if there's no new material to critique, one has to go looking for threads from months ago -- and address folks who no longer post here (AmyLou being another one).

    Or...maybe he's just doing the "critiquing" for our sake.

    Dear, dear John-O!

    *_*

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    3,866
    It'd be nice to have threads closed after so many months of inactivity. I think I mentioned that before, but who listens to me?

  10. #10
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    Well, Kitty...I expect that more people than just you or Greg read this. The thread may be old, but the writing problems it presents are still applicable today to anyone who writes. Nobody gave Greg a critique, so I supplied one. Maybe you'd like to give one too, instead of belittling me. That's what this forum is for, advice and critique. Greg may never see the critique, but others will, and they'll benefit from it.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts