Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Golems

Another 2nd draft. I cut 2,000 words. Hopefully it benefited. Also put spaces between paragraphs for easier reading on the Internet.

Abigail began in clay, worked her way to stone, and if required she could also work metal. Twisting likenesses from these unimpeachable absolutes was her calling. Filling the faces of men with sorrow, women's torsos with the possibility of sexual desire. From the most sophisticated and urbane, to the commonest of the common, her sculptures had the ability to drag the eye, beauty to cut the heart, and yet for all that she was poor, for unlike some others, causing tears did not make her a rich woman.

With the weather turning cold, Abigail Fromm doubted she would sell anything before winter came.

She feared winter.

To that end she had tried to find work in a gallery but had no luck. Even if the work were scrubbing floors, soaping washrooms, tidying up after the ones who paid their eight dollars to examine art; few there to write checks, most came to walk through cool, embryonically-lit galleries stuffed with collages of every sort, examining with harsh amusement and stinging judgement; for surely if they were to turn their hands away from banking, from investments, from the markets, they would, of course, change worlds and cultures with their own art, were they to give up the sanctity of the jewel of their college education, their names would be whispered in smoky coffee shops, ripple in auction houses, steal hearts, cook minds.

She sat in her cold apartment (heat was beyond her) the few, modest materials at her disposal ringing her like a trophy universe, stuffed and mounted upon the hunting lodge door of her dreams. Her sculptures, though lauded, did not sustain her financially, and there were her appetites to consider. She hungered for powders and prescriptions, gum drop scented liquor. But her wallet was empty. Her account was empty, overdrawn a week past in one last orgy of pleasure.

Without drugs she sometimes felt she was building at random. Only by suffering through a delirium of hangovers, of any sort, the more the better, was she able to sustain designs, inspire little genesises.

In her desperation she sought Mr. Knut. She walked, ignoring various street jesters who mugged for invisible cameras. An early moon was out, this New York night, beneath, the city was a blood-drenched spectacle.

Mr. Knut lived in Brooklyn in a cheap fire-gutted building. In the seventies he'd been a lord of Bohemia, the eighties a land-developer, the nineties, an art-world dabbler. He was a Hermes, a messenger, utilizing connections to bring artist and client together. She had not seen him in a year or more, during which time she had made an attempt to make it on her own knowing she was good enough. A hard lesson: talent is not enough. She sold a few things at low prices to flood the market with her work but the effect had been the opposite. Her sculptures had become common.

Mr. Knut's complex was surrounded by a fire-blackened gate. The place should be condemned, she thought. Flotillas of trash, marching armies of used needles swam by blown by the fall breeze.

Mr. Knut lived in first floor apartment. When he opened the door she was shocked. In the year since she had last seen him, Knut had aged decades. His hair gone from iron-grey to snow-white. The lines in his face now ravines and chasms through which his pulse dimly beat.

Mr. Knut looked her over. Abigail was still an attractive woman, still fresh-faced, still carrying the sense of female mystery and allure.

"Coming in?" He asked.

But before she did, he hooked a thumb at the street-corner. "Seen him before?"

A heavyset black man in a brown coat hugged his back against a pillar of street light. He splayed his fingers at them, as if in greeting.

"Never," she told Knut.

He moved aside, favoring his right leg.

His place hadn't changed in a year. Just the right amount of theatre, in one corner a set of wigs, the carpeting the same peach abberrance, an immense aqarium in another corner in which a tiny piranha floated, the only inhabitaant of the vast, lonely tank.

She let out a laugh.

"I didn't think you'd come back," he said.

"Wasn't planning on it."

"Drink?"

"Of course."

Once she had a drink in her hand, she had sudden energy.

"When are you going to move into a retirement home?" She needled.

Mr. Knut would be a peculiar figure, if sculpted, she thought. While all go to tragedy, very few continue the awful performance so long that the audience becomes part of the tragedy. She remembered why she had stopped coming here, why the money had started to not seem enough. Despair.

"Let me guess. Come back to Knut, need some money," he said.

"Partly," she said. "I've been doing tremendous work, Mr Knut."

"Always did," he nodded.

"I need a market."

"Always did," smug this time.

She sighed. "I've got good work, I just need buyers."

Knut made a supreme effort to cross his leg. His right leg seemed thicker than the left. He followed her glance.

"It's nothing," he said. "Thing is, Abigail, I've got someone doing good work.

She laughed.

"No, it's quality," he assured her.

"Really?"

"Come look."

The hive sat on the kitchen table. The sculpter had invested it with some style. A golden beehive, very lifelife, with bees that were so minutely detailed it seemed as though if you held a mirror to their mouths you'd catch their breath.

"Not bad, but not original."

"That's what they want these days," he replied. "God is not the one dead, it is originality which is dead."

She scoffed.

"You have to sacrifice to convention," he said. "It's a buyer's market, and my present sculpter works on buyer's demand."

"Even if you're right, I think my latest work has appeal."
"If that's so I can find a buyer for you."

"You will?"

"I will," he conceded. "I'll need to see what you have, of course."

"Of course," she said.

She went over her inventory of unsold work with him, not discussing pieces she knew he would think "too unconventional".

"I will call you tomorrow," he said.

She let herself out into the night, shivering. The man was still under the street lamp. She decided to be brave and walk by him. She had almost passed him, thinking him asleep, when he rose to his feet. He'd played possum.

He grabbed her arm in a tight grip. "You an artist?"

"Let go," she said coldly.

"Just tell Bellyfallow. Answer his question." His teeth were very white and his eyes very bright.

Before she could answer, he released her. "I know him," Bellyfallow said, waving at Knut's apartment. "I used to be an artist. A painter. I don't remember much else" He burped.

She began walking away from the slurpy creature. Up ahead, the beginning sirens of New York nightlife, a certain type of pedestrian being replaced by a less benign sort, one with wilder eyes.

Looking back when she reached the intersection, the strange man named Bellyfallow watched her, leaning against his streetlamp.

***

True to his word, Mr. Knut called early the next morning.

"I have an opportunity," he told her.

Drinking the last of the juice, and eating a slice of burnt toast without butter, still half-asleep from a restless night, she intently listened, her hair swinging down her back, split ends like the leavings of a rope-maker.

She dressed quickly. She clutched the address Knut had given her, that she had written on a scrap of paper, studying it as she walked. The address was in Manhattan.

The city had shaken off its strange dreams for sobriety. The midnight revelers slept. The mourners wept. Everything was as it should be, she thought.

Except, if she did not find a way of coming up with rent, these nightmare streets would become her home.

It wasn't as far as she'd thought. A sign above the lobby named it. The Cascinio. Though the exterior was clean, the interior wore its age badly. There was a lobby desk but no security. The elevators were cage-like, when she pushed the fourth floor the letters lit up with green delight. The elevator chugged its way to the fourth, halting a few times with a bang before resuming its uneven ascent. When it finally reached its destination she feared the doors would not open and that she would be trapped in the moving tomb, but the doors opened, although they stuck as if the elevator regretted letting its pray go free. The corridor it opened into was no better. It seemed the builder of the Cascinio had thought it a good aesthetic to create continuity between lift and interior as the hallway was virtually interchangable with the elevator.

There were four apartments. As Abigail passed the first, the door opened and eyes peered out. It was dark but she thought she caught a glimpse of a boy. The eyes quickly withdrew. The door slammed.

Number forty-four. She knocked on the door, and after a brief time heard it unlatch.

"Hello," she said the old wizened creature who opened the door. Wordlessly, he scuttled back, holding the door at a safe distance, waiting for her to enter. She ducked under his arm. Strange, she thought. But she'd seen far stranger, had once been employed by a young woman through Knut (Knut did not operate by regular channels and therefore never had regular clients) and the woman claimed she was a doctor of neuroscience, and spoke in a dry rustle like a wash cloth falling into a dry sink, always met her at the door nude and remained that way during the course of Abigail's visits, even though she was sculpting the woman's exotic cat. The strange doctor, her ass covered in warts, wore an expression dumb as a dead deer, but her money was as good as any.

The elderly man's living room was heavy with clouds of pale smoke. It was pipe-smoke, sweet with a hint of jasmine. Books and magazines lay on every available space in no imaginable order. The only visible area was a long white L-shaped kitchen shelf.

The owner of all this mess, still unspeaking, moved aside a series of rolled parchments and she sat on the sofa.

He lit a cigar.

"I'm very old," he finally said. His voice was smoke-drowned, the words fog-bound.

Already she relished putting together this man, wrestling his true self from clay and stone.

His mouth turned with amusement. "You like what you see?" He asked.

She searched for a proper response, then, murmured, "you'll do."

"Good," he said. "I've seen your work. You're good, but my, how the fair fall fast."

"I've not fallen so far --- Mr..."

"Green."

"Mr. Green."

"Best to finish this business," Mr. Green say cryptically.

"You were looking for someone to make a..."

"Statue."

"A statue."

"Of me," he said. She got a strong whiff of brandy and peanuts. He must have been eating something disgusting, she thought.

"I can start anytime," she said. Although she was curious about this old being, the more she knew about her subjects the more difficult it was imitate them, something to do with getting lost in the details. It was far easier to imitate life, if she did not know the inner life of what she sought to imitate.

"You don't mince words, young woman. I like that."
He handed her an envelope. "You can work from a picture?" He asked, all business.

She nodded.

"Open it. Look at it. Tell me if you can do it, because I do not like to be disappointed."

"I can do it," she said, without opening the envelope.

"How long?" He asked.

"A week for the clay.. longer for stone. I begin with clay..."

"Clay is fine. You must hurry. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to show your talent. You have three days."

When she reached the street she opened the envelope and withdrew a photograph. The back was wrinkled, bloodied with age. She turned it over. A black and white photograph. The image was of a clean-shaven man in a casual suit holding an award. The image was clear, nevermind the condition of the photograph. She should have no problem with this.

Yet she did.

When she tried to model from the photo each time she failed. She made the face natural, then nasty, then soft, and then hard and glinting, even mad. She worked late into the night with no success. She left the mash of clay in the corner and slept on the floor.

She called Mr. Knut when she woke up in the afternoon, hoping for an advance of a few hundred.

He agreed, on one condition. "Come by today in a couple hours. There's someone I'd like you to meet."

To avoid Bellyfallow she came upon the building from the other direction, but there was no sign of the ridiculous black man in the brown coat.

Mr. Knut had company. A young girl with a stitch for a mouth and a face that swam in a sack of fat. The rest of the girl's body was oddly athletic and healthy-looking.

"Abigail, this is Char."

Mr. Knut clearly enjoyed seeing the mixture of repulsion and attraction that puzzled Abigail's features.

"Char made the beehive," he said.

"A very beautiful work," Abigail told Char, not meeting her eyes.

"Thank-you," Char said. Her clear, precise tone called to mind the sound of a bell.

"I also admire your work," the girl with the face of a mutilated sponge said. "I've wanted to meet you, and when Mr. Knut said you were working with one of his clients, I couldn't resist. I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all."

"It's good to see my girls together," Mr. Knut said.

"Well, we are," Abigail answered this. "Together at last."

Mr. Knut winked at Char.

"Let's all sit and make talk," he said.

Abigail listened to Char describe her work in matter-of-fact terms. There was no intimacy here. These were words as naturally beautiful as the beehive and its bees were, yet Abigail felt further from the subject of Char's work, the longer Char talked.

When Char politely excused herself, Mr. Knut dug around for money.

"It's a shame she looks like that. Although her look does grant her work a certain immediacy when you realize that ugly can make beautiful even if it doesn't know how."

Abigail uncomfortably agreed.

"She has no idea how she does it, or what she does, what moves her," Knut said. "She recites things she's heard in books about the creative process."

There was certainly no mistaking that Char's looks would ever be pleasant unless a suitor was looking for someone whose face was raw hamburger.

"I've got five hundred for you," he said. "He's paying eight thousand, and you'll get two-thirds of that, minus this five hundred." He put the money in her hand.

"What can you tell me about Mr. Green?" She asked.

"Is that what he's calling himself?" Knut asked. "I don't know too much but I know his real name certainly isn't Green. I think he used to be a politician."

The trip back to her apartment proved uneventful, with New Yorkers behaving themselves for once. No sign of Bellyfallow lurking amidst the trodden down public street block at Knut's.

She resolved the consider the photo at more length, memorizing it so she would be able to call an image of it in her mind at will. But the longer she stared at the photo the less time she was able to keep the face in her memory. It was like grasping at illusion. Each time she atttempted to transfer the photo to clay, the image would escape from her head.

Each face she molded dripped into another. She decided to go out on the town. If she could not work, she might as well splurge on a night of decadence. It had always been successful for her work in the past.

But instead of going to a location where she had gotten wrecked in the past her steps took her to Manhattan. She paid a cab driver with new-smelling money. She bit her nails as the Cascinio elevator rose. It was a ghost-ride through emptiness. The door where she had seen the little boy opened again but no face appeared in shadow. She glanced into the dark, empty apartment, as she walked down the corridor.

She knocked on number forty-four.

Mr. Green opened the door, sending out waves of gag-worthy peanut butter and bourbon. He had a pair of glasses on.

"And, lo, the artist comes," he said.

"I don't know why I'm here," she offered.

"Well, don't stand out here. Come in."

The place was no cleaner than before. If anything it was worse, a disaster area, some piles of books spilled, their contents rummaged through and left to dwindle out their pages and manuscripts and bindings like blood stains.

"Done already," he asked her when she was seated.

She shook her head.

Mr. Green nodded. She suspected he was humoring her. He offered her a drink, handing her a glass that looked as though it had never been clean. The mixture in the glass was an oily yellow. She momentarily wondered if the old man was drinking his own piss.

She smelled the glass and cringed. Butter brittle. Rotten salmon chunks.

Still, she upended the glass, swallowing the bitter and unsurprisingly disgusting mixture.

He drank more slowly. "Keeps me alive," he told her.

"What is it?" She asked.

"Wouldn't you like to know. Let's just say, doctors wouldn't know to prescribe it."

A window was open. Old ratty curtains tangled and wove apart in a cold breeze. She clutched the glass, staring at the window.

"I can't do it," she said. "I don't know why, but I can't."

She felt ill.

"May I use your bathroom?" She asked.

Mr. Green nursing his drink, nodded.

Pale paint oozed off the walls in the bathroom. There was a single gimlet-eyed toilet seat, stained and warped by ass cheeks. She spread toilet paper and sat. Her stomach felt as though the intestines were wrestling in grease, engaged in silent battle. Her belly shrank as she expelled fluid.

The sink spilled dirty brown water when she pulled the lever and she preferred her hands dirty rather than submerge them, eyeing the clotted napkins on the floor covered in suspicious matter.

"What's your real name?" She asked, after leaving the bathroom.

"What's real," he countered.

"My God, a philosopher."

Mr. Green snorted. "Well, sculpter, people name things to make sense of them."

"Nasty bathroom," she said, not taking the bait.

"Plumbing still works," he said gamely.

"Please. I came here because I am having a sort of mental block. I think you should find someone better suited."

"No, no," he said, eying her cleverly. "You just proved you're suitable. If you weren't you'd have made some garbage out of that picture. It's best not to ask questions, my sculpter. But now that I know you have talent, let me get you a real likeness."

He dispatched his drink in the kitchen and disappeared for a short time in waht she assumed was his bedroom. She idly imagined his bed covered in bedbugs, ripe and bloody. The bedding pilfering bed sores for its own malignant uses.

He returned with a heavy iron frame. She oofed when he shoved it at her.

The photograph was from some sort of masquerade-ball, black and white, the same man from the other photo smiling though his eyes were covered in a black eye mask. The same jaw line, she thought, pressing her nail, tracing the lines. The same lips.

"You?" She asked.

"Once," he answered. "And soon again, when you're finished."

"I will do my best," she told him pityingly.

She began fresh when she got home. She blew on her hands, envisioning a great set of bellows, closing and opening its flaps, gauges ringing mirthfully, and she imagined bringing this power to bear against the clay. This was the same vein she tapped into each time, but somehow she felt more cogent of the process. Her fingers tingled in their socks while she worked the clay. She worked through the night, until morning.

But when she looked out her window, to her costernation she saw Bellyfallow. He watched her window intently and waved when he saw her.

He must have followed me, she thought.

She went down, meaning to send him off, but felt her heart close with pity when she saw him up close in the morning sun.

"I've been looking for you," he said, concern furrowing his brow like a long-lost friend.

"I think you've found the wrong person, Bellyfallow."

"No, wait," he said. "It was ducks. I used to paint ducks. I don't remember very good. I think people liked them, and Mr. Knut arranged for me to do some work. Needed the money. Got bad habits."

He squinted. "Hooked me up with an old guy lived at the Cascinio."

"I don't understand," she said.

Bellyfallow laughed. "I don't either. I just wanted to tell you so you'd know. It ain't the same guy you have. I had a different guy, just about as old." He shrugged. "I'm not real together these days." He tapped his head with a dirty finger.

He farted wetly, and shivered in unconcealed happiness.

"I painted for Mr. Teddy. Old timer."

The haunted look on Bellyfallow's face was convincing. Then he farted again.

"Please stop following me," she said.

"Mr. Teddy was big. I've seen him on TV. Same guy I think. I seen him in a window on TV." Bellyfallow smiled earnestly. "I painted a guy on TV."

His eyes darkened. "But I haven't painted since. I can't hold a paintbrush."

Bellyfallow's words stung her with their mystery. She decided to press Mr. Knut when she next saw him.

She finished the next morning. She had found the true face in the clay. She used what she often thought of as the same amount of force it takes to collapse buildings, to precisely order the image she molded. She took breaks to smoke marijuana and drink. No matter how much she took in, she became neither stoned nor drunk, only more filled with purpose. She collapsed when she finished, at dawn, gutted. She lay thinking about how she had sculpted as a child, with mashed potatoes. Recruiting carrots for her mother's eyes. Then, like now, she felt each line was filled with boundless energy, each beginning line ending in reality.

She woke mid-day, doddering to the bathroom like an old woman with an infected bladder. Her head felt like someone had upended a bag of marbles into the cranial case. She collapsed again.

She dreamt of Mr. Green. The dream Green kept asking: is it done yet. When she protested he opened his mouth and yellow tendrils emerged, like the roots of a cancerous plant. The tendrils wrapped her neck and squeezed. The dream Green ripped gashes in her flesh and sucked the meat out with plump gusto, like an enthusiastic clam-eater. "You're the artist not me," he kept saying as he mangled her. In the dream she wept blood that spattered like an arterial cut, so she was up to her neck in her blood.

The next morning, her hangover-glasses on, she took a cab to Mr. Knut's, her mouth salty.

Bellyfallow was in his old haunt, on the corner.

"There she is," he said. He smelled like garlic.

"Yes," she said, proceeding to the door and knocking.

Char opened the door. She looked even worse than before, her mouth ringed with dripping sores.

"Who is it?" Mr. Knut grinned when he saw her. "Done?" He asked.

She nodded.

"Come in, come in," he said. Char vanished.

"She not in the right frame of mind, poor thing. Her client is a bit strange. Count yourself lucky, kiss Mary's big tits you have that Mr. Green, because Char's latest is a real odd one. Takes the cake."

Char's footsteps rattled. Then came a large crash that sounded like pots and pans.

"I'm here to get paid," she said.

He put his hand up and walked into the other room yanking out his cell. She could hear him murmuring on the phone. "Yes," and whispering.

He returned.

"Mr. Green already had it picked up from your apartment," he said.

"It's locked," she protested.

He shrugged.

"Do you know that man outside, named Bellyfallow?"

"Don't I. I can't get rid of him. That burn-out."

Knut's cell phone rang. "Yes," he said into the reciever.

"We're going to visit Mr. Green," he said, after he clicked off.

Bellyfallow turned merry eyes on Knut when they left, but did not approach.

"What a fucking loon," Knut said.

The Cascinio was just as brittle-seeming, and abandoned as before. Knut was jumpy in the elevator, though with excitement or fear, she had no way of telling. On the fourth floor, Mr. Knut walked slightly ahead, still favoring his bad leg. He knocked on Forty-Four.

The door opened. A man in his thirties opened the door, dressed in a pinstriped suit. "He's right in there," he gestured. He would not let Knut pass. Mr. Knut clapped her on the shoulder before she entered. "Chin up," he said. The man in pinstripes slammed the door when she entered. She saw he had an ear device.

Mr. Green was not alone. His company was an old woman with wild blue eyes with a face that had seen better days. The statue in clay that she had made lay between them on a table.

"Marvelous work!" Mr. Green exclaimed as soon as he saw her. "Congratulations."

The old woman had too much make-up on, it caked her cheeks like the rouge of a corpse in a funeral home. "I love what you've done with Mr. Green," she said.

"This is Miss Pink," Mr Green said. "She is a relentlessly interesting woman."

"A shame I haven't the time to get to know you better," Miss Pink said. "But I am busy and you two have some business to conclude."

"I just have to pay her," Mr. Green said.

"I'll see my way out, my dears" Miss Pink said.

When she was gone, Mr. Green goggled. "Such work stretches the imagination to an uncomfortable degree. I almost disbelieve in myself." He laughed.

He withdrew his wallet and handed her money. "There's more where that came from," he said. "I'll see you out."

He walked behind her when he grabbed her and shoved her roughly through the door where she'd seen the boy. She fell. It was dark, empty of furnature. As she lay there in shock the little boy entered. His features were half-finished. The unfinished boy shambled toward her. He had no eyes but sought her like a blind rat, five or six teeth chittering in his mouth. Light shone from the open door where Green stood. "Let him get you bitch!" Mr. Green shouted. "Get her boy! Suck her dry!"

The boy-thing turned up a crude ear, stumbling toward her.

She got up and attempted to run though the door but Mr. Green pushed her back. His peanuts and bourbon and seeming-frailty hid an immense strength. She grabbed at a loose board and flung it at the boy. Blind he might be but his senses were good as he reached out and caught the board, crushing it to powder.

He was made of clay.

She backed up until she felt wall against her spine. Green laughed gleefully. He produced the clay statue she had made and tossed it into the room where it broke. "Just wanted to make sure you were an artist," he said.

She screamed when she stepped on broken glass. A window shattered long ago. Her foot clothed in red blood, she grasped at bars on the window. They did not yield. She still held them when she felt boy-breath on her nape. She did not struggle as a clay arm wrapped around her neck and pulled her down. The clay boy put his hand in her mouth. She bit down. It didn't seem to feel it, the clay bitter and earthy on her tongue. The clay boy held her immobile.

"There, there," Mr. Green patted her shoulder. "My artist, you must consider this the ultimate sacrifice for art. I'm going to pull out your talent and it's going to hurt, but when it does, remember you have reached the ultimate in your craft. Dear, you're giving me new life."

She laid down and the boy climbed on top. She turned her head and pressed her cheek into the floor, feeling fat clay fingers tugging at her pants, then yanking them down along with her underpants. She screamed when she felt the cold penis enter her vagina. The clay-boy turned his head up blindly, in ecstasy or boredom, or both. He churned inside her.

After an interminable time the thing finished thrusting and Mr. Green covered him in a sheet. "That's okay sweet," he cajoled it. "Daddy's here," he succored.

"We have to do these things," he told her sympathetically. "You supply the fire, I supply the flame. When he blossoms I will enter him and ths body will become clay."

"Don't cry," he told the boy who hugged his chest. Mr. Green winked at Abigail.

"I'm afraid you won't be making things anymore," Green told her. "But think on this. You've insured things won't change. The government will remain as it has for centuries. The Cascinio is what we use when we reach an age when death is imminent. This is where we grow the golems in the bellies of surrogates, insuring the status quo does not change, that things become neither better nor worse. We are safety and sanity in chaos. The state thanks you. We thank you. I thank you. Perhaps this time I will be President." Mr. Green bit his lip. He shook his head. "It's not up to me."

Not looking back, Mr. Green left the room with the boy. He left the door open and she numbly collected herself.

In months to come she found that her talent had left her. But that was only the beginning. Soon other things begin to leave her. Until she wondered about her name. She made slow revolutions through the city, always finding herself watching the Cascinio or waiting near Knut's. One day she woke and could not remember her name. She chose a suitable name, from a television commercial. She called herself Thigh sags.When she ran into Bellyfallow, she and he toasted the sky. They rotated from Knut's to the Cascinio, where an old woman in a window grinned at them like dumb animals. Soon enough the woman disappeared replaced by another ancient, this one who carried his own armed guards and seemed very important. When they were run off, Belly fallow and Thighsags wandered the city at night. Bellyfallow watched TV through department store windows. He told her about a young artist, Char, and how she had been discovered in the river, brain removed. But the dead carry no tales, nor did Thighsags remember; she was happy enough with her lot, sinking into Belly fallow's warm embrace, nuzzling his neck, not dreaming about bees or hives. And if she did dream of other things, the dreams were her own.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really trying to come up with constructively critical things to say here but this story is just awesome as is.

Are you thinking about doing another draft and, if so, what are you thinking about changing?

If not, where are you sending it for consideration for publication?

Gracelette
-x-

9:32 AM  
Blogger sb said...

Thank you! I appreciate you saying this!

I know nothing about how people sculpt so I should look into that, I was guessing they model in clay first...

The end is particularly ineffective because Mr. Green is giving a "speech" like a bad guy, touching on mysteries very blatently; the golem rape scene is badly done, and I see many sentences that could use refinement, throughout.

I don't know anywhere that would publish such a thing, to be truthful.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, you're right - you could probably redraft all those things to better effect, I agree. That isn't much help for you, of course, because you already knew it, but it's really useful for me to see how other people do it.

OK - I've been thinking about it and this bit:

"...He walked behind her when he grabbed her and shoved her roughly through the door where she'd seen the boy. She fell..."

It comes on very suddenly and it threw me because not that much is made of the door before (which is cool, I like that the golem boy is an atmospheric rat). But I'd suggest having her register the door again on her way out, like maybe it's a little ajar or something, and then he can push her through it?

But, y'know, follow your bliss - great story anyway. I like that it's got a bit of street crazy romance in it too.

Gracelette
-x-

6:46 AM  
Blogger sb said...

Again, much appreciate the criticism. I want you to know that. This is exactly why a writer's group rules. Now you have to post something.

I saw that hideous part,dealing with the end of the story and the complete bad luck I was having with language. "He walked behind her when he grabbed her and shoved her roughly..."

I cut too much w/o paying attention. I wrote it Mon/Tues and finished it Wednesday and edited it that night. By the time I got to that portion I was a MESS. I'm glad you liked it. The next one is much better, I promise.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'll try and say something relevant.
The writings grand as ever, but you don't need to hear that. Erm, I see you think some sentances need tightening, or refining, which I don't really get, as most of them are sharp enough to cut yourself on. If anything, the ending of the story the prose in my eyes needs loosening. What's happening is intense and mad as a bag of hammers, but it's incredibly clinically written. I suspect this is the kind of writing you like, but other then that I don't have much to say. It's another solid piece, which you seem to do so easily.

Oh the "Clay is fine. You must hurry. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to show your talent. You have three days."

and

"She has no idea how she does it, or what she does, what moves her," Knut said. "She recites things she's heard in books about the creative process.

had a vicious ring of truth, which I'm trying to put my finger on.

I'll certainly try and think of something more useful to say later in the day.

toodles
Wally

1:31 AM  
Blogger sb said...

Thanks for the critique, Wally. I should really revist this and do another draft because there's definitely a shambling quality to the narrative a "what's the whole point" because the elements aren't really as cemented as they should be - gross pun on the parts of the story dealing with sculpting intended -

Rereading this, I hate nearly every part but the character names. It's basically a first draft of a story i cut 2000 words from, too-eager to post something I think. Reason for the sterile writing: I figure that writing weird, fantastical stuff (at least in premise) I should stick to servicable tool-box sentences and words. You've said very useful things, and I appreciate both the compliments and the critique, as you are a very talented writer. The next one I'll post here, It's a secnod-draft, and rather long, but good.

6:34 PM  

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