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Old 09-20-2012, 06:47 PM   #76
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What's it about?
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:51 PM   #77
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What's it about?
You read the nostalgia thread before posting this, didn't you?
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:55 PM   #78
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What would give you that impression
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:08 PM   #79
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Just a completely random hunch.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:08 AM   #80
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My novel is finished!! If any of you guys want to take a stab at reading it, I've got a file ready to go. I don't have any intention of just throwing it out online without a copyright or anything, but I'll PM it to whoever is interested. Any and all feedback is important as I proceed to edit it in the coming months. For all I know, it's loaded with typos and nonsense right now.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:48 AM   #81
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Congrats, LM!
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:45 AM   #82
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Ooh, yeah, I want to look it over, LM!

Also, nice to see this thread pop up, I somehow missed it in the past. I'd definitely like to keep this one going further.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:33 AM   #83
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I was told today that I should do Film Studies. Nah, if I was gonna do lessons in that field I would choose acting. I never really thought that I'd make good actress. Usually I'll watch Hollyoaks and find a really wooden actress that I could be as good. However there is one role that I think I may be able to fulfil as an extra, and that's a zombie. I practice my 'zombie routine' ever so often, and no I'm not kidding.

But I'm on a mission to discover what is meant when a film is said to be arty. I have got a book that explains the difference between what the writer calls art-narrative films and what he calls classic Hollywood Narrative System, but I was still confused so I looked on Wikipedia. I think I have a better understanding of what it is now, but the bit I don't get is when you've got these 'in between' films that combine traditional Hollywood narratives and the more experimental art narratives that are more about style than plot. Why does my book say that Requiem For A Dream and Blue Velvet combine art-house and Hollywood narrative? I would say that Blue Velvet could be considered pure art house. Why the fuck does Wikipedia list Brief Encounter as art house? No it bloody isn't. It's a heartbreaking Romantic Drama with a linear narrative (ie: a beginning, a middle and an end). I cried like a bitch at the end of that film one Saturday afternoon. You can have auteur directors (ie: directors with a distinctive and unique way of directing) without ever making an art house film. Spielberg, Danny Boyle and James Cameron are just three examples.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:01 AM   #84
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Below is a fairly suspenseful short story that I wrote for class. It's been workshopped repeatedly and this is as close as it's going to get to being the final draft, unless you guys spot something about it that truly blows. It is a kernel of my second novel, On the Rocks, which I intend to start work on once the semester lets out. The story is in spoiler tags because it's nearly 4,000 words long and scrolling really sucks. Hope you like it, but I'll understand if you don't:

 
"The Nightwatchman"

By LeMel/Traviud/Hey You In The Bushes

One…two, three……………four, five…

The idle security guard winced. He hated it when the drops falling from the ceiling lost their rhythm. He had time to notice such things every night; the only difference was what he noticed. Tonight he noticed the moonlight reflect on his badge to reveal his name, “Phil Kowalski,” engraved on silver that shone with a conscientious polish. These isolated details were the only things that separated one night from the other since he had accepted this job ten years, four months and seven days ago.

This Wednesday was identical to last Wednesday, which was, incidentally, quite similar to the Thursday two weeks before. It was his responsibility to make each one special; he had heard as much on a self-help tape he had been recommended and subsequently purchased.

What made tonight special? Well, besides the irregular drops and the reflection of his badge, he could also see the outlines of the machines on the factory floor thanks to the full moon. That was relatively uncommon. It made the “WARNING: HIGH VOLTAGE” sign take on an eerie luminescence. But the highlight of the evening was that Phil had ventured to Back Bay Hardware to purchase batteries for his flashlight the day before, allowing him to reacquaint himself with the factory’s many dust particles.

Going to the store was an easy task for many, but it wasn’t easy for him. It hadn’t been easy since his mother had last been around to do the talking for him. She always knew what to say, but she couldn’t speak for him anymore. There was something wrong with Phil, and he knew it. He didn’t like the way people looked at him. He dissected the meaning of every glance and always assumed the worst. People called him “paranoid.” His mother preferred to call him a “sensitive child.” It was a phrase he never would have thought of, and that’s why she spoke for him. That’s why he loved her.

Phil didn’t have any interest in what others had to say because words only hurt him. He chose an occupation that required no input. His job was to watch over a New England cannery as if it were his one true home. And in many ways, it was. Traveling home meant traffic, uncertainty, hostility, and for what? A couple bottles of Sam Adams and an hour in front of the television. Unless, of course, he had been too cowardly to confront the bill collectors that month, in which case he would watch his fish until his eyes went out of focus, rendering them colorful balls of drifting cotton. Phil loved fish; he could be certain that they would forget the times he forgot to feed them. Until he stopped being certain, that is. He second-guessed himself whenever he felt tired. After giving it some consideration, he decided that he could not remember the last time he was truly wide awake.

Phil’s official title was “security guard,” but he preferred the antiquated term “night watchman,” and you would too if you worked at the Teabury Cannery. It was a rustic, historically significant yet economically inappreciable factory that took one on a trip through time. The grounds were lit by incandescent lamps that one could see through the cloudy, neglected glass windows of the second floor. From that vantage point, Phil often waited for Paul Revere to warn him of the oncoming British. He could mentally craft an outline of him on foggy nights, which often rolled in and out without protest from the adjacent Atlantic.

Though a bold full moon found its way through cracks in the cloud cover, wintry precipitation was a certainty. Phil always kept a close watch for it. Inside the warehouse, it was so quiet that he could hear the sound of snowflakes in the midst of their fateful kamikaze missions, meeting their brethren on the ground to form a glorious, crackling heap. Phil liked to think about snow. It was soft and kind and brought out the romantic in so many people. It pleased him to think of each snowflake’s unique anatomy. He considered each day a snowflake. Or he hoped to start doing so.

Phil had no way of watching the snowfall from the bottom floor, so he clambered up the uncertain stairwell leading to the mammoth windows on the northern wall. It was once steady and a freshly-painted metallic green, but had grown cynical and dull from years of supporting factory employees. He heard its pessimistic creaking with every step and grew to fear it as much as it feared him.

A glance out the window eased Phil’s tension instantly. There was nothing he found more soothing than a gentle snowfall on a still night. The town of Teabury was visible to the north, lit up like a quaint ceramic tea light. He found the town to be appropriately named. On bright, clear nights, there was a boat on the shoreline that he loved to watch. It wasn’t so much the appearance of the boat that he was fond of; its dark wood had been warped from years of neglect and was encrusted with algae. Rather, he liked the way it rocked while tied to the dock. Though it was unable to escape, it seemed all too ready for the day it could finally happen. Its eagerness never fully ceased, even though its hope was consistently deferred. He created scenarios in his head that would allow him to free it. Perhaps take it on a trip to Teabury and beyond. But he thought it wasn’t his place to do so. He wasn’t the kind to steal a boat and make his dreams come true. Never was and never will be. Nonetheless, it comforted him to know that it was there.

To the south, through the windows on the opposite wall, one could see Boston. Phil hated that city for everything it represented and for all it offered him. There were people there who smiled and drank and didn’t care about what you or anyone else thought. They were happy people who could make their dreams a reality. People who looked utterly flawless in flattering citrus lighting. He knew he couldn’t have any of their joy. Especially not tonight. Tonight was not a night for noise and debauch. Tonight was a night for peace.

The night did not sound peaceful. It was a massacre. Ice crystals hissed at fate for betraying it so. Sleet popped with machine gun rapidity. But he loved it, as it masked the soulless hum of the canning machinery. Eventually, the snow and sleet ceased and Phil could hear himself think. He could hear everything. The natural turn of the earth shifted the aging factory in subtle and terrifying ways. Phil jerked his head back to catch each sound in the act. Loose conveyor belts shook; rats gnawed through ancient wiring.

The cacophony was set aside. He saw something; someone. It stuck in his peripheral vision. It wasn’t in the factory; it was someone outside.
Who would be outside in this ungodly weather?

This was a good question; it was his responsibility to guard the premises from the sort of people who would be out in ungodly weather such as this. Suspicious people. It was also his least favorite part of the job and he approached such suspicious scenarios with trepidation. He had security cameras to aid him in this process, but he found his senses were far keener than any camera the Teabury Cannery could afford.

Phil placed his face up against the window and carefully scanned the parking lot and adjacent sidewalk, which were lit by two fortunately-mounted street lamps and neighbored by a small patch of grass and, a few feet beyond that, the coastline. This coastline was very notorious within the town of Teabury. Many years before, it had been commonly chosen as a location for men and women with nothing left. They went there because they felt no one was watching them and no one could stop them, and they took their own lives. The waters by the coastline were referred to as crimson tides. Phil was aware of this but could never say he had seen one of these suicides for himself. There were no reported cases and he hadn’t caught any unreported ones. It occurred to him that tonight may very well be special after. But after seeing nothing he assumed his cruel imagination was playing tricks on him in the night, as it so often had.

Then, at last, he saw them. Two men. One was crouched on the ground. Another was standing beside him in a threatening manner. The second man was shouting at the first. Phil couldn’t hear the words but the second man’s body language suggested that he was delivering a verbal thrashing. Perhaps he was a friend? A spurned lover? He could make out the details of the first man’s face in the amber glow of the street lamps and saw that he was weeping.

The second man – wearing a faded orange suede trench coat and a brown hat with a brim that covered his face with some room to spare – took out a silver switchblade. It was so strange to see a man like him quite literally brought to his knees. He was brutish in appearance, blonde and several inches taller than the man he assumed was the assailant. He had broad arms and an impressive stature; logic dictated that he should easily be able to stand up for himself, but he was the victim of what appeared to be a much weaker man. Phil thought of him as the victim as the horrible scene unfolded.

There was something very strange about the man in the trench coat. Phil almost felt that he had seen him before. Phil had a tremendously good memory, for better or worse, so it was entirely possible that he was experiencing déjà vu. But he couldn’t be sure from just seeing the back of the man’s coat, nor from seeing his pale hands. Despite his relatively diminutive stature, he was in his victim’s head and that disturbed Phil. He knew people like that. In fact, everyone had that power over him.

The arms of the brutish blonde were stretched out in front of him and frozen in place. There were tears in his eyes as the man in the orange trenchcoat cut him to pieces. At last, he collapsed. There was a pool of blood around him, though Phil could not tell where the source of it was. Phil wept for the poor soul, but he was confused by what he saw. Surely this was a homicide. The man in the trench coat had taken this man where nobody could find his body and took his life. He didn’t know what the victim had done. It didn’t matter to Phil now. All he could think of was that he had to tell someone what he saw. And that terrified him.

The man in the trench coat examined his work and shrugged callously. He then turned around and attempted to pick out possible witnesses. Phil remained perfectly silent. He found himself incapable of movement. His eyes glanced over the shoreline and, on this cloudy night, he found it was impossible to see his boat. He began to perspire. The man inhabiting the right-bottom corner of his vision turned around cautiously and pulled out his knife before turning back to his original position. As he turned, he spotted the witness in his peripheral vision. Just as Phil had watched the terrible homicide without any conscious effort, so the assailant caught a glimpse of the lone witness’ face by chance.

Phil retched. He slipped onto the steely green grating and felt merciless waves of memory pummel him. He had seen the man before. After all this time, he had forgotten what it was like to look into his eyes, so villainous and cold. That man had murdered his mother, cutting him off from his one source of protection. He had orphaned him and placed him in the care of his uncouth aunt and uncle, a couple who never understood his unique quirks. Phil felt no hate at this moment; this was not an opportunity for retribution. In fact, he had sought to avoid seeing this man ever again. He had subconsciously moved out of the city to avoid a second encounter with him and, in this moment, only sought to preserve his miserable life.

Phil’s best defense was his wits and keen senses. Failing that, there was a gun resting on the table in his office. This was his life to lose. It was his responsibility to stay calm and call upon the training he had hopefully retained. First of all, he stood up straight, rising from the pool of vomit he had created upon seeing the assailant’s sociopathic visage. To retrieve the gun, he knew he would have to hurry; the man tracking him was old and rugged yet strangely agile. As Phil ran, kicking up clouds of dust into his flashlight’s pale beam along the way, he considered the man’s possible motives for murder. What could he want? What did he want all those years ago? He began to feel woozy and ran into the blunt end of a machine on the factory floor, which left a deep bruise on his thigh. As he struggled to his feet, he decided that this was no time to reflect on the past. If anything, it would soon find him.

Every step Phil took sounded louder than he was accustomed to. His adversary must have heard them. He took a brief moment – it could be no greater than this – to consider how he would best navigate the factory floor. Run? A brisk walk? Tip-toe? He chose the brisk walk, allowing him to move at a solid clip without making a great deal of noise, but this put extra pressure on his bruised thigh which was beginning to throb.

Phil heard a quiet rustling in the foyer. The lock on the door leading to the foyer jiggled and then, bizarrely, seemed to create a light thud. The man seemed to have removed the lock entirely. At this moment, the stranger took on a sort of omniscience. There was no choice but to run; Phil would be found and killed if he couldn’t locate his weapon in time. Phil was a large man; his frame was generous and he was not afraid to test it with a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Every stride he took was met with resistance from his own body. His intimate knowledge of the factory was his only advantage, though the superstitious part of him suspected he had lost even that. If he did run into the man in the trench coat, he knew his size wouldn’t save him. It hadn’t done much good for the old man’s victim.

When he at last reached the break room adjacent to his office, paranoia set in fully. He could hear booming footsteps in his head, but not outside of them, as if his temples were standing in for a bass drum. His emotions fluctuated wildly as he turned around each corner, as if every room represented a different part of his psyche. The lighting changed in time with this, ranging from dark to light; colorful to drab.

Eventually, he noticed a pattern. He had been running in a scared circle. Backtracking, he noticed the hallway that led to his office was in the room he first entered but he simply hadn’t noticed it. He wondered how many other details he had overlooked in his blind panic.

The gun was the first thing he saw when he walked into the room. He had seldom touched his Beretta, only carrying it when he felt the need to keep up appearances, but he was so overwhelmed with emotion that it seemed to be his key out of a prison of fear and doubt. It felt like an old ally. Finally, he was in control. No one could take this away from him, not even that villainous old bastard.

He thought about the old man. Who could dedicate their lives to such vile acts? How could you age twenty-five years and grow so little as a person? There was something missing in a man like that. When their eyes met all those years before, he knew the man could only contribute death to the lives of those he came into contact with. He didn’t understand the value of a life, yet the old man’s face hadn’t aged a day since the first time Phil had laid eyes on him. It wasn’t fair.

His mother had been struggling. She had opened a restaurant and it was a resounding failure. She was deemed unfit by the state to be a parent. All too often, Phil went to school looking ravenous and unkempt. But he wasn’t unhappy. He understood that his mother would have done anything to put him in a better situation. He loved her. And he suspected that things were getting better. She wore a tearful smile the night of the break-in.

Phil cocked his gun and kept it as still as he could, facing the open door. Time passed extremely slowly, waiting for his inevitable encounter. The steps in his head were no louder than they were minutes before. Perhaps the man had lost his way. Perhaps he was stepping in place, trying to lure Phil into a sinister trap. Neither seemed all that plausible, but both scenarios were possible. And that chance was enough to keep him frozen in place for several more minutes.

This situation felt familiar to Phil. He remembered hearing his mother’s footsteps thudding below the stairs the night she died. But they must have been the killer’s. They started loud as he walked past the unwitting child and grew quieter until at last they piqued his curiosity enough to chase them down.

The steps were again growing quieter. They grew quieter still until the killer had exited the building, shutting the foyer door behind him. Phil had not been found.

Yet he felt no relief. The machines resumed their soulless whirring, which called him out to the factory floor like a siren. Much work was left to be done. As he walked down the halls and back to the floor, it became clear to him that the wind had picked up. It was screaming. Its tantrum was fierce enough to topple a nearby power line. The hallway went dark. The machines were silenced. Only a ray of moonlight shooting through the large windows of the second floor allowed him to return to his post.

The backup generators were set up to turn on automatically following a power outage of this nature, so he waited. At first, he played with his flashlight, but turning it on made visible the dust in the room. The dust, along with the square grey shapes in front of him made him feel as if he were occupying a crypt. This was an uncomfortable thought, so he turned it off with a forceful click. He then began to listen to his thoughts, but they were drowned out by the disquieting silence of the powerless machinery. He felt alone. Too alone, even to his liking. At last, he simply waited for the generators to return him to normalcy.

On cue, the power returned. The machines roared with new life. He smiled a sentimental smile. After a short time, it faded. He thought of what he had on the agenda for the night and realized his schedule was empty. And that it would be tomorrow. And that it had been for months. His normalcy was a farce. He wanted those damn machines to silence themselves the moment they came back to life. The door to the foyer opened with a creak. He needed some air.

Phil crossed the threshold absently. There could be something worth fearing somewhere on the premises, but his brush with death had turned out to be the most memorable part of the night. He approached the rocky coastline that neighbored the cannery as if it hadn’t had such an ugly reputation. As if it hadn’t been the host of a bloody homicide. Off to the east, there was no end to its waters. How significant was one man’s life in relation to that?
A thought ran through his mind as if it were racing to a more worthy destination. Don’t look back. He ruminated on it for a moment. Maybe there was something else for a man like Phil Kowalski. Perhaps he could be a fisherman as his father had been. No, he couldn’t.

He looked back at the cannery and began to cry. This had been his sanctuary for a decade. It allowed him to prolong the agony. He glanced over to the brutish blonde lying still on the burgundy rocks and no longer pitied him.

The glance graduated to a stare. There was one detail about the murder scene that he hadn’t noticed. The man’s wrists – they were the source of the blood. Vertical cuts. Phil looked into his hand and saw his gun clutched within his involuntary grip. Turning around quickly, he saw the old man walking towards him confidently. His countenance grew more overpowering and evil with every step. He seemed to glide toward his next victim, like an angel of death. At last, he spoke.

“I can set you free.”

Phil realized he had trapped himself. He was being offered a way out of dire circumstances, just as the brutish blonde had been. As so many had been on the shores of these burgundy rocks. As his mother had been. His emotions fluctuated wildly, as they had when he first grabbed the gun. Part of him was glad to see the man. He wanted to have a memorable night, and it was exactly that, thanks to him. There hadn’t been many in a long time and there may not be any others. He wouldn’t have to see the Godforsaken cannery ever again. Another part of him knew that other memorable nights were possible. As long as that chance was there, he couldn’t give in. He couldn’t see it now, but the boat was waiting for him.

He dropped the gun and dove into the frigid water. When he arose, the shoreline was empty except for the brutish blonde and the forsaken Beretta. The old man was gone. An old cannery neighbored by dying trees was not a beautiful sight, but he was grateful to have seen it. More beautiful still was the soggy brown boat. It was just a faint outline, but it was there. He swam back to shore, faced the cannery and arched his brow apologetically. It had been such a good friend to him.

“A true friend would understand,” he said with a sigh. Taking a pen and piece of paper out of his pocket, he wrote his letter of resignation and placed it under the arm of the brutish blonde, where everyone would see it.

He faced the boat east, toward the empty horizon, and hopped in. After an earnest, failed attempt to paddle forward, he realized he never had anyone teach him how. He would have to teach himself.

It’ll be OK. Better than OK. It’ll be a night to remember.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:57 AM   #85
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I'll read that soon, but how did you go with your other novel? Been looking for a publisher or anything?
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:30 AM   #86
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Thanks, I look forward to that.

My last novel is in the read-through/editing process right now. I wanted to set it aside for a month or so and work on something else, which I did with this short story. I'm 2/3 of the way through the book now, making appropriate changes as I go. Once that process is finished (a couple of weeks more, I'd say) I'll start looking for a publisher.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:04 AM   #87
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So far I've included The Future, Brazil, Mulholland Drive, The Idiots, An End Of Violence, Fantasia, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Tetsuo, Ju-on The Grudge and the American remake of The Grudge as Art Narratives
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