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6/27/2006 c5 7The Breakdancing Ninja
The Breakdancing Ninja thanks you for a breathtaking fourth chapter and a sharp final chapter. Actually, he thanks you for the whole read, which was astounding in breadth and full of its own life, vitality and force. Refer to very bottom for the overall rating.

[In the final minutes of my life I recalled my double’s words again. This in-between, standing before ignorance and after delusion, was it really simplicity?] This is a profound statement to make. To refer to the past as “ignorance” and the dreamer of the future as a “delusion”- the present, “simplicity”? That’s bold. The story takes its own stance in a quiet way that I admire.

[As I stood breathing in my final breaths of air, taking in my final sights of light, and hearing my final sounds of life numerous thoughts rushed my mind.] A rhetorical and somewhat preachy line, but I’ll let it pass because it heightens the quiet but dramatic end of this piece.

[When I died, would this be the last sight I see?] *die. Keep the reader suspended!

[These men, human beings like you and I, have no real say in who goes and who doesn’t. We are all in the transition of life, both ignorant and hopeful. Therefore, I have no need for apology or ill temperament for their actions toward me.] Does the story mean to say that all of this is predestined? Somehow, the cogs of Fate turned and decided he should die on a cold day like this in tattered rags in his own garden, and that Fate had just used three men to oversee his life’s end? And to say that “we are all in the transition of life, both ignorant and hopeful”, does this mean to say that hopes are false and ignorance of the situation is commonplace? If we are transitory, do we not have choices or free will? Or are we just continual vehicles for the next catalyst, and the next, and the next?

The way the speaker handles all this is graceful and taken in stride. He’s admirable for this reason, but I never felt much terror in this story. But more the tranquility that comes after acceptance and resignation, which, in itself is a bit sad.

[My apologies to the reader but, like life, the reasons in which I’ve come to die, will remain a mystery much like the world after.] Douglas Adams explores this in his story, “Life, the Universe, and Everything”, this concept of transcribing things that have long lost meaning but still maintain their physical traditions. The motives get lost in accounts and things are still left unsaid. The planet Krikkit goes on a terrible galactic rampage and kills billions and destroys hundreds of worlds in the course of two hundred years, and millions of years later, the planet Earth has the game Cricket, which, coincidentally and ironically, expresses the fate of the planet Krikkit in a terribly dull sport that no one really likes, but the rest of the universe scoffs at their insensitivity. But the earthlings have an ignorance toward the rest of the universe and what goes on. Is it human nature to fumble this way through life and intent? We might never know.

[But it is in this world, the only constant that we share, where we can find the reality of all things, through and through, in a hanged man surrounded by reason, plan and action.] Brilliant sentence structure, brilliant ending- except for one thing: “But it is in this world, the only constant that we share- where we can find the reality of all things, through and through, in a hanged man surrounded by reason, plan and action.” The speaker seems to be the object in which times orbits. He possibly stands for Humanity. Humanity is the catalyst, also the inflicted and affected, the by-product surrounded by Destiny, Pre-Destiny/Fate, mobility of thought, the collision of everyone’s thoughts and hopes and dreams. Each person is a testament to their era, but also to timelessness. The same concepts of old-fashioned thinking, innovative thinking, and present actions will exist in every era, every place in time. It’s like fashion trends. Same people wearing different clothes that reflect the time and place.

The final chapter is brief, sparse, and spares my poor brain for being wrecked further by any of these concepts. Very good length for each of the chapters. The symbolism and parallels of thought were breathtaking. I’m running out of awesome adjectives for this awesome story. hahahaha

Extremely well-brought forth, great approach, very classy in its delivery and full of originality (even when it echoes time and space in entirety)- refer to other criticism before this for general statements about the piece. It’s 2:41 and I’m tired of break dancing for the evening.

This was a great read, and I’m proud to say that is has a full-fledged, cataclysmic 5 out of fuckin’ 5.

Rock on, Monochrome Lovers.
6/27/2006 c4 The Breakdancing Ninja
The Breakdancing Ninja gives this chapter a 4 ¾ out of 5. He wanted it to be as close to a 5 as possible even when he hasn’t read the whole piece yet. Twice his document shut down on him because he was typing too fast, purely excited by what he was reading. The piece still has great things to accomplish, but it should be shipped to a person who has been really published to give it a few extra trimmings. Then, it should be submitted for review by an actual committee in a contest of a magazine. It’s that amazing. Refer to the criticism below for more!

[This man, though different in many forms to the others, was very similar to myself both physically and ideologically if only for a small disparity that made us opposite of one another.] This is one of the nicest pieced-together sentences I’ve seen in a while from anyone. It has a great rhythm and makes complete sense. Plus, it’s its own cliff hanger. Its structure is beautiful and shouldn’t be touched.

[I found this man to be the executioner; the “doer”, the live wire, the assertive type that takes on the task head on after the matter has been discussed.] What’s scary is that he’s the “assertive” one that has the power to signal the speaker’s death at any moment. When did the speaker and writer give this man so much power over the story’s life? What makes him the omega? This is another beautifully phrased sentence, that, likewise, should also remain untouched.

[If the old man gave reason to the terms in which I should expire, and the young man plan out the events which would lead to my demise, then this middle-aged gentleman similar to myself was the one to set the plan in motion and make the event possible.] *planned. I think the words “expire” and “demise” in the same run-on sound tedious and a little tacky. A suitable, but optional rewrite would be: “If the old man gave reason, and the young man planned out the events, then this middle-aged gentleman similar to myself was the one to set the plan in motion and make the execution possible.” It keeps from bludgeoning three ways to say ‘death’ down to one clean and flowing sentence.

[The reasons I give for claiming that this man and I were comparable yet dissimilar lie in the very aspect of our (the man and I’s) human tendencies.] I could see why you have the parenthetical expression. But you were probably reading it in your head. Read it aloud. You’ll see it isn’t needed. The subject remains consistent throughout the whole sentence and doesn’t diverge. It’s safe for you to remove the parentheses.

[We have known each other since childhood, taking on similar interests and dislikes. However, it was in this adolescent stage that we learned to compliment one another’s personalities, compensating one’s social abnormalities with the others expertise in the manner.] *other’s. *expertise in manner, expertise of the matter. Excellent. They’re like yin and yang.

[It was in this that he developed qualities that I did not have and in turn I developed the qualities that he did not attain.] This has the same small problem that the ‘death’ sentence (pun hahaha) had. Just keep it simple, the chapter has an amazing build that shouldn’t be distracted by word variation. Just add a quality after the first “have”: “It was in this that he developed qualities that I did not have, and in turn I developed the qualities that he did not have.” Attain was used in the right context in the original sentence though, which is laudable. People can’t really tell the difference and use it and “obtain” interchangeably.

[In a way, together we were one complete mind but apart we were two very different people.] Okay, be careful with the analogies. Because about four (or five) sentences already said the same thing with just a little more build up. Basically, ‘he and I are similar, but different.’ Expressing the same concept over and over again could frustrate the reader into feeling foolish and babied. If you could possibly cut one or two of the sentences away and scrape off the excess, you could keep the piece fresh in the reader’s mind.

[The matter that I still rather leave undisclosed did not fall on the same chord with my double;] I like how the other man is referred to as a “double”. And using same “chord” instead of “frequency” or “intent” gives the image of two instruments in harmony.

I could imagine a thing akin to sibling rivalry between these two, since they’re civilly discussing their “latest achievements” with one another and having a cosmic debate. It must have been like this even since childhood, which of course, is sort of unbearable and hard to manage after a while.

They both seem to share that vintage quality to them, sharing conversation over cups of tea is diplomatic and old.

I wonder what kind of achievement the speaker made to warrant an accusation about its abnormality? Is the speaker a socialite, a scientist, a philosopher, an inventor, an artist? Or is he a versatile renaissance man? Those things are pretty interesting, and it’s weird, but I like that the story doesn’t feel the need to explain too much about character background. They seem to be living symbols more than they are people, which, to some readers might be very artistic and wonderful, and to others, quite frustrating. I find it artistic and liberating. The only thing I dislike is that the story keeps dangling this carrot in front of me, reminding me and making me feel as if I’m the only one that doesn’t know why the speaker’s being executed.

[“I am not a simple man. You know that better than I A,”] That’s a bold statement. I think people might wonder if the “A” is a typo, so, it would be best to try for: “I am not a simple man. You know that better than I, A.,” But it still sounds like, “eh?” done wrong. You probably don’t even need to use names. But, it does add a bit of incognito to have aliases that aren’t revealed.

[He breathed my name at a snail's pace, though it often rolled off his tongue quite easily. He continued.] This is already the second reference to his manner of speech to be like breathing, which makes him more sensual, sneaky and feminine.

[He took it upon himself to disclose to me his distaste for the people who live in this present day. In his excursions among his office’s neighboring streets he found it difficult to find someone fully willing to attend to matters at hand with a sense of propriety in how and with what they worked. He had no patient ear for the idle ponderings of angry old men and dreaming children. “Old men are too ignorant to change and young men cannot accept what is already here, before their eyes.”] This is an extremely loaded passage that expresses (possibly) the speaker’s sentiments as well as a big chunk of the story’s sentiments. Since he and the speaker seem to be North and South pole on the same compass, sharing the same vertical line of thought, it could be said that the story consciously agrees with him, too. He is frustrated with the lazy ethics of ‘today’s’ world, he loathes the past and scoffs the future with equal disdain. Where does he belong, then, if he hates all the tenses? Who is this double, and who is the speaker? [“Then, if that’s true, who are you in this world?”… “Who am I? It is more the question ‘Who are you?’”] Does the story mean to say they don’t belong in any time frame? Or is it to say they are both timeless?

[I was greatly enamored with his words, the old man to the right of me and the boy at my feet, both of whom fit their proposed roles, seemed to me like pieces to a puzzle, representing the cosmic order of this century and more than likely the one before it.] *pieces of a puzzle. Excellent. The words are brimming in this chapter, overflowing with thought, resentment, passion, questions, exquisite expressions. “cosmic order of the century”- that’s what this story is getting at. It’s an exploration of world views in terms of values, whether they are old-fashioned, innovative, or completely for the present. The piece itself is suggest timelessness, that no matter what period you are in, there will always be such a thing as old-fashioned and innovative. This means, then, time never really moves like people think it does. The fourth dimension moves in a straight line, or rather, we are walking on a treadmill of aging, where the state of things physically change, but the interiors never do. Amazing.

[“But in the end the child becomes the old man F. This is just a transition.”] this is the almighty dis. The rebuttal to the story, but not the solution. Anton Chekhov suggests that it’s not an artist’s job to come up with answers to questions/problems, but to actually formulate the question/problem clearly and successfully, and to suggest what answers may be, ultimately leaving it up to the reader. The speaker bears this torch and says, ‘Though the real issue of time is still a mystery, I’ll tell you one thing- it goes on, and so do all of us.’

I think that would provide an adequate for just about anyone to be hung, especially when the person they’ve just completely burned is passionate about a certain way of living and it’s totally squelched by an obvious, general, inevitable, and universal truth. That was one hell of a way to end.

The conversation itself lacked a bit of power, diminished a tad bit by the narration, but the piece as it is- it’s remarkable and is possibly the best chapter in the piece, save possibly the last one, which I still have to read. I’m going to read it right now! Nearing the strike of one! This story is a total rush, and has to be read under extreme concentration- not because the concepts are hard to grasp, but just because they are presented raw and simply just waiting to be fully digested.

The kink about pieces like this is that not many people want to think about solutions. They want to be spoon fed morals, which is essentially what Hollywood does to make the eye candy binge a less guilty ritual. But it’s pieces like this one. Goddamn pieces like this one that go in more favorite stories. Of course, I still have one more chapter to go and I don’t know its length, but it’s safe to say that it could and MUST be one of my favorite stories. Great job on this chapter, Monochrome Lovers.
6/23/2006 c3 The Breakdancing Ninja
The Breakdancing Ninja gives this a 4 out of 5, for smoother language and a good in-story debate about the story itself provided… by the story itself. Refer to the criticism below for further details.

So the old, ignorant man provided the reason for the speaker’s execution, and the kid is the hip, up-to-date innovative one who sets up the “plan”, whether it’s the accusation or the vehicle of execution. He’s the one who dreams of “the possibility of things”.

Even the speaker is obsolete, as if the relationship between him and that old man who says “Galinger!” is now the inverse between the speaker and the hoodie kid.

The story recognizes it’s voice, and in a weird conversation with itself, an argument, it tries to enforce the idea that its language is infallible, and shouldn’t be mocked by the young (or young-minded). The thing about stories trying to convince themselves that they’re this way or that way adds for reasons for the readers to sneer at it- because usually, people (not just stories) who try to convince themselves are unsure and full of issues. The story has a lot of issues it touches down on, and especially the idea of what is “hip”, “new” or “socially acceptable” in terms of writing. It mentions “form” and “grammar” and the infallibility and timelessness of it all. What makes this story strange is the fact that, it is a meld of times. It isn’t about people in the past who walk and talk like people in the past. The story detects some lack in commonality, and what might arise if people came suspicious, so it squelches this young boy who has any idea that this might be a ridiculous notion, talking in a vintage style in a very contemporary story- and of course, the speaker is humble enough to give him his dues, or, in this case, give him a pay raise.

I don’t think the story has any reason to fear for its life. I don’t think the story needs to convince itself. Stories become disconnected when they try hard to make themselves authentic and less time relating. On a more general and universal analytical standpoint, the story happens to be correct: The Word is Infallible. It shouldn’t be mocked or jeered at. It is old and wide- why is then, that a fear pervades it?

This chapter seems to have no problem with language, which kind of made me grin. It seems to have made sure that it was completely infallible before it touched on this VERY touchy subject. It sort of trivializes the young reader as cynical and “hip” and eager.

[As I balanced and fidgeted, fighting the urge to tip on my heel or toe the strong grip of the young gentleman, whom I wouldn’t say I had Ill will toward nor a gratifying friendship with, held the stool in which I stood upon strongly.] “ill” is capitalized here, which I found especially gratifying.

[Like all young men of his age (seventeen), he was a dreamer.] Take out the parenthetical expression. A stupid reader might need that to help them out, but not an average to smart reader. His specific age isn’t important, I don’t think. Just as the old man’s wasn’t. Enough is implied through his character, which is thoroughly digested, and I mean it with sincerity. Take out the parenthetical expression.

[He fashioned short black hair, combed back, exposing a wide forehead.] This reminds me of the greasy-haired, well-to-do and fresh entrepreneur or business man, full of ideas. The slick thinker- which is what the slicked-back hair is, as well as the high forehead for a big brain and lofting thoughts. Amazing.

[In his eyes he had a tint of hazel, probably from his mother, which seemed to overlap a dark brown.] the color hazel has an apathetic, steely quality to it. It is a weird mixture with the usual connotation of brown which is plain and honest.

[He grinned a lot, many things running through his mind.] Grinning and thinking usually shows to me that someone is full of mischief.

[He’d often have his hands in a hooded sweater, gripping at things that may or may not be in his possession in attempt to surprise or worry others around him.] flawless, I really like this. It takes a small glimpse into delinquents in a short and sweet way. This chapter has an excellent start.

[He often dreamt of the possibility of things and spoke on more than one occasion of them to me in my garden when I employed him that fall to tend to my flowers, long dead I’ll have you know.] Loaded sentence. It’s strange how this kid, who seems to have no regard for the past, comes and sounds off his ideas to the speaker. And it’s even weirder that the speaker trusts this sort of kid to tend his garden. Surely, it’s better than the kid managing his accounting books, but it still seems strange and off-beat to me. The garden seems to be a place of consultation and resolution, of gossip and punishment. Sort of like the Garden of Eden- but disregard that. That’s tripe. The kid represents the fall season. A prelude to a bitter winter. It’s weird how the speaker mentions that the flowers are “long dead”. Like, long dead sentiment, or hope, or something to that effect.

[Once, in my study, I saw him roving in my garden through the window;] I can’t seem to picture any other appropriate place for a refined rich dude to like, see a garden except outside of a study. Or a parlor. Which is completely hilarious and totally vintage.

[walking around, enjoying the overlaying sculptures of my estate that were left by forgotten relations of long ago.] so, this place was inherited, huh? He’s the overseer of this estate, he invites all people- from the past and the present to enjoy life with him.

[I stepped out, inquiring his dealings, though not with animosity, but of curiosity and well wishing.] A humble narrator. But see the chapter 2 review to clear up discrepancies.

[(because I, at the time, knew not of his intentions for my demise)] This ALMOST warranted my attentions, but you’re in the clear. It only made me cringe a little. But it’s coherent.

I’m glad this kid has the decency to call an older person “sir” and not “man”.

[I replied. I failed to find any form of hilarity in the way in which I spoke.] I’ve never seen anything else italicized in the actual narrative part. I was about to analyze this, when I realized it’s just indicating a linguistic stress on the word “hilarity” to indicate his complete obliviousness. I’ll leave it alone.

[I stood firm, standing tall, head up like the surrounding statues.] He is the representative of those relations who he had already forgot. He is very much in the past, reflecting on the present and the future, which has an odd quality to it.

What I like is that the kid is frank and not all sneaky, subversive and like, side-winding. He’s straightforward and not too bitter.

[However, since when does one’s way of expressing oneself become obsolete? Was I just like the old man to the right of me; isolated in a world of my own design?] Ah, the focus of the chapter. Good questions.

[“A language becomes obsolete when people stop listening to it.”] The kid’s good.

[Still, for reasons undisclosed to the reader, they had sought to perform my death sentence with firm grips.] Stop that.

[I had done them no disfavor, but I have found their actions justified strangely enough.] “Done them no disfavor” is stretching too far. The actual, grammatically correct way of saying it is: ‘I have done nothing to warrant their disfavor of me’.

[I stress again, as I said about the man to my right I will say about the man at my feet, these men, despite their actions of this undisclosed matter, were normal men like you and I.] Striking out the “undisclosed matter” part, the rest of the sentence (and the message) could stay.

The chapter was pretty interesting- it’ll be cool to see how the other two deal with what’s going on, how the execution will look, if it’s showed at all (which it might not be), and all that. Things went a lot smoother in this chapter. But all the chapters so far had been pretty meaty. They’re real good reads. I’m happy to be able to review them.
6/22/2006 c2 The Breakdancing Ninja
The Breakdancing Ninja gives this a 4 out of 5. The language made him upset. He did an ultimate break dance and kicked straight through the monitor screen. Below is further explanation.

Alright, so we have three judges. Will they be expositions of his character, three concepts of life, three characters all their own to make up one super character?

[three men, all who I knew, stances on the matter at hand varied.] rofl. What the hell does this mean? “stances on the matter at hand varied”. I think, to give it (a little more) sense, “Three men’s, all who I knew, stances on the matter at hand varied.” It’s the fragment in between and the jumble at the end. I think you’re trying to say, their stance on life/whatever varied. So it would even better to say: “three men whose stances on the matter at hand varied (adverb, like, “tremendously” is optional)- I knew them all.” You probably don’t even need the “I knew them all”, because the next sentence talks about the speaker knowing them. But altogether, “I looked down upon my judges, three men whose stances on the matter varied. (I knew them all.)]” This would be more coherent, so people don’t have to back-pedal. The first chapter was flawless with doing that. You might want to consider revising that sentence.

[The man in whom I favored the least, whom I bid no displeasure in meeting however, was the man at my right.] The sentence structure makes me twitch, but I‘ll let it slide. It’s three times better than “sigh at the wonderment of nature” rofl.

[That day he stood quietly, a straight back parallel to the neighboring pine.] Interesting imagery going on here.

[His eyes did not look upon me, though his lips trembled like mine did. His disposition was regretful if anything, though I could not muse to understand his disfavoring of the matter; he was, after all, the one who found reason to hang me in the first place.] This has pretty good exposition. A quivering man who’s probably guided by his feelings from moment to moment. “though I could not muse to understand his disfavoring of the matter” really sticks out like a sore thumb. I think it would just be better (and more refined, less pretentious) to say: “though I could not understand his disfavoring of the matter”.

The first paragraph has “favor” and “disfavor”. I don’t remember what I was going to say about that. I’ll just move on.

Uh-oh, and now the story is gravitating away from the execution and going the Pulp Fiction route. This is pretty advanced stuff that not even I have tried (or even seen) on Fictionpress.com yet. This is going to be interesting.

[a clean face for every matter.] Those prim and proper gentlemen who shave and look nice for executions, bringing their pimp canes. [He wore a heavy hat, black and tall, strange for this century.] Like the Monopoly mascot, except without the Pringles’ mustache.

[n pleasant strolls, taken around my estate, he was good company; often speaking wildly, flushing his cheeks, reminiscing the old days.] Okay, so we know that the speaker isn’t poor, he’s surrounded by affluent men. But I can’t imagine this prim and proper guy running around beating the shit out of his colleagues. The “rags” mentioned in the first chapter don’t match up to me anymore. Maybe the speaker should die a gentleman, in a nice suit for the occasion. It would probably be more fitting. As for the term “flushing his cheeks”, sounds as if the toilet were flushing in his cheeks- the better phrase would be “his cheeks flushed”. “often speaking wildly, his cheeks flushed, reminiscing the old days”. I’m not like, sure about the word “reminiscing”, and whether it’s supposed to be “reminiscing ABOUT the old days”, “reminiscing OF the old days”, or “reminiscing THE old days”. Yeah, so I can’t comment on that.

[He would say, choking on the “r”, calling me what he called his grandchild, far out of reach now, living on the east coast of Florida.] Like a peevish British voice? This sentence implies that he treats the speaker as a surrogate grandchild. He has an interesting role.

[“Galinger, this world will not change for me,” speaking quite strongly, with a firm grip on his viewpoint, “Because I refuse to change it!”] My regard for fragments between dialogue- it’s best to use dashes. “‘Galinger, this world will not change for me-” speaking quite strongly, with a firm grip on his viewpoint “-because I refuse to change it!” No more comma necessary, and its function works a little stronger when read aloud.

[His entire life revolved around the cycle of life in which this sphere of clouds and dirt had no longer any part of.] “clouds and dirt”, a very exotic way of saying “heaven and earth” or “sky and ground”. That’s awesome.

[He drove in an antique wagon of sensual design, impractical for this day and age and wore apparel not seen on any normal day except on stages and colorful performances.] hahaha He IS the Monopoly mascot! “sensual design” has a nice curve to it. And any dude that wears a tail coat was usually considered a butler after it went out of style, so yeah, I could imagine. Rofl

[I one day commented, in friendly conversation, that the world was more than what once was.] So the speaker’s in touch with the shift in time, whereas his surrogate grandfather is not. The appropriate version of the sentence, though, would be “that the world had become more than what it once was”. Reading it aloud, it makes more sense.

[“The day does not end in one night, dear friend.” I said,] As if it to insinuate, time goes on? Not as clear as the sentence that comes before it.

[at the time scratching a sore on my wrist attained by reasons I’ve already forgotten.] smallpox, measles, or syphilis. Hahaha [“You do not see this irritation? Will it not be cured? Will it not disappear the next day?”] Depending on what disease it is…

[Offended, my friend narrowed his eyes, and picked up his cane. “If I strike at it, yes! Reside still it will!”] This makes me cringe. “Reside still it will!” Guh.

[We laughed, though I could feel that he still felt insulted.] The speaker is pretty in touch with his intuition. He’s got a good balance of feminine and masculine qualities to him.

[Bringing it up was like telling the world a trusted secret between close friends.] The predicament of The Emperor Without Clothes On.

[I might go as far to say, that such conversation contributed to my current position, nevertheless, I knew it was he that gave reason to this execution.] The “nevertheless” works here. And yeah, I could believe that people could think of all sorts of stupid reasons to take drastic measures. It’s all a matter of how peeved they are. To be put to death for talking about something impractical that a friend might be habitually doing is pretty… well, it’ll lend to what I have to say about the chapter, so I’ll save it.

[Still, no offence to the reader, I prefer not to disclose such petty reason as not to tarnish the good name of these good people who until today,] Three things that peeve me about this. One, the person already said, ‘NO. Okay, I’m not telling you the reasons why I’m getting killed’- and then saying it again doesn’t seem polite but kind of like ‘I know something you don’t know’, and that’s never a good thing, especially with a humble, refined voice like this. A person with taste and good manners knows not to dangle something in front of someone else’s nose. Two, I think the speaker has already done his fair share of damage subtly in suggesting his surrogate grandfather’s impractical nature- the speaker basically said: ‘He’s a foolish old man, and on top of that, he makes rash decisions based on little comments that weren’t even meant to insult him’. To add a little salt to that, the speaker then goes on to say, ‘But you know, I’m not really trying to say anything bad, per se.’ And, three, the fact that he is talking to a reader and not to a listener pulls us out of the story and the scene to sort of condescend, which doesn’t help at all. That whole section could be eliminated for the good of the story, or be modified to kind of make it less glaring.

[, like my old friend with the trembling lip standing to the right of me, where normal people like you and I.] *were.

Alright, so, about the old man in the story. Whether he’s an impractical extension of the speaker, or his own personality, the more important part is the act of betrayal through misunderstanding. People often don’t realize that the things they say could cause so much insult and injury until the person lashes out at them. The old man is guided by impulse and old tradition, a person who cannot innovate himself- he is, as the story says, “isolated” for that reason. The more sensational parts of any person are usually formed through early childhood, especially certain habits and beliefs. Like leaving out cookies for Santa Claus. I never had a chimney, so I knew he wasn’t real from the start, but I thought the tooth fairy was real, as fruity as that was. We have a part of us that will always remain disconnected from everyone else because it is the part of us that is in the past, perpetually. Its ideals and principles and everything stays in the past and never fully transitions into the present. The fourth dimension of linear time inevitably leaves things in the backwash of space, regretfully. This old man seems to be that backwash. The fact that he tries to cling to new life, by making the speaker his surrogate grandchild, shows some inkling of him wanting to stay fresh and new- the secret life of this character is probably that he really DOES want to move on into the present, but it already seems like it’s too late- then, the psychology of him feeling apprehensive or regretful for the speaker gives me the feeling as if it’s his own execution he is reminded of. His death, his running out of time, his regrets and remorse.

Whether he is an allegory for the past, or for something deeper, he is interesting and really well inferred by the speaker.

The chapter was pretty good, its language was starting to bog it down, but it doesn’t take away from the exotic nature of the story. The story has a good sense of transcendent thought that remains consistent and all-knowing. The thing that worries me the most is that maybe the other characters might be more rendered and more digested than the main speaker of the story, and that won’t be good, because it’ll disconnect the reader (or the listeners) from him. He needs a little more personality, whether it’s humility or condescension or what have you. It just needs to be apparent and deliberate. What I like is that so far, the speaker has no concept of “protagonist” and “antagonist”, everyone’s considered “normal”. Good and evil doesn’t exist in this Garden of Thought. That appeals to me.

I’ll take a break, either a few hours or a day and I’ll come back to review the rest.

This is pretty cool, Mono. Rock on!
6/22/2006 c1 The Breakdancing Ninja
The Breakdancing Ninja gives this a 4 out of 5, because he cannot give a complete 5 until he sees the other chapters. The language made him want to not break dance for two seconds because it was awesome. Read below for the rest of the criticism.

The style is awesome, eclectic and vintage. It’s got a great, all-knowing voice.

William Faulkner had an awesome story where the speaker was ready to be hanged, and then he had a dream of escaping home to his wife, but he was hella thirsty and died choking, but in all actuality, he had been thinking it up the few seconds before the platform bottomed out from under him. It was hella riveting. I don’t expect it to be like that, I mean, that would be like copying William Faulkner. I just think it should stay linguistically suspenseful, meaning, I don’t want the piece to burn out and run short of imagery and awesome things to say halfway.

[I was hanged that day for reasons I no longer prefer to disclose.] Transcendent writing has always been the favorite among Fictonpress.com writers, but never really successful. People can only usually have an authentic experience thinking in retrospect when they’re thinking about their own lives, they do this at random intervals of pain or happiness and rarely ever really learn anything from it. The fact that the speaker wishes to keep his reasons for death disclosed shows a small snippet of who the character is- someone who really doesn’t care for those details. Unless they have something to hide. The safest route would then be to unfold his circumstances through the other characters and make it the main focus. We’ll see what happens with that.

[his grey coat’s sleeve running up short revealing a naked wrist.] That one its own is just a great image. It gives me a bit of exposition as to what this story is. It’s going to reveal something raw. At least, it’s my hope.

[The morning was freezing in the garden, like an old winter from a couple of years ago.] This all-knowing person can reach far back into the past even after his death. The setting is appropriate. A cold, intimate setting. To be executed in a garden is to die in a miniature heaven, which is a courtesy.

[I walked in my mother’s hand as a child in this very same meadow] I thought I was reading, “I walked hand-in-hand with my mother as a child” but, apparently, it’s “I walked in my mother’s hand”, which, literally, means that the speaker was bite-sized and could fit in his parent’s palm.

[looking up at a straight branch that accommodated plump, jostling birds at nest,] This is a pretty hostile image to remember. “Jostle” means something to the effect of “elbowing” or “pushing” or “pick pocketing”. The only birds I see with that particular quality are devoid of grace and pretty ravenous- vultures. The term “jostling” looks happy, but it has a very rough connotation to it, and, strangely enough, this is the same rope being hung from that same branch. It’s appropriate. The whole sentence together, first being in the safety of mom’s hand, and now being delivered by a rope has an unsettling transition, it’s very movie like, where the kid looks up at the branch and sees the birds, the camera pans into the tree, then lowers to reveal where the rope was, following the rope down to see the child as a grownup, waiting to be hanged.

[the same branch that now tethered a thick rope that hung down around my neck,] What’s even better is the word “tether”, which is usually used to “restrain” children or animals on leashes. It’s excellent. The transition is very subtle, flawless, subconscious and in-the-zone. [waiting to strangle me.] As if the rope is gurgling with glee to do this.

[A chill ran down my whole being; my sentence drawing closer to its hour.] People often get confused with semi-colons. Rule of thumb is, a semi-colon only connects independent clauses together. “My sentence drawing closer to its hour” on its own is a fragment. Poetic license has its limitations. Try a comma instead of a semi-colon.

[My eyes wandered, striking every corner.] This is great. The nervous tension. I’ve never heard anyone use “striking every corner” in reference to eyes darting about. That’s awesome.

[Beams had dug through a cloud and had hit my brow.] Another excellent sentence. The way you use words and meanings, and even sentences is really exotic- it has a great effect to it. But, I think, to make this sentence better, try it in active voice to stay in-scene and intense: “Beams dug through a cloud and hit my brow.” The idea of the sun “digging” through clouds is appropriate and refreshing. Seeing the tops of clouds and the sun piercing through really has the effect of beams digging through a white, soft valley. Awesome.

[I winced as a wind brushed by, waving my clothes, thin and ravaged, like a dirty flag.] So he’s in rags, huh? They beat him before they decided to hang him? Or was he always this poor? “like a dirty fag” has powerful imagery to it. His voice sounds really rich and refined, but he’s dressed in rags. That’s pretty peculiar.

[It was regretful that I didn’t take pleasures in such sights as the one before me that day.] We often don’t until it’s too late.

[It was regretful that I did not smile at purple clouds or magenta skies.] Again, interesting exotic imagery, the colors, everything. “Purple” clouds, “magenta” skies borders on poetic melodrama, but the only reason why it evades looking pretentious is because the whole story is riddled with goods.

[It was regretful that I could not sigh at the very wonderment of nature that tore at peoples’ souls slowly, like a drop of liquid dripping down a glass.] *people’s, because “people” represents a plural of person. Kind of like, “women’s underwear” instead of “womens’ underwear”. Okay, even if this sentence is pretty, I think it’s too much. This is when the voice starts sounding fake. Before this, the voice was unassuming, observant, calm- and it gets here- [really OVERDONE British voice] “It’s really a -pity- that I couldn’t drink some lovely tea today.” That’s what it sounds like. I think it’s the phrase “sigh at the very wonderment of nature”. Not even Nathaniel Hawthorne says that. Only Jane Austen says that.

Actually, I think it’s the whole phrase, “I could not sigh at the very wonderment that tore at people’s souls slowly”, and I don’t understand the correlation to a drop of liquid dripping down a glass, except to say it runs slowly and painfully down in the summer. In any case, I think it would be best to be more straightforward and say: “It was regretful that I couldn’t take in this sight longer” or something to that effect. [Perhaps that was why I was to be hanged.] The fact that the speaker sort of doesn’t know why he’s being executed scares me. Or maybe, he’s thinking about the underlying reasons of why he’s being hanged and not the actual reasons. The whole idea of not appreciating things before you go is a real big regret. I could see it.

[Nevertheless, my knees shook, my wrists twisted, bounded in the back by rusty cuffs, locked likewise around my ankles.] “Nevertheless” is a word that is to be used after someone says something that is inevitably A and says something to the effect of but B. “I was completely tired and couldn’t go on. Nevertheless, I ran.” Omit “Nevertheless”, and the sentence will have more power to it, and it’ll end this short, crisp and sweet chapter quite nicely.

Excellent language, it’s actually doing well. People who write in this sophisticated, ultra passive voice usually have a hard time sounding authentic, but it works real well here. I was enjoying dissecting it all. I’ll probably just dissect larger concepts in the following chapters if they’re larger than this chapter, but for now, this was awesome. I’ll take a break and move on to the next chapter.

Keep this up, it’s awesome. Monochrome Lovers.
6/20/2006 c1 Sparrow Still Sings
This is very interesting.A bit hard to read and concentrate on because in this first chapter the text is so bunched up together. On the other hand though, the bunched upness of it does give a certain frenzied rush to it. The last ponderings of a dying man. So in a way it does indeed fit.

I usually pick out my favorite line or sentence in a review, but in this piece so far almost every sentence is beautifully written in its own way. How our hangman is comparing days past to what is happening now – listing off regrets of things he did not do but now realizes things he should have done.

So far – this is very gripping in a certain way. Onto thee next chapter now!

- Sparrow(oh and thank you for your review)

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