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Through the Mirror

Lightweight Teridax Rowing/Crew JOT A Tale Long Untold

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#1 Offline Nick Silverpen

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Posted Jan 21 2013 - 10:18 PM

The sun pours down from the sky, white light spilling into our vision as we row north. Those who have sunglasses are fortunate; those who don’t are simply unlucky for the day. As we reach forward, eyes are trained on the man in front of us, intent on mimicking his shoulder blades, his movements matching our own. The sun bathes us in its light, our white skin even paler in the spring glow than what the winter turned it. With a glance downwards, the boat can be seen sliding over what seems to be black glass, jumping away from the swirling puddles as the dark waters rush along the gunwales. The sight is magnificent, astounding, and in this moment, one of the most beautiful sights that could ever be remembered.

 

The piece ends and restarts on coach’s command; we leave the straightaway behind as he tells us to row on, traveling past the edge of all things familiar. Following the black water, the marsh grasses retreat, and the buildings only ever seen from a distance at last are before our gaze. We’ve never done lightweight before, and maybe that’s the key. “Through the mirror, then, and your chance to shatter it,” someone once told me, and I remember these words as our oars break the water’s dark mirror. Perhaps this is what they meant, and this is our chance. With all of our quirks and oddities, maybe we were never meant for the popular title, and after years of victory being just out of our grasp, this is our opportunity to shatter that empty handed reflection that has been staring back at us.

Past the shadow of the traffic clogged bridge, we cruise towards the inlet, our fatigued bodies lightly stroking the water as we turn the boat; with the grant of a moment of rest, we see the docks run down the island toward Longport bridge, which despite its proximity, still hangs in a distant haze. The inlet flows out toward the ocean beyond, the sound of the surf crashing on the shores reaching our ears. We may not know what winning feels like, but the content of listening to that soothing rhythm puts us at peace nevertheless. A shiver of excitement runs down the boat as we protest to coach to row further, regardless of the danger. With the shake of a head, however, we turn around, ready to head home.

 

The sun is low when we reach home, and as coach’s launch stalls out, we sit patiently, together watching the sky shift from a golden yellow to the black and silver night, as the lights along the roads that cross the marshes shine brightly in the spring evening. I haven’t seen a sunset like that in years, and I am glad to have viewed it with you guys. It was an honor rowing in that lightweight 8; there is nothing like seeing something out through the very end, and with what we did win, it proved we shattered the mirror.

 

An old African proverb states "If you want to go fast, travel alone. If you want to go far, travel together." Like the black water, our minds stilled as we pulled the boat out of the bay, but that is what settled under the surface as we left. It takes a boat to pull a boat- and despite all of our differences and the setbacks that occurred, those mirror fragments came together to form a satisfying image, as we-at last- proved ourselves.

 

Champions.


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#2 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Jun 06 2013 - 09:51 PM

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]I love the analogical imagery of this story. Using the water as a metaphor of a mirror was very beautiful and you did it very well, in my opinion. I also love your vivid descriptions--of sunlight, of the water. They're elegantly written. You could also engage the reader's other senses with your descriptions, though--in this case, the heat of the sun, the cooling salty breeze coming in off the ocean, even the sounds of the water (which offers a great variety of lovely noises). I think your descriptions are great, but there's something that could make them even better.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Unfortunately, throughout the piece I was a little confused. I could never quite grasp what was going on. Between beautiful descriptions and the narrator's parenthetical reminiscences, the reader was only given the vague idea of the story that was actively happening. Since the piece is short enough, I'll break it down, paragraph by paragraph:[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]First paragraph. Simple enough. We have a bright sunny day, a boat, and an unidentified plurality indicated by the pronouns. They seem to be rowers--but I say seem because it's only vaguely alluded in this sentence:[/color]

 

As we reach forward, eyes are trained on the man in front of us, intent on mimicking his shoulder blades, his movements matching our own.

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]This confuses me. Reach forward--toward what? Are they mimicking him, or is he matching them? Reading this sentence now for the fifth time, I've been able to comprehend it, but it shouldn't be that difficult. It should be self-evident and smooth. As an example:[/color]

 

As we heave the oars forward, eyes are trained on the man in front of us, intent on mimicking his movements.

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]I didn't really change much. I only altered the first clause for clarity, and combined the third and fourth to make it smoother and more understandable. Now the first paragraph shows that a rowing team is on a boat, on a lake, on a sunny day. Lots of good description here.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Second paragraph. Not much to say about this one. Again, good descriptions. The metaphor is introduced and the characters--as a team, as a coherent whole--are developed. However, here is where I began to wonder just what was going on. Are they in a race or just practicing?[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Third paragraph. I still don't understand where they're going, and now I wonder why they didn't keep going, and why they turned for home. All right, logically--I guess it was just practice after all, and they're headed back now.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Fourth paragraph. There's mention of the coach's launch stalling. I don't understand this. I know next to nothing about boats or the sport of rowing, but it would have been nice to know before that the coach was in a separate boat.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Here at the end of the fourth paragraph I get really confused. Suddenly the narrative sounds as if it was being narrated by a man reminiscing about his days on this rowing team--but why was he reminiscing in present tense? How "was it an honor" if it was in present tense?[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]To make matters worse, he says something about "what we did win"--what did they win? All I saw was practice. I'm fine with that; it was a sentimental, tranquil scene, the practice that ended in a beautiful sunset. But in the second paragraph, as in the fourth, there was mention of competition and victory, and leaves the reader feeling like they're missing something.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Fifth paragraph, sixth paragraph. No complaints here,[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]So to summarize, my only objections are these: First, the transition from a present tense narrative to a present tense narration. If you changed the narrative to past tense and let the narration remain present tense, I think it would go over much more smoothly.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]And second, the allusions to competition and victory, and the mirror metaphor, were a little dramatic if all they were merely practicing. If you played with it a little, making the metaphor more relevant to the practice at hand and to the approaching competition, the hope of victory yet to come.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]For all that, though, it's still a beautiful story. As always I enjoyed your imagery. I thank you for sharing, and I look forward to watching you continue your writing journey.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:[/color]


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