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Prose by curlscat

Literature by Dream-on-Dreamer

Literature by Wooltree


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June 26, 2012
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Younger Me,
still fending off nightmares
with plastic swords
and MONSTER-B-GONE lights.  

I was rarely gentle with you.

I blistered our hands with blacktop;
I choked our sandals with mulch.

Yet you remained untouched
by life's failures and faults,
only marred on the skin
by two frolic-scars.

There are seven chin stitches
from a monkey bar mishap,
and three on your upper lip
from disgruntled floor tiles.

But that never halted
your gap-toothed grins.

I fought by your side
during alien invasions,
where broccoli trees swayed
beneath the 1% lowfat Milky Way.

We cradled dirt-stained snowmen
that lasted weeks in the freezer,
and attacked Georgia fireflies
with an army of pickle jars.

I cried when we ate mushrooms
(they taste of rubber and disease)
but gorged on knock-knock jokes
(the cheesier, the better).

We scrawled our promises in crayon
because chalk never stayed;
we composed cricket concertos
and moonbeam serenades.

Dear muse... this is farewell,
we have waltzed the years away.

But please keep close to my attic dolls
and patchwork teddy bears
(dust bunnies make dull company).

Perhaps lend me some sunshine,
you have plenty in your pockets.

I'll make you proud, I promise;
I'm due for spring cleaning.
No regrets rotting in the fridge
or spiteful skeletons in the closet....

Or even, heaven forbid, dirty laundry on the floor.
Childhood, we've had some good times :ahoy:

7/11/2012: changed the title & ending, added some new lines, and combed over `Kneeling-Glory's stunning critique. A big thank you also goes to =NicSwaner for his marvelous critique on the original draft.

You two have helped me realize what I need to work on to become a better writer :la:

Featured by #Daily-Lit-Deviations & #WritersInk ([link] [link])
Thank you, I wouldn't have gotten this far without support.

8/22/12: DD. :squee: I. am. ecstatic. thankyousomuch.
I truly appreciate the comments and faves. :heart:
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2012-08-22
Crayon Child by *Venry Not only is this a wonderful poem of childhood experience, but a great example of how useful good critique can be when a piece is redrafted and worked on. ( Featured by Beccalicious )
:iconnichrysalis:
I'm doing this critique because I enjoyed this poem thoroughly, but I felt there were parts where the poem wasn't worked out fully and that created parts of the poem where ideas didn't entirely connect with each other.

There is always room for improvement in anyone's writing, but there are parts of the poem in the poem that are probably better left alone, especially the closing line and the unique descriptions.

On the Opening Stanzas (stanzas 1-4)

The opening stanzas I find are particularly not as strong as the rest of the poem. The descriptions aren't as unique as they get later on in the poem ("Georgia fireflies" or "1% lowfat Milky Way"). "Duct-tape wings" and "chasing stars" are phrases I have heard many times before and I am struggling to figure out what a "dead knot" is in the phrase "dead knot shoelaces". I feel like you got into a groove later on in the poem, but I feel the beginning needs revising.

On Punctuation

In your poem, your punctuation is inconsistent throughout and contains unnecessary or incorrect punctuation. What sticks out to me the most are these lines:

Younger Me, <----- The comma is important!
still chasing stars with
duct-tape wings
and dead knot shoelaces...
<----- Because it makes this a comma.
______
I was never very gentle with you <----- Has no punctuation, could use a period or semi-colon at the end.
______
After all, I blistered our hands with playground, <----- The commas are unnecessary here.
and choked our sandels with mulch.<----- typo: "sandels" is "sandals."

I won't do the entire poem, I'll leave it up to you to make the decisions punctuation-wise. Some people exclude punctuation entirely as part of their style and it can complement the poem depending on how it is written, but punctuation is a powerful tool when wielded correctly.

On Section Breaks

I've never seen people break their stanzas with underscore lines before, but I'll be honest, I don't like it; it looks aesthetically unpleasing and it seems like bad poetic feng shui. I would recommend just regular stanza breaks or alternatively, you could use the method of Roman numerals to break sections in your poem up the way you would like.

In Conclusion

I would really like to see an updated version of this, and I feel if you address the issues above (the opening of the poem, punctuation, and find an alternate way to break up the sections of the poem), the poem would be above exceptional. I would like to say though that it does carry its theme of addressing your younger self very well and doesn't stray from that theme, and I applaud you for that. Keep up the great work.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
8 out of 9 deviants thought this was fair.

:iconliliwrites:
Hello! :)

My name is Lili. I signed up for #FeedbackFrenzy and noticed that you piece doubles as a #WritersInk feature too. :eager: I had to leave some feedback on that awesomeness.

My method is to give some general impressions while reading, then go back and give some specific pointers on revisions, and then wrap up with some resources for further learning. I hope that works alright for you. Please keep in mind that critiques are subjective; it is ultimately up to you to write the poem the way it is meant to be written. :)

Also please disregard the star ratings. I find them inadequate for literature, so I give everyone the same middle rating. Okay, disclaimers done! Let's dive in!

General Impressions
:bulletblue: I like the very strong connection between the present and past self in this. Even though there are few details about the present narrator given, we get a very clear image that the girl from the past definitely became a new, more complex version of herself. That's sometimes tough to pull off in a poem format.
:bulletblue: A lot of your images as the poem goes on are specific enough to be yours but universal enough to be anyone's - that is a difficult balance to maintain, and you did well with it.
:bulletpurple: I think you have a few extraneous phrases that could be cut. I'll go into more detail about that in the specifics.
:bulletpurple: I think the middle section of the poem is strongest. You seem to have applied =NicSwaner's critique well in regards to the beginning of the poem, as I did not notice any disconnect between it and the rest of the piece. I felt like the ending verses were much weaker, less focused, and could definitely use some revision. More in specifics.
:bulletpurple: I also feel that more of the senses besides sight could be included. There's virtually nothing of smell or hearing, and only a few pieces from touch. And I can see a few places to stick taste in there when you speak of eating mushrooms of that fabulous line about the 1% milky way.

Line-By-Line Specifics

My comments are in bold.

Younger Me,
still fending off nightmares
with plastic swords
and MONSTER-B-GONE lights. [Really nice opening. Puts us right in mind of the monster in the closet period.]

I was never very gentle with you.

[I would strike out "very" here, as it is an unnecessary and often over-used word. If you'd like to keep the possibility that you were sometimes gentle, I'd rephrase to "I was rarely gentle with you." That sort of phrasing also brings out a more adult sounding narrator.]

After all, I blistered our hands with playground;

[I don't like "after all" here, again it is an unneeded phrase. Also, "with playground" feels awkward. It puts me in mind of a giant picking up the blacktop and rubbing her hands with it. Maybe "at the playground" or "on the playground" or even more specifically which piece of the playground you received the blisters from (the rope swing? or metal ladders? or crawling on the blacktop?)].

I choked our sandals with mulch.

[This is excellent. Concise, vivid, and I like the dual use of pronouns, which you have quite a bit of throughout.]

Still your shoulders weren't slumped
with life's worries or weights,
only marked on the skin
by two play-scars. [Play-scars means? Did you draw scars on yourself? Or get them while playing?]

There are seven chin stitches
from a monkey bar mishap, [I like the cadence in this line, the little bit of alliteration is great.]
and three on your upper lip
due to disgruntled floor tiles. [Personification! My favorite. ;)]

But that never stopped you
from gap-toothed smiling.

[I would change "stopped" to "kept" here to improve the sound of the stanza when read aloud. Stopped feels out of place though I can't quite put my finger on the exact reason why. Alternatively, this could be rephrased to something like "But that never tarnished/dimmed/stifle/etc your gapped tooth smile." ]

We cradled dirt-stained snowmen
that lasted weeks in the freezer,
and attacked Georgia fireflies
with an army of pickle jars.

[I think this is your strongest verse; unique, but in terms anyone can understand.]

I fought by your side

[Here the double pronoun is a little unclear. "I" is the present narrator whereas "your" refers to her past self which sets up space-time continuum nightmares. It is a small niggle, but I think "We fought side-by-side" might work better because it better melds the you of now to the you of then, if that makes sense. Like I said, small niggle.]

during alien invasions,
where broccoli trees swayed
beneath the 1% lowfat Milky Way.

I cried when we ate mushrooms

[Here I would definitely include some sensory details about why exactly mushrooms made you cry.]

and I laughed at knock-knock jokes.

Child muse,
I suppose this is a farewell
of sorts.

[Right about here is where the flow/consistency breaks for me. Everything about the flow changes and does so too abruptly. I think it might be smoother to make this stanza one line, and drop either "of sorts" or "I suppose" as the two are very nearly redundant together, so it would either be: "Child muse, I suppose this is a farewell." or "Child muse, this is a farewell of sorts." I personally like the second better.]

But I ask that you stay close
with my patchworked bears,
attic dolls,
and pudgy baby pictures
(they need company, you see).

[I'd again revise these line breaks so that attic dolls is not a line by itself. That throws the ryhthm off too much. Also "you see" is a bit cliche and takes us away from the already strongly established tone of the narrator.]

Perhaps lend me some sunshine too,
you have plenty in your pockets[. or ; needed here]

I'll make you proud, I promise.
I'm due for spring cleaning,
anyway.

No regrets rotting in the fridge
or spiteful skeletons in my closet.

[I would combine these last two stanzas and remove "anyway". They're a little sloppy right now and break the flow a lot. But I think combining them will help with that and tighten up the ending so that the final line, which is great, has a better impact on the reader.]

Or even, heaven forbid, dirty laundry on the floor.

Wrap Up
I would highly recommend a few dA resources to you:
:pointr: The Breaking Point: End Stopping and Enjambment by `SparrowSong
:pointr: Olfactory Poetry by *Vocable
:pointr: Poetry Self-Edit Checklist by ~Mahi-Fish

You've got a good grasp on vivid language use. I'd say clean up some of the extraneous/unspecific language, work on adding in a couple different senses, and cinch up that closing. Otherwise, you have a very well-written and enjoyable poem here. It is going in my favorites. :)

:heart:
Lili
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
21 out of 22 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

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:iconliliwrites:
LiliWrites Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Just a quick note to say that I loved your use of parantheses in the re-write. Very effective! Still one of my favorite poems on dA. :) 
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:iconl-inque:
L-Inque Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is just beautiful.  I can't say anything more than what the critiquers haven't already said.  
Clap 
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DailyLitDeviations in a news article that can be found here: dailylitdeviations.deviantart.… Congratulations on your DD!

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article. Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconblacksand459:
Blacksand459 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What a gorgeous piece of writing! This is sublime.

    We scrawled our promises in crayon
    because chalk never stayed;
    we composed cricket concertos
    and moonbeam serenades.

    Dear muse... this is farewell,
    we have waltzed the years away.


Congrats on a well-earned DD!! :clap:
Reply
:iconrobertslay:
RobertSlay Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012
Really really beautiful. Thanks.
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:iconvenry:
Venry Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Student General Artist
Thank you for reading :tightug:
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:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012  Student General Artist
Beautiful.
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:iconvenry:
Venry Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012  Student General Artist
:tighthug:
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:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012  Student General Artist
Aw shucks. Thanks!
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:iconzichstellen:
ZichStellen Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
I love this so very much. It makes me feel nostalgic every time... :heart:
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