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 I Am [part 2]
frequent_contributor

Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 7216
Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:21 pm

I met my cousin at the door to the attendance office. He shuffled his feet and wouldn’t meet my eye. Neither of us spoke while we waited for someone to tell us what to do. A few minutes later, my mother arrived to drive us to the nursing home.

“She’s gone, isn’t she?” I whispered while we walked. I could feel my face sticky with tears, though I wasn’t aware of the actual sensation of them falling from my eyes.

“Not yet.” She whispered back. It was just the three of us – Tommy, me, and my mom – in the hallway. It was all glass on one side, overlooking the parking lot, with a rough tile floor and painted cinderblock for the other wall. Our voices echoed over and over again, like the sounds would never fade and would just go on and on after us.

“They just called me.” Mom went on, “They said it could be a few minutes or a few hours… who knows. That’s why we’re going right away. We still have a chance to say goodbye.”

The way she said it just made me cry harder. Grandma and my mom were best friends.

While we were still in the car, but about to pull into the nursing home parking lot, my grandparents called Mom. It was too late. Mom broke down crying and barely was able to pull into a parking spot because she couldn’t see through her tears. My heart broke seeing her like that, and I cried even harder, not because I wouldn’t get to say goodbye, but because my mother wouldn’t.

While we were waiting in the elevator up to Grandma’s floor, I was reminded of the last time we were there, a few weeks earlier. Grandma had had me read one of my poems to her. She always loved that I liked to write. I thought about how she wouldn’t get to see the musical I was assistant directing at school, now… I had really been looking forward to that.

When we got to her room, everyone else went straight inside to where her body lay on her hospital bed, small and frail and shrunken with age, but I refused to go in. I couldn’t see my lively great grandmother that way.

Directly across the hall there was a TV blaring a commercial for some Disney Channel show… I don’t remember which. Inside, an elderly woman sat with her two granddaughters, both at least a few years younger than me and still rather pure and young-looking. I smiled through my tears. The older one was probably about sixth grade… the younger maybe third or fourth. I missed the time before high school, before everything got so confusing.

The evening wore on in a relentless fashion. More relatives showed up, everyone was crying, and nurses and ministers and doctors and counselors kept coming up to me and trying to tell me that everything was going to be okay. Mainly, I just wanted to be left alone.

Just before we left for dinner, one of my aunts called into the room with the two little girls to say hello. Apparently she had met them before and they were friends, or at least friendly. The girls came out and they talked to my aunt like Great Grandma had been their own grandmother… she was the kind of person who touched everyone she met.

I smiled a little at the kids and tried to talk to them a bit, but they seemed to want nothing to do with me. They were dressed in pink and blue clothes from Justice and the children’s section at Target, with white ankle socks and Crocs. Their hair was long and in messy ponytails. They reminded me of me when I was their age.

I just couldn’t understand why they were avoiding me so profusely. I would say, “Hey!” and they would kind of nod and look away. I’d ask what show they were watching and they’d look up and down my body dubiously and look away. I’d tell them I liked their matching friendship necklaces and at that they’d look away… mainly, they just looked away.


 

 

~Cavy

"Today is everything."




 Re: I Am [part 2]
frequent_vsitor

Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:23 pm
Posts: 315
Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:40 pm
Again, amazing. I was confused, though, at the very beginning when the mom got there. I thought that they were at the nursing home.
Don't mind that, though. It's almost 11:00 at night and I get confuzled easily. :)
 
~A



 Re: I Am [part 2]
N/A

Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:22 pm
Posts: 3690
Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:39 pm
 No goodbye?? So sad...:smileysad:
  No critique necessary..it's already so beautiful and sad.
           Everyone deserves to cry. (even cavy)
           1 day of school left.
            No Finals left.
    
-Teresa



 Re: I Am [part 2]
N/A

Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:22 pm
Posts: 3690
Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:39 pm
 No goodbye?? So sad...:smileysad:
  No critique necessary..it's already so beautiful and sad.
           Everyone deserves to cry. (even cavy)
           1 day of school left.
            No Finals left.
    
-Teresa



 Re: I Am [part 2]
special_guest

Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:42 pm
Posts: 478
Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:28 pm
This keeps getting better. Like I said before, you really find your stride when things are happening and you're getting into the narrative.

Did you just repeat the last paragraph from the last post because you're posting this in installments? In that case, it makes sense, but just make sure that if you put the whole thing together you delete the repeated paragraphs.

I love the bit about the voices echoing forever - very evocative. I also like the way you use themes like people looking (or not looking) at each other or the question of saying goodbye to give continuity and evolution to the whole thing.

A few little wording things:
Instead of "barely was able" (your mom parking), "was barely able."
Instead of "in a relentless fashion," "relentlessly." (Always go for the most bang for your buck - the most meaning in the fewest words.)
I think there might be a better word than "profusely" to talk about the girls avoiding you. Persistently? Pointedly? Try a thesaurus, but make sure that the word you find is something that avoiding can be. I'm not sure that avoiding is profuse.

The ending is great. I like the repetition of "look away." The first part ended with a refusal to make eye contact too - interesting. I look forward to seeing the resolution in your last part.

Jessica



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