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Cigarette

by rohan


I burn a cigarette and quench the fire inside of me. The bitter smoke I inhale supplants the bitter feelings I accumulated throughout the day. I inhale the smoke and exhale my bitterness.



The cigarette burns rapidly at first; Full of the exuberance of youth, like a teenage boy with newfound freedom once he leaves his parents house. The pungent smoke goes in and comes out of me in a flash. There's no time to waste when I have the rich supply of the intoxicating fumes.



The first puff barges in my lungs as if they belong to it. It lets me know of the things I have been missing. The pure air, while healthy and benign, is no substitute for the pure gust of energy and calmness the smoke brings along with it. As the welcome smoke prepares to leave, it reminds me how all good things never last for long and promises to meet again.



The smoke - true to its word - came to me again. This time, without the resistance from me despite the screams from my burning throat for I was still intoxicated by its magical effects and relished in the lingering bitterness of the last puff.



The cigarette now burns slowly, as it has all the time in the world and does not care for my plans. It takes its time to burn off and I allow it to burn at its own pace. I don't even try to tame it to my needs out of respect for what it has done for me through the years we've been together. It has always served its purpose and saved me time and again from my worst enemies: it calmed my nerves when I was worried sick, it gave me clarity when my thoughts went astray, it treated my anxiety like no friend has ever done it. Most importantly, it did it all without a shred of judgement.



Lately, I've been feeling that the cigarette seems to think that I depend on it. That I "need" it to be able to function properly and extends its friendship patronisingly. Poor thing doesn't understand that I'm a user. That it is nothing but a medium through which I attain peace. I am not an addict. I can quit anytime I want.



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 The cigarette is not a cigarette


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92 Reviews


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Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:46 pm
kostia wrote a review...



Hello there rohan

This is kostia, here to give you a review along with my opinion for this.

So let's get into it.

First of all this was a bit confusing for me. Don't take me wrong this was exceptionally well written and I admire your smooth prose and your detail in describing sensations. However I fail to understand its true content and symbolism. I also think that the ending is does not agree with everything else, because in the whole thing you describe an addicting relationship.

If this really was about a cigarette it was quite brilliantly constructed. But since it is not I frankly believe you could have chosen a different kind of symbolism or maybe connected better in order to be obvious to the reader.

Other than that it wasn't a bad read! You are very talented in discription which is a very strong and important thing in literature!

Keep up the good work!

Kostia




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Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:27 pm
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tgirly wrote a review...



Hi Rohan, and happy Review Day!

This piece is brilliantly constructed. I love the precise word choice and the lyrical imagery that keeps you reading, even when you're not sure why the narrator's spending so much time describing a cigarette, and then when you get to the last line and the perspective shift happens, and the true metaphor of the piece is revealed, it feels incredibly satisfying. I also love how there's this implied lack of self-awareness in the narrator, when he says "I've been feeling that the cigarette seems to think that I depend on it" and "I can quit anytime I want". It adds this ambiguity to the piece that's really fun.

I don't feel like this is an article. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I think a "prose poem" is probably closest to what it feels like. When I clicked on an article titled "Cigarettes", I expected it to be about the harmful effects, or about the way they're portrayed in media and marketed, or something like that. This was much more artistic, and, though I'm much happier with this, the label was still a bit misleading.

When reading the piece, after becoming aware of the frame shift there at the end, I find the part where you say the cigarette is, "like a teenage boy with newfound freedom once he leaves his parents house" to be confusing. If the whole point is that the cigarette is not a cigarette, and the most likely alternative is that the cigarette is actually a person the narrator is in an unhealthy codependent romantic relationship with, it feels a bit weird to say that a person is like a teenage boy. For all we know the person could very well be a teenage boy, which makes the whole thing a very confusing metaphor.

Overall, I really enjoyed how you eased us into the perspective shift, with the cigarette taking on more and more humanlike qualities, until it's speaking and thinking, so when the shift comes and we find out the cigarette is not a cigarette, it's easier to read the new perspective onto the poem retroactively. Great work.

Keep writing!

-tgirly




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Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:32 am
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Tuckster wrote a review...



Hey there rohan! Tuck stopping by for a short review. Let's get right into it!

The cigarette burns rapidly at first; Full of the exuberance of youth, like a teenage boy with newfound freedom once he leaves his parents house
A couple of things: Firstly, there should be a comma instead of a semicolon after "first", secondly, full should be lowercase. Thirdly, I think that the second part of this sentence should be completely rephrased to say something like "a teenager with newfound freedom after leaving his parent's house". It's less wordy and more short-and-to-the-point.

This time, without the resistance from me despite the screams from my burning throat, for I was still intoxicated by its magical effects and relished in the lingering bitterness of the last puff.
This sentence is also a little lengthy, maybe cut it down a bit?

It takes its time to burn off, and I allow it to burn at its own pace


It has always served its purpose and saved me time and again from my worst enemies: it calmed my nerves when I was worried sick, it gave me clarity when my thoughts went astray, it treated my anxiety like no friend has ever done it.
These should all be semi-colons.

The cigarette is not a cigarette
I like where this is going, but I feel like you need to add something more here? Like say "This cigarette is not a cigarette; it is this instead".

Overall Thoughts

This piece introduced an interesting perspective on smoking, a way I hadn't thought of it before, and it was very eloquently written. I loved the way your writing was so smooth and flowed very well, and I commend you for the way you were able to construct such beautiful sentences. That's not easy to do and you've done a great job with it.

However, I feel one small thing that could go a long way is if you varied your sentence structure. Using a variety of sentence lengths—some short, some medium-length, some long, and some extremely long sentences occasionally. That'll really take your writing from good to great, in my opinion.

I also liked the personal aspect of this, the way the narrator subtly tells the reader why he smokes without being too explicit about it and the denial that this is an addiction, a trait common among addicts. Those things in particular made it feel real and gave me a connection to the writer that helped draw me into the story even further.

Overall, I think what you have here is really something! As with any piece of writing, there are things that can be done to improve, but you've done an excellent job on this! I hope to read more from you in the future, and if you have questions about my review, just let me know and I'd be happy to provide clarification!

~MJTucker





If all pulled in one direction, the world would keel over.
— Yiddish proverb