Thursday, April 20, 2006

V's Feedback

So first off, the title and first paragraph implied (to me) a lighthearted romp; after all, it's the title of the Tiny Toons' magnum opus, and so many third-graders' assignments -- and I guess that's the point being made here. But I was taken by surprise when the story started detailing the main characters difficult childhood. I rather enjoy being surprised like that -- not knowing where the story is going or going to -- so found your story compelling.

I found the little girl's situation to be pretty sad. A few lines moments really stuck out for me:

He grabbed me by the shoulders and rattled me until I felt ready to fall apart. Jody looked at me with her sad eyes and wisely stayed out of the way, and Mother, in the only way she ever chose to acknowledge these scenes, said simply "Tom."

I like the simplicity of her mom's comment to the father; maybe it shows the way abuse both paralyzes and numbs us.

After the S, I was uninspired. The rest of the page remained blank as I stared dejectedly out the window.

For some reason -- and maybe this is something that anyone who has had to write anything for a deadline can relate to -- I could really picture the little girl at her huge desk, proudly writing her perfect "S" and then stopping, dejectedly, with nothing else to say.

Also, I was thinking (and over thinking) about the title. Was this piece once a response to the question "what did you do on your summer vacation"? The title really makes it seem like something for submission. I almost thought this would be the little girl's submission until she opts for handing in "a pack of lies". Then again, for you the author, this story could just as much be a pack of lies as well. There is something ironic going on here, but oh man, my head hurts.


It's eerie how a pair of fresh eyes can encourage you to read your own story in a new way. Words do not change; interpretations do.

I think it's safe to say I will continue to prostrate myself before this story, searching for the words that will make it right. I'm not sure that I will ever feel that anything I write is as perfect as it should/could be. I think part of my problem is not knowing the right time to let a story go and not trusting myself to the best of my abilities. I hate shoving this into the world, worrying that it's not ready yet, anticipating the reader's every criticism...but never quite arriving at the point where I can enjoy a small success.

Well, there's always next time.


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