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Evenings with Family

by hannah314159

From time to time, whenever they come to my grandparents’ house, I allow myself to act younger than I am alongside my cousins in their backyard. We play tag while our joyful shouts weave into a sonata played by an instrument that melts all of our trivial worries and frustrations. It attracts the eyes of neighbors, who peek out from behind their curtains at the noise that to some seem too loud but to those who understand like music. Sometimes their eyes narrow at the noise, but even in the grumpiest of people, somewhere deep inside a spark of memory is lit… Whether or not is ignites cannot always be determined but sometimes their eyes brighten, their faces relax and they open the curtains. They put their hands under their chins and watch as our bare feet turn green with dewy grass while the sky turns orange and then becomes an ombré of yellow, green, and blue. We call it night when the first star shines down on us. We lay on the grass and the people who watched close the curtains. We jokingly pretend that the sky is a blanket and that the stars are lanterns shining through from the other side. I show them constellations and don’t feel so young anymore. But no matter how old I get I will always remember those happy occasions in which all of my worries became a distant memory that floated away on the wind.

Looking back and to the future, I know that those memories can’t be truly brought forth by just thinking about them. It doesn’t do it justice, because those times are so scarce and unique that only the same senses experienced at that time can make me feel the same way. The aroma of wet grass and pumpkin pie has never reminded me of anything but those days. And I’ll never forget the sound of the men's laughter, my grandpa’s deep voice, the women comforting frustrated children, my grandma sighing at the “adult boys” when they told less than appropriate jokes and even at the mildest of swear words all the while innocently giggling, and our happy screams when we almost got tagged all at once. Only a picture of the “cousin tree” in their backyard surrounded by lava rock, behind the grass that is behind the roses (that are and always will be the color of sunset) will truly remind me of how I felt then. Grandma’s infamous pumpkin pie and scalloped potatoes are the best tastes that have ever danced upon my tongue. And finally, how the evening breeze that signals dusk tickled our bare feet as we marched inside because of the cold, and the sudden warmth from the fireplace that chased us back outside, laughing, is the best I’ve ever felt. There will always be hard times and when we are far away from each other we will miss each other, but I can always feel some of the wonderful euphoria strong enough to last the rest of my life.

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26 Reviews

Points: 301
Reviews: 26

Fri Jun 24, 2022 8:10 am
saadamansayyed wrote a review...

Hiya Hannah!

I'm here for a quick review.

I really liked this essay. This is marked as 'Lyrics: Lyrical, Literature' in categories and genre, and I think this can be corrected by going to the Publishing Center tab. That being said, here's my review.

Its not often that I get this overwhelming sense of nostalgia from reading a personal essay like this. I like that this narrative is woven together like a story that somebody's grandma may tell, which is very on-theme here.

I really like how you take pleasure in the smallest of things -- the evening breeze and the backyard grass. I like how you visualize these stories -- the metaphors and descriptions being very on point.

Some examples:
'Grandma's infamous pumpkin pie and scalloped potatoes are the best tastes that have ever danced upon my tongue.'
Or the way you described the nighttime sky as a blanket with these stars as peeping blankets.

Some suggestions:
While this story structure works very well in spoken word form, it gets quite tedious and somewhat dizzying to skim through long sentences. Shorter sentences are preferable as such.

Anyways, I really enjoyed this piece.

Keep on writing, young writer!

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551 Reviews

Points: 61489
Reviews: 551

Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:13 pm
RandomTalks wrote a review...


RandomTalks here with a short review!

This was a very wholesome read! I loved the feeling of nostalgia that could be felt in every line of the piece. It felt as if we were getting a glimpse into the narrator's memory of her childhood days, something that is deeply personal and special. I loved the way you have presented the past through the present tense, making it seem as though those days and moments cherished with the narrator's family are not over, but are simply waiting for everyone to realize the essence of this forgotten childhood. It brings a sense of finality to the thought that childhood indeed is an irreplaceable part of one's life.

The story/essay felt like a warm and comfortable hug (don't know if that made sense). Sometimes it read like poetry, especially with some of the imageries you have included with the sky and the stars and the green dewy grass. I could very well imagine the narrator playing in the backyard with their cousins and this easy visual representation brought a smile to my face. I also liked how you presented the neighbors as though they were outsiders like us, looking in and trying to appreciate this fleeting glimpse of innocence and joy before they have to move on with their respective lives.

However, there are some points that I feel you could work on. Like Miss Gangamash pointed out, the story does lack structure. The second paragraph seemed to come off as a repetition of the first paragraph, but with more details and character references like with the men, women and the Grandparents. All of those add a very personal touch to the piece, but it works better if you can lay it within a structure that works for you. Otherwise, your readers might get confused about what they are supposed to take from the story even though your message is clear and apparent from the very beginning.

Also, I think you should try to avoid so many long sentences. While long sentences can be used to create a kind of literary effect in the narration, more than often we put so much content in them that the real meaning that we are trying to convey gets lost between all those words. For example, that sentence where you are portraying significant memories with all these different individuals, I think it will work better if you give each memory some space to develop on their own instead of stringing them all together in a single sentence. That way they leave a greater impact and feel more significant.

That's all!

Keep writing and have a great day!

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278 Reviews

Points: 153
Reviews: 278

Wed Jun 22, 2022 2:04 pm
MissGangamash wrote a review...

Hello! Here to review!

I liked the energy of this piece. There is some beautiful imagery. I especially liked the sky being a blanket with the lantern light poking through. It gives a sense of comfort and secrecy and childhood when you'd build forts or stay up too late reading/ playing a game under the covers.

'It attracts the eyes of neighbors, who peek out from behind their curtains at the noise that to some seem too loud but to those who understand like music.' - the ending to this sentence reads a bit weird. I don't know if you missed a bit or cut it off.

I like the picture you've created of the family and all their little roles they play, and the mixture of nostalgia but also acceptance that that time is over.

Overall, I think there are really good parts to this piece but it needs a bit of reworking. It doesn't read like there is a solid beginning, middle and end. It's good to have a thread running through the story that ties it all together. You mention bare feet quite a bit, with the soles turning green with the grass (really like that) and then they're mentioned again with the dusk tickling their feet. You could use that as the thing weaving it all together. The last image could also be the narrators feet and how they've changed, maybe they're not bare anymore? Because the bareness of the feet is a symbol of childhood adventure and whimsy, and now maybe the feet are nestled in thick, comfy socks as the narrator sits by their fireplace.

Hope this helps!

We think in generalities, but we live in details.
— Alfred North Whitehead