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Eulogy


9 replies to this topic

#1
Mara Jade Skywalker

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My first entry into one of these writing contests...criticisms are welcome. But please be kind! :)



Eulogy

I remember the day we met as if it was only yesterday. The park was crowded that day, as it always was on sunny spring days, before the sun began to feel too hot against one's skin. It was filled with the happy sounds of kids playing tag, adults playing flag football, and dogs barking. Boats and jet skis whizzed by on the lake, while other people splashed around in the shallow area. The smell of freshly cut grass wafted through the air. The sun shone brightly in my eyes as I lounged on a soft blanket, reading a book and sipping ice-cold water.

He was running that day, as he often did. I could hear his heavy breathing and his even footsteps and he ran by my spot. Awhile later he came by me again, walking this time. His slurps of water made me laugh to myself. He smiled at me, and I said hello. I remember the sweat glistening on his brow, slowly dripping onto my blanket as he sat down next to me to talk. I didn't mind.

Our relationship would be defined by our ventures into the outdoors. We spent almost every weekend at state parks, at the beach, or at other historical sites. He shared with me his love for the night sky, and taught me how to pick out small points of light and turn them into beautiful constellations. We traveled to the mountains and huddled together in the cold night air, staring at the stars through his bright new telescope. That same night he placed a beautiful sparkling diamond ring on my finger, as if to give me my own star to carry around with me forever.

We disagreed often about our wedding, but the location was unanimous. Like the day we met, the sun shone brightly behind me as I waited near the beach. The sound of waves crashing complimented the sound of a single violin. The sand felt warm and soft underneath my feet as I walked down the aisle. Standing under the arch, I could smell its freshly cut flowers. In this serene setting we held hands, pledging vows to each other. His cologne smelled like aromatherapy, calming me down and making me feel relaxed for years to come.

I remember the day he died, although I don't want to. It was a normal day. He woke up before me. The sky was still dark; the sun was peeking out in the east. I heard the noises of his daily preparation: drawers opening as he got dressed, water running as he brushed his teeth, car starting in the garage. I pulled the blanket over my head, drowning out the bathroom light, trying to get in my last few moments of sleep. Before he left he came over to me and hugged me tightly, as he did every morning. I will never forget his last words: I love you.

Since he died, the sun has been a little less bright. Our bed has felt a little less warm. There has been a little less laughter in my world.

I know that he would hate me feeling this way. I know that he would rather me look up at the stars, think of him, and smile.

So I do.

#2
ShadowDog

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I love this. Unfortunately you caught me just as I have to leave for a meeting so that's the extent to which I can respond for now. But I'll be back later with the time to make two observations and more praise. :P

#3
ShadowDog

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My first observation will reveal the tardness of always being on the lookout for the author to attempt to outsmart you. You see, I thought you were leading us down the garden path with your careful wording, so it wasn't until this line that I realized you were talking about a human being:

I remember the sweat glistening on his brow, slowly dripping onto my blanket as he sat down next to me to talk. I didn't mind.


You see, I thought you were trying to make us THINK you were talking about a human being but you were actually talking about a dog. So my paranoia about being outsmarted by the writer, I outsmarted myself. :lol: (This is where the old saying "you're so smart you're stupid" comes from :lol: )

My other observation concerns this paragraph:

I remember the day he died, although I don't want to. It was a normal day. He woke up before me. The sky was still dark; the sun was peeking out in the east. I heard the noises of his daily preparation: drawers opening as he got dressed, water running as he brushed his teeth, car starting in the garage. I pulled the blanket over my head, drowning out the bathroom light, trying to get in my last few moments of sleep. Before he left he came over to me and hugged me tightly, as he did every morning. I will never forget his last words: I love you.


This is very vividly drawn and quite poignant. It's a perfect paragraph, I wouldn't change a thing. What makes it so for me is how you keep the narrator grounded with how things would really be. All to often a writer will have the narrator sense that something is up, when in reality she'd be pulling her blanket up to shield her eyes rather than sobbing for him to not go, to stay home and spend the day with her, or whatever.

Very well done! (notice I didn't say "for your first effort" because I don't feel any qualifications are necessary or deserved).

#4
Obi-Wan Cannoli

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Very nice work, Mara.

My only criticism was going to be that the title is too much of a giveaway, but now that I've had time to process it, I think that your straightforward approach works really well here. Since we know that we're reading a eulogy, we can begin processing it as a eulogy right away, which I'm sure is the effect you were going for. I also like that the format IS of a eulogy. Your sense of characterization is strong here as well. Again, nice work. :thumbsup:

I don't have any criticisms to offer at this point, but I do have a question: is this a stand-alone story, or do you see it as being part of a larger work?

#5
Copper

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Nice job, Mara :) I'm glad to see that you came up with an idea! I hope the idea thread was helpful, at least in some small way. I enjoyed this. It's deceptively simple. I mean that at first when you read it you don't necessarily comprehend the weight of it. But when you reread, with the title in mind, it's poignant, and fullfilling.

My favorite line:

That same night he placed a beautiful sparkling diamond ring on my finger, as if to give me my own star to carry around with me forever.

Beautiful.

My criticism.

I remember the day we met as if it was only yesterday.


I don't necessarily recommend starting a short story with such an overused first sentence. First sentences are supposed to grab the readers attention. You could even scrap the whole sentence and your story would be stronger for it. That's one small thing though, and by no means does it bring your story down.

Your grammar was perfect, but I expected no less from an editor ;)

:thumbsup:

#6
Mara Jade Skywalker

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I love this.


Thank you! :)


You see, I thought you were trying to make us THINK you were talking about a human being but you were actually talking about a dog. So my paranoia about being outsmarted by the writer, I outsmarted myself. :lol: (This is where the old saying "you're so smart you're stupid" comes from :lol: )


LOL!

My other observation concerns this paragraph:

I remember the day he died, although I don't want to. It was a normal day. He woke up before me. The sky was still dark; the sun was peeking out in the east. I heard the noises of his daily preparation: drawers opening as he got dressed, water running as he brushed his teeth, car starting in the garage. I pulled the blanket over my head, drowning out the bathroom light, trying to get in my last few moments of sleep. Before he left he came over to me and hugged me tightly, as he did every morning. I will never forget his last words: I love you.


This is very vividly drawn and quite poignant. It's a perfect paragraph, I wouldn't change a thing. What makes it so for me is how you keep the narrator grounded with how things would really be. All to often a writer will have the narrator sense that something is up, when in reality she'd be pulling her blanket up to shield her eyes rather than sobbing for him to not go, to stay home and spend the day with her, or whatever.


Thank you! That's what I was going for. I wanted everything to be normal. I started to write more about how she found out that he died, and maybe give an explanation as to how he died, but I decided to scrap that and just go for simplicity. I'm glad that you liked it, because this is the paragraph most drawn from real life. It made me really sad writing it. :P


Very nice work, Mara.

My only criticism was going to be that the title is too much of a giveaway, but now that I've had time to process it, I think that your straightforward approach works really well here. Since we know that we're reading a eulogy, we can begin processing it as a eulogy right away, which I'm sure is the effect you were going for. I also like that the format IS of a eulogy. Your sense of characterization is strong here as well. Again, nice work. :thumbsup:

I don't have any criticisms to offer at this point, but I do have a question: is this a stand-alone story, or do you see it as being part of a larger work?


First: Yeah, I thought about the title and questioned whether or not to use it. I thought that it worked either way, but I erred on the side of using this title because I just felt that it worked. At first, I started writing this story as a letter, using the second person instead of third. Then I decided I didn't like it that way, and changed the pronouns, and then realized that it read like a eulogy. At first I didn't want to ruin the surprise, but then I decided to be simple, and not have any surprises or twists.

Just a stand-alone, but who knows. I really do not like writing longer pieces, but I wanted to practice writing again and get involved in these contests, and this idea came to me.


Nice job, Mara :) I'm glad to see that you came up with an idea! I hope the idea thread was helpful, at least in some small way. I enjoyed this. It's deceptively simple. I mean that at first when you read it you don't necessarily comprehend the weight of it. But when you reread, with the title in mind, it's poignant, and fullfilling.


Thanks! That's what I was going for.

My criticism.

I remember the day we met as if it was only yesterday.


I don't necessarily recommend starting a short story with such an overused first sentence. First sentences are supposed to grab the readers attention. You could even scrap the whole sentence and your story would be stronger for it. That's one small thing though, and by no means does it bring your story down.


Yeah, I know what you mean. I didn't really like that line, but I wanted to start off the story by stating that the narrator remembered the day she met her husband, and I felt there needed to be some kind of description to her remembering that day, and "only yesterday" was the first thing that came to mind. Maybe something better will come to mind later. :P

Your grammar was perfect, but I expected no less from an editor ;)


Haha! ...I wrote this at work, so I felt a little guilty, but having perfect grammar makes me feel less like I wasted time at work. ;)

#7
Richcelt

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My father died when he was 54, which is still relatively young. I can only imagine what my mother went through during the first months, and even years, afterward. It probably wasn't too far off from what you described near the end, which made it all the more poignant. Good job. :thumbsup:

#8
Nixie

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i like this a lot! :)

my father says it reminds him of a song called the end of the innocence but i dont know that one. but he says its a compliment. :)

#9
Obi-Wan Cannoli

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Mara:

First: Yeah, I thought about the title and questioned whether or not to use it. I thought that it worked either way, but I erred on the side of using this title because I just felt that it worked. At first, I started writing this story as a letter, using the second person instead of third. Then I decided I didn't like it that way, and changed the pronouns, and then realized that it read like a eulogy. At first I didn't want to ruin the surprise, but then I decided to be simple, and not have any surprises or twists.


I think it works.

And I think you have good writing instincts. :)

Just a stand-alone, but who knows. I really do not like writing longer pieces, but I wanted to practice writing again and get involved in these contests, and this idea came to me.


It definitely works as a stand-alone, but I can also see you expanding this story, or perhaps including it in a collection of shorter works. One idea that crossed my mind (and feel free to steal this) was for you to expand this story, but not in a traditional novel format. Instead, you could make it a multi-genre piece and include birth certificates, journal entries, postcards, letters, the eulogy, etc.

#10
LadyGuinevere

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I thought this wsa wonderfully touching and very poignant :thumbsup: Sort of subject matter that's fresh in my mind as it was my father-in-law's funeral only yesterday. And for me reading it as a eulogy from the start worked very well for it. It doesn't need a twist for it.

This is my favourite paragraph:

Since he died, the sun has been a little less bright. Our bed has felt a little less warm. There has been a little less laughter in my world.


You draw on the imagery of the earlier paragraphs and twisted it right back around :thumbsup:

I'm inclined to agree with Copper on the first line. It felt a little like the sort of thing given to start a piece for school (though if any of them were to hand in something like this they would be getting very high marks!) The only other thing I noted was that I thought 'awhile' should have been two words in that context, but it may be personal preference.



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