Marietta

    I knew a girl who had gotten dumped. I say knew. She hovered around the floating edges of my break times, my classes, my petulant walks through corridors. She’d never mattered to us much before. But now she was always on my mind.
Her skin, it etched in the name of the boy who had done and got her heart broke, and the blood ran off her fingertips. Marietta. She looked like a corpse dressed for Halloween. Her skin was so pale. The lace from the dresses that seemed embroidered onto her skin, her arms, became bumpy with bloodstain. It trailed all the way up to her elbow. People stared. Even the teachers stared. Too nervous, they never said anything to her. I could never work out whether they were scared of hurting her mutated feelings, or simply just her. She had an aura about her that rendered people strange. A sickly, pasty kind of feeling that sweeps over you when you walk past her in the corridor, or catch her watery blue stare as you look up.
The boy’s name was Todd Bow. Everybody knew him, so as a result everybody then knew her. Before him, I guess you could say she was normal.  She seemed so anyway. Like your average, functioning girl. But love has its way of ruining
the best of us. If we let it fester, it turns us inside out, upside down, and bent over double in pain. Blood poured from her heart, and now it poured from her arms too.
A mathematic compass was her tool. Her art for punching holes into her veins. You know the ones. We’ve all
purposely pricked our fat, fleshy fingertips with one just so we can see it hurt. Its pinprick point like a poised and ready needle. It digs in and burrows itself beneath our skin, if it should like.
Marietta took it too far. God knows what her mother thought. Perhaps she never told. Yet we all knew; we could all
see the faded lines beneath the white lace, and the fresh ones too. We could all see the quiet disdain she held in her voice when she spoke, like every boy she addressed was guilty of breaking her heart. We could all see the fresh
etchings of a T … then an O … a deep, stinging D … and finally one more. It wasn’t like she was hiding it, like she faded into the background like some old piece of furniture. She was there everyday, on everybody’s minds.
I think she knew it.
The boy hardly knew what to do. They’d lasted six months; he’d never realised how hard she’d fallen. She avoided him like the plague, yet he remained on her arms, his name a hideous inscription, like she was bound to him forever. And she liked it that way.
She shamelessly strapped his identity to her skin like it was the only thing she had.
In the end, I suppose it was.

Constructive?? Criticism

Yesterday was my first day of getting a uni coursework back date. I admit I wasn’t fussed as I knew that the grade I would get would be the grade I would get. I wasn’t looking to fail, like a lot of people were. People were so nervous, their hands were shaking and they kept feigning a ‘not bothered’ attitude towards the grade they were getting.

“Wheey for getting a fail!”

“It’s only first year. It doesn’t matter at all.”

“If we fail – PUB!”

These are the loud mutterings I heard from across the room, in the long line for the queue.

When I finally received mine I will admit my heart did a nervous tremor, as if gearing up to do a somersault – but then deciding not to. Upon reading my results, I was pleased! I got a 2:1 in a cultural theory module essay and another 2:1 for my creative writing piece – which was the one I was looking most forward to hearing back from.
My face flushed with modest excitement. But what I saw on the comments page made me falter and, yes, get a little bit sad.

That very morning, I had yabbered on to my friend in a shower cubicle at the local swimming pool how I simply loved our Creative Writing lecturer. I yabbered on for some while, eventually telling her how I wished I could wrap him and just cuddle him, cook him eggs or something. He’s like a teddy bear, I told her. She only laughed back at me.

I take it back.

Like Mike, I was desperately unhappy.

Instead of being constructive, how he is supposed to be, he bluntly told me in the first sentence on the page that my work was:

  • strange
  • self-obsessed
  • almost claustrophobic
  • cliche
  • predictable

I peeked across at my friends’ papers, and he was at least a little constructive towards their stories; however he did refer to my friend’s discourse as ‘mopey’. I know this is being what a writer is, and you have to take criticism. This is what people are like towards your work after college and school; there is no cushioning.

I know that. It was just a little disconcerting.

This is what happened in my mind.

But I know I can write better. I wasn’t sure of the story myself. I shaped it into something I didn’t know, and didn’t want. I recognise that myself. But I know lots of good things can come of this incredibly negative, disheartening feedback. After 24 dull hours of contemplating, I have come through with an energetic mind and so many ideas for new stories and projects, I was even buzzing in work, so when it was quiet, I pulled up a few blank receipts and scribbled story ideas on that.

My supervisor asked what I was doing, and I mumbled something unintelligible about story writing, embarrassed.

And so, I rise triumphant, defiantly writing vague ideas for new stories and new beginnings.
WHEY.

To Die, Or Not To Die?

I’m a writer who has a basic outline of a plan which I follow through as much as I can. But I’m a writer who never knows where her end is going. Eventually, I find it. But right now, I’m writing a story with the theme of alienation, about a man who  is gossiped about by his neighbours, whilst strange things are happening in his house. Truthfully, the house wants him dead. Odd, I know.

Right now, it’s nearing the end and he’s almost at the other end of sanity. But I don’t know whether to have him resolve the ordeal peacefully and have a somewhat happy ending, or whether to let the house ultimately get its wish so he can once again be reunited with his late wife. See, there is a happy ending in there somewhere.

Then there’s his dog too. One of the neighbours have resolved that when the man goes, the dog shall too. But killing off a dog seems too sensitive a topic to write in a short story? Surely? Especially if the man himself commits them both to suicide inside his dingy old dark living room.

I imagine him to be somewhat similar to Filch, just a little less tragic.

I’m struggling to find my ending. Have you ever stumbled over this too?
If you did, what did you do?