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  #11  
Old 08-24-2018, 11:41 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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It's wonderful, Annie, though it took many readings before I figured out the story. The N is talking on the phone with a forgetful elder. I think the italics threw me off, that both speakers lines are in italics. I wonder if you might remove the italics from the N's lines? These are my favorite lines:

They came, your great-grandchildren, all of a sudden,
yesterday, not when you told me they were coming.
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  #12  
Old 08-25-2018, 09:16 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
Hearts are better light than heavy. This reads for me as a light-hearted poem about the heavy-hearted condition of aging; so beautifully, delicately expressed in bits and pieces of conversation and thought. Just beautiful, Annie.
x
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  #13  
Old 08-26-2018, 05:15 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Thank you all. This has been well worthwhile. I was at first chiefly concerned about whether the metaphor would "work" and have been left in no doubt that it does. Thank you, James.

Mark and Allen and Jim have picked up on the humour of it, the cartoon quality that I hoped would come across, and Aaron and Mary have suggested positive ways to improve the accessibility of the backstory. I will unpick some of the earlier change I made (in response to later advice) and look hard at Mary's suggestion with regard to the conversation. Perhaps good old inverted commas might help for one of the speakers. I shall experiment.

I'm sorry John still has difficulty with the "how come?" of it. I had never intended it to be a puzzle.The poem is part of a "sequence", a series that built up over a long period of time, and I am now looking at it as a "body of work" and wondering what, if anything, to do with it. I am amazed by the number of different metaphors that have emerged along the way but this was the weirdest, which is why I tried it here.

Let it slide now, with my thanks for some really helpful suggestions for its improvement.
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  #14  
Old 08-26-2018, 06:59 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Ann, I realized later I was over-working it and I understood what was happening. I'm not sure what "how come?" of it refers to. I don't see mention of that in my comment. I was certainly trying too hard.

Enjoyed,
John
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  #15  
Old 08-26-2018, 07:31 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Well it was more like "what's going on?" and your comment was helpful. Thanks, John.
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  #16  
Old 08-26-2018, 09:40 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I enjoyed this very much, Annie, and I wouldn’t have had anything to add to the discussion but the title keeps sounding off. Maybe just me, but “staying on top” suggests dominance, whatever dominating whatever, whereas this poem is such a delicate dance of emotion and relationship. Would “Tip-toeing on Top” work? Or something.

Anyway, a thought if you want it.

A poem which stays with the reader, and the oddness of the metaphor is part of the reason for that.
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  #17  
Old 08-26-2018, 11:41 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Thanks, Andrew. You have a point and I'll think about a change, but I had wanted to save the actual image of the tiny toes till the end. Hmm.
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  #18  
Old 08-31-2018, 05:09 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Annie,

First off let me echo the praise for this. I love the custard skin metaphor, so unexpected and effective.

I first read this when you posted it just before I went away for a week and didn't have time to comment. When I first read it I read as a dream, a surreal scenario in which perhaps the addressee was dead and/or the great-grandchildren were perhaps not yet born, and really liked it. Reading the revision when I got back, I'm much clearer on the situation. "Letís see if I can help you to remember" did a lot to clarify things.

I agree with Mary that having italicised phrases for both the N and the addressee's parts of the phone conversation is confusing.

I take it that here:

A silence. I donít know. But they were lovely.

the speaker is the great-grandparent. Now the GGP wasn't there when the children came, so I take it "but they were lovely" is a mis-remembering on the GGP's part. The confused GGP now believes he or she was there. Is that right?

I was a little confused by the tense in S2L2. "Today we are skipping like bugs ... I ran to meet you". Why the past tense? It reads a little as if it follows on from the previous line. "Oh they were lovely ...", as if you mean: I saw them yesterday, they were lovely, so yesterday I ran to meet you over the custard. I take it though that it's past tense because it refers to the beginning of the phone call. The children came yesterday. The N phones today, and is pleased to have this lovely thing to talk about and starts in eagerly. But still, I found it a bit confusing.

Also, whilst "Letís see if I can help you to remember" does a lot to clarify things, now that I am clear, I prefer "but if you like we can look for them now", which I read as the N offering to help look for the memory of the great-great children. Though if you reverted and I saw this afresh, I might be as confused by it as I was first time around. Still, if it's part of a series in which the dementia has already been established, that may not be an issue.

Matt
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  #19  
Old 09-01-2018, 09:14 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCL View Post
Ann, for now Iíll only say how impressed I am by how well you sustain the metaphor for the very difficult situation.
That's exactly - pretty much - what I thought. The achievement is remarkable.

Cheers

David
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  #20  
Old 09-03-2018, 01:45 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Thanks, David. The shifting metaphors are at the heart of this series, which accreted over a very long time.

Matt, the poem indeed suffers a bit from being considered in the absence of its fellows, which would have given it a little more context. The caller was in fact (always) the other party and the poems were written in "real time" over a long period. However, it is clear that I have allowed the privileged position of the N to to assume that readers will be "with me" on the strength of this poem alone. The future of line 14 may well depend on whether the poem appears on it own or within the sequence. I may need two versions.

This is a problem that I have faced before, writing a series of prose books and never knowing at what point my reader will have joined the party, so to speak. How to welcome in the newcomer without patronising the faithful. I hadn't looked on this through those glasses before. Thanks for polishing them for me.

The tenses flicker in S2L2 because the N is speaking from a particular point in the conversation, the point at which the custardliness had become apparent. I'll look again.

I am still looking for the perfect way to clarify on the page who is saying what to whom. I realise now that this will have to be consistent throughout the series, but it will be done.

Thank you both.
.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 09-03-2018 at 02:09 AM. Reason: typo.
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