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My Relationship with Death

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Old 07-30-2016, 03:38 AM
sofia.benbahmed (Offline)
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Default My Relationship with Death


So this is, as Anne Lamott puts it, my "Shitty First Draft". I would love both positive and constructive feedback. The title "My Relationship with Death" doesn't quite feel right and is temporary; if you have suggestions I would love to hear them.

Edited: I have decided to title this "Correspondence with Death".

I offered myself to death again and again, and she continually swallowed her hunger in my presence and starved. She watched me and waited.
Death was born death. She was never afforded the gift of lungs, or heart, or blood or bone. When she was first conceived she had no idea what it felt like to stretch, to move, to walk, to dance. She was deaf and alone - she could not hear the subtle baritone of a lover’s voice, or feel their warm embrace, or listen to the symphony.
Death was hungry for life, and born without conscience. Then the day came that death discovered murder - and for the smallest of moments she found that when she killed she could breathe, and move, and sing, and hear, and scream so loudly that her throat went hoarse, that she lost her voice - and she marveled in what it felt like to HAVE a voice, to hear herself, to express her experience through words and sounds and movement and life. Oh, life. But she found that those moments passed so quickly, and she had to kill again and again to achieve the same result, to feel alive, even artificially, for the shortest of moments.
But when I called out for her - when every cell of my body and soul cried out and begged her to come and take me, she resisted. Death was born without conscience, you see, but she was afforded a sense of curiosity, and perhaps it was my continual offering of myself - when so many others went to such great lengths to evade her - that intrigued Death, perhaps it was my lack of desire to feel what she so desperately craved that kept her away. Do not mistake me, she watched me carefully. Each night I crawled into bed and waited, my heart praying that she would come and take me, and the nightmares would come and I would toss and turn and moan and groan - until I felt her presence. Death came to visit me in the dark, and she hovered above me, not quite a shadow or a ghost - something more solid somehow, and yet more elusive - and she watched. She watched my chest rise and fall, she watched me mutter, and feeling her there, and knowing that she had come for me, eased my nightmares and softened my limbs and I felt peace in those moments.
And then I would wake in the mornings and cry, and wonder how she could be so cruel. Death is not, by nature, merciful, but when I offered myself to her she would swallow her hunger and starve - Death pitied me, she desired to see me make something of life, which she herself coveted so. She spent more time with me than she did with most of her victims, and she grew a sort of affinity for me, she tried to understand. She gave up trying, eventually, because to her I was so strange and so different...what made me different? I don’t think I’ll ever know. All I know is that when I offered myself to death countless times she unselfishly starved rather than take me with her. She knew that someday she would have me, but her curiosity got the best of her, and she starved and waited and watched.

To Death - I, too, am curious what I will make of this life. I sense that you are more distant now, your visits less frequent, your presence less palpable. For years I viewed life as a curse, and I did not understand why despite my best efforts you would not come for me. Today I have no answers - I have instead my lungs, and blood, and bone - I have the ability to move and hold my loved ones, and sing and laugh and listen to the music of the birds and the trees in the wind, of the ocean as it rages and subsides. I pause now, uncertain whether or not to thank you. I know that you didn’t do it for me. But I sit here today, very much alive, curious and apprehensive - excited and nervous - sad and lonely and loved and grateful.


Last edited by sofia.benbahmed; 07-30-2016 at 05:09 AM..
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:49 AM
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and she marveled in what it felt like to HAVE a voice, to hear herself, to express her experience

the capital HAVE, is out of place. it should either be small letters or HEAR and EXPRESS should be caps - I would recommend that Express also be changed to YELLED

Death was born death. She was never afforded the gift of lungs, or heart, or blood or bone. When she was first conceived she had no idea what it felt like to stretch, to move, to walk, to dance. She was deaf and alone - she could not hear the subtle baritone of a lover’s voice, or feel their warm embrace, or listen to the symphony.

this passage with the extended sentences using just commas, or 'or' or 'and' is going to be a problem with publishers. However I like it, I think it gives the entire piece a poetic quality.

I liked this piece,

keep writing

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Last edited by max crash; 08-19-2016 at 12:45 PM..
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:50 AM
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I don't have a clue as to why this duped


and she marveled in what it felt like to HAVE a voice, to hear herself, to express her experience

the capital HAVE, is out of place. it should either be small letters or HERE and EXPRESS should be caps - I would recommend that Express also be changed to YELLED

Death was born death. She was never afforded the gift of lungs, or heart, or blood or bone. When she was first conceived she had no idea what it felt like to stretch, to move, to walk, to dance. She was deaf and alone - she could not hear the subtle baritone of a lover’s voice, or feel their warm embrace, or listen to the symphony.

this passage with the extended sentences using just commas, or 'or' or 'and' is going to be a problem with publishers. However I like it, I think it gives the entire piece a poetic quality.

I liked this piece,

keep writing

Max Crash
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if you're writing over your readers head - tum etiam, ut graece scribens --- the secret of success changes;the truth of failure remains constant; if you try to please everyone you will fail.

Last edited by max crash; 07-30-2016 at 09:53 AM..
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Old 08-16-2016, 07:57 AM
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Although I am a new writer myself, I enjoyed your piece. It's as if it made you attempt to visualize death and understand its reasoning in a new way. For me at least. I enjoy letting the mind wander, yet I would have enjoyed more details based on why you so badly wanted death to consume you to the point you ached for it every night? And what exactly was so different in you that death would rather starve and watch you then take you? Definitely some good points you can majorly add on to here! Overall I love this piece it makes a person think! Good writing!
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:49 PM
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I must say, I'm really very intrigued and captivated by work. Through your writing style and syntax, you've managed to maintain a steady rhythm and flow in the structure of your work. I also agree with Gsmo22 on what he said about your effort on trying to embody or capture "Death" in a visual manner. I do disagree though on trying to include more details. I believe the story, as it stands, is just fine, but perhaps could benefit from some polishing in the story telling.

Alright! Criticism time!
I have time on my hands, so I'm really going to try and hit all the points I feel should be addressed.

As far as grammar and spelling goes, it's on point. On the other hand, potential changes could be made to diction and punctuation that would benefit the story greatly. There are (what I believe to be) awkward choices in words and punc. marks that would help maintain that 'flow' and impede repetition.

Opening Paragraph/last sentence: Is DEATH, for you as the writer, a supernatural entity superior to all other beings, rivaled only in power by God or Satan(or some other omniscient being) OR on the level of a human-being who just so happens to have the ability to take away life?

"She watched me and waited." Later in the story, you mention that Death pities your human character. Perhaps a change in Death's perspective or position in relation to the character, according to what you wrote?
Ex's:
She loomed over me and waited.
She hovered over me and waited.
These example choices would overplay in a subtle manner DEATH'S pity toward the human character. If you do follow this advice, be sure to look up other adverbs and/or prepositional words.

I'll post more messages in the next hour...
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:49 PM
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Second Paragraph/Second Sentence: "She was never afforded the gift of lungs, or heart, or blood or bone."
There is just too much comma action going on here and the use of "or", while poetic, is repeated a tad too much.
Ex. Replacements:
She was never afforded the gift of lungs or heart or blood and bone.
She was never afforded the gift of a heart, of lungs, blood, or bone.
They just sound better now, if you ask me.

2nd P: "When she was first conceived she had no idea what it felt like to stretch, to move, to walk, to dance. She was deaf and alone - she could not hear the subtle baritone of a loverís voice, or feel their warm embrace, or listen to the symphony."

The use of "she had no idea" throws off the whole sophisticated and mature tone of the writing and distracts. I recommend removing it completely and adding additionally:
"When she was first conceived she knew naught what it was to stretch, to move, to walk, to dance."

"She was deaf and alone - she could not hear the subtle baritone of a loverís voice, or feel their warm embrace, or listen to the symphony."

Here I want to address the first of an impressive number of dashes through the work.

....I have to get going actually. If you appreciate my input so far, shoot me a private message and I'll send you some more observations and critiques. I'd be happy to do so.

Sardonic Writer.
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:42 AM
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I liked this story. I enjoyed the rhythm and pacing of your sentences.
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:05 AM
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I liked it. That's good engaging writing.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:14 PM
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....not quite sure what to make of this except to say "shitty" is selling yourself short..... It's almost more poetry than fiction. Death being female was an interesting twist But that's just me

Spelling/punctuation is minor at this point and can be fixed later....

A rather entertaining twist at first-- Death coming and not taking a life. This might be something to explore if you want to flesh this out further.

What might become of this if it were fleshed out? Do you even want to flesh it out? What I mean by that is.... Short Story? Novelette? Full novel? If you do flesh it out, do you want to focus on Death's relationship to the heroine? The heroine's relationship with Death? Does the heroine actually defeat Death in some way (now THAT is when it starts getting interesting)....etc. Etc. Etc. Happy Writing

That I leave up to you
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Old 09-08-2016, 03:15 AM
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I respect this piece. This piece is a thing to davor like a feast for a reader and Because this piece feels so personal for the writer I don't dare (or don't want) to say anything else except it touched my heart with the beautiful writing. Keep it up.
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Old 03-01-2017, 03:36 PM
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I can happily say I was only disappointed that it wasn't a true romance. I am a sucker for love stories. Even if it happens to be with death.
Keep writing. Believe in the me that believes in you.
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Old 03-16-2017, 01:38 PM
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I think this is fantastic. It conveys a feeling of elusiveness that begs contemplation, which I thoroughly enjoy. My favorite image is of Death swallowing hunger to starve.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:06 AM
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Default My Relationship with Death

Very successful Personification of "Death" here.

The strong, active voice allows for a more brilliant personification. We know that Death has taken on a full body presence and can think and act as we do. Yet this character is in conflict with the Narrator for being less aggressive. Hmm, very clear femininity.

So, this draft executes characterization and voice. The audience will eventually turn the less aggressive character into a round character. I really like what you are doing with the shape of the story, a guest is being invited in a place like the Stranger-Comes-to-Town, but is in hesitation.

If you are going to use the title, "A Correspondence with Death," you should spend a little more time with plot and subplot. Set up some scenes and let us see Death avoiding situations.
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