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And the trees move

by solarbob


There's this place I go for lunch most days. Type of joint middle aged woman clap about in low heels with dewlaps bulging over apron strings and blue eyeliner too thick.

This isn't about me but the old man. His cheeks heavy with combed hair the colour of thunderheads; his eyes considerate. When I'm not watching him, we are watching the same thing. We are watching the tall trees outside that sit on the slice of grass that splits the road. Three lanes of cars pass one way and three lanes of cars pass the other way and the trees stand between them.

I think he is like me. That is to say he eats the same lasagna and fries every day. He sits alone every day watching things. If I wore a beard I might run my palm over the nap on my cheeks like he does. He nods when he forks another mouthful and I can see the a line of skin running back from the grove of his hair line. The skin demarcates the hair combed to the right and the hair combed to the left and everyday it is straight and everyday it is on the same side of his head.

His flannelette shirt must itch, sprouting from the collar of his sweater. He must be hot.

It's cloudy today but even when it's not cloudy it's grey in that place and the coffee pours, and a tiny bell chimes, and low heels clap on linoleum and someone sneezes and "Bless you, honey" in a Mediterranean modulation. It's windy outside and people are running in a cluster across the road because if they don't the cars will have to slow for them and it must be windy because their clothes ripple across their bodies and it must be windy because the trees move.


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739 Reviews


Points: 32546
Reviews: 739

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Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:36 pm
xXTheBlackSheepXx wrote a review...



Hey there! I really liked this piece, your writing style is pretty cool. You did a great job with description and I felt myself getting into the scene, feeling dreary in that cloudy gray coffee chop. Great job!

I have just a few points that maybe you'll find helpful. First off, I didn't really like how this line:

"His flannelette shirt must itch, sprouting from the collar of his sweater. He must be hot."

got its own separate paragraph x) Usually when writers do something like that it means that line holds significance or importance, and I don't really think that was the case here. It just kinda stood out for no reason.

Secondly, I think this ended at an abrupt point. I'm not really sure what would've been a better place to close, but taking us all into this coffee shop scene, introduce us to this character, and then start talking about how windy it is outside and then BAM end of story felt odd. This would be a better piece of writing I think, if you would find an more interesting way to close up this scene.

Well, I hope this was a little helpful! Keep writing, this was pretty good! :)




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5 Reviews


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Reviews: 5

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Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:55 pm
AriesBlaze8 wrote a review...



Like any other review, mine should be taken with a grain of salt. Because your story has very few actual technical errors, these are more my opinion on ways to make the words flow better. But if you don't like something I say, you don't have to listen! :)


Any and all changes or additions, such as a mark change or a word switch, go inside [ ]

Any suggestions go inside [ ]

Deleted items have an [x] in its place

- - - - -

There's this place I go for lunch most days. [It's the t]ype of joint middle aged woman clap[? do you mean talk?] about in low heels with dewlaps bulging over apron strings and blue eyeliner [spread] too thick [on their faces].

This isn't about me[,] but [about] the old man. His cheeks heavy with combed hair [x][like low-hanging] thunderheads; his eyes [deep, and] considerate. When I'm not watching him, we are watching the same thing[s]. We are watching the [towering] trees outside that sit on the [sliver] of grass that splits the road. Three lanes of cars [passing each] way and the trees stand[ing] between them.

I think he is like me. That is to say[,] he eats the same [adjective (dry, sloppy)] lasagna and fries every day. He sits alone every day watching [life outside the window]. If I wore a beard[,] I might run my palm over the nap on my cheeks like he does. He nods when he forks another mouthful and I can see the a line of skin running back from the grove of his hair line. The skin demarcates[I might change this word. It seems out of place from the fairly simple vocabulary you've been using in the rest of the story] the hair combed to the right and [x] to the left and everyday it is straight and everyday it is on the same side of his head.

His flannelette shirt must itch, sprouting from the collar of his sweater. He must be hot.

It's cloudy today but even when it's not cloudy it's grey [x] and the coffee pours[x] and a tiny bell chimes[x] and low heels clap on linoleum and someone sneezes and [someone says] "Bless you, honey" in a Mediterranean modulation. It's windy outside and people are running in a cluster across the road because if they don't the cars will have to slow for them[,] and it must be windy because their clothes ripple across their bodies and [the trees are dancing.]

- - - - -


Wow. Just wow. You have fit such an impression in such a short passage. Your voice rings throughout the entire story, and there's a nostalgic recognition even though I know I've never been to the place you're describing or observed an old man like that. Your use of imagery and skimming was incredible.

While I realize you used repetition to give rhythm, occasionally it was superfluous. "Three lanes of cars pass one way and three lanes of cars pass the other way and the trees stand between them." It just feels a little more forced than the others. Cutting that down will not only let the passage run smoother, but it will give the writing that necessary break needed throughout.

I'm a little bothered by the use of "demarcates" and "modulation." Part of your power in this work was the use of simple words to create a grand image, and these two words just buzzed for me. They're a little out of place. It's not a huge issue, but it is noticeable and I would remove them. Of course, it's your decision.

I loved the way you used run-on sentences to give a running pace to the story. Especially, "It's cloudy today but even when it's not cloudy it's grey in that place and the coffee pours, and a tiny bell chimes, and low heels clap on linoleum and someone sneezes and "Bless you, honey" in a Mediterranean modulation." It's probably my favorite sentence. As you can see I made a couple changes, but the sentence itself is strong and full of impressions.

It seems a little strange to me that your character (you?) would be watching an old man every day in a diner/cafe/restaraunt, but at the same time, it doesn't seem entirely odd. I'm not sure. There isn't quite enough information for my mind to make a clear decision, and that's just fine.

I think you could add in a couple of other sensory details if you so decided. A couple of scents, maybe briefly add an adjective for the lasagna and fries. Just a minor thing, though.

Overall, though, this was fantastic. I loved it. You were able to compress so much information into such a short space while maintaining the heart. You took the most unique or familiar elements of everyday things in order to quickly jolt the reader with an image -- this was wonderful. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Keep writing.

Audra





If you don't know it's impossible it's easier to do. And because nobody's done it before, they haven't made up rules to stop anyone doing that again, yet.
— Neil Gaiman