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    dots Submission Name: The House Built in 1913dots

    Author: azure_warrior
    ASL Info:    42 /m/ in my mind.
    Elite Ratio:    5.43 - 44/43/32
    Words: 525
    Class/Type: Prose/Nostalgia
    Total Views: 1324
    Average Vote:    No vote yet.
    Bytes: 3038

       This started out as a dreaded chore but turned into a real adventure.

    Make the font bigger!! Double Spacing Back to recent posts.

    dotsThe House Built in 1913dots

    This experience started out as a hated chore that turned into a real adventure.

    This house was built in 1913.
    We moved our store here.
    There were paper and dried leaves and old lighters and empty cigarette packs strewn around, broken beer bottles condoms, even.
    Former splendor wrecked by time and poverty.
    There are the government projects behind the house and down the alley.
    (Can't get much worse than that...)

    ***the building code inspector comes a knocking!***

    I must take a shovel to dirt that has been packed on for decades.
    Armed with a bucket, trash bags, a knife (mostly for protection from residents) Lysol, a broom and a snow shovel.
    In May. The sidewalk was caked in dirt that was literally inches deep.
    There used to be a huge bronze factory a few blocks away during WWI-20's that poured out so much soot that the snow got black.
    There was still soot even 90 years later.

    Anyway, there were interesting things to be found, to my surprise.
    First, there was a wrought iron fence guarding empty space! It even still locks.
    Was this for the children who grew up here in days (and walls) gone by?
    It reminded me of an old Victorian house in San Francisco I'd heard of, where the eccentric owner built steps to ...empty spaces.
    She thought it would confuse evil spirits that she felt certain would find her, otherwise.

    I also found an old wooden box attached to a wall with
    some old mail from the 1950's.
    Letters from former residents of our 1913 house.
    Italians. (Most of the town is Italian).
    We'd always wondered who lived here in days gone by.
    There were also some coupon books paperboys used that i hadn't seen since i was a paperboy myself . This was a rare (how likely is it?) treat that brought fond memories.

    Then, also unexpected, I unearthed a heavy, ornate wrought iron post that was buried completely.
    It probably was original, based on design, and antiquity.
    Also, it was right against the cement.
    They just don't make these kind of things anymore.
    It belongs to another historical period.
    These kind of things fascinate me.
    Some other things inside that remain on this great house are works of art as well.
    The post will always remind me of time and place where my beloved Dad (who is now deceased) and I ran our family business.
    To me, it is priceless.

    And now, there was this new, clean space!
    A nice, safe place behind the house, that those kids, stuck living in the alley through no fault of their own, can run around and play in.
    It beats the alley.
    I know this all might not sound earthshaking.
    But, every day we hear all the complaints and grumbling day to day....
    Here's a little sun.

    Submitted on 2006-07-25 19:14:38     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
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    ||| Comments |||
      It's an interesting, but very personal account. In telling a story like this, the author must relate his personal experience to the reader, in such a way so that the reader can connect it to his own experiences. You can explain how you felt when you noticed the post, and what you felt as you were digging. You could write of the significance the post has had in your life, what emotions the playing of the children on the alley stirrs within you, and how this chore had turned into something lifechanging. You have started with a lot of interesting ideas, and you gave none of them closure! What is the significance of the place having been built in 1913? What about the projects being nextdoor? What is the wrought iron fence's job in the story? What about the used condoms? What kind of memories do the newspapers trigger? The coupons? -- I have learned from a storywriting class that it is much more effective to tell the story, or to explain the memories, than simply to say that you have a story to tell, or that you have old memories. -- Finally, what is the significance of the place being swept? Who has done it? Why?

    It is always OK to add some fiction to your real adventures for the sake of entertaining your audience and giving the story some bulk!

    Thank you!
    | Posted on 2006-07-25 00:00:00 | by isselman2001 | [ Reply to This ]
      A refreshingly understated mood, but maybe a bit too understated. Nice to see an optimistic poem, especially one that's grounded in reality.
    You keep it real, which is good, but I don't get the impression of any unifying design. The theme seems to be, A, sometimes doing a little good makes a lasting mark when you least expect it, or B, if you take the time, you will find treasure under trash.
    In the first bit, you set up that the alley is disgusting: the starting point that the later parts of the poem will contrast with. Next, you start digging, and discover the alley's "redeeming qualities" (maybe it could be an analogy for a person?). Finally, you come back and find out that all your work is still standing, that what you changed stayed changed.
    What obscures this very satisfying pattern---the reason I only appreciated it after the third reading---is partly a few unnecessary phrases and partly the way you describe things, so that I expect each detail to be the hingepoint of the poem. That the newspaper box "triggered fond recollections" could be left for the reader to assume; the bit about the fence and the wall is a bit confusing (is there an unanchored, free-swinging fence panel that partly obstructs the alley, or what?) and while it suggests the area is slightly quirky, it doesn't support the progression of the poem as it is now; in your commentary about the post, consider being more concise, since the second line about it doesn't tell me anything I can't assume from the line you introduce it in.
    The closing is a little abrupt. Maybe tell the reader a little you might know about the area's new occupants: do they have kids, who actually play in the alley, or is it an old lady who likes to keep her yard clean? Knowing that would make the end more satisfying.
    | Posted on 2006-07-25 00:00:00 | by Rokhal | [ Reply to This ]

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