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Highways

by YellowSweater


It’s a clear day. The sky is blue. The grass is green. And we are driving down the highway. The journey is marked by spastic bursts of conversation and a chunkily categorized landscape. I press my nose to the glass and point. There go the suburbs, the farmlands, the mountains. We are squished between moments, reckoning with a folded horizon.

A highway is a strip of land, paved over, with bold yellow stripes running down its center. It’s a dead snake. It’s everything it has crushed, everything it has pushed to its periphery. And it’s nothing, a vacuum with the sole purpose of transporting our consciousness from one location to another. A highway is a portal forced to exist in conventional space. It’s a portal stretched thin.

My cousin says she finds the dirty dive bars and mangy strip malls, the nameless, thousand-mile purgatory outside the parapet, enticing. She says that everything looks more cohesive when viewed from another dimension. But I am repelled. This vantage point, this collage-like impression of time, of space, is pieced together from glances out the window. And in the rare moments of clarity, moments when the clock strikes twelve, the world is revealed with merciless explicitness. It’s unnatural to see things for what they are: flimsy, made from flimsy angles.

Surrealism makes me profoundly uncomfortable. The components of a scene, of an emotion, are exposed. But it’s like experiencing space without time's wave-like lull. There is nothing holding the components together, just sporadic glances out the window. 


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34 Reviews


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Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:17 pm
waywardxwallflower wrote a review...



This piece is ,,, stunning. Every time I read something from you I'm astounded at your skill. This piece perfectly sums up the surreal and eerie feeling of road trips and travelling down highways and passing through places where some people build their lives. My own opinion definitely syncs up more with your cousin's, but this piece is super interesting and well-written. I have no critiques, but there are a few phrases which stood out to me.

"We are squished between moments, reckoning with a folded horizon." I have no words to express how lovely this line is??? The way you bring time into this piece and almost weave it between words is so beautiful and well done.

"A highway is a portal forced to exist in conventional space. It’s a portal stretched thin." AAAAAAA. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. This is SO accurate and it's put in such a beautiful way??? Writing exists most often to attempt to convey feelings which are difficult to convey, but you've put it perfectly here.

The entire piece is so beautiful and profound and yet so very simple. It's something we all experience but you've described it so well. Wonderful






Aw! Thank you so much! You made my day :)





Also, sometimes my view is more is more like my cousins, other times it%u2019s like what I wrote. Depends on my mood (and the highway lol)





feel that and aa i%u2019m glad!! your writing is seriously amazing



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Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:17 pm
starlitmind wrote a review...



Hey hey! ^_^ I saw this lovely piece in the green room, and decided to leave a review! <3 I'll give you my thoughts along the way and end with overall impressions c:

It’s a clear day. The sky is blue. The grass is green. And we are driving down the highway. The journey is marked by spastic bursts of conversation and a chunkily categorized landscape.


Wow okay, I really love the contrast between the very simple and straightforward beginning sentences ("the sky is blue") and then the descriptive, beautifully phrased last sentence. I think it was shocking to read in the best way possible, and I feel like the writing style almost matches the landscape -> it can give off a "chunky" feel with short/long sentences, just like the landscape c: so I love how your writing mirror the landscape, I thought that was neat! ^_^

There go the suburbs, the farmlands, the mountains. We are squished between moments, reckoning with a folded horizon.


The latter sentence is really gorgeous c: I love your use of the word "squished" -> the narrator describes seeing so many things at once (suburbs, farmlands, mountains) so it can give that "squished" feel. I love your word choice!

This could totally be just a me thing, so feel free to ignore if you don't agree! c: I was just thinking that the second and first paragraph are really different , and that makes the transition a little odd? Like the first paragraph is description, and the second one feels like fact telling, if that makes sense? Like "a highway is this" and it's just a-matter-of-fact? I hope that makes sense xD so they just felt pretty different from each other. But again, this could be just a me thing :)

I love your highway metaphors! I love how you start from the general definition and then branch off from there - I love the idea of it being a "portal stretched thin" -> it's an easy metaphor to follow and understand, but it's also super unique and unexpected

My cousin says she finds the dirty dive bars and mangy strip malls, the nameless, thousand-mile purgatory outside the parapet, enticing.


Ahh your language <3 I love the alliteration you have going on in here ("dirty dive" and "purgatory outside the parapet" and "mangy strip malls"). It makes this all the more fun to read and adds to that poetic sense I'm getting from this. Your word choice is my favourite part of your writing c:

But I am repelled.


Love how you switched to a shorter sentence in the midst of longer ones to add to the variety :)

There is nothing holding the components together, just sporadic glances out the window.


Oh, and then you bring it right back to the beginning with the glancing out of windows idea! I love that full circle, it was subtle and worked really well for me ^_^

ahh I really enjoyed this piece! I agree with Zenaida, I think the ending summed it up really nicely. I love how you chose to portray this idea of "surrealism making you uncomfortable" -> you did it through a simple drive on the highway, and it's awesome how you were able to take such a simple thought and craft it into something complex.

I hope these thoughts prove useful to you in someway! c: Can't wait to read more from you soon, and I hope this helped!






Thank you so much for your review! it definitely helped. And I am planning on working on the transitions:) It's good to know when they feel awkward. Thanks again for your lovely comments!



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Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:08 pm
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Zenaida wrote a review...



Hi there! I've never reviewed before, so excuse any mistakes I might make! ^^

The first paragraph reminds me of Richard Siken, more specifically his poetry in the book titled Crush. It's definitely because of the imagery being simple yet showcased in a way that fully incorporates all of the potential for emotions and consciousness.

The shorter sentences seem to help your writing. There is an overhanging feeling of sentimentality in the simplicity, and I believe that shines through more with the overall topic you've written about. Car rides have so many possibilities from crossing states to getting groceries at the store, so that's really fun at times.

Now I bring up "We are squished between moments, reckoning with a folded horizon" because it brings up this outlook of urgency. The voice created by the storyteller is in a car while someone is driving, and a commute ends at some point in time when the people in the car have reached their concluding destination.

Moving onto the next paragraph, I feel like I am missing the point of "It’s a dead snake" and the following images. There was imagery that felt like a paradise too perfect to be true when I started reading, but this is completely torn away from all of that. It's more negative in atmosphere, which can be pulled off if prepared for correctly.

I also feel the same way about the next paragraph, which is also disconnected slightly. I believe the cousin was the other person in the car from the way she is introduced to the setting, but having her jump in so quickly detached the original sensations from earlier areas and made them become hidden.

I adore that ending! I think I agree wholeheartedly with the message of the first sentence, and then the next one was detailed and proficient. I also think the ending sentence really concluded the journey the storyteller went on nicely.

I hope this review helped you some! This was a blast to read!

- Aida :3






Thank you so much for your review and your thoughts! I agree that it jumps around a bit. I'll try to make the transition smoother in the next draft.




You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
— Anne Lamott