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 Donation of the Deities: REVISED

Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:55 pm
Posts: 33
Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:04 pm

Hey guys. I made some changes to my original story, so I would really appreciate all comments to be directed toward this piece. Also, if it's not a problem, could you tell me whether what I say in my reflection matches the story? Thanks alot!

-chelshinkat

 

Donation of the Deities


The conflict began in September of 1999, and it continues today; however, one of the essential battles in the war was in 2006. I had just come out of gym class and changed into my clothes so that I could go to Spanish. However, I stopped when I heard Alisabeth, a girl whom I extremely admired, talking to her friend. Alisabeth was standing directly outside the left bathroom stall, which faced the right sink and happened to be across from my locker.


“I don’t floss my teeth all the time”, Alisabeth said to her friend. “I try, but it’s so annoying and tedious. Like I never do it after eating corn on the cob”.


Marvelous! As I left the locker room and walked toward my Spanish classroom, I tried to contain my joy. Ever since second grade, I had always been trying to catch up to Alisabeth. She was a walking encyclopedia compared to my petty volume of random knowledge. By her face, someone may have mistaken her for Helen of Troy, while the stranger would have mistaken me as the daughter of a gypsy. In terms of work ethic and general demeanor, she was Martha Stewart and I was Oscar Madison’s twin sister. She was everything I was not, and everything I wanted to be. At that moment, I felt that I had finally bested her with the power of dental floss. Flossing was something that she was supposed to do, but did not do, and I flossed regularly.


     I first met Alisabeth at a summer arts camp when I was six. The camp was funded by the (...)Center for the Arts, and although the center was in (...), the camp was located at an old Methodist church in (...) due to space constraints. Neither Alisabeth nor I were Methodist, but we attended the camp because we liked art, and our parents encouraged us to attend the camp. At the camp, I frequently felt the urge to decapitate Alisabeth, use her head to grind up the rest of her body, and eat the paste for lunch. Also, butterflies spontaneously entered my stomach, accompanied by nausea, the moment she looked at me. On one particular occasion, I was gazing at her shoes, and she looked at me for a while.


Then she said, “What are yoooou looking at?”


 I didn’t answer. I was staring at her shoes because I thought they were incredibly repulsive. They were Keds Champion white canvas sneakers, and I thought they would look more becoming on a 68 year old grandmother rather than on a six year old girl. Ironically, however, I was obsessed with those same shoes in middle school when I was attempting to establish myself as a unique person.


            In first grade, the summer after my initial experience with Alisabeth, I met her again on the playground. She was aimlessly wandering as I was, and we both accidentally bumped into each other. We smiled immediately.


            She said “Do I know you from somewhere?”


            I said “Yeah! Remember the camp?”


            She beamed and said “Oh yea, you’re Sarah, right?”


            I replied “Yes! Hi Alisabeth!”


            She giggled, then mentioned “We hated each other’s guts at that camp, but you’re actually kinda nice”


After that, I thanked her for the compliment, and said she was nice too. We were friends until second grade, when everything changed.


In second grade, everything changed because Alisabeth transcended my academic performance in all subjects. While my handwriting looked like Arial font after a computer had crashed, her signature was a lovely Edwardian cursive. In awe of her, one day I tried to write my name in script, but Alisabeth derided my attempts by saying that I used a lowercase “s” instead of a capital “s” in my name.


            “You don’t have to write your name in cursive, you know”, she snapped.


Crestfallen, I interpreted Alisabeth’s statement to mean that I didn’t have to be as good as her. Despite her comment, I still fervently wanted to be like her; although I was not like her and did not become like her. Throughout elementary school and middle school, Alisabeth, my former equal, was like Sptunik after being lauched into space, while I was a failed NASA mission that was left behind with children’s balsa wood rockets.


I had always wondered what had made her better than me from second grade onward because we were friends and equals in the beginning. I was always looking for a way to catch up with Alisabeth, a way to prove to myself and the world that I was better than or equal to her. Although I lacked her academic prowess, I had beautiful gums and teeth. Alisabeth did not floss regularly, and I did. After years of waiting, I had finally beaten her.


 


I made dental hygiene the focus of my memoir on “A Victory” because I believe it is one of the few meaningful and memorable victories of my life. Ever since second grade, I have been obsessed with a girl who is the inspiration for Alisabeth Washington. Since then, I have been trying to prove to myself and the world that I am as special as I am told I am. At the time in which the story is written, I was also trying to validate the usefulness of my bizarre hobbies. But the most fundamental aspect of my story is the idea of insecurity. Because I was so obsessed with Alisabeth Washington and trying to measure up to her, I viewed the most mundane things as colossal victories. I believe this is shown indirectly through my initial thoughts on Alisabeth, and my entire tale of my relationship with her.


 

Message Edited by Write_It_Moderator on 04-11-2008 11:47 AM




 Re: Donation of the Deities: REVISED
special_guest

Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:42 pm
Posts: 478
Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:31 pm
Dear chelsinkat,

Thanks for posting this witty and reflective piece. Really good use of simile to illustrate the constrast between you and Alisabeth. I especially like the paragraph immediately after Alisabeth's confession about floss, in which you describe not only what your feelings about Alisabeth are but also why you have them. In the first paragraph, though, when you say that you extremely admired Alisabeth, I was a bit mislead. It had me thinking that admiration would be the primary emotion, the attitude coloring your relationship with Alisabeth more than anything else. But it sounds like envy, or at least a mild inferiority complex, is as much a factor as admiration. So I'd say that Alisabeth was someone whom you 'adamantly admired and extremely envied,' or something along those lines, to set the tone from the beginning.

A few little grammar/wording suggestions:
- I'd change 'experience' to 'encounter' in 'the summer after my initial experience...,' to be more specific. 'Experience' is a vague word that could mean any number of things, and it doesn't sound like you're intentionally trying to be ambiguous.
- Instead of 'as good as her,' you want to use the subject pronoun, 'she.' If you think that sounds weird, you can say, 'as good as she is.' That's what I do in everday conversation so my friends don't think I'm being a grammar snob - the 'is' makes it sound more natural, I think. The same grammar rule applies when you say 'better than me' - change it to 'better than I' or 'better than I was.'
- Instead of: I had always wondered what had made her better than me from second grade onward because we were friends and equals in the beginning.
Try: I had always wondered what had made her better than [I] since second grade - after all, we had been friends and equals in the beginning.

Instead of giving dates in the first sentence, I'd give either your age or your grade at the time, to give the reader a better frame of reference. After all, someone might be reading this in 2108 - what will the date 2006 mean to someone a hundred years from now?

I like the title - it made me smile - but I'd try to tie it into the memoir more directly. It's clear enough that what you overhear is like a gift of the gods (or 'donation of the deities,' for that matter) to you, but the phrase is so unusual that you should probably make some kind of reference or connection (even if just in wording) in the memoir itself.

In answer to your question, I do think that the reflection at the end 'matches' the memoir proper. However, I don't think that the reflection is necessary. It's even a little distracting. You say, 'I believe this is shown indirectly', and I agree! Everything you explain you were trying to do, I think you made perfectly clear in the memoir. Yes, it was subtle and 'indirect,' as you said. But it was definitely there. If you're afraid that your readers won't be able to pick up on everything you intended, try to elaborate on the themes you've mentioned in the body of the memoir. Though personally, I think you've already done it.

Great work with this - it's personal but balanced, and detailed without getting bogged down. Good job honing in on the 'big picture' of what you wanted to say and then explaining and elaborating on it for us. I hope to see more writing from you in the future!

Jessica



 Re: Donation of the Deities: REVISED
contributor

Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:05 pm
Posts: 858
Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:52 pm
That was very good! Well expressed and well written!



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