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Between Birth and Rebirth

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#1 Offline Pahrak #0579

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Posted Apr 03 2013 - 01:27 PM

Rebirth.  Such a wonderful concept: casting aside the old to embrace change, transforming into something new.  A beautiful process, if not a painless one.  Yet it seems we always expect the end results to be worth it—and indeed, perhaps they often are—so we subject ourselves to the pain of rebirth to become something new.


A desire to be reborn can stem from anything.  For some, it is a desire born of hatred.


It may sound strange to say such a thing, to tie something as beautiful as rebirth to something as ugly as hatred.  But what is rebirth?  Turning into something new, something nothing at all like what you once were.  Does that not imply that if you pursue rebirth, there must be something wrong with what you once were?


Not all may realize it, but for some it is painfully apparent.  Some hate themselves with fiery passion, condemning their whole self as worthless scrap.  When you see yourself like that, believing nothing could possibly be salvaged, you cry out for rebirth.  You want to free yourself from everything that you now are—all the vile, corrupt, broken traits that combined make up the excuse for a person you see in the mirror—and become something else.  Something better.  A completely different person, one actually worth the space it takes up and the resources it consumes.  There is no hope for you, for this you, but a reborn you…that you might have a chance.


Do not misunderstand: I know rebirth is noble, and I mean it no disrespect.  After all, what other means do we have of escaping this hatred?  These thoughts merely dwell in the shadow, the night preceding the dawn of rebirth, and the night does not speak ill of the dawn.  But when the night darkens and you hear things, mysterious, nocturnal entities that may very well mean you harm; when you have no way of knowing when the dawn will finally come; when you’ve been waiting, longing for it for what feels like an eternity…when you’ve spent too much time dwelling in the shadow, you know of no other place to dwell.


But in an odd way, your hatred gives you hope.  The self-loathing that overwhelms you spawns desire to leave what you are behind, to keep striving for the dawn you’ve been hoping for, to want with all your heart to find a way to dwell in the light at last!  You cling to the promise of rebirth and you hope, hope with every ounce of strength that the dawn will come, and that your current self will die with the night so that a new you can be born with the day.  The warmth of the sun—the flames of the Phoenix—the light of God—it must rise, must fill the sky with bright hope that gives you the power to move on!


Discontentment, in some form, must come before voluntary rebirth.  But imagine how relieved you will be when rebirth finally incinerates it.

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#2 Offline Jean Valjean

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Posted Apr 12 2013 - 10:13 PM

:kaukau: [color=#0000ff;]These are good thoughts, but I'm going to instruct you on how you could organize these better.  This contest is for fiction, so I was initially a little surprised with this, because technically it doesn't fit the description.  This is an essay.  As such, form is incredibly important, and I could essentially nitpick at every sentence and the atoms of its structure.  Since I do not have much time, and I don't really want to do that, I will only give you my fleeting impressions for the next time you wish to write such a thing.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]First of all, this could be longer.  Since it is an essay, and since this is a deep subject, it can be expanded t the full 1000 word limit.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]Second, you switch between what sounds like third person, then to first person, and then to second person.  Since this is an essay, you should stick with one.  The obvious preference would be third person, but first or second person are acceptable so long as you consistently use each regularly throughout the essay.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]Third, there are some paragraphs that are a bit misplaced for me.  One of them is the second paragraph, which is too short.  This is essentially an essay.  A short paragraph works when used fleetingly within a larger framework and with a particular style, but it doesn't work here.  You don't quite have enough voice to make that carry through.  This essay uses some big phrases and some colorful informal language, but none of your personal charm.  If you're going to include quick bits of informal language, you need to have a very distinct voice and a flamboyant personality.  Think of Mark Twain and Stephen King, one of which containing an ever-present wit and the other with an ever-present sarcasm.  That's the quality that you need.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]The other misplaced paragraph is the fifth one, which begins an analogy, but it seems to come out of nowhere, not matching the style of the rest of the essay, and I sort of zoned out with your description.  You didn't build into it right, and the flow was lacking because it moved like a poem, with evenly spaced lines.  This would have been good in a poem, but in an essay there's supposed to be something dynamic about the sentence structure, something that really doesn't work well in a writing form that uses limited lines.  The poetry was just, overall, a bit forced, and sort of cliched.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]What would I have liked to see?  A more creative analogy, something that struck me as new and original, giving a rebirth, so to speak, of my way of looking at this.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]The fourth thing was actually the beginning.  At first I was going to comment on it saying that it would have been better for the very end, because I assumed that this was could to be a piece of fiction, but reading further I realized that I had to look at it in a different way.  The basic weight that pulls it down it how obvious it is.  The theme is "Rebirth", and this is the first word to your essay.  It's not even within any context.  It's not only obvious, but blatant.  It's good to have an eye-catcher, but it also has to be subtle and pull in the reader for the rest of the essay.  There was an essay, "Black Man and Public Space", that began with the line "My first victim was a woman."  Now that's a way of catching the reader's attention.  It is immediately personal, suspenseful  and looks like it's going somewhere.  It also makes it clear that the essay is going to give a firm look at something that, by the end, people are going to care a lot about.  This is what I would expect with any opening paragraph.  We know that the theme is going to be rebirth already, based off of the title, so say something related to the title but not quite.  Throw off the reader's expectations, and send them scrambling to get their reading glasses and see what other surprises they might as they move on, to see how the opening leads into the theme within the title.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]Overall, I like the thought you present in this essay.  I agree with them.  Although, it is odd how this got put into a flash fiction contest.[/color]



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