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Untitled: An Open Pen Critique

Hello! This Saturday our Open Pen post is a song fiction from Victoria Nightsky who blogs about her writing at A Gathering of Dreams. She is not looking for a grammar or spelling critique– if you make any comments about grammar, I will send my pet dragons after you to eat your face. Now, she is looking for title suggestions, tips on how make it less repetitious, and critiques on “anything else.”

This is song fiction, so the italicised bits are the lyrics. The song is “It Might Be Hope” by Sara Groves, and I have put a video of it belong. Maybe you can listen while you read the story 😉

Thank you for commenting and helping Nightsky out! I am actually up in the mountains backpacking this weekend, so I will not be able to moderate or respond to any comments for a few days. Thank you for your patience.

God bless,

Gabrielle

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You do your work the best that you can

Stacking boxes was not the ideal job for a woman, but Sophie had no other choice when she moved the box containing kitchen electronics off the table. She picked up the broom which had fallen on the floor and swept the debris from the floor where the refrigerator had been. It felt strange – sweeping the floor for the last time. She knew every crack in the blue-tinted tiles, and thought back to the day when she had bleached them to make them shine more. Now she was leaving it all behind, never to see them again.

You put one foot in front of the other

After leaning the broom against a stack of cardboard boxes, she returned to the littered table and picked up a newspaper and wrapped one of the remaining teacups in it. They were her favorites – her mother had given them to her on her first wedding anniversary. They had borders with a lovely shade of pink, and yellow flowers intertwined themselves on the edges. Sophie was sorry that she could no longer arrange them in her mahogany cabinet, for it had had to be sold because her new home was smaller.

Life comes in waves and makes its demands

She wouldn’t have moved for almost anything in the world, but the time had come when she could no longer afford to live in her house on top the woody hill. She had been barely able to pay tax last year, and she knew that another year would mean an impossible debt to pay. Also there was no way she could leave her nephew’s wife alone with a baby coming soon, Sophie needed to be nearby in any case that she would be needed.

You hold on as well as you’re able.

At first she hadn’t wanted to go away. Sophie wasn’t sure she could manage after living so solitary for so long. But she had found a small flat in the catalogs which seemed pleasant. The rent had been too high, and Sophie had no source of income, but after many phone calls with the owner, they had settled on an agreement. It was a shaky one, and she could easily be forced to move out, but it had been the best she could do to secure a new place to live.

A new place to live. She couldn’t believe that she finally going away.

 You’ve been here for a long, long time.

This house was the home of so many memories – joyful ones, sad ones, fearful ones – it was full of eleven years’ worth of being filled with love – or it should have been at least. So many times had she walked over the tiles, dusted the white windowsills, hung pictures on the walls, lit the fireplace – she had been here for what felt like thousands of years. Like an enchanted being, she had slaved over this house for what? Nothing. There had been no muddy children to mop the tiles after, no portraits to display on the walls, no one to snuggle up with a read a book in front of the fire. Her routine had achieved nothing. It had only turned her into an apathetic robot, every day feeling a dark hollowness inside herself, as if her soul had left her and gone far away.

But hope has a way of turning its face to you, just when you least expect it

And now – now when it was soon to be over, her mind had turned in a very different direction. It reminded of her of a different time. A time when her whole self had been full of passion and dreams. Dreams to do great things and make a change in the world. When had she forgotten how to dream? When had passion been drained from her?

You walk in a room

Sophie packed the last wrapped teacup in the box and added it to the ever-growing stack of other boxes ready for their new home. She walked out of the kitchen and into the hallway, shallowly looking around, but more absorbed in her internal world than in the external one.

As she passed by the dining room door, she glanced inside. Something seemed to be drawing her in, so she entered, her feet softly pattering on the shining wood floor.

You look out a window, and something there leaves you breathless

From where she stood at the doorway, she gazed at the large window. Outside was a grey, cloudy day, and the pines in the forest waved slightly in the breeze. And then she saw it – something she had seen every day since she lived here, but now, it looked different. So much different, that her mind wrapped itself around it and wouldn’t let go.

You say to yourself, it’s been a while since I felt this

This feeling telling her that she could fly again – when was the last time she had had it? A voice inside her whispered that she wasn’t too old to start dreaming again. There was enough time for her to change the world until she left for glory.

But it feels like it might be hope.

 It’s hard to recall what blew out the flame

How long had it been since she had believed this last? She remembered a long, long time ago when there was a fire in her soul, burning, scorching, not letting her sit in one place for long. When had that fire died? Was it when Timothy had left her on her own? Was it when she had quit her job?

However it had gone away, it had done so gradually that she hadn’t felt it.

 It’s been dark since you can remember

Since that time which she couldn’t even specify, she had lived in this blank life. Day after day was that routine which she realized was so empty – so pointless. No thought of having purpose in her life had ever prevailed for so long – how long had she been in this frighteningly dead state of living? Was it living even? Now as she thought back, it seemed more like a slow and steady dying.

You talk it all through to find it a name

Devoid of dreams, empty of faith, drained of vision, ridden of her passion – what else was she to call it? Nothing she had done had borne fruit. Her only will – if she had even had one – was to survive. She hadn’t thrived, the dreams of changing this world hadn’t even been recalled in her mind. And all the while she had wondered about this emptiness in her heart – where it had come from, when the answer was right in front of her.

Yes, she had been dead all this while. A zombie in a way – living, yet dead.

As days go on by without number

And so much time had passed. So many years had been lived blind, with this depressing hollowness in her soul. She remembered with a start a time when she hadn’t even counted the dates not known what day of the week it was.

You’ve been here for a long, long time.

Too long had she wandered aimlessly in life. Eleven long years had she done nothing, striven for nothing, lived for nothing. Desolation in her soul had slowly turned her heart into a lump of apathy and her molded her mind to focus on the mundane of every passing day. Too long had she walked these empty corridors of her mind, knowing of the emptiness inside her, but refusing to discover how to fill herself again.

But hope has a way of turning its face to you

But today – today, today Sophie was seeing the world and her life differently. Finally today she shattered her denial, and realized that her life was so much more. She needed to live for something more than herself. There was the whole world open for her, so many roads to take, so many lives to change, so much to better in this world. Even if something went wrong, the road was still never ending.

Just when you least expect it

Now she was leaving this house – and with it she knew she was leaving everything that had been in it behind. The numbness, the apathy, the emptiness, the coldness – no, it wasn’t staying behind on its own, she was leaving it behind for good. A wave of vision flooded her, and she thanked Providence that today the curtain had been lifted from her mind.

You walk in a room

She walked across the room, ignored the chairs arranged in a row and the cardboard boxes stacked on the floor. Her footsteps echoed loudly off the bare walls, but she kept walked until she reached the window.

You look out a window

She leaned her hands against the windowsill and looked out, eyes shining and filling with tears. The grey clouds still hung stagnantly in the sky, and the breeze continued playing with the tree branches. There was purpose, there was passion left to live for. She could do this. In her mind’s eye she could see the battle below here – there was still a war being fought out there, beyond her little house on the hill, on the other side of the forest, out in the world, there was still something left to fight against, and she would do it.

And something there leaves you breathless

It was just the road – the road with brown dirt which weaved itself between the trees and away from her house. But she couldn’t see its end. The same way she couldn’t see her own road’s end – there was much more beyond this she couldn’t see. And whatever it was, a feeling in her heart told her it was good – it was going to be alright.

You say to yourself

Sophie walked out and back into the hallway. After taking off her apron and smoothing out her dress, she put on her coat and hat, and picked up her purse. After one last look around the house – the kitchen, the sitting room, the dining room, the bedrooms, Sophie walked back to the door, and without another look stepped out and left the key under the mat for the movers to find.

She walked down the cobbled path for the last and stepped out on the road. Coming to the edge of the woods, she paused, straining her eyes. No, she couldn’t even see past the first bend, but she knew that the road led to something new – and something good.

It’s been a while since I felt this

She wasn’t too old to dream again. True, she had grown out of practice, but she would train herself again. The lid on her hadn’t rusted, and it could still be opened, and passion could fill her again, igniting her heart which had been cold for so long. She could start life anew – this time with purpose and faith.

 But it feels like it might be hope.

There was a warm feeling in her heart – not a fuzzy, affectionate warmth, but the warmth of a fire being kindled in the kitchen at the break of day. A fire which promised to mold and shape and create and bring forth fruits for those of the household the consume. Already the gears in her mind began turning – maybe she was already beginning to dream.

Sophie continued walking more briskly, eager – eager to see what was beyond the first bend in the road.

It is hope.

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11 thoughts on “Untitled: An Open Pen Critique”

  1. Really great job, Victoria! I really liked it a lot and had to look hard for something to critique on, honestly. 😛
    And all I really came up with was that the word “zombie” that you used once seemed a little out of place. It was correctly used in context, just not something that would come automatically into an old lady’s mind, I might say. 😉

    Like

  2. very creative, Victoria! I like the idea of the song in the story. 🙂 The only word I thought came up a lot was ‘she’. But I honestly don’t know how you would really take many of those out, considering the 3rd person.
    For a title? hmm. I liked the bit of one of your sentences — ‘Forgotten How.’
    And I like how your theme for passion showed up again. 😉

    Like

    1. Thank you, Rachel! Yeah, I know, I hate it when there’s stuff like that that I can’t fix. >.<
      Oh yes, that is a wonderful idea. Thank you for the suggestion!
      Hehe, one would totally wonder if that's a theme I adore . . . *beams*

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful and creative. It leaves you with a yearning of new desired passion for life. Title?
    -Shades of Hope
    – Kindled Dreams
    The best of luck!

    Like

  4. Reblogged this on A Gathering of Dreams and commented:
    Hullo all! Gabrielle over at Write for the King has an awesome feature called Open Pen, where writers can submit pieces of their work for critiquing. This week she critiques one of my stories, and I would love for y’all to go check it all out. =)

    Like

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