So, your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to look over the eight pieces I have done, and help me decide which to submit. So, I ask everyone who reads this to comment on them. It can as much or as little as you want - you could tell me your favourite one, or suggest a couple to submit. You can tell me if you really hate one (or more) of them. Or if you really want, you could do an analysis and edit of all eight. That's up to you.
All I am asking for is some feedback. Though I am fairly certain of two I'll submit, I don't know about the others, so your comments would be greatly appreciated.
One: We were asked to write something based on something we had seen while sitting in a public place. Mine was from the steps of Flinders Street Station.
People move though the world so lightly because they do not truly live in it – they live inside themselves. Each person is a world and a mirror, reflecting the worlds within and the world without. The world we see is as much ourselves as it is others: reflecting what we see, and are seen as.
And I see…
I see a flock of whispering girls in school uniforms of purple and grey and gold, drifting carelessly past in short skirts and bare legs in the middle of winter.
I see a grand old man in a neat black business jacket, pressed blue-striped shirt and a gold silk tie – and underneath, faded denim jeans and white sneakers.
I see a girl riding past on an battered bike, all in stripes – a striped shirt, wildfire streaked hair, and yellow tiger-striped socks.
I see a little girl, wrapped in pink and blue and green and gold, swept along by her imposing mother, head to toe in monochromatic black.
I see a tall boy, striding calmly through the crowds of the city centre, incongruously carrying a neon orange surfboard.
I see a grey-haired old man, with a bright orange leopard-skin coat over a set of black leather pants, hanging slightly loose.
I see, amidst the sea of black and blue and grey, a fair woman sweeping through the crowd, wrapped up in a fire red coat.
I see a hundred mirrors, a hundred worlds unto themselves. I see the world within, and the world without. I see reflections, and in the world that is worn around me, I see myself reflected.
I might edit this piece, removing the first paragraph, but adding some of it's prose to the final one. Or, I might not. Suggestions?
Two: We were asked to write a self-contained story - that is, one with a beginning, middle and definite conclusion, all within 250 words.
When Charmaine woke up, the house was silent.
The wind blew ghostly whispers past the windows, sounding as cold and empty as the sky outside, but the house itself was still.
As Charmaine padded softly over the plush carpet, she listened for the sound of someone, anyone, but there was nothing. Even the background noise of the television was absent, leaving Charmaine alone, in a gloomy living room at the centre of a silent house.
Where was everyone? What was going on? Charmaine curled herself up in the corner of a battered couch, eyes darting around, from windows to doors. A shadow passed over the far window, and she cringed back into the couch – but no, it was just a wind-whipped tree.
There was a grumbling, a roaring sound approaching out the front, and Charmaine’s eyes snapped to the door, as the roar got louder, closer, so very, very close. What was that? Was someone coming? Had they come to get her? But it began to fade, as a flash of red sped past the window, down the road.
A loud bang echoed throughout the house, and Charmaine hid her face in the couch cushions. There was something here, in the house! They had come for her! She shook as she heard heavy footsteps, echoing down the front hallway. And she was all alone, scared and unprotected, undefended from whatever it was come to get her, come to take her away…
“What are you doing out here, Char?” Asked Charmaine’s mother, as she kicked off her shoes and dropped her rattling shopping bags on the floor. “You were still in bed when I left.”
Three: We were asked to write something with a physical object as the central motif or idea.
The ring was every woman’s dream – a large glittering diamond, set brilliantly in a smooth golden band and shining from the little blue box he held in his hands. She looked down at his face as he knelt there on the floor, and with a tearful smile, she slipped the ring onto her finger.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As she drifted from person to person, her arm linked with his, through the crowds of the party, she displayed the ring prominently for all to see. As other people gazed at it in wonder and congratulated them, she smiled almost as dazzlingly as the ring.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Amidst all the other sparkling jewels and clouds of white she was swamped in, the ring seemed almost invisible. Yet when another, simpler golden ring was placed with shaking hands on her finger alongside the first, for a few brief seconds it seemed to outshine everything else.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
She stared anxiously out the window, looking desperately at the empty driveway. She twisted the ring around on her finger, spinning it round and round with trembling hands as she sat up late, yet again, gazing out into the frozen night.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As she swept around the house in a fury, snatching objects from shelves and tossing them into bags, he trailed weakly behind her, pleading. And in the angry silence, after all his empty words, she stood in the doorway, tore the ring from her finger, and threw it into his face.
Four: We were asked to write a poem (around 25 lines), designed as a series of visual images in some form of narrative sequence.
The sky is empty,
a sheet of sooty grey,
lit only by the yellow moon
and dancing firefly satellites.
The stars have been stolen away
and strewn roughly over the earth,
a sea of glittering lights
winking up at the blank sky.
Amidst the shining night
dark specks dance like the fireflies above,
flitting from light to light,
dark to dark
busy swarms of shadow.
And each little shadow-ant
spins, smiling, through the crowds,
with faces as bright as the stars
and minds as grey as the sky.
Five: We were asked to write a piece, based on the real life events described in a given newspaper article. It makes more sense if you have read the article, but the rough outline is that two peoples' corpses were found in their own house, having been dead for over 3 years, and no-one had realised this. The specifics to write about the inside of the house, either before or when the bodies were discovered.
The house is empty, now.
A shell of life, hard edges protecting something which has long since faded. As people died, the house itself died with them – it is purposeless, now. Meaningless.
What use is a shell if nothing lies within?
The world outside keeps moving, but there is no time here. All there is, is a moment frozen forever. A static house, preserved and protected by dust, preserving and protecting with dust.
In the end, all things must come to dust.
Outside, people see what remains, edges and shapes and colour, but never notice that there is nothing left within. And everything that lies within is nothing.
It has been empty for a long time.
The people are empty, now.
What remains is no longer life, or even death. Death, too, has faded from this place, leaving nothing but dissolving memories and hollow shells.
And as time passes even the shells themselves begin to disintegrate, unable to remain solid without something to hold them together. Things fall apart, and nothing holds.
The people are returning to dust.
There was life once. The traces of it surround what remains, cool air that still blows and bright light that still shines. Not alive, but a ghost of what once was.
But a shell needs no light, no air, no memory, and these two will slowly leave this place. And nothing will remain but the shell itself.
The house is empty, now.
Six: we were asked to write a piece based about an unknown person seen in a photograph, but not describing the person physically. My photograph was of a pretty, but slightly sad looking girl, curled up on a chair.
she is told what to do,
where to go,
who to be,
and she calmly listens and obeys.
she is surrounded by people,
who know her face, but not her name,
what she’s done, not who she is,
and she lets them sweep her away.
the world looks in on her,
measuring her every move,
and patiently she sits and smiles.
her life gets taken further from her own hands,
and there is nothing she can do but wait.
And so she sits, waiting.
Waiting for the world to slow down and let her in.
Waiting to be seen, not just looked at.
Waiting to find out who she is.
Waiting to be good enough.
And still she waits.
Seven: We were asked to write a piece that takes a part of the human body as it's subject or central metaphor.
I am the hand of God, and through me His works will be done.
The city is busy today, and I am repeatedly bumped as I stride through the hectic crowds. I want to shout out my purpose to the fools, and the joy I have in it, but this is neither the time nor the place. Instead, as I head down to the station platform, I place my hands together, and pray for their souls.
A train pulls up, and it is even more crowded than the streets outside, filled with brightly dressed tourists and serious men in suits, on their way to work. I hand money over to a bored looking conductor, and move into a carriage with my ticket.
There are no seats left here, so I stand there between two young school girls holding hands, and a tall man with a mobile phone to his ear. The train pulls away from the station, and with one hand I pull the sleeve back from my watch. It is time.
And I look around me, look at all the heathens and cretins and blind fools, and almost laugh at the knowledge that as I stand here this moment, they are as close as they will ever be to God. In this moment, I am God, and I hold their lives in the palm of my hand.
I step up into the centre of the carriage, and reach my hand into my heavy backpack.
I am the hand of God, and through me His works will be done.
This is another piece I might edit, mainly because of overuse of the word "and".
Eight: We were asked to write a piece based on a specific Walker Evans photograph (Here is a cropped version of it, without the middle aged man in a coat and hat, looking downwards, secretly taken on the New York subway many years ago, specifically as a conversation between the two people in the photograph.
He smiles when he sees her, and flops down onto the next seat, as he does every day.
“Mornin’, darling. Ain’t this weather a shocker? Looks like it’ll snow tonight, I reckon.”
She glances coolly over at him, and he shoots back a cheeky grin.
“Good morning. It is rather cold, I have to say.”
“Yeah, well that’s the way of things, don’t ya know it? Never stays warm for long. Still, means there’s hope for a white Christmas yet.”
“We can but hope. Though snow would be rather inconvenient.”
“Inconvenient, pah! Where’s the fun in that? All the kids’ll love it!”
“I am sure they would.”
She pauses, and adjusts her gloves over her wrists.
“You’ll be doin’ something fancy, I ‘spect. Big dinner with turkey and cake and all that.”
“Well…we are having a family gathering, yes.”
“Course you are! It’s Christmas time, you gotta have the family ‘round.”
“Oh, I’ll keep meself busy. Find a good party to go to, have a drink ‘n sing a few carols with me mates, that sorta thing.”
She gives him a vaguely questioning look.
“You won’t be having a family dinner?”
“Well, ain’t much of a family round her to be havin’ dinner with. But I make do.”
“Oh, I’m so very sorry.”
“Don’t be, it’s nothin’ really. Still got me mates and all.”
There is a long moment of silence, and they both look away.
“Excuse me, this is my stop.”
“Well then, until tomorrow mornin’ sweetheart.”
He smiles as she drifts off into the rush of the city.
“Nice girl, that one.”
My Exam table has been released, and it ain't half bad this semester:
Algorithmic Problem Solving: Tue 8 NOV 2:15 p.m.
Social, Developmental & Clinical Psychology 1: Wed 16 NOV 2:15 p.m.
Mathematics A: Wed 23 NOV 9:30 a.m.
In other news, I was bored this morning, so I decided I would some really nice, brightly coloured fun clothes today. Which made saikogrrl comment I looked like a Japanese school girl, and some random on my table at dinner ask why I was so well dressed. It was lots of fun.
Oh, and a few people are planning a "Girl's Night Out" - though it seems some boys want in - for this Thursday evening. Mexican food and Margaritas: It sounds like great fun.
tinyteddyqueen: "I like a good pair of glowing gonads!"