Impractical Criticism

Feedburner says I have ten readers. According to the graph that is the most readers I have ever had. Thank you, it is very nice. Gratifying for my hot-air balloon ego.

Dear ten readers (would it insult you if I imagined you, for tonight, clapping your little plastic hands?), this is a bit of what I have been up to this evening:

After everything that is about to happen to her had already happened Rose will decide that it started with a girl riding a bicycle. A blonde girl, a pink bike, a white basket and a silver bell. She wasn’t there to see these details and his description had been smothered by his irritation about something else. A girl, he’d said, on a bike, and he’d had to swerve. The side of the van had caught a garden wall, paint shearing off onto the brick. A dent. It wasn’t serious. The insurance would cover it.

Rose will turn it over like a boiled sweet in her mouth and the details will divide like bacteria until his story is a living thing and something she will remember. The bike was pink, the girl was eight years old and the bell rang as she wobbled the handlebars the wrong way and bumped the new tires down the kerb and onto the road. It was her fault. See how a sentence can thicken into scene, a story into a memory? It wasn’t Rose’s fault. No, it was the girl’s, the one with lilac ribbons in her hair and white ankle socks. Bare calves speckled with mud from riding her bike through the puddles.

It was her fault he didn’t have his van that day. The scrape had to be mended. He was wary of rust. He had used his wife’s car to get to work. One bike, no van, one car. Car. Which meant they couldn’t go to the top of the multi-story car-park and withdraw into the van’s dark, grease-smelling privacy. He’d tried, but she’d shaken her head. No way, in the car. So he’d suggested a walk in the woods. And she’d taken her sandwiches from her locker and met him half way down the footpath where the trees started to clot against the light. Because there wasn’t a van (because of the girl, because of the bike, because of the kerb and the bell and the lilac hair-ribbon) they’d stepped off the path and into the undergrowth, finding a spot amongst the wild-garlic and the fireweed, brushing the leaf-mould away and lying down. And he’d kissed her open mouth and they’d begun.

All that dicking about with tenses. I’m tense about those tenses (BOOM). I am not so sure of the voice in this. I mainly stick to first person but I am trying to get intimate with third. The narrator sounds like a character all of her own. They always are, even thirds. I haven’t decided how this narrator will be yet.

I never quite understand what third person narrators have to do with the story they are telling. Not to do as in doing something, but do, as in, how they relate to. Although I am not sure how she is to do it either. She has to have a reason to tell it. It is easier to figure out when there is an ‘I’.

This is an ‘I’ that never says ‘I’ and is writing about someone else. A God voice. Telepathic. But not neutral either. She selects, and has opinions, and wants to colour your opinion. I think she’s wrong about some things too.

I need to practice more. I need to watch writers on you-tube and copy them. It is all right that I don’t know what I am doing. When I am grey, I might. I hate young people who have opinions and seem to know what they are doing. What are the rest of the years for?

Anyway, I’m not sure what I am doing with this but I know what happens next.  

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