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Birthdays (3000 words)

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Old 04-13-2013, 08:23 AM
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Default Birthdays (3000 words)


18th July, 2002
Dear Diary,


Today is my 10th birthday. It's almost over, but the party hasn't started yet. I am very excited for it to start! You, sir, will hear the details soon enough. Just hang on!

The cake made its way on an opulent trolley, pushed by his elated parents. The sumptuous cake was creamy, luring and ravishing. Its seductions and grandiose gestures, and rather overt demeanor, were not lost on the guests. The exuberant boy was handed the knife, and with guidance slit the cake much to the delight of the guests. Rather quaintly he fed two small pieces to the man and woman, who mirthfully stood by him and ate.


Done with the tradition, the boy joined his companions. They ran around aimlessly, with an odd occurrence every now and then; a high-pitched squeal. Their repeatedly hackneyed squeals failed to arouse my interest. As I hovered over, I heard bits of the insipid conversations amongst the guests. Their dreariness surprised me not, I had been observing it all for too long.


My eyes darted to the boy now. His demeanor had changed rather drastically. Initially nonchalant and poised now seemed awkward, floundering to comprehend the intricacies of social conduct. I recognized the momentous occasion, an occasion that would linger in the boy's memory, make him what he becomes for good or bad. His stumbling sentences, his lingering silence, his synthetic smile; all that would be his torment.

Well, now's the time for details! It was the best birthday ever! Mom and Dad got this massive cake, it was laid out on a trolley and everything. Gosh, it was one of those things you see in movies. Then I cut the cake, and mom and dad had a bit. It was really good, it had multiple layers of cream and chocolate. I got loads of cool presents as well. Ha! I bet you don't really know how they work, though. I will teach you, sir!


I had invited all my friends, they all managed to show up. We played hide and seek, it was fun. Then we were tired, so we just sat around and talked. That wasn't, perhaps, as much fun. We decided to exchange stories about ghosts. Nathan had wicked stories to share! Everyone did, weirdly so. Ghosts, pfft, who hasn't seen them eh?


Of course, I had an awesome story as well, but it was getting rather late and my turn didn't come. I thought there were times, when I could have told it but until I made my decision whether it was right to speak then, somebody had already started. I don't mind though, they are all my friends! I will save the story!


You know, sir, this will be a diary entry I will keep coming back to. I have a feeling, I will.


- Stephen.

18th July, 2009
Yet another event. Yet another cake. Yet another incision. The indistinguishable applause ensued. Stephen rather briskly made his way to his friends. He greeted them all with the customary hand shake.


Although I had been an ardent stalker for the past seventeen years, even I was taken aback at the variance of his hair, demeanor from its usual self. His facial features, although reminiscent of his past, had changed. His elongated nose remained the same as ever, making way perhaps for marks brutishly made by his spectacles. Dry, wavy hair formed a gigantic nest over his head, and covered his long ears. He had grown, but his lanky frame remained the same. His shoulders were perpetually drooped, as if struggling to lift an intangible object or entity.


Stephen remained engaged in the conversation, even as his eyes darted to the clock. He nodded, laughed, all the intricacies of social conduct seemed finally to make sense. He seemed mirthful and sanguine amongst his friends, even when he spoke little.


However, I know this too. Reality lies in the trenches of all that makes pretense. Hidden deceitfully on the battlefield, for when it rears its brutish head, it makes the sane insane. Of course, the society that deemed sane sane and insane insane continues to ignore its verdict, its apprehensions and reality itself. It is certainly true, fish remain oblivious to the world outside water. Water is all they have seen, and all they will ever see. Except perhaps those who lay on the dry land, in its last seconds discovering the universe.

Hello sir,


Yes, another birthday. It was certainly interesting. It's rather amusing that as time passes, they grow less special.


A rather interesting discussion regarding religion took place. Its many contradictions with current society; who stood correct? They were all as dubious as me, but refused to acknowledge it. I refuse to acknowledge it too, at least I try too. But if I am unable to prevent the wind fluttering through my hair, if I am unable to prevent the ocean moving the ground beneath my feet, then how am I to prevent the voices in my own mind be heard? How do I mute them, when I cannot mute pain, when I cannot mute joy?


However, during the conversation, I made myself scarce. A debate remained fruitless, as an argument it would seem. To agree is apparently to concede defeat, and that's worse than ignorance. Of course, some of them as opinionated as all of us though, had a rock solid stance that did not contradict their own actions. Most though, remained submerged in contradictions.


Moving on to better topics, today I have decided. I have decided what I will do the rest of my life. Music. That's what. I shall be a musician. All art forms; writing, painting, theater, dance have one thing in common: they are finite. Words may paint a world that no man has seen, but infinity it cannot define. Music is the only art that defines infinity, and I devote myself in search of infinity. It remains undefined, I shall define it.


It may appear to be a hasty decision, I will concede I'm frightened. But my lamentable social skills have always put me at odds. I don't understand the world as it is, perhaps my brain is crippled. But it is my foolish brain, that although has placed me on the outskirts of society, is foolish enough to allow me to seek infinity. Seek that remains undefined and limitless.


- Stephen.

18th July, 2012
The twentieth birthday cake rolled out on a lavish trolley. It remained inanimate in anticipation, the fate to befall known to all. The knife in Stephen's hand, the quick movement, the cake divided and separated. The barren applause, the inert clapping and Stephen's smile. The smile, a vague memory of itself, remained broad throughout the applause as if apprehensive a single twitch, and he wouldn't be able to conjure a smile again.


Stephen trudged along slowly to his friends. He nodded, acknowledging the birthday wishes. They all stood in a circle, as the conversation progressed the circumference contracted. The invisible circumference ceased to contract as Stephen looked on from the fringes. He wasn't a part of it, he knew it, they knew it.


He continued to gaze, his eyes locked onto the same spot as his mind drifted off and cared not for his gaze. He contemplated what, I knew not. Perhaps, he himself knew not what he contemplated. I could see what he sought though. His quest remained fraught with danger. Danger not of monsters, men or weapons. Danger of losing all that passed, all that he had lived, the twenty years of his life, the twenty years of Stephen. He lusted for abnormality, for that was the only way he would see the circle as it is: Inanimate.

Hello sir,


Another birthday. Another entry. My twentieth entry! We have been through a lot, sir.


I think you saw it coming, my pursuit of music is dead. I have tried, learned instruments, written lyrics, submitted it to recording studios and I have heard nothing back. Zilch. I tried to oversee the marriage of two supreme art forms: Poetry and Music. However, all that I have tried has failed. Only success I have seen is failure. And like Bob Dylan said, that's hardly success at all.


Infinity perhaps ceases to exist. Perhaps, it never existed. Infinity at its core is our mortal attempt to define something we have not seen. We have not seen the universe, hence it's infinite. We haven't seen the sky's limit, hence it's infinite. A blind man may call Earth infinite, but those who have seen its limit know. I have just come to understand the illusion of Infinity, and I care not to seek an illusion. I seek to see what we already see, but see not as it is.


Only poetry sees everything as it is; beautiful. What is beauty you may ask? A simple man would see a barren desert, as it seemingly appears. However under its layers, under the emptiness, under the mountains of sand, we fail to see the insect. The insect that walks with his family and leads a magnificent life. It sees the desert in all its beauty: The shimmering sand, the buoyant chant of silence, the sun's always present presence. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, poets gaze from those eyes. They see beauty in everything and everyone.


Words, so you see, are not important in poetry. A poet spends all his life, attempting to see past blindness; the beauty of it all. Words merely express what you see.


- Stephen.

18th July, 2017
Another cake made its way in a different setting. Surrounded by chandeliers and walls that glittered as though they had trapped the sun's vision and released it in a flurry. The barbaric ceremony ensued, the applause ensued and then everyone scattered.


Stephen kept nodding as he roamed around, acknowledging their apocryphal wishes. Did they indeed wish upon him happiness?


Stephen joined his colleagues and companions. His appearance had changed rather drastically, looking just a shadow of his former self. He had grown a thick beard that hugged his face as passionately as he had ever been hugged. His long hair, retained their curliness of old, covered his long ears. He wore round horn-rimmed glasses, that dented his everlastingly elongated nose. He remained as lanky as ever, his shoulders as drooped as ever.


He stood and watched from the fringes, as he always had. However, I noticed a certain difference. His former disconcerting attempts, as discreet as they were, always shone to me. Now, with his hands in his pockets, he just looked on. Content on the fringes. He made no effort to nod, to satisfy the social appetite of his companions.He had finally learned to be content with discontentment.

Hello sir,


My twenty-fifth birthday, my twenty-fifth journal entry.


A poet I had set out to be, and a failure I came out to be. I sought beauty and found instead my own folly. How was I to clasp beauty, when the ugliness of my soul scarred me? How was I to write of beauty, when the soul I wrote from was permeated by ugliness? How was I to write of light, when my soul had seen no sun? How was I to write of beauty, when I had never understood my own?


Questions that cracked my burgeoning poetic soul, and reduced it to nothingness. I remember now only that once I had possessed a poet's soul, how I felt then, how I saw then, are senses lost to me. Like the lost innocence we all remember, but remember not how our senses reacted to it. All we remember is the reaction after we lost it.


Even if I learned to bend words to my will, how was I to write that which I could not see?


However, the marvel of words is not lost on me. I intend to continue writing. I intend to write a tale of words where the reader loses himself, forgets his own life and becomes a part of it. Becomes a part of the universe I have created. Words are not mere alphabets, no. Words are time portals, they defy physics, defy reality, defy space and time, even defy the laws of nature. Scientists refuse to believe in it because they never understood them. I intend to transport readers into a world where I have infused life in everything and everyone.


- Stephen.

18th July, 2022
Stephen lay on the bed, surrounded by his family. A small cake was placed on the fold able table. He cut the cake and shared it with his family. His smile was no more plastic, it was nowhere to be found. I knew where it was. It was trapped in the maze of his dread and gloom. It would find its way eventually, but it wouldn't be soon enough. I know it will find its way eventually, for I know when I meet with Stephen although he remains unaware.


He no longer stared on from the fringes. He was where he had always sought to be. He was at the center of the circle, everything revolved around him. He had always envisioned, in some bright corner of his heart, to be at the center. But never like this. Never like this.

Hello sir,


My thirtieth entry!


I was almost about to break our pact: a journal entry every birthday. I had a news so devastating I almost poured my soul to you. But alas, I resisted!
I have been diagnosed with cancer. They say I might just manage to live long enough with it. With technology rapidly progressing as it, I might just recover. My family to keep up with the tradition, celebrated my birthday in the hospital. I have to admit, it cheered me up.


I don't know where death lurks, but I know this; it lurks somewhere close. I have continued to write, and will continue to do so. However, I have decided to assemble all that I have created all my life; the music, the poems, the stories, the novellas. I will try to garner the recognition they deserve. After all, I am a mere mortal. I was never destined to live for eternity, never destined to be immortal. They, however, remain immortal. As long as words and pages exist, they exist. I cannot leave them to live, like me, without recognition for eternity. They must be read and heard, must be talked about, for if not they will wilt away under the cruel stare of darkness and loneliness. The day immortality dies is the day man truly dies.


- Stephen.

18th July, 2027
He lay on the bed, his new home. Several machines monitored him constantly, ready to raise an alarm at the sight of abnormality. It was his birthday, but he lay alone. The cancer had after all these years reduced him to a farcical resemblance of his former self. His hair lay in some gutter, whilst his scalp remained shiny and untouched. Only the skeletons of his former weak frame remained.


He was writing fervently in his diary. I hovered over to read the words he wrote.

Hello sir,
My thirty-fifth birthday and I sit here, alone, writing. If it is indeed my last birthday, I would have spent it as I always have, with myself.


Well, I tried. I assembled all that I had ever done, and took them to places. They smiled, assured me they would do something and then nothing. The vicious cycle has continued, studio to studio, publishing houses to publishing houses. Some men were rather interested, but I know I don't have the time to see the recognition, the companionship, my work will come to have.


The end is nigh, sir! I am at the edge of the cliff, and I know it. I can see the rivers ready to take me in, as the sun's beautiful stare falls on to the river. I have been on a journey all my life, halting momentarily at times, in the pursuit of an elusive object or entity that I would understand and vice versa. When I began, I had always envisioned finding a companion or two along the road. Ha, it's amusing how we think of the future in the past.


You know, I have never quite told you why I keep coming back to you every birthday. You are the only true companion I have heard, and I wish I came back to you everyday. But I feared. I feared of the day when I would write 'Hello sir' and then pause. The pause would continue, and with each passing second I'd know. I never knew how to talk to the world. But that day I'd know, I did not know how to talk to myself anymore. And that day, words would have departed by my side. And that day, life would have refused to live anymore. And that day, the world would have truly rejected me.


I hope I come back to you next year. I really do.


- Stephen

18th August, 2027
'Hello Stephen, are you ready? I need no introduction, for you know who I am.'


'I know who you are, but before we depart, can you tell you a story? A story I have saved since childhood.'


'You may.'


'I was three, and this is perhaps my first memory of my childhood. It was my first day in school, and our teacher asked us to introduce ourselves, in our adolescent way, to the class. Everyone did so, and I was the last one. I stood up and I walked in front of the class. I knew my name, I wished to say my name. But all that escaped me was silence. I looked at the teacher, and my classmates staring at the ghost. Their stares asking questions, I never deciphered. It frightened me as I had never been frightened, and never would be. I looked at the mirror hanging over the wall, and saw the ghost. The ghost that induced horror not in others, but only me.'


I stared into his eyes, reached for his hand and then took him to where he must belong now.


Last edited by Enchanter; 04-13-2013 at 10:34 AM..
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2013, 10:29 AM
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Hey Enchanter,

You might want to break this down into smaller chunks. Maybe spread it across two posts. Also, can you make the font bigger? I'm finding it really hard to see the small italics. If you change them I'll take a look at the start.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:36 AM
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Hey Loz,

I changed the font size. However, I can't really spread it across two posts. I fear it might break the flow. Unless, it's impossible to read, I'll just have to then.

Thanks!
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Old 04-13-2013, 02:04 PM
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Hey Enchanter,

I had a read, and I've made just a couple of comments below. Feel free to ignore what you want, and bear in mind that I've been writing scripts, so I'm a little action focused and it may sway my critique.

So, I enjoyed this. The switch between the two narratives was odd, but it worked . . . and really well. I like the transition from a sweet, happy start to the melancholic end with a bit of sinister inbetween when you introduce the second narrative.

My main comment is try to cut it down a little (this may be because of my action focused mind, which is trying to get to the point straight away). Second, try to find places to make it more active and evoke the emotions rather than tell them. Third, watch out for repetition--I highlighted a couple of words in pink and suggested some you could cut out yet keep the same meaning.

Other than that, it was a good, enjoyable read

Originally Posted by Enchanter View Post
18th July, 2002
Dear Diary,

Today is my 10th birthday. It's almost over, but the party hasn't started yet. I am very excited for it to start! You, sir, will hear the details soon enough. Just hang on!

The cake made its way on an opulent trolley, pushed by his (is this referring to the cake?) elated parents. The sumptuous cake was creamy, luring and ravishing -- this is telling, can you find some way to describe the cake so we know it's yumscrous. Its seductions and grandiose gestures, and rather overt demeanor, were not lost on the guests. The exuberant (this seems like an abstract description, can you make it more visual?) boy was handed the knife, and with guidance slit the cake much to the delight of the guests. Rather quaintly he fed two small pieces to the man and woman (the image I had here was him hand feeding each of them, rather than handing them a plate--I am not sure which image you want?), who mirthfully stood by him and ate.


Done with the tradition, the boy joined his companions. They ran around aimlessly, with an odd occurrence every now and then; a high-pitched squeal. Their repeatedly hackneyed squeals failed to arouse my interest. As I hovered over, I heard bits of the insipid conversations amongst the guests. Their dreariness surprised me not, I had been observing it all for too long.

My eyes darted to the boy now. His demeanor had changed rather drastically. Initially nonchalant and poised now seemed awkward, floundering to comprehend the intricacies of social conduct (can you show this more?). I recognized the momentous occasion, an occasion that would linger in the boy's memory, make him what he becomes for good or bad. His stumbling sentences, his lingering silence, his synthetic smile; all that would be his torment.

Well, now's the time for details! It was the best birthday ever! Mom and Dad got this massive cake, it was laid out on a trolley and everything. Gosh, it was one of those things you see in movies. Then I cut the cake, and mom and dad had a bit. It was really good, it had multiple layers of cream and chocolate. I got loads of cool presents as well. Ha! I bet you don't really know how they work, though. I will teach you, sir! Cute!


18th July, 2012
The twentieth birthday cake rolled out on a lavish trolley. It remained inanimate in anticipation, the fate to befall known to all. The knife in Stephen's hand, the quick movement, the cake divided and separated. The barren applause, the inert clapping and Stephen's smile. The smile, a vague memory of itself, remained broad throughout the applause as if apprehensive a single twitch, and he wouldn't be able to conjure a smile again. This is a really cool pgh.


Stephen trudged along slowly to his friends. He nodded, acknowledging the birthday wishes. They all stood in a circle, as the conversation progressed the circumference contracted. The invisible circumference ceased to contract as Stephen looked on from the fringes. He wasn't a part of it, he knew it, they knew it.


He continued to gaze, his eyes locked onto the same spot as his mind drifted off and cared not for his gaze. He contemplated what, I knew not. Perhaps, he himself knew not what he contemplated. I could see what he sought though. His quest remained fraught with danger
. Danger not of monsters, men or weapons. Danger, but of losing all that passed, all that he had lived, the twenty years of his life, the twenty years of Stephen.


18th August, 2027
'Hello Stephen, are you ready? I need no introduction, for you know who I am.'


'I know who you are, but before we depart, can
you I tell you a story? A story I have saved since childhood.'


'You may.'


'I was three, and this is perhaps my first memory of my childhood. It was my first day in school, and our teacher asked us to introduce ourselves, in our adolescent way, to the class. Everyone did so, and I was the last one. I stood up and I walked in front of the class. I knew my name, I wished to say my name. But all that escaped me was silence. I looked at the teacher, and my classmates staring at the ghost. Their stares asking questions, I never deciphered. It frightened me as I had never been frightened, and never would be. I looked at the mirror hanging over the wall, and saw the ghost
. The ghost that induced horror not in others, but only me.'


I stared into his eyes, reached for his hand and then took him to where he must belong now.
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Old 04-13-2013, 03:02 PM
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Thanks for the read, Loz.

Haha, I can understand your focus on action. :P

I'll definitely keep it in mind. That's a rather astute observation. Here although, I felt it was more important to explore an abstract concept, for instance beauty rather than hint towards the concept. But I definitely see your point.

About the third, reading over your recommendations I can see how I could have omitted certain words.

Thanks a lot for the feedback, Loz! I really appreciate it.
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