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The Lily

by Mnms25


Sometimes when there is nothing to write, when there is no inspiration, all you can do is just write anyway. The words may be slow at first, like the soft trickle of a stream. But as your mind gets warmed up to the idea of writing, the words come faster and faster, like a cascade of water tumbling down, down, down. Writing is my solace. When the weight of life is so heavy that I just want to crumple and cry and give up, writing is the peace that lifts me up. Writing is the outlet for the imagination, and when there is no one to turn to, go to the paper and ink for comfort. Writing will never fail. At least, that's what I thought. But now... I'm not so sure.

This summer it's hot and heavy, the sun bearing down until there's no escape. There is no rain, and our plants withered like prunes, dried and forgotten in the dust. They were once beautiful, tall and proud. Flowers and trees and bushes, all unique and beautiful, all playing a role in helping us live. But one by one, they succumbed to the heat, stripping us of our resources.

The sun was merciless, and we soon grew very dehydrated. Our family was not poor. We lived a good life, growing crops and swimming in the streams and seeing the world as a great and wonderful adventure. And maybe it is. But all adventures have their highs and lows.

My whole family and I grew sick. My sweet baby sister was the first. The images of her parched lips and feverish skin still haunt me. But we stayed resilient. We kept trying.

But living things need food, water and sunlight. Although we had plenty of sun, there wasn't much of anything else. My older brother and sister were next.

It was very hard for me and my parents, especially my poor Mama. She was so distraught, she gave up. She lay on her mat and slowly drifted from our grasp.

I think there are stages of grief, and I'm trying to cope the best I can. I don't know how I lived so long, and my Father didn't either; he passed away the next day.

Alone and utterly downcast, I sat next to him and wept. It's just not fair that my whole family should die and I should be able to live. What have I done? I just don't deserve it.

But I didn't start writing to mourn. I'm writing because... Well, I don't even know now. But what I do know is that the rain will come. And it will be amazing. The cool breeze will brush against my skin and I will feel whole again... I hope. Tired of moping and crying, I decide to go outside. The sun is blistering and there's not a drop of water in the air, but it's better than the stuffy little cottage I've spent so much time in.

Feeling productive, I begin to search for any sign of food or life for the third time that week. I don't think there will be, for I may be the only one still alive. And then I see it. Small, thin, wilting. Yet still determined. A beautiful lily, its petals delicate. It is drooping and wilting, but its core remains strong, pulling water from the thirsty soil. It's a wonder! It lifts my spirits and I laugh and laugh.

Oh, that we could all be like that beautiful lily. Resilient, determined to push past our challenges and difficulties. Though life is not perfect, and it's not always fair, giving up is like accepting it.

Still marveling, I begin to hunt for more. And I find one. And another. Soon there is a wavering path of lilies!

The terrain is rough, but I push on over many hours. Finally, I see a tree and I feel a cool draft blowing in, eager and sweet. After a time, I discover a river. And I hear people laughing! I know them. By pursuing those wonderful lilies, I've found where I belong. And I hope to stay there for as long as I live.


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46 Reviews


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Reviews: 46

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Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:52 am
tgham99 wrote a review...



This is a lovely short story that kept me engaged throughout the entirety of it. While I do think that the opening could be modified a bit to move away from the common trope of "I'm writing to get away from everything", everything else about the story is moving and emotionally provocative.

I like that you split up the paragraphs instead of leaving any super long sentences or trains of thought. I personally have trouble staying interested in short stories because so many of them contain long chunks of text, but that wasn't the case here, so kudos to you for making good formatting decisions!

I also liked the metaphor of a lily representing relief, safety, and reassurance, which are three emotions that I felt as I read the ending of the story. I will say that I wish there was a little bit more detail in regards to what the narrator chooses to do with the lilies -- does he/she collect them? Bring them home? Or do they simply stand as a larger symbol of relief in the context of the trauma they've faced?

One last note: I feel like the last line in the story would have been made more impactful if it had stood alone as its own line, especially considering the fact that it starts with the word "and".

Aside from these suggestions, I very much enjoyed your short story. Wonderful job <3




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17 Reviews


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Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:41 am
-BlackThorne- wrote a review...



1.

When the weight of life is so heavy that I just want to crumple and cry and give up, writing is the peace that lifts me up.

the pieces of the metaphor are a bit incongruent, and could use some slight tweaking.
Example:
When the weight of life is so heavy I could crumple and cry and give up, writing is the peace that keeps me standing.


2.
They were once beautiful, tall and proud. Flowers and trees and bushes, all unique and beautiful, all playing a role in helping us live.

these should be combined for better flow and parallelism.

3.
But one by one, they succumbed to the heat, stripping us of our resources.

"stripping us of our resources" is a bit of a logical leap, and very awkward-sounding. you could try giving more of the steps that led to the deprivation.

4.
The sun was merciless, and we soon grew very dehydrated.

"dehydrated" is a bland description. something more vivid is needed here.
Example:
The sun was merciless, and our throats became parched with thirst.


5.
It was very hard for me and my parents, especially my poor Mama.

"it was very hard" is weak writing and should be revised.
Example:
It was hard on our family, especially my poor Mama.


6.
What have I done? I just don't deserve it.

this can be rephrased to get the point across better.
Example:
Why had they done that they deserved to die, and I deserved to live?


7.
Feeling productive, I begin to search for any sign of food or life for the third time that week.

"feeling productive" isn't needed, nor is "begin to". "the third time that week" also can be rephrased to get the point across better.
Example:
I search for food and any signs of life, despite that the other times I'd found none.


8.
Still marveling, I begin to hunt for more.

"still marveling" also isn't needed.

9.
The terrain is rough, but I push on over many hours. Finally, I see a tree and I feel a cool draft blowing in, eager and sweet. After a time, I discover a river.

this could be phrased to be more readable.
Example:
The terrain is rough, but I push on, until at long last, I see a tree, and I feel a cool breeze. It comes from a river.


10.
By pursuing those wonderful lilies, I've found where I belong. And I hope to stay there for as long as I live.
[/quote][/quote]
the ending theme of belonging doesn't really fit with the rest of the story.

that said, this story is really nice! :) keep up the good work




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55 Reviews


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Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:12 am
dahlia58 wrote a review...



The ending...By any chance, is the narrator...Anyhow, this short story is lovely. Your writing style is clear and easy to understand. The way you described the speaker's emotions is very convincing, yet not over-sentimental. I admired how the girl refused to stay in despair even after her relatives died from thirst. She's right, sometimes all we can do is write when everything seems hopeless...Putting our thoughts on paper or document helps us greatly in those times. Please keep writing. You're very good.




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38 Reviews


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Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:55 am
Tawsif wrote a review...



Hi, there!

Well, I liked the opening of your story. The description is kind of cliched, the way writing is difficult at first but slowly picks up and brings out the innermost emotions, but I liked it still. But you should keep in mind that because I'm a writer like you, any positive statement about writing will impress me. But that might not be the same with all your readers.

You have a good choice of words here. Your narrative is resonant, lively. Well done!

"But living things need food." I suggest you replace 'things' with 'beings', but that's just a personal suggestion. You can keep it the way it is.

'What have I done? I just don't deserve it.'

Prior to this sentence, you were writing in the past tense. Then you suddenly changed tense. Maybe you should stick to past tense here since you are describing things that happened in the past.

You have a gift of writing brilliant narrative, but perhaps you need more substance in your plot in order for your narrative to touch your readers' hearts. Trees wilting because of the sun, the poor family dies for the want of food, the little boy sees a lily and then finds more lilies in which he finds the meaning of life, the boy finds his own people at the end--this kind of plot requires more substance.

Work on your plot, then you can make the best use of your gift of narrative.

Keep writing! Always! Just like you said in this story!





It's all a matter of perspective. Everyone is the hero of their own story, and the villain of another's.
— James