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A Shooting Star's Adieu

by Zenith


The night sky has always been the epitome of our imagination, the intricate patterns of the constellations, the contrast of light against dark is truly an art in itself. All these easily make up for the lack of the multi-color beauty of a rainbow, the best the daylight has to offer. Yet it’s mundane, hardly noticed or appreciated. Nothing short of the extraordinary can grab our attention, and so that's what nature gives us. A dazzling sight that stops us dead in our tracks, stealing our breaths away-a meteor shower. Beautiful, isn't it? Just out of nowhere a bright streak of light would break through the darkness and put a sole claim on not just our vision but every other sense.

And every time a shooting star is mentioned, we take a trip down the memory lane. Relive one of those random moments from our childhood, when we had wished on a shooting star, believing with all our heart that it would come true. To be honest, it is still one of the most believed myths across the world, giving stories like Santa Claus and tooth fairy a tough competition. And we are only human to do so. We hope for miracles and pray to God. A shooting star is just one of those propagators of optimism, probably the brightest literally. But in all of these we leave behind the science of this phenomenon, the actual truth that a shooting star is not even a star. Scientifically speaking, it's just an asteroid which has lost its way and has become the victim of its own speed and the inescapable friction of the earth's atmosphere. Yes, that's what it is sadly. Mere rock and dust particles entering into our atmosphere at very high speed. Consequently rubbing against air particles, as a result of friction the meteors heat up and start burning, thus looking like stars in the process. This explanation has made it look pretty ordinary. But mother nature has hidden an Easter egg even in this supposedly mundane phenomenon. A moral. An enlightenment in disguise. As long as they were asteroids in the outer space, they were only rock pieces. Dust particles revolving around the sun aimlessly, lost in the universe's bigger design. But the moment they decided to step out of their comfort zone, be their own master and choose their own path, they became so much more than asteroids-a shooting star. Maybe they had to burn to nothingness in order to attain that perfection, but the end was worth striving for. The actual stars and the moon in the background paled in beauty and grandeur when compared. An object that was nothing before became the brightest of the night sky mesmerizing us all.

Just think about those small children who had witnessed this phenomenon for the first time ever. Try to imagine their wonder and amazement as they try in vain to follow the trail left behind by the fallen star. They want to catch it, own its light. But then an adult steps into the picture, possibly a guardian with enough common sense. The children are told otherwise. They soon learn how impossible their desire is. Instead, a fairytale is woven into their mind. Those innocent children are told a lie that if you wish on a shooting star, all your dreams would come true. They grow up believing that in order to achieve something you are not supposed to act on your instincts, instead think it thoroughly, so much, that in the end, it becomes nothing but procrastination. And the truth is that hidden amongst all of us is that child. The one who is afraid to take a stand, to make a difference, to follow the shooting star. To be the shooting star. A baseless fear that kills us all before we even taste actual death, the fear of the unknown. In our state of terror, we fail to realize our true potential. Maybe we too hold the power to change the world, but all we end up doing is just wish for it, and as a consequence our life becomes a never ending what-if. The thing that’s most needed is courage to stray from the trodden path, courage to break through every barrier, and courage to set our inner self free, because only then we can truly own the brightness to light up the night sky. It is rightly said that in order to shine like a star we need to burn like it first. And that is the parting message of a shooting star, the perfect adieu.


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39 Reviews


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Reviews: 39

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Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:57 pm
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Traves wrote a review...



Hi Zenith, Traves here for a very delayed review.

I like reviewing articles/essays because it's a medium I consume frequently and feel more confident critiquing. The format of this coupled with content puts it in the musing essay category. Because essays are more about the narrator's subjective impressions (which may or may not be supplemented by citations and references.)
Also remember that most of my criticism is as a reader rather than a writer, so my constructive suggestions might be vague or non-existent.

Overall Impression -

I like how the topics the prose moves through are set up to prop up the centrepiece, esp. the contrasts in the beginning. The grammar, spelling, sentence structure all seem alright. The ending gave me a "burn twice as bright half as long" type of impression.

Finer points-
- " Just out of nowhere a bright streak of light would break through the darkness and put a sole claim on not just our vision but every other sense." - more of sentences like these please.

i. Second para onwards, the individual sentences are a bit too matter-of-fact and statement like. It clashes with the whimsy tone of the over-all piece.( If that was your original intent then most of what I say below is moot.)
They sit together well enough as individual sentences, but don't flow as well as could be hoped.
- In an essay, when the author makes a serious or half-serious statement, some kind of examples or reasoning in some way is desirable since you're trying to convince someone to your side or making a point about something that you think needs to be said or both. ( Unless the statement is self-evident and not of much import)

- One of the reasons why I'd've liked a more musing tone is because sentences like "A shooting star is just one of those propagators of optimism, probably the brightest literally." feel like the author puts the weight of their earnest authority behind it, although someone with even a light knowledge of culture/history/mythos would banally contradict it by saying "what about the sun, revered as a god in many cultures and prayed to in some form in almost all? "

- Another reason is that if the author provides some reasons for why they believe something is true before moving to the next statement, the tone automatically changes from "here's what I think is right, take it or leave it" to " here's why I think the way that I think, this may or may not make sense" which is more engrossing for a reader as they feel ready to listen to what the author has to say. That change might also help you use stronger verbs and emotions.

Here are some examples and questions I'd've liked improved and answered respectively or hinted at as a reader-

-- "...and courage to set our inner self free, because only then we can truly own ..." -> This part sounds a bit vague. What exactly does setting "your inner self free" to the point that it resembles "Mere rock and dust particles entering into our atmosphere at very high speed." look like? (Examples/description needed)

-- "Those innocent children are told a lie that if you wish on a shooting star, all your dreams would come true. They grow up believing that in order to achieve something you are not supposed to act on your instincts, instead think it thoroughly, so much, that in the end, it becomes nothing but procrastination." The leap from the "telling lies" in the first line to the children believing something different and it manifesting as something else, needs more explaining/ good examples/imagery.

--"...lost in the universe's bigger design. But the moment they decided to step out of their comfort zone, be their own master and choose their own path, they became so much more than asteroids-a shooting star..." The movement of asteroids towards earth is just gravity, and the asteroid did nothing of its own volition. Not only that, it's a self-destructive/suicidal blaze of glory. If that wasn't your intent, try a better example or a better way of looking at the same thing I guess? If i come up with any good ideas I'll add them as a comment.

--"And every time a shooting star is mentioned, we take a trip down the memory lane." Do we though? Every time? It could be rephrased like "every mention of a shooting star is a potential trip down memory lane." or "every mention of a shooting star is an invitation to relive those..."

- To decide which of these questions to answer and at what length, see which are more important to your narrative and which ones would you like the reader to remember.

ii. If you're open to increasing the length of this a bit, then for the ending para I'd recommend more exposition. The change from literal shooting stars to figurative ones and how it ties in to the human experience needs more words since I felt that that was the major point you were trying to make through the whole essay.
(It can be done without increasing the overall word count by a lot since there are some filler words here. Filler words like "It is rightly said" in the 2nd last sentence.)

what I liked -

This thought out meandering to get to the point. Similar to your previous short story about "gray" .This has a lot of potential if you develop it further , going through the distilled main point of your essay and try to elaborate on some metaphors and statements.

Keep writing and sharing!




Zenith says...


Zenith here for an even further delayed reply. I think you have brought my attention to some really important and logical aspects which I do intend to improve. Well, I'll need some time ofc. Maybe, after a lot of days have passed, I would request you to re-review it. Your review has been exactly the thing I was looking for. I knew there was something off, just couldn't put a finger on it.
P. S. - Would you mind checking out a poem "Home" that I've written? It would be great if I could know what you think of it.



Traves says...


Sure, I'll review it in a few days.
Do remember to request reviews in the will review for food forums viewforum.php?f=188
The good reviewers there can give reviews many times better than mine, and faster.



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39 Reviews


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Reviews: 39

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Fri May 10, 2019 8:31 pm
Corvus wrote a review...



um wow. this is an amazing essay, I would almost call it a short story!

I love your descriptions, they really bring your work to life. the first sentence, "The night sky has always been the epitome of our imagination, the intricate patterns of the constellations, the contrast of light against dark is truly an art in itself." is an amazing hook, catching my attention like the sky it is describing. I love the fact that you mix facts with myth to make your own unique and inspiring moral.


a few technical things I noticed:

"Nothing short of the extraordinary can grab our attention and so that's what nature gives us."
add a comma after "attention"

"Relive one of those random moments from our childhood when we had wished on a shooting star believing with all our heart that it would come true."
add a comma after "childhood" and "star"

"To be honest it is still one of the most believed myths"
add a comma after "honest"

"Mere rock and dust particles enter into our atmosphere at very high speed."
replace "enter" with "entering"

"Consequently on rubbing against air particles as a result of friction the meteors heat up and start burning"
remove "on" add a period after "particles"

"The children are told otherwise. They soon learn how impossible their desire is. Instead a fairytale is woven into their mind."
replace some of those periods with commas for a smoother effect, also add a comma after "instead"

"They grow up believing that in order to achieve something you are not supposed to act on your instincts, instead think it thoroughly, so much, that in the end it becomes nothing but procrastination."
(powerful line BTW) add "through" before "thoroughly" add a comma after "end"

"The thing that’s most needed is courage to stray from the trodden path, courage to break through every barrier and courage to set our inner self free because only then we can truly own the brightness to light up the night sky."
add commas after "barrier" and "free"

This is amazing, and every critique I just gave is from a place of love and wanting to help you improve. I hope you have a nice day!




Zenith says...


Thank you CorvusQueen for your corrections. I'll make the changes as soon as possible. I am glad



Zenith says...


*glad you liked it.




It is most unlikely. But - here comes the big "but" - not impossible.
— Roald Dahl