Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Read some words

What follows is the beginning of a short story that I’m writing, I would be very grateful for any criticism and feedback, mostly about tone and pacing. And so the comments section doesn’t become an all round lovefest, can I direct you to the sidebar to the link that will take you to my e-mail. Spank you.

Archer can’t remember the first time he saw the sea, it had always been with him, an unchanging constant, and although he grew up next to it, he never lost his awe. He learnt to surf about the same time he learnt to walk, but unlike the other surf rats and wave slaves he never grinded away hours practicing the standard tricks and turns. His real strength was reading the waves, knowing when to paddle and when to sit calmly bobbing, in fact if you asked him, he would have told you the sitting was his favourite part, and if you really pushed he would have admitted that surfing was just an excuse to be near the sea.

He thought the ocean as a vast indifferent entity and figured it was probably as close to god as humans get. He loved that any problems you brought the sea were exposed as the tiny little triflings that they were, not that Archer had many problems. A bright and affable child, he grew into a well liked and charming teenager, seemingly bypassing the sullen moods and awkwardness that that age brings, the only criticism they ever could level at him was sometimes he would get distant and seem to infinitely enjoy his own company. He breezed through school never really applying himself, happy to be doing ok and smiling away any concerns the teachers had.

At sixteen he drifted into college and discovered a talent for writing. Encouraged by a teacher excited to see him interested in something other than watching the window, he wrote about the surf. But after his third essay on surfing it became apparent to both the tutor and Archer that he had nothing else to write about. So with uncharacteristic vigour he threw himself into life, he attended all the parties, grasped at every novel experience and charmed every girl that caught his warm grey eyes. His writing improved at the same rate as his reputation grew. But, after a while, even this became stale; there is only so much life you can live in a small fishing town. So on the morning of his eighteenth birthday, after he shook the last of the sand from his sun bleached hair, packed a thick spiral bound note book and took to the road.

The only contact he had with his family and many friends, were garbled late night long distance telephone calls, scraps of postcards detailing countless country names and finally, twenty years after his eighteenth birthday, a book that went on to be number seven on the global bestseller list for several weeks. From this they learnt of his many adventures, croupier on an ocean liner, smuggling off the Caribbean coastlines, and memorable but brief and disastrous magazine assignment in New York City during a riot. Many that knew Archer thought most of it be fiction, the few that really knew him was sure it too be fact. Especially the story about the mock duel he had fought in the Baltic’s that had got out of hand and ended up with Archer losing an eye, for when he returned on a dull wet morning he sported an eye patch and a thin white scar over the left side of his face. He was amused to find out that he actually became a bit of a local celebrity, in his absence many of the village’s men claiming to be his best friend (mostly falsely) and many girls claiming that he was there “firsts” of varying degrees (quite true).

Archer slipped into the small but robust community as easily as he had slipped out, a little more cynical, a critic would say, but just as charming as ever when the mood and several vodkas struck. One night, while holding court in his local, a brave soul asked “why did you come back?” a shine caught the remaining granite eye and a wistful smile played across his face “an angel sent me”.

Spank you very much


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