Eshita Returns to the Sea.

Eshita Returns to the Sea.

A Story by hvysmker
"

Built on an old fable from India.

"
Eshita Raman was returning to the sea. It had only been six months but seemed like years to the young-looking girl. Life in Delhi had been so different and complex compared to her small fishing village on the southern coast.

Weak with nostalgia, Eshita rode a small green Kawasaki motorcycle. She drove with a heavy foot and an equally heavy heart as she passed a sign bearing her village seal. It was a tiny place near Kaikal on the southeast coast of India.

She knew she had only a few more days to enjoy being home, and did consider the village her home. However, at the next lunar eclipse she would have to return to the sea.

A few raindrops pelted the windscreen of the small vehicle as she stopped in front of the community hut. Hut was a misnomer as it was a modern, though well-worn and sun-faded concrete-block building.

Eshita hurried inside before an expected downpour, foretold by a darkening sky. It didn’t rain often in the intense heat of August, but when it did it poured. As a child, she would have hurried outside to bask in the unexpected moisture, but now had adult business to attend to.

The village clerk sat behind a dented metal desk, reading a paperback novel. The rest of the room consisted of a few broken-backed metal folding-chairs sitting in a row against a wall, several wooden filing cabinets, and an enormous electric floor-fan.May I help you?” the clerk asked, putting the book down.I would like to hire a boat for next Thursday,” she told him. “Actually, I only need to go out on one of the fishing boats. I have money and won’t be any trouble for them.” She turned to look out at the rain, wishing she were a child again and could revel in it.I suppose it could be arranged.  For cash, of course. Why? Are you a journalist or something?”Something.” She smiled at him.

The next Thursday, before dawn, Eshita made her way to the docks. She had spent the intervening days wandering the village, sleeping in grassy fields, enjoying the solitude. Though the village was her birthplace, she knew no one there. It had been far too many years since her childhood. Her family had moved north and, sadly, will have forgotten her a long time ago. Sometimes her own lack of childhood memories made even Eshita sad. 

She did retain the really important ones, such as making mudpies with long-dead brothers and sisters, hugging her mother and being spanked by her father -- a brick-maker by trade. 

It was a saddened Eshita that walked slowly along the few decrepit docks of her former home, the ones reserved for working vessels. Some were simply large rowboats with homemade sails, while others dwarfed wooden walkways lined with small wooden storage shacks, forcing her to bend her head back to see only sheets of metal siding topped by huge cranes extending to the heavens. Oh, how things have changed over the years, Eshita thought.

Finally finding the right vessel, Eshita stood silently, shyly, waiting to be recognized. She carried no baggage, having left her motor-scooter in a park with a note telling the finder to keep it. Eshita had no more use for her faithful steed. She had brought no possessions, having given away all but the clothing on her back, and that a simple loose sky-blue robe.Are you the woman who wants to go with us?” a scruffy old fisherman asked, peering down a slight incline from a weathered wooden deck. “My name’s Hamid and it’s my boat.” Above a white beard, green eyes were evident under a dirty white turban. They held only a slight curiosity.

At her nod, he showed her a spot near the middle of the starboard side, giving her a wooden kitchen chair where she would be out of the way but could watch as they worked.

The men on board the boat moved quickly, readying for a day at sea, checking nets and folding tarps. Readying fishing lines and revving up motors. 

Eshita watched in silence, only mildly interested, as they cast off into a receding tide.

A few hours later, Hamid, having a few free moments, turned to look for her, but Eshita was gone, leaving only a soft sky-blue robe thrown over the chair she'd been sitting on. 

While they worked, she had slipped it off and, naked, dropped overboard. Eshita returned to her other home, in the sea.

As she descended, she turned into diamond and sank to the bottom. There she would stay for many more years.  Until awoken by yet another total lunar eclipse.

Charlie 

© 2019 hvysmker


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I hesitated in writing this critique, after you said such nice things about Goddess. But given that our ages match, and that you do write well, there are things that I thought you’d want to know. Not as a matter of talent, or good/bad writing, but some things that acquiring editors, focus in on, and people in the bookstores react to.

In this story, you’re telling the reader a story from the viewpoint of an external observer—reporting events and providing explanations as necessary. The approach is author-centric and fact-based, of the form: “This happens…then that happens…and here’s some data you need…and after that…”

The problem is that you’re transcribing yourself telling the story aloud, but the reader can neither hear nor see your performance. And in verbal storytelling, how you tell the story—your performance—matters as much as what you say, because that’s where the emotional content comes from. Fully half our communication comes in the form or nonverbal things, especially the emotional component. But that’s stripped on when your words are transcribed. To the reader, the narrator’s voice is “heard” with only the emotion the punctuation suggests. The word meaning they get is what the wording suggests, based on THEIR background and experience, not your intent.

Added to that, the way you modulate your voice with emotion, the changes in intensity and volume, and all the other vocal tricks never make it to the page (have the computer read them aloud to hear how different what a reader gets is from what you hear). Nor does your physical performance. No significant glances toward the audience, no changes in facial expression, no gestures that visually punctuate, and no body language. And that is a story killer, and the reason we can’t use the tricks of verbal storytelling on the page.

But since YOU can both feel and hear your own performance, and have intent and knowledge of the situation and characters playing in your head as you read, it works perfectly…for you.

Think back to your school days. Did your teachers explain what a scene is on the page, and how much it differs from one on screen or stage? No. How about what the elements of a scene are, and how to manage them, including that the protagonist faces disaster at each scene-end?

The answer is no, because they weren’t teaching you the skills of any profession, only some general skills that employers want their prospective employees to have. And what kind of writing do employers need, for the most part? Essays and reports, just like your teachers assigned in school. But the tricks of Fiction-Writing? They, like every profession, are learned in addition to the traditional Three R’s. In fact, since we aren’t told that such writing skills exist, we don’t go seeking them—which means that when we turn to recording our stories, we either fall back on our report-writing experience, transcribe ourselves telling the story aloud, or a combination of the two. So you’re not to blame for it happening, and you’re doing well with the nonfiction techniques you own. But the approach, that of the dispassionate outside observer, has several effects in addition to the missing performance.

First, it encourages thinking visually, in a medium that doesn’t reproduce sight. That results in over-explaining and including unnecessary data. It also suffers from the fact that vision is a parallel sense and the page is serial. So things that take an eyeblink’s time to see and know must be spelled out one item at a time. But every unnecessary word, sentence, or paragraph slows the narrative and dilutes impact.

Next, anything obvious to you, but not to a reader, won’t be mentioned because you don’t see a necessity to include it. Were you writing from within her viewpoint (as against using first person POV), anything she needs to take into account in deciding what to do/say will be given to the reader as she takes it into account.

And because you are reporting, you focus on fact, and detail instead of emotion. But a reader comes to us for an emotional, not an informational experience. They expect writing that’s emotion-based and character centric, a style of writing that wasn’t mentioned as existing in our school days.

With that in mind, lets look at a few lines as a reader, who lacks your foreknowledge and intent will see them:

• Eshita Raman was returning to the sea.


Bang. Story’s over. We know how it ends, so why read further? Never, never, never tell the reader what’s going to happen. That removes the joy of discovery.

The reader will probably be unsure, and think you phrased it badly, and that you really meant return to the seaside. But having the reader decide that you mis-phrased the first sentence isn’t all that much better.

• It had only been six months but seemed like years to the young-looking girl

Young looking? In whose eyes? Given that we don’t know how old she is, she could be twenty and look sixteen, or thirty-five and look ten years younger. So while it’s data, it lacks context to make it meaningful data. In any case, since she’s not called a young woman, this implies she’s still a girl, which is less than eighteen. But since she’s on a bike that’s probably not what you meant. In any case, how old she looks is irrelevant to the scene.

• Life in Delhi had been so different and complex compared to her small fishing village on the southern coast.

Here, you’re providing detail the reader has been given no reason to WANT to know. And telling them that a fishing village is different from the big city is stating the obvious.

The problem is that this isn’t her, looking around, shaking her head, and saying, “Living her was a lot different from Delhi.” Then, perhaps she might weigh the difference, where it would seem natural, instead of as an info-dump later. That would be her observation in reaction to what she sees. What you have is yours. But it’s her story, so she should be living it in real-time, as the reader’s avatar, not your focus-character.

• Weak with nostalgia, Eshita rode a small green Kawasaki motorcycle. She drove with a heavy foot and an equally heavy heart as she passed a sign bearing her village seal.

1. I’ve been nostalgic, but it never made me physically weak. And in this case, it doesn’t effect either thought or action, so why mention it?

2. Why do I care what color a bike I can’t see is—what brand it is? Would the story change were it to have polka-dots. No. So it’s relevant. A good rule of thumb: If it doesn’t develop character, move the plot, or meaningfully set the scene, dump it.

3. Bikes have a hand throttle, so you can’t have a heavy foot unless it’s on the rear brake pedal.

• A few raindrops pelted the windscreen of the small vehicle as she stopped in front of the community hut. Hut was a misnomer as it was a modern, though well-worn and sun-faded concrete-block building.


This is a combination of unneeded visual detail—the rain—and authorial intervention. She does nothing in reaction to the rain and goers into the building. Which is the reader expecting: a) what happens in the building? b) a report on what the weather is usually like?

My point is that she doesn’t care either that it’s raining or the weather in that season. So why would a reader? Report visual information only if it matters to her. In fact, unless it’s necessary to understand her behavior, report nothing that’s not what she’s noticing and reacting to. It is her story, after all.

But of more importance… You call the building a hut. Not her, you. On reading that it’s a hut the reader will a mentally picture one. But she’s seeing a concrete block building. So why call up the wrong picture and then correct it?
- - - - -
Okay, See how different what a reader takes the words to mean is from what you intend? That happens, not as a result of good or bad writing, but because nonfiction techniques are useless for writing fiction. But since we can’t fix a problem we don’t recognize as being one, you’re going to continue using the skills you own, recognize that the writing doesn’t seem quite right, but never know what’s wrong.

And that brings me to the point of this. The solution is straightforward. You’re missing important information. So, do some digging and add the professional tricks you’re missing to your existing skill-set. It won’t be an overnight thing, of course, because it is a profession, so there’s a lot to learn, and making the tricks of the profession work well takes time. But you’ll love the result. And I’m pretty sure you’ll find the learning fun, though it’s filled with lots of things that will make you say, “But that’s…well it’s so damn obvious. Why didn’t I see it myself?

For an overview of the things most of us miss, you might dig around in my WordPress writing articles. But for the information you need to give your words wings, pick up a copy of Dwight Swain’s, Techniques of the Selling Writer. It’s the best I’ve found. It won’t make a pro of you, but it will give you the tools to do that it it’s in you.

Not good news, I know. Given all the time and effort you’ve spent on your writing, plus the emotional investment, I’ve just told you, in effect, that a favorite child is ugly. And that hurts. But I thought you would want to know, because as Mark Twain said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/the-grumpy-old-writing-coach/

Posted 8 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I hesitated in writing this critique, after you said such nice things about Goddess. But given that our ages match, and that you do write well, there are things that I thought you’d want to know. Not as a matter of talent, or good/bad writing, but some things that acquiring editors, focus in on, and people in the bookstores react to.

In this story, you’re telling the reader a story from the viewpoint of an external observer—reporting events and providing explanations as necessary. The approach is author-centric and fact-based, of the form: “This happens…then that happens…and here’s some data you need…and after that…”

The problem is that you’re transcribing yourself telling the story aloud, but the reader can neither hear nor see your performance. And in verbal storytelling, how you tell the story—your performance—matters as much as what you say, because that’s where the emotional content comes from. Fully half our communication comes in the form or nonverbal things, especially the emotional component. But that’s stripped on when your words are transcribed. To the reader, the narrator’s voice is “heard” with only the emotion the punctuation suggests. The word meaning they get is what the wording suggests, based on THEIR background and experience, not your intent.

Added to that, the way you modulate your voice with emotion, the changes in intensity and volume, and all the other vocal tricks never make it to the page (have the computer read them aloud to hear how different what a reader gets is from what you hear). Nor does your physical performance. No significant glances toward the audience, no changes in facial expression, no gestures that visually punctuate, and no body language. And that is a story killer, and the reason we can’t use the tricks of verbal storytelling on the page.

But since YOU can both feel and hear your own performance, and have intent and knowledge of the situation and characters playing in your head as you read, it works perfectly…for you.

Think back to your school days. Did your teachers explain what a scene is on the page, and how much it differs from one on screen or stage? No. How about what the elements of a scene are, and how to manage them, including that the protagonist faces disaster at each scene-end?

The answer is no, because they weren’t teaching you the skills of any profession, only some general skills that employers want their prospective employees to have. And what kind of writing do employers need, for the most part? Essays and reports, just like your teachers assigned in school. But the tricks of Fiction-Writing? They, like every profession, are learned in addition to the traditional Three R’s. In fact, since we aren’t told that such writing skills exist, we don’t go seeking them—which means that when we turn to recording our stories, we either fall back on our report-writing experience, transcribe ourselves telling the story aloud, or a combination of the two. So you’re not to blame for it happening, and you’re doing well with the nonfiction techniques you own. But the approach, that of the dispassionate outside observer, has several effects in addition to the missing performance.

First, it encourages thinking visually, in a medium that doesn’t reproduce sight. That results in over-explaining and including unnecessary data. It also suffers from the fact that vision is a parallel sense and the page is serial. So things that take an eyeblink’s time to see and know must be spelled out one item at a time. But every unnecessary word, sentence, or paragraph slows the narrative and dilutes impact.

Next, anything obvious to you, but not to a reader, won’t be mentioned because you don’t see a necessity to include it. Were you writing from within her viewpoint (as against using first person POV), anything she needs to take into account in deciding what to do/say will be given to the reader as she takes it into account.

And because you are reporting, you focus on fact, and detail instead of emotion. But a reader comes to us for an emotional, not an informational experience. They expect writing that’s emotion-based and character centric, a style of writing that wasn’t mentioned as existing in our school days.

With that in mind, lets look at a few lines as a reader, who lacks your foreknowledge and intent will see them:

• Eshita Raman was returning to the sea.


Bang. Story’s over. We know how it ends, so why read further? Never, never, never tell the reader what’s going to happen. That removes the joy of discovery.

The reader will probably be unsure, and think you phrased it badly, and that you really meant return to the seaside. But having the reader decide that you mis-phrased the first sentence isn’t all that much better.

• It had only been six months but seemed like years to the young-looking girl

Young looking? In whose eyes? Given that we don’t know how old she is, she could be twenty and look sixteen, or thirty-five and look ten years younger. So while it’s data, it lacks context to make it meaningful data. In any case, since she’s not called a young woman, this implies she’s still a girl, which is less than eighteen. But since she’s on a bike that’s probably not what you meant. In any case, how old she looks is irrelevant to the scene.

• Life in Delhi had been so different and complex compared to her small fishing village on the southern coast.

Here, you’re providing detail the reader has been given no reason to WANT to know. And telling them that a fishing village is different from the big city is stating the obvious.

The problem is that this isn’t her, looking around, shaking her head, and saying, “Living her was a lot different from Delhi.” Then, perhaps she might weigh the difference, where it would seem natural, instead of as an info-dump later. That would be her observation in reaction to what she sees. What you have is yours. But it’s her story, so she should be living it in real-time, as the reader’s avatar, not your focus-character.

• Weak with nostalgia, Eshita rode a small green Kawasaki motorcycle. She drove with a heavy foot and an equally heavy heart as she passed a sign bearing her village seal.

1. I’ve been nostalgic, but it never made me physically weak. And in this case, it doesn’t effect either thought or action, so why mention it?

2. Why do I care what color a bike I can’t see is—what brand it is? Would the story change were it to have polka-dots. No. So it’s relevant. A good rule of thumb: If it doesn’t develop character, move the plot, or meaningfully set the scene, dump it.

3. Bikes have a hand throttle, so you can’t have a heavy foot unless it’s on the rear brake pedal.

• A few raindrops pelted the windscreen of the small vehicle as she stopped in front of the community hut. Hut was a misnomer as it was a modern, though well-worn and sun-faded concrete-block building.


This is a combination of unneeded visual detail—the rain—and authorial intervention. She does nothing in reaction to the rain and goers into the building. Which is the reader expecting: a) what happens in the building? b) a report on what the weather is usually like?

My point is that she doesn’t care either that it’s raining or the weather in that season. So why would a reader? Report visual information only if it matters to her. In fact, unless it’s necessary to understand her behavior, report nothing that’s not what she’s noticing and reacting to. It is her story, after all.

But of more importance… You call the building a hut. Not her, you. On reading that it’s a hut the reader will a mentally picture one. But she’s seeing a concrete block building. So why call up the wrong picture and then correct it?
- - - - -
Okay, See how different what a reader takes the words to mean is from what you intend? That happens, not as a result of good or bad writing, but because nonfiction techniques are useless for writing fiction. But since we can’t fix a problem we don’t recognize as being one, you’re going to continue using the skills you own, recognize that the writing doesn’t seem quite right, but never know what’s wrong.

And that brings me to the point of this. The solution is straightforward. You’re missing important information. So, do some digging and add the professional tricks you’re missing to your existing skill-set. It won’t be an overnight thing, of course, because it is a profession, so there’s a lot to learn, and making the tricks of the profession work well takes time. But you’ll love the result. And I’m pretty sure you’ll find the learning fun, though it’s filled with lots of things that will make you say, “But that’s…well it’s so damn obvious. Why didn’t I see it myself?

For an overview of the things most of us miss, you might dig around in my WordPress writing articles. But for the information you need to give your words wings, pick up a copy of Dwight Swain’s, Techniques of the Selling Writer. It’s the best I’ve found. It won’t make a pro of you, but it will give you the tools to do that it it’s in you.

Not good news, I know. Given all the time and effort you’ve spent on your writing, plus the emotional investment, I’ve just told you, in effect, that a favorite child is ugly. And that hurts. But I thought you would want to know, because as Mark Twain said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/the-grumpy-old-writing-coach/

Posted 8 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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Added on October 27, 2019
Last Updated on October 27, 2019
Tags: satire, legend, fable

Author

hvysmker
hvysmker

Fremont, OH



About
I'm retired, 81 yrs old. My best friend is a virtual rat named Oscar, who is, himself, a fiction writer. I write prose in almost any genre but don't do poetry. Oscar writes only rodent oriented st.. more..

Writing