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 Academia can be so very suffocating [take 2]

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The Blue Box

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PostSubject: Academia can be so very suffocating [take 2]   Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:04 pm

Hello All.
You will likely have read Angela's lovely work 'Academia can be so very suffocating'. (And perhaps even have read the accompanying intense discussion.)
Anyway, Angela asked me to write my own version of the prompt, semi-based on her piece, so I did. And I present it here for you to see. Enjoy. I have not changed the title, because it links the two works.



Academia can be so very suffocating

She’s so utterly distracting to have in class. Although, you suppose, it’s not exactly distraction, seeing as she’s the one you’re meant to be listening to anyway – and listen you do. You hang off her every word, every last piece of information that materialises so delicately on her tongue, filing it away for later remembrance. It’s impossible not to listen, not to pay attention to her. She exudes something, something special, something… you’re not sure what exactly. But there is definitely something.

Perfection? Perhaps. She’s exactly who you want to be – constant yet controlled chaos, calm yet manic energy, impeccable yet effortless style. And through it all, relentless kindness. She’s the type of person you feel you could tell anything to – and somehow, you find yourself doing just that. Your hopes and dreams, your fears and confusions. Everything, everything except one, that one all-consuming fact that is slowly but surely taking over your thoughts – her.

If you’re honest, it scares you, this obsession. Obsession? It would seem so. You try not to think of it consciously too often; it makes you feel dirty. Most of all, you must never form the words – with a pen, with your lips, with a finger in the sand. If it comes out, if the thought is formed, just once, however many miles away from civilization it is shouted, under however many layers of blankets it is whispered, however quickly the paper is burned… it will be too late. Once those words are put together just once, everyone will know. You’re sure of it. And that’s the nub – no one can ever know.

You don’t keep secrets, usually; it’s just not something you do. Nothing you’ve ever done or felt has been worth keeping a secret. Until now. You make your behaviour deliberately neutral, acting nonchalant when her name comes up, half-avoiding her smiles in the hall. But when it comes down to it, when you leave her class feeling a billion times better about life and everything in it, you know it’s impossible to deny those feelings. She makes you laugh. She makes you think. She makes you helpless.

She creeps into your thoughts when she really shouldn’t. You find yourself searching for books, articles, quotations to give her; anything to set you apart, to permit you a moment more in the presence of those warm black eyes. And, of course, it doesn’t help that she’s pretty. Drop dead gorgeous, you brain wants to say, except you can’t say that. It would be too close to forming the thought. But either way, you know it’s true. There’s a reason you can’t stop staring at her in class.

When you leave for good, you make her a card and thank her for being there. For listening. For caring. For being kind. As she hugs you goodbye, you wonder if she knows how you feel. You wonder if it was obvious, from the way you acted, from the things you said. She holds you close, and you cry a little – goodbyes are hard. As you walk away, you wonder at the impression she’s made on your heat. There may never have been anything between you, but without knowing it she’s become the standard to which you’ll compare all the others. You’re doomed, and you know it, because nobody else could be as perfect.

Sometimes, in the irrational dream-world before sleep, you wonder if something could have happened, if only you’d made a move. You entertain this possibility for a while, conjecturing happy scenarios, before reality boxes you around the ears and you blush into the dark with shame.

Of course nothing could have ever happened.

Of course nothing can ever happen.

She’s your teacher.
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Owle Gray

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PostSubject: Re: Academia can be so very suffocating [take 2]   Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:06 am

Hmm. A different take ^_^.

I commend you for how you made it your own. I was thinking about how you chose to separate it out into paragraphs and draw it out a lot more, while Angela's was more compact. This, coupled with the content of the piece, culminated in a different tone: Angela's was more in-the-moment, overwhelemed, while yours was - to me - more ... methodical? I think that's the word I want. Like she's part of your routine and there's nothing you can do about it. Perhaps this is obvious, but I just wanted to comment on how the style complemented the time span.

One confusion: 5th paragraph from the bottom: "you wonder at the impression she’s made on your heat. " Could you please explain what you meant?
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Dark S3cret
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PostSubject: Re: Academia can be so very suffocating [take 2]   Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:14 pm

COMMENTS: (yes, I'm going to be very methodical about this)

- To be honest, the first paragraph didn't do too much for me. It's a little too ordinary and lacks eloquence. It doesn't really enrapture and capture the reader's attention.
- The second paragraph was a significant improvement. Very Happy I especially like the "Perfection? Perhaps." and the "– and somehow, you find yourself doing just that. Your hopes and dreams, your fears and confusions. Everything, everything except one, that one all-consuming fact that is slowly but surely taking over your thoughts – her." I agree with Yuliya that right off the bat it is alot more methodical, calm, acceptant of the fact than my character was.
- "Obsession? It would seem so." I am sensing a pattern. But I like. Very Happy Again, very methodical, like your character is thinking it through, answering her/his own questions (I feel like it's a girl though ;], like mine).
- You try not to think of it consciously too often; it makes you feel dirty. Most of all, you must never form the words – with a pen, with your lips, with a finger in the sand. If it comes out, if the thought is formed, just once, however many miles away from civilization it is shouted, under however many layers of blankets it is whispered, however quickly the paper is burned… it will be too late. Once those words are put together just once, everyone will know. You’re sure of it. And that’s the nub – no one can ever know. I LOVED THIS PARAGRAPH. And it's EXACTLY how it is. I'm glad you wrote it out because it explicitly tackles the issues with having such feelings for a teacher... Also, the constant gradations, pen, lips, finger, shouting, whispered, burning -- the lists are divine.
- "There’s a reason you can’t stop staring at her in class." <3
- "Sometimes, in the irrational dream-world before sleep, you wonder if something could have happened, if only you’d made a move. You entertain this possibility for a while, conjecturing happy scenarios, before reality boxes you around the ears and you blush into the dark with shame." <3<3<3<3

Okay so. It started out with me being "eenh" and then by the second half of the second paragraph it was like WHOAAA and then by the time I reached the end I was like OMFG YOU'RE AMAZING I LOVED IT SO MUCH YOU SHOULD WRITE MORE!!!!!

I'm jealous now. Mad

You definitely made it your own. Very Happy And it is awesome.

Also, question:
- how much of it was still based on my piece and how much of it was your own experience?
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The Blue Box

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PostSubject: Re: Academia can be so very suffocating [take 2]   Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:15 pm

Woot thank you for detailed comments! Smile

Methodical is an interesting way to put it - I suppose I was trying to portray the character as more... self-conscious, perhaps, than Angela's. I'm not saying yours wasn't, but especially at the end it felt slightly more carefree, more in-the-moment and less "down to earth" as it were.
I suppose that's what you meant by methodical. Whereas Yuliya said "Like she's part of your routine and there's nothing you can do about it", though, I don't think this is it - I think it's more the feeling of not wanting to 'break the rules', which I tried to emphasise in the later parts. I'd also disagree that it's 'acceptant'. I know what you're both trying to get at with 'methodical'.... but I'm not sure it's the right word.

UGH, I'm totally not making any sense >.>
Oh well. I shall soldier on.

Other responses -
You feel right in sensing that it's a girl.
Glad you liked that third paragraph Smile And yeah. That's how it is.
<3 makes me happy :]

in response to your questions -
Yuliya: "you wonder at the impression she’s made on your heart" means... well, it means just that. You know when you know people, and they change who you are, and you take a little part of them and add it to the patchwork that is your own heart? It's that. Or, you know them, and their being is so big and they mean so much to you that they make a little person-shaped hole in your heart and you can't get rid of it? That, too.
[hee hee I'm quite proud of those metaphor things Smile ]

Angela: Before I wrote it, I was kind of worried that it would end up too much like yours, Angela, because I loved your take so much - but then I wrote it, and I find it really interesting to look at the two pieces now, because they reflect different aspects of the experience. Yours seems more about the infatuation? More emotional. In the moment, as I discussed vaguely incoherently above. And mine feels more like me - more rational, considering the whole implications.
I also didn't really reread your piece before writing my own - so, I guess most of it is based on my own experience. Like I said to you before, some of it kind of felt like I was just repeating myself, because I'd gone over the same things so much in the past (because that's what I do). I kept the same structure as yours partly because I wanted to make them parallel. It's mostly me, though.

ps, DON'T BE JEALOUS, because yours is freaking awesome Very Happy
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Dark S3cret
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PostSubject: Re: Academia can be so very suffocating [take 2]   Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:36 pm

FIrstly, before I forget: I think Yuliya was refering the typo you made. Instead of heart, you wrote "heat" and it was a little confusing. But nevertheless, I think, well I can only speak for myself, that the explanation was very enjoyable and enlightening.

Rational is a good word for it. It definitely is much less emotional. Your character is very introspective. The entire piece is sort of like... her studying and trying to understand her feelings.

Okay, so with the segway, I must ask this question. Did you kept the teacher and the narrator as females because you wanted our pieces to parallel or was it for another reason? (You don't have to answer this question if you don't want to. I'm just curious.)
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