Short story

by zound 6 Replies latest social entertainment

  • zound

    Short story I started writing - opinions / critique / interesting enough to pursue further?


    Here are the facts (now pay attention):

    The earth is an exceptionally large place. Vast and majestic, harrowing and dangerous, it stretches out as far as the distant horizon, and even (quite possibly) beyond that. The small lights in the night sky are distant campfires, around which, long dead ancestors huddle in the darker hours. And most importantly, this large rock I sit atop - perched cross-legged and precarious - is the most holy and sacred place in the entire universe.

    These are the facts. Learn them well. Meditate on them. And be silent, for now I must chant.




    What’s that? You wish to know more? I told you so much already, what more could you possibly want?

    How do I know the lights in the sky are distant campfires? Well, I will point out the obvious, after which you will no doubt feel foolish for asking such an ignorant question.

    When the sky begins to darken, and the air begins to chill, all men with bracken, flint and know-how, light up a flame to keep the dark, cold and hungry at bay. From up here on my rock, I see the fires spark up in the dusk hours. Over there, in that distant village, small circles of light nightly burst into existence, flickering gently through the long evening.

    It only takes a modest leap of logic to conclude that the lights in the sky are also distant fires, lit by the ancestors as the sky darkens - burning through the night very very very far away.

    Feeling foolish now pilgrim?

    How do I know it is the ancestors that light the fires each night, you say?

    Pilgrim, I know you have endured a long and arduous journey to visit the wisest man on earth, but I have a long day of chanting ahead of me, and really must continue before I get too far behind.

    You can join me in chanting if you wish. Perhaps it may quell that inquisitive mind of yours. Take a cross-legged seat on that rock over there – the second most holy and sacred place in the entire universe. Just be sure not to get too comfortable.

    Let’s begin:







    You know, you remind me of someone - a small boy, who spent some time squirming on that rock just as you are. He, like you, could never sufficiently sit still in the meditative pose, and could never hold an ‘om’ for any decent length of time. I’m sure there’s a warning to the inquisitive and the curious in the story of that boy – he came to quite a sticky end (of this I’m sure).

    What’s that? I’ve ruined the ending of the tale? Not knowing is half the fun?

    Ah, pilgrim, how much you have to learn - yet curiosity will never lead you there. Not knowing is indeed fun, but knowing is so much better.

    The small boy who once sat where you do, with the same curious expression on his face, and the same question mark on the tail end of every sentence – his demise (of which I can estimate) was extremely gruesome and painful. He was altogether ignorant and yet ignored the wisdom that was staring him right in the face.

    His name was Basho.

    I’ll do you a favor pilgrim, and spin you his story. I’ve spoiled the ending, as you already complained, so no harm done in also revealing the moral of the story in advance. It’s simple really:

    ‘Curiosity killed Basho.’

    And it could kill you too, so listen closely.

  • Farkel

    Your story is drenched in metaphors.

    The great contemporary of Ayn Rand, Isabel Paterson wrote,

    "I've known people who have lovingly worked at the craft of writing for over twenty years. They work and re-work their sentences and carefully evaluate each word and each syllable until they get it all just right.

    "Their writing is simply horrible."


  • jgnat

    Succinctly gruesome as usual, Farkel.

  • new hope and happiness
    new hope and happiness

    Wow thats a good short story. Why? Because you wrote it.

  • Oubliette

    It's an interesting idea for a story, but you don't paint a consistent character portrait and your ending is stylistically inconsistent with the beginning. The middle is a whole other can o' worms ...

    It sounds like you're trying to imitate the style of some primitive folk tales. But it sounds like you haven't actually read too many of them to get a flavor for that kinds of narrative.

    Years ago I read a collection of native American folk tales. It was quite interesting. These pre-scientific (in fact pre-bronze age) people were trying to understand and also explain things which they did not have the tools to comprehend. You seem to be trying to lampoon that worldview, but are doing so awkwardly.

    To write convincing satire, one must understand the mindset of those that believe the original content. It seems like you only have disdain without such understanding.

    Finally, you use anachronistic terms and mixed cultural expressions: Pilgrim, modest leap of logic, etc.

  • new hope and happiness
    new hope and happiness

    Oubliette there are no rules in Art...

  • zound

    Ugh. Can we please let this thread die? - it's crap but I don't have the moderation powers to delete it.

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