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Old 08-22-2006, 05:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Where the grass isn't greenest.
Lacking a title so far - 'beach idea'

Still needs a lot of revision, wrote it last night and damn the consequences at work this morning. I get a lot of compliments about my writing, mostly empty, so spare me the empty words and give me something to build on. It might be 'good', but its not the best, so what should I work on? Thanks for giving me your time.



The sun set with the dreamy wobble of a coin twinkling down a wishing well. Its copper glinting embellished the sea's muttering ripples into the leavings of an omniscient oil painter. His wrinkled palette left a turbulent mix of reds, oranges, and blues after a day of dreaming. The daubing and blending leaving an infinite wealth of colors the artist can only envy. Somehow, as he vainly gave shape to apples, giraffes, and radios, the force of chaos has given rise to something so intricate and abstract it defies imitation. Now, as the world settles, the painter is able to sigh and marvel at the beauty of his uncontrolled creation.
A boy sat entranced within the last minutes of day. He took in the ephemeral beauty with a determined intensity, desperate to remain in the moment. Beach chairs and cans of cheap beer sank in the sand around him. Between the roar of each breaking wave the drunken revelry of his friends rose around him and was drowned out again with the next crash. They were all brimming with contentment, the day's long sunny hours a warm, glowing ember in the back of their minds. As long shadows reached down the sand to touch the sea, the boy let out an easy sigh and sank deeper into his chair.
The shadows snapped a hundred and eighty degrees and the glimmering sunset was washed out in a brilliant flash. The waves receded impossibly, pulling back a mile from the shore to expose startled crustaceans. A deadly flower bloomed on the horizon. The searing column of energy boiled skywards. In the second it took the kids to turn in surprise the wave of sonic energy reached the shore. An invisible fist slammed the boy backwards from his chair and left him sucking for air like a beached fish. Through a tempest of lashing sand he could see the hellish under lit clouds. A black leviathan penetrated with shafts of blood red obscured the sky. Slow understanding finally dawned through shocked trauma an instant before the crushing wall of Atlantic's tore all consciousness from him.

“Don't let your summer be a sweltering bore!” A supernaturally perky woman's voice chided in the dark. “Cruise down 495 and escape to beautiful Cape Cod and experience the vacation of a life time!” Her breathless excitement concluded with a burst of seagull calls which cawed endlessly on. The boy dumbly broke the crust of salt on his eyes and reality returned in a flood of sunlight. He was cradled in the plucked bald limbs of a raspy scrub pine. He looked out through a fog at an arm wedged unnaturally through a crick in the branches. Uncomprehendingly he pulled at his mangled arm. It came lose with a surge of pain that forced all thought from him. He crashed five feet to the ground through a tangled cacophony of brittle wood.
When he woke once more the sun had slid a foot through the sky. He could still hear seagulls squabbling in the distance. Cradling his numb, ruined wrist he struggled to his feet. He stood wretchedly, shorts torn away by the wave, body lacerated by a maze of cuts, and skin dangerously pale. The bony pine lay on its side, scraggly limbs reaching down towards the coast. Its roots had barely held as the surge's backwash tore back down to the Atlantic. The tangled canopy netted a mostly drowned human like an arboreal baleen whale.
From this ragged edge of pine forest, the land dropped away to the East to rent dunes strewn with the wreckage of plant life. A mile away the ocean lapped docilely at a shore littered with dark shapes. Overhead a swarm of shorebirds flocked.
In a dazed stupor the boy picked his way down towards the shore. He followed a ravine of lazily receding brine. Refuse from the town bobbed below his feet, Pepsi bottles and cigarette butts floating beside family photos and bedraggled shoes. All the little things that make up peoples lives, thrown in a blender, and poured down the drain. A newspaper swirled past, its front page covered in big blocky letters proclaiming, “To War!”
As he reached the summit of the last tattered dunes the cove came into view. The sheltering outer sand bar was almost entirely washed away, patches of yellow sand peaking sheepishly from the calm sea. In the waters below him ruined boats and the shattered remains of summer homes circulated randomly on newly created currents. Bloated bodies floated below the warring scavengers above, and fish darted in for nervous nibbles below.
His reality cruelly blew away his haze of trauma and he broke completely. As the sun crept through endless azure skies the boy was wracked by hysterical, animal sobs. Hours later, as he pulled himself to his bloody feet, the fiery sunset was invisible to him. Filled with the somber tranquility that follows tears, he made his way back up the slope.

He took shelter in the bones of a million dollar summer home. Against its thick concrete foundation he piled ruined sheet rock in between helpless fits of crying. Hiding his sun blistered skin from the unrelenting he tended his wounds and did his best to splint his arm. Feverish days passed as he sweat and shivered beneath his refuge. Gradually he gained the strength to go out at night and pick amongst drying ruins for rude scraps of food and soiled fresh water.
As he pulled his lifeless arm through his sundered environment with a an odd determination. Escape was inevitable, this was modern day America. Even Katrina's victims were rescued eventually, he just had to wait it out. He lost himself in survival. His life before the wave became a vague impression, the character of his day to day life was unimaginable to him. He saw no signs of other survivors. Once a Coast Guard chopper passed overhead but he couldn't flag it down. He struggled doggedly on.
Gradually his faith in rescue dwindled. As his scavenged food rotted he began to reflect. He hadn't really followed the mechanizations of the world through the happy summer months. His attention had been too stretched between women, work, and beer to catch anything but the vaguest impression of hostile escalation. What if his home wasn't alone? Pondering his isolation lent him a strange clarity, though loneliness sat like a stone in his stomach..
One day he hiked down to the sandy shore. Nature was already knitting itself back together. Green shoots grew like stubble on the dunes. He was sick of spoiled carrion and had decided to go hunting. Wielding a scrap of net from the wreckage of a Boston Whaler he stalked through the mending dunes. He crept up on a small, nesting bird and flung himself down upon his net. The thing squawked and convulsed beneath him as he clumsily wrung its neck.
He took the little thing down to the waters edge, chuckling morosely at the tracking collar around its endangered neck. Adrenaline surged through him, the savage elation of a successful hunt. For the first time since the incident he was taken by the beauty of the ocean. Waist high waves collapsed in a tumble, surged up the featureless sand, and receded back into the sea.
An epiphany struck him. The water had such an ever changing form, never holding the same shape for more than an instant, yet it was still prisoner to those series of events. The energy builds, collapses in on itself, returns, and builds again in its endless cycle. The tide rises and falls in never ending repetition. Storms may come and waves my grow, but a wave is still a wave. There is no fighting its fluid nature, no hope of immortality, yet the cycle is eternal. Like the clock work of the heavens, like the rise and fall of empires, like the turbulent emotions of man.
Movement shocked him out of his reflection. He was stunned, it was another survivor. He let out a cry of happiness and moved towards the man. The man saw him and came to meet him. The boy gave into his excitement and broke into a run. His loneliness ached for companionship. As he closed the distance the mans features became discernible. Waves of doubt rippled through his thoughts as he took in a grizzled beard and glinting eyes. He slowed down but the man only sped up. The boy's steps faltered completely and the man bent mid stride and grabbed an iron sized rock from the sea's rushing foam.

Crimson rivulets seeped down the sand and were swallowed with each wave. The man bit greedily into the raw haunch of plover. He moved furtively off down the beach with his prize. The tide pulled and pushed the boys limp feet like an inquisitive infant. The sea can be so many things.
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Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness.
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Old 09-17-2006, 08:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Windy City
My first observation was the amount of literary illustration. It takes a good balance to have enough detail and description for a reader to be able to envision what you already see in your head, but you don't want to give them sensory overload at the same time. If there's a balance of the two, the imagery that you do choose to include will be more rare and therefore be less confused with the next picture.

As you said - definitely room to grow, thoughout reading, this was the first thing that popped in my head over and over as I read through the paragraphs.
I am curious to see how this will end up!
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