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18 December 2008 @ 08:33 pm
Oh, yes, it's that time again -- brigits_flame time!

This week's prompt is "Truth," and I actually wrote the piece a few days ago, when I was, um, substantially more emo than I am currently... There are a lot of my real life issues in it, though, so you can comment with "What an emokid!", but please don't say "The girl is stupid," because that would make me sad. XD

It's a bit of a downer, so... have a picture of a bunny? XD Or how about my brother's cat? XD

Thanks very much to eltea for editing work. And generally just for being an amazingly wonderful human being. x)

The one bit is from "Song of Myself," by Walt Whitman, and it's verse-stanza-thing 51. Those lines just stuck in my head last year and decided to stay. XD

The truth?

The truth reared its hideously misshapen head while we were in the back of his ’89 Volvo station wagon, in the middle of nowhere, and I, at least, in the middle of nobody.

It was one of those mountain roads that doesn’t seem to know quite where it’s going, but neither did we, so that sounded about fair.

The trees laced their leaves above the steel roof like children playing London Bridge, swaying to the rhythm of the breeze, and shadows flickered, peeking through the streaked windowpanes, their ashen fingers on his face.

We should have been doing something sketchy to merit the location, but we were mostly just lying there, half-twined, being independently self-centered at the same time.

“What do you want?” he asked.

I breathed a few times. “From what?”

“Life,” he answered. “The world. Me. Us.”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“You should figure it out,” he decided, equably enough.

“Is there a deadline?”

He smiled. “Should there be?”

“You know how I am with deadlines,” I muttered.

Dead line, as it were; like a laundry cord trailing across the yard, fallen fabric slumping wetly on largely unsympathetic blades of grass.

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

“Bad?” he hazarded.

Conversation. Right.

“Heinous,” I corrected. “Criminal.”

He watched the trees bow, deferentially.

“You really don’t know?” he prompted. “Or you do, and you don’t want to say?”

He had a habit of asking questions he didn’t want to know the answers to, and that I didn’t want to answer.

Old habits die hard, and bad habits die harder.

“You’re really not helping,” I told him, which wasn’t either.

“I don’t know what to say.”

Then don’t say anything.

“I’m sorry,” I murmured.

“Why are you sorry for a thing like that?”

Questions, questions, questions. Bring a bit more curled-and-dotted uncertainty into the world.

I watched the window. “It’s something to say,” I pointed out.

Quiet, then. The leaves whispered, rustling against fading compatriots, presumably starting a betting pool on how much longer we were going to last, talking like this.

Two minutes, probably. I wondered if I could walk all the way home without starving to death en route.

I thought in sounds for a while after that. I superimposed his soft breathing on the gossiping of the foliage and tossed in the measured crinkle-flip of a book’s pages for percussion. At intervals I added the jingling shower of just under two dollars in quarters and dimes as they met the stiff carpeting on the floor of the car, because I’d forgotten about the change in my back pocket until it was too late. Various permutations of breaths, choked on and caught, hitching, halting, half-sighed. The futility of raindrops that couldn’t reach us as they splattered themselves against the windshield; the towering pride that held back tears that could.

What did I want?

I wasn’t sure how to articulate what I wanted, or the various whats and nots and nothings that I thought I did—if articulation was even possible. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do, though it seemed to be something along the laughably impossible lines of going back and erasing things.

Not everything. Just some things. Just the things that made me cringe and close my eyes and thank the Powers That Be that mind-reading tends to stay on television. Just the stuff that made me wish I’d somehow, somewhere learned to stand up for myself and stuck with it. Just the parts that were good at the time and only put my soul through the cheese grater after I’d gone home and looked at myself with the lights on.

I only wanted to get rid of those things.

Which, of course, could never be done, because the whole daisy-chain-reaction would fall to petals and pieces if you tried to remove one link, or a couple, or a lot. It’s all or nothing. Do not pass Go and whatnot.

So I lay there and admired the dimples in the cushioned plastic that lined the inside of the roof, and I hoped that he’d forget we’d ever had this conversation.

Which he wouldn’t. But a girl could dream.

Feeling: workingworking
richelle2972richelle2972 on December 19th, 2008 06:24 am (UTC)
Very beautiful and poignant. I loved it a lot. : )
Vitamin Ctierfal on December 19th, 2008 07:50 am (UTC)
Thank you!! :)
(Deleted comment)
Vitamin C: Matsudatierfal on December 20th, 2008 12:01 am (UTC)
It was better to have it on the paper (...screen... XD) than in my head, y'know, which I'm sure is something you get, too. x)

*hugs back!!*
kithlyarakithlyara on December 19th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
Another entry with absolutely wonderful imagery! brigits_flame really does have a lot of very talented writers.

The story flowed easily and definitely had my interest throughout. Great job!
Vitamin C: Blue Rosetierfal on December 20th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! :) I'm glad you liked it!! ^^
wierdauntiewierdauntie on December 20th, 2008 01:23 am (UTC)
Beautiful turns of phrase in a Seinfeld-like conversation. Nice.
Vitamin C: Blue Rosetierfal on December 20th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you like it. :)
pa1ndru1dpa1ndru1d on December 20th, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
Very well done!

I've been on both sides of this particular equation...

It touched me.
Vitamin Ctierfal on December 20th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ^^

This one was very personal, so I'm glad that it resonated with you as well. :)
insolentscrawlinsolentscrawl on December 20th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)
Very good imagery. I like your take on the topic.
insolentscrawlinsolentscrawl on December 20th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
Phht. I hit the button too quickly (stupid laptop). I wanted to add that I like the way common elements (like the change falling out of the pocket) to create the scene. Good luck this week.
Vitamin C: Blue Rosetierfal on December 20th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you. ^^ It was sort of what got into my head when I started brainstorming.

I'm glad you liked it. :)
I MUST: I writesabriel75 on December 20th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
The imagery of the whole daisy chain falling to petals and pieces is quite wicked symbolism. Life, fragile as it is, cannot be maintained without building relationships and those too make our lives irrevocably linked but so tentatively if only one breaks or is loosened, the entirety of who we are can be thrown off.

Tidily written but eloquent and forthright. The thought process reads as if anyone, any gender or nationality, could be unsettled by its truth and the relatability of voice.

Excellent bit of originality. Thanks for sharing.
Vitamin C: Blue Rosetierfal on December 20th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
I got the idea in my head and was fond of it; I'm glad you like it, too! :)

Thank you! ^^
Jacqueslacombe on December 20th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
This is a really moving piece. You've left it sufficiently ambiguous that the reader is able to relate their own life stories and experiences to the moment- I love it with authors do that. I also very much appreciate your mastery of the one-liner and aside comments. Your writing has a rich way of observing.
Vitamin C: Blue Rosetierfal on December 21st, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
Thank you!! It was very personal for me, so I'm really happy that other people are finding it applicable to their own lives. :) I'm glad you like it!
CHAMYL!: ombrello rosachamyl on December 21st, 2008 11:15 am (UTC)
I like this a lot, and it's really sad :(

Particurly, this:
Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I should write it down somewhere, it's very poignant!

We're all emokid once in a while, aren't we? :3
Vitamin Ctierfal on December 21st, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
Ah, that's the part I borrowed! It's from a poem called "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman, who was one of our eccentric American poets... I read it last year for class, and those lines got very stuck in my head. The whole thing is here if you're interested. :D ...it goes on forever. XD

lol, I am emokiddish a bit more than I'd like sometimes! XD
CHAMYL!: tartaruga rivoltatachamyl on December 21st, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
Ok, I'm made of fail because I don't have the foggiest idea who Walt Whitman is :D and what's the smile for?

I will read it, bookmarked already ;)

Vitamin C: Charles - Bluetierfal on December 21st, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
lol, don't worry about it -- he's SO American. Like, he was pretty sure he REPRESENTED America and made a big deal out of it to everybody. XD

Hope you enjoy! And thanks, hee. ^^
Autumn Intermezzointermezzo_poet on December 22nd, 2008 01:00 am (UTC)
I didn't find this "emo..."

However, I did find it lovely, pensive, and introspective. I really like pieces like these, and the outward calm vs. inward anxiety was fascinating. Nice work!
Vitamin Ctierfal on December 22nd, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! :) I'm glad you enjoyed it; it was a bit of a departure from the sort of thing I usually submit. ^^
Innana88innana88 on December 30th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry this has been so late in coming!

I was really impressed with this piece. I think it is very human and I could relate to it easily. I loved that so much of it was dialogue.

I have this thing, however, with italicized thoughts intruding on a piece. It is a convention that rubs me like sandpaper when I see it. Why? Because it is so EASY. I find myself saying, "No! No! SHOW me!" Show the reader what she's thinking through the dialogue or through her body language. Instead of "Then don't say anything" she could have slightly shrugged away from him in annoyance, or rolled her eyes in exasperation in a way that he couldn't see them. The three line italicized segment in the middle I didn't even really understand and when I read the piece without it, I thought it was stronger.

Overall, it was really strong and that is the only critique that I have. Nice work. I thought this was damn good.
Innana88innana88 on December 30th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
Sorry this is so late. I actually just posted my Edit and for some reason it didn't post. ARGH!

Okay, this is a more concise version, because I have to take off. I'm sorry!

I really loved this piece. I thought that the dialogue was incredible and showed so much of the relationship between these two characters.

This was the reason why I found myself holding my head at the intrusion of the italicized thoughts of the woman. "Noooooo!"

It is a convention that I abhor precisely because it is so easy. You were doing such a remarkable job of showing us what she was thinking by her minimal responses to him and through her body language. Internal thoughts in a piece like this totally detract from the strength of the piece. She could have shifted uneasily or pulled away from him slightly or rolled her eyes so he couldn't see them instead of thinking the words, "Don't say anything." This convention allows writers to get away with not doing the work to show us in the piece what the characters are thinking and, as a reader, I almost feel insulted, thinking, "I could have figured that out if you'd given me just a bit more."

I thought this piece was phenomenal. I loved it. Just take out those internal thoughts and allow the reader to see her thoughts in what she says and how she physically responds to him.
Vitamin C: Blue Rosetierfal on January 1st, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Re: Edit
LJ was being really screwy, but I actually got both your comments, so no worries! :)

Thanks very much, first of all -- I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D

That's a very interesting point about the thoughts part, and something I've never considered before. I'll definitely be considering that sort of thing in my next piece; thank you! :)
attentionhoard: Watchmen!attentionhoard on December 30th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
Hi there! I'm going to be one of your editors this round. First, let me apologize for taking so long to get to this, the holidays were a crazy (and wonderful) time of travel and family and when those two team-up, it can be a scary thing :) Hope your holidays were enjoyable and that you're recovering from the hustle & bustle nicely.

As for your edits, I don't really comment upon grammar, spelling, and structure as that's not my forte. (Playwrights get a bit more freedom with that sort of stuff! :-)) Instead, I will read your entry through a few times and comment upon anything that may stick out to me. Everything I offer is merely a suggestion! :)

Here we go...

1. I have to start by saying that this is a very, very impressive piece. It reads with the ease and quality of a very experienced, very talented, very experienced writer. Nice work. I really did thoroughly enjoy this entry.

2. I can't really think of much else. Honestly, I wish I had suggestions to offer, but I really do adore this piece. The only thing I can think of, and this has NOTHING to do with the way you've written the piece of anything, is that I'd love to see this in another form. I'm thinking poetry, as this piece is very moving and full of powerful images and strong language. I'd be curious to see what could happen with line-beaks, form, single-word sentences...etc. That is not a suggestion about the piece as you've done a fantastic job, just a suggestion based on my desire to read something this astounding again!

Nice work!
Vitamin C: Blue Rosetierfal on January 1st, 2009 03:01 am (UTC)
Hey, no worries -- holidays were chaotic but fun here, and I totally understand! ^^

Oh, my, thank you! ^^ This piece was really personal, so it just floors and pleases me that people enjoyed it so much. :)

The thought of this as poetry is an interesting one! :D