Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Patience

Patience-please said...

Run.
She made a path through the wheat, which felt like fairy whips beating, "faster, faster, go faster" and then she disappeared into the rows of corn, the running lanes, cool and dark. Little cries of running joy crowded into her breathing in time with her strides.
Run.

I am getting the sense that she's not running FROM something, that this is a run for pleasure and not from fear? Notice that the wording would be different, even if the action weren't, if this were a passage about being chased by a monster. The wheat's beating at her would be ominous, not "fairy whips". So this is intriguing!

But first, I want to see the field where there's both wheat AND corn planted? I mean, I'm not a farmer, but I drive past them all the time on my way to Chicago. :) And here's a wheat farm, and there's a corn farm. Actually, now that I think of it, everyone in one county pretty much farms the same thing (around here, it's either corn or soy). I don't know, but that jumped out at me as a strangeness. These field are 40-50 acres, and you can't really run from one to another, can you? Aren't there fences? Anyway, make sure you need that shift in plants, because it did jump out at me. Maybe someone else knows more about this than I do (I'm sure everyone does-- I mean, I'm like Drusilla: "Everything I put in the ground withers and dies").

I like the exhilarated tone in the words.

I think however you're concentrating on perception-- getting slapped by the wheat-- and might be neglecting action. This is a runner, not a poet, and she might be more about action, about working her body, about covering ground, about making her feet move and pushing aside the wheat and shouldering through the corn. Notice that you get kind of distant at the end there, where you'd been inside her in the first two lines.

Not a big deal, but here's where you zoom OUT, so that you are outside her looking at her rather than inside her being her--then she disappeared into the rows of corn, the running lanes, cool and dark.
"Disappeared," see? Now if you were in her body, you'd be saying what she sees. Someone standing off and watching her sees her disappear, but she wouldn't see that. She'd see the corn coming at her, and those straight lanes, and she'd veer into that lane over there because the ground was smoother, and she'd run between the cornstalks and hit them with her shoulders and make a breeze as she passed so that the stalks would flutter, and she'd hear that noise along with her own cries and the sound of her feet.

Little cries of running joy crowded into her breathing in time with her strides.

I like that "crowded into" verb. I can hear what you mean.

But I wonder if again this is outside her? This sounds like she's hearing herself, rather than making the noise, like there are these odd little cries that just appear in her breathing. She's making those cries, right? If they're involuntary, how can you show that she's involved somehow? "She heard her own little cries?" I don't know, but I feel like I should be in her body, and at the end there, I feel outside, like I'm watching her rather than being her. What do you think?

Alicia

5 comments:

Suzanne said...

Wow, what an amazing job of editing! You noticed things that I never would have in my initial reading and in your analysis, you've pointed out things I can look for in my own writing. Thank you.

Edittorrent said...

Well, the hard part is fixing. Sometimes something just doesn't feel right, but achieving rightness isn't so easy. :)
Alicia

rachel.capps said...

Fabulous way to show point of view/perspective with the "zoom OUT"!

Glynis said...

I love being a novice, I learn something new whenever I visit here. Better still, I understand it ;)

Patience-please said...

Thank you so much for taking my piece! I've been away and came home to see this.

Yes, she is running for the sake of running, and the next line is:

For the sheer ecstasy of feeling every muscle reaching its absolute capacity.

and later:

Chasing what? The illusion of some prey? Just chasing, that was for sure, not being chased.
Run.
For the running was the joy. No fear. Just symmetry of perfect athleticism and grace and rhythm.


Farm fields will go from a field of wheat to a field of corn in juxtaposition, no fences - the patchwork look you see from a plane. Does this work?

She made a path through the wheat, which felt like fairy whips beating, "faster, faster, go faster" and when the corn field started she disappeared into the rows, the running lanes, cool and dark.

Thank you for your insight on the perspective. I think I want it both ways. I'd like the reader to feel like he or she is watching an from above. From an invisible helicopter through a zoom lens. But I also would like the reader to feel the dog's (and yes it is a dog) exhilaration as she runs. Is that impossible?

Thank you again-
Patience