What a reader views one way, another sees from an entirely different angle. As The Editor’s Eye, I set out to be objective, to make myself available to what is written between the lines, or beneath. There are many well written pieces on Fictionaut that I haven’t mentioned. For the past fortnight though, these are my choices. In no particular order.
I particularly love the way Darryl sets out his verses, how the last line of each pauses with the spacing before merging with the next. It gives a breathy feel, which works so well. It feels like the poet is talking directly to you, holding you with his words. There’s almost a caress to it.
“When I wasn’t aware of your presence in my
Temple of being.
We belong in Paradise, but we are not
In Paradise, instead we’re stuck in the muddle like
Pennies dropped out of spite, we’re spent on someplace
And in this ending, more than sublime, there’s a glimpse of the future:
you are carved on my wall, gathering my road.”
Captivating work, Darryl. And what a wonderful title. Bravo.
I love the warp and weave of this piece. There’s a story to be told and we have a teller up to the task.
The title, Headache Pads, begs the question ‘What the?’ It set the intrigue and I wanted to find out more.
Dialogue is real and suited the MC’s age and gender. Sense of place is simple, uncluttered and I was soon caught up in the ‘What happens next’. The only polish it needs is a little editing of the tenses.
This is the progression of a good story. One thing draws us in, another holds us and then we are in for the duration.
Here dialogue reveals more than it’s saying:
“You have plenty of time to decide. Just get the grades.”
“Mom, I know what I want to be when I grow up.”
“I want to be a shoe salesman.”
Mom didn’t miss a mash but glared at me. “Get serious,” she said.
“Mom, I am serious.”
“Well then, don’t be stupid.”
“Stupid? What do you mean by stupid? What’s stupid about being a shoe salesman?”
And it had one of those satisfying and smile-worthy endings.
A great story, well worth reading. Really enjoyed this one, Paul.
Light is to picture as voice is to story. And the voice paints the picture in this story perfectly. No pun intended (see ending).
I liked the POV, it worked well. And the spaced format made it easy reading.
It’s what I call a quiet story, it draws one in with whispers. All is quiet, all is good, but one knows it won’t stay that way. The tension is revealed with the squirrel’s uneasiness. And this unease ripples through the MC as well.
“For some seconds, my gaze became curiously fixed now on the crabapple tree on my lawn that I forgot to spray since cutting off many of its limbs. I immediately felt anxious guilt, being the one responsible for opening the way for infection.”
The last line ending, bringing us back to the beginning, is more than what it seems:
“The weather in paradise was still perfect.”
Top story, Carl.
Two brilliant, but entirely different poems by Arexa Starling.
I believe Tastes Like Wind works so well because of its two beat, conversational format. Interpret it as you will, it’s definitely a poem to ponder.
Here it is again. I’ve read it at least six times now and love it more with each musing.
It’s raining I say
I grin. Tastes like wind.
I can’t tell that you are crying.”
Good title. And there’s a lot of meaning in these lines.
I particularly love this, where slant rhyme of years and errs works so well:
“Your years, your errs, stretched across his dappled sky, broken and cracked
scorched to its core
Beyond recognition, surely, and unmistakably yours, yes
The spacing gives the poem suspension which, when reading it aloud, which I always do, adds gravity to the words.
There’s retrospection too:
“You have never been so patient as to sit and wait
even for the sun to rise”
“These are all yours to keep, she told you once”
Really enjoyed these, Arexa.
Tara Isabel Zambrano
In this short literary fiction piece the opening line sets the scene, without over description:
“The bazaar in old Delhi is busy and stylish with barbers, psychics, jewelers and cow dung cakes on the tar roads.”
And we are there.
I think the voice of the casual observer suits the storyline. We, the readers, are ‘seeing’ it all through the author’s eyes and expertly so:
“She has honey glazed skin and muscular thighs wrapped in a saree, restless feet and a toddler’s palm joined to hers.” And this: “Her toenails sparkle as her feet match the rhythm of a cotton ginner who is also looking at her with the refrain of a married man with kids. A set of beedis are tucked between her heaving breasts. The sheets of fabric sway picking her scent like indigo infused in the white light of thousand other smells.”
(And yes, one can spell saree like that.)
And then the connection, which is the point of this story, that we too are sharing:
“The woman avoids the ginner and looks at me, flexing her curves. The air turns giddy with playfulness and I want the time to stay dead. I want to lift her as with a pair of tongs hold a gem in light, until she dissolves into dust, swallowing a part of me that is unstoppable like the hands of a clock.” (Italics mine).
The theme of a broken watch cleverly threads reality into metaphor. And it ties the whole story up neatly with this superb ending:
“A faint ticking resumes as the fabric unravels and obscures her in a sweep of colors until I only see her palms facing the sky as if releasing an hourglass – emptying and filling once again.”
An accomplished piece, Tara.
It can be a difficult thing to engage a reader convincingly in a futuristic piece. And doubly so when it’s an excerpt/chapter plucked from somewhere within one’s novel. But I was drawn in by the well written opening of Naked, willing to suspend the questions Who’s who? Where the hell are we? And what the hell is happening?:
“The timer on Tajen’s Vest read 48 seconds. The seizure was less than a minute away. I stuck the Harbnizone syringe into the catheter that dangled off his side like a misplaced tail. The timer clicked up first to 60 seconds, then to 94, then to an hour before returning to the word SAFE.”
The pace is crisp, the simile original, and it has that nice roll off the tongue rhythm of someone who knows her craft.
Intrigued, I soon had the gist. Vests that kept one healthy, but at a cost. And these two wanted out:
“When I got anxious—and despite what he thought, Tajen wasn’t the only one who got scared—I imagined a Naked world, all of us living like they did in Seranon. Our short lives punctuated by heart attacks and strokes and seizures and diabetic comas, but Naked and unseen by CareCorps. Our data returned to facts, our movements swift and easy for being unseen. The future would be a negative, defined only by what we no longer had. Our freedom was a stripping away, an unmooring, beyond which I required no promises.”
But Naked is synonymous with vulnerable:
“If I had arrhythmia it would be a short life, but I would rather be Naked for an hour than Vested for a lifetime, and I had convinced Tajen that he would prefer the same because he was one thing that my empty future had to contain.”
By the time I’d finished this piece I wanted to read the book, or at least a whole lot more.
Sterling work, Lorna. Thoroughly intrigued.
Some pieces are this: Beautiful. But not only this.
So, dreamy eyed with pause and contemplation, I read the first few lines of Wind Spinner:
“She’s elemental; lives for the sun on her neck, earth beneath her feet, and rain in her hair… She craves the freedom of stars, birds, rivers, and fish. Consoles herself with memories of daisy chains and hilltop rainbows… ”
And then these snippets of overheard conversation, which is a little-big story in itself:
— I honestly could not believe my eyes…
— curled up in the corner… taken all of them.
— She should’ve-
The ending amplifies her free spirit:
“She smiles, knows better — pities them, pinned to their constraint. She tilts her chin to the sky, closes her eyes… and spins into the wind.”
Powerfully and deftly written, Tracey.
Myra King lives along the coast of South Australia with her husband, David, and their rescue greyhound, Sparky. Her poems and short stories have been published in print, and online, in many literary magazines and anthologies. She has won the UK Global and been shortlisted for the US Glass Woman Prize and the Scarlett Stiletto – SINC AUS.
Myra has a short story collection, City Paddock, published by Ginninderra Press and an upcoming YA novel, The Journey Of Velvet Brown, to be published in July 2015 also by G.P.
Recent highlights were a commendation in the 2015 Tabor Creative Writing Awards and a Pushcart nomination by Boston Literary Magazine.