Six pm Short Story review no.3 – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hello everyone. You may have been expecting the writing prompts around now but they’ve moved to 8am every weekday rather than 6pm. This is to make way for the new daily (ish) slot of the ‘Six pm Short Story’. My day job is editing and critique so I don’t read as much for pleasure as I should. I have therefore set my self the challenge (which I first mentioned on Saturday) to read a story (short story or novella) every day… or at least as often as I can. It doesn’t sound like much but I also plan to up my 1,000 words to the 1,667-word average for NaNoWriMo next month. So I figured if I put it in black and white then I’m more likely to achieve it.

Speaking of black and white, I started with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s three-story collection ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper‘, working backwards from the third story: Old Water (see Monday’s review) then the middle story: The Rocking Chair (or rather The Rocking-Chair to give its official title) yesterday.

The title story stars with.the first-person narrator and we soon learn she is a tortured soul and how no one around her believes there’s anything wrong. I love inanimate characters and it’s fascinating how much  influence a house has on her.

With her husband away much of the time, the narrator keeps herself to the top-floor nursery, which though light and airy, she finds creepy, as would the reader. The views from the house are so inviting yet she doesn’t leave, nor does her husband want her to do so.

Strip away the flowery writing (and proliferation of exclamation marks) and you have a great story. It could have done with a good edit including the correction of any more to anymore when relating to time rather than quantity. Also, had I been the original editor, I would have suggested name changes as there are only five names mentioned and four of those begin with J: John, Julia, Jennie and Jane. The narrator isn’t mentioned, the other is Cousin Henry.

So for the story: an okay read rated 3/5. And the collection as a whole? Strange. I love strange but this was hard work strange. Interesting reading but not enough to bond me to the author, which is a shame. So an overal 2/5.

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Six pm Short Story no.1 – Old Water by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hello everyone. You may have been expecting the writing prompts around now but they’ve moved to 8am every weekday rather than 6pm. This is to make way for the new daily (ish) slot of the ‘Six pm Short Story’. My day job is editing and critique so I don’t read as much for pleasure as I should. I have therefore set my self the challenge (which I first mentioned on Saturday) to read a story (short story or novella) every day… or at least as often as I can. It doesn’t sound like much but I also plan to up my 1,000 words to the 1,667-word average for NaNoWriMo next month. So I figured if I put it in black and white then I’m more likely to achieve it.

Speaking of black and white, I’ve started with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s three-story collection ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper‘, working backwards from the third story: Old Water.

At a mere twelve and a half 1/4 A4 (A7) pages, it starts with a quite ‘dark and stormy night’ description and three exclamation marked words in the first paragraph of dialogue… four !s in the first two paragraphs… seven on the first page and five on page two. Rather than read on, it became a ‘Where’s the !’? and the results were:

Page 1 = 7; 2=5; 3=5 (in the same para); 4=2; 5=3; 6=7; 7=2; 8=2; 9=6; 10=8; 11=3; 12=18!; and on the final half page there were 8!

And yes, it bogged down the writing so I was less enthused to read the story but I did and my, does Charlotte love her adverbs. (Page 1, second para: Slowly across the open gold came a still canoem sent swiftly and smoothly on by well-accustomed arms.)

Although it’s not erotic in the slightest, it did remind me of Fifty Shades and considering how famous The Yellow Wallpaper is, I’m surprised that this gushy story has been chosen for this tiny collection.

From a technical point of view, the story switches (mid-scene) from the inital main character, Mrs Osgood, to her daughter Ellen… and back… several times. I skim read from about page three onwards, not good for a story of around 2,000 words. There were no section breaks (blank line then left-justified first paragraph) when there was a gap in time (there were several). Although the story was first published in 1911, the language is Austenesque, who died almost a century earlier. Far too flowery for my liking, Old Water, may appeal to historical fans but it only gets one star from me.

Six pm Short Story review no.2 – The Rocking Chair by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hello everyone. You may have been expecting the writing prompts around now but they’ve moved to 8am every weekday rather than 6pm. This is to make way for the new daily (ish) slot of the ‘Six pm Short Story’. My day job is editing and critique so I don’t read as much for pleasure as I should. I have therefore set my self the challenge (which I first mentioned on Saturday) to read a story (short story or novella) every day… or at least as often as I can. It doesn’t sound like much but I also plan to up my 1,000 words to the 1,667-word average for NaNoWriMo next month. So I figured if I put it in black and white then I’m more likely to achieve it.

Speaking of black and white, I started with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s three-story collection ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper‘, working backwards from the third story: Old Water (see yesterday’s review).

Today is the middle story: The Rocking Chair (or rather The Rocking-Chair to give its official title).

Like Old Water, this story stars with description but it is much less flowery and we’re soon pulled into the lives of the narrator Maurice and his friend and colleague Hal. With sinister goings on, their friendship is tested in this short intense story. Althoughthe premise of the story (the elusive girl) is obvious, it’s the journey that captivates. Like yesterday, I was looking forward to the end but to see the conclusion not because I wasn’t enjoying it. The manipulation of the friendship was a triangle in more ways than one. A recommended 4/5 read.

Post-weekend Poetry 129: Living by Gboyero Felix

Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the one hundred and twenty-ninth poem in this series. This week’s piece is by Gboyero Felix.

Living

fun 921534Uncertainty as it’s defined

Warlock in its dismay

Living seems odd all the day

Just as the beautiful lady experiences senescence

It’s started well at dawn

But flux on noon day

Waxed further to disdain night

All seems not worthy to live for

But living we shall live it

A question yet define is living….

Its authenticity gurps as a chameleon…

*

I asked Gboyero what prompted this piece and he said…

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Post-weekend Poetry 128: A Frozen Heart That Could Be Mine by Samantha Wilcox

Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the one hundred and twenty-eighth poem in this series. This week’s piece is by Samantha Wilcox.

A Frozen Heart That Could Be Mine

frozen heart 898289A frozen heart that could be mine

I don’t look

So I don’t find

Sodden trampled leaves beneath me

Slick brown glistening branches beat me

Fast of tread as wind whips chest

Seeking out what isn’t there to take

Buried deep amongst the tissues, vessels,

Bloody secrets twisted, nestled

A shout behind me in the dark

My name, his voice a question mark

I tried. Time and again, I tried

Slow as moments lost at sea

Fast as lifetimes unseen pass

The flow of warmth was chilled to ice

As broken arteries perhaps. I tried

I could not love you

I cannot love. Too tired to try again

A frozen heart that could be mine?

But nothing answers me this time around

And so the ground

Awaits me.

*

I asked Samantha what prompted this piece and she said…

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Post-weekend Poetry 127: Huózhe by Samantha Wilcox

Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the one hundred and twenty-seventh poem in this series. This week’s piece is by Samantha Wilcox.

Huózhe

An ever-changing tonal wail

competing with the Chinese violin

People move arms up

And circle the air

Sashay hips

Fixed stare

 

Daylight in the entrance to the park

Or later as fading light turns to dark

Colour lights by battery

red and blue

Cascades from cheapest plastic

Some, a few

Are sold

But eggs or chestnuts make the sales

Keep the streets alive with smells

 

Tofu, eggplant, pineapple

Dusty carts laden with foods

Stand on corners by the roads

Under the bridges

And next to the lights

Walking through another time

Breathing smoke and dust and grime

Staying close to locals to make it through the roads

The weaving cars, buses, bikes

Cross safely to the other side

*

I asked Samantha what prompted this piece and she said…

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