This nearly brought me to tears.
There is such beauty and elegance in the way you wrote this, and the story and style are one and the some. It seems like you could not tell this story in any other way, and the strange but lovely rhythm and flow feels natural.
This is probably the best one shot I've read for a long time.Author's Response: Oh wow, thank you so much! Your review is completely unexpected and all-around lovely, and I cannot express how much I appreciate it. Thank you, again!
xx Rin Report Review
Hi there! Here with your review after taking AGES - so sorry! Life totally caught up with me.
You know, you're one of those authors whose stories I read and I feel inspired to write something myself. And that's a wonderful gift to have. Not a lot of authors inspire me like that. Because it's not the plot that inspires me as much as it's the writing. Your writing is so raw and perfect.
I loved the repetition used in this. I thought it was brilliant and gave a very tragic feel to an already very sad piece. It's very poem-like, which is why I love it even more. It flows so naturally and has a delicacy to its writing that I envy beyond words.
As for your concerns:
The bits in italic are not jarring at all, I thought the build-up was perfect and the transgression of their entire relationship/lives was perfect as well and really touched my heart. The only thing I didn't like was the repetition of hold that thought, actually. It wasn't very disturbing, but I did feel that I would have preferred it without. However, it's such a small thing and the piece is magnificent either way.
I thought the parallels between the house and their relationship to be beautiful and it broke my heart when they were trying to repair their house (read: their relationship) and they began and got going, only for her to lose him. I thought this was such an honest portrayal of a relationship and of love. It was written very subtly and delicately and I adored it beyond words.
These are some of my (many) favourite parts:
- Maybe they realize, together or separately or somewhere in the grey in-between, that the excitement isn't vital.
- Imagine that the house grows old; the roof slumps in and the shutters come off their hinges. Let's say they watch it decay, very slowly, as each day rolls in and the paint fades away with each coming sunrise.
The ending was perfect!
- And the windowpane chirps like a cicada.
Just. ahsjwqiqksksl. Perfect.
This is a little gem and I'm so pleased you asked me to review this. Just... Give me your talent? Please? So, so good.Author's Response: Oh, thanks! I had completely forgotten about this request, actually (because I really do have the memory of a gold fish). I'm completely flattered!
I don't even know how to respond to this - I feel like, again, we're just going to go around dancing and throwing flowers at each other because we both think the other is an awesome writer. :P I mean... comments on writing, to me, are the ones that I keep closest to my heart. I cannot even begin to describe how happy you've made me.
Thanks for easing my fears about the jarring-ness of it. I think sometimes I over think things like that, and flow is always something I try and keep at the forefront of my thoughts. So thank you! I was a little unsure about the "hold that thought" aspects also, but I was really trying to emulate Richard Siken, and he has little lines like that in his work as well. So I kept them, and I've received some good comments on them, but I totally appreciate that you could find them distracting - I think I'll keep them there, but thank you for voicing your concern!
Oh, that's so funny that you say that about the house repair paragraph, because in my mind, that's actually one of the weaker ones in the piece. Thanks for mentioning it!
Honest portrayal: that was exactly what I was going for. I am completely thrilled that you said something about it, because... gah. It was just one of my main concerns, you know?
Thank you so, so much! I am just over the moon about this whole review - honestly, it was perfect. Thanks for reviewing! You're fantastic.
xx Rin Report Review
Can I just have your talent? Please, Rin? Please?
Seriously, one of the things I admire about your writing is your style. It is vastly different from everyone else - it is, in the truest sense of the word, unique. Any other author would create something very different, but somehow predictable.
I love that it ties two situations together. At first I thought they were alternating between them actually getting together, and not being together for some silly reason. I thought it was him at the door. I'm curious, were the italics indicating the present or the future? Or were they depicting another reality? There are so many ways that a reader can look at this!
On the first read, people might consider the repetition a bit annoying, but as I read on, I understood why you did it, and it fits. It makes sense considering the context of this story.
You did a great job with this one-shot! I really enjoyed it.
LiaAuthor's Response: Gah! You are so, so kind. I cannot thank you enough!
Honestly, I think comments on style are some of the highest compliments a writer can receive. That's what this is all about: finding a voice, a niche, something to call your own. Thank you, thank you for mentioning my style. I am completely flattered.
I always sort of thought of the italics as the present, but you know what? I think it could also be viewed as the future! I've never considered it. When I wrote it, though, they were definitely the present.
Thank you again for your marvelous review. I whole-heartedly appreciate it, and you are far too kind.
xx Rin Report Review
I loved the writing style! (And I'm always a sucker for weird pairings).Author's Response: Thank you! I think a compliment on style is one of the highest compliments a writer can receive. :) Report Review
I'm sorry this has taken forever and a day but uni work is just consuming and horrible at the minute. Anyway, I need a break so here I am! I'll stop rambling and review now.
Firstly, the structure of this is absolutely wonderful. The use of the refrain at the end of (nearly) all the flashbacks really works and ties everything together in a way that only the best could do. I love the fact that your style never changes and I always know what I'm coming to with one of your stories. It's always going to be wonderfully written and tragic and make me green with envy.
Also, what a wonderful ship! I don't know where that one came from but it's almost certainly unique and it fits really well (in my head, at least). I don't have much else to say on that except that you set up their relationship really well in so few words and that I could quite happily read about them until the cows come home!
Naturally, your language is stunning. The last line is absolutely gorgeous and though I had to double check what a cicada was, the imagery doesn't get lost on an ignorant mind :P Again, it fits with the structure so well and the flow is just divine. The repetition works so well throughout and I can't believe how talented you are for making it work without being annoying! It's such a fine line with repetition like that but it is absolutely wonderful.
I will admit that I was expecting the end. I think I've watched one too many TV dramas not to know what's coming when there's a knock on the door in the middle of the night and I was hoping I'd be proved wrong, actually, and it might be something else. I understand that some people won't have recognised what was coming but I think it just meant that I missed the punch that I guess the penultimate line was meant to bring. Regardless, the beauty of the writing more than makes up for it and this is something that I could read a hundred times or more and never get bored of.
xxAuthor's Response: Ah, thank you, lovely! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond. Life is eating me. Anyway.
I was so, so afraid of the structure. You're completely right - there's a very fine line in repetition between annoying and a good break, and I tried to create the "good break" bit as best I could. I'm flattered that you didn't think it was obnoxious, because I know the repetition really isn't for everyone.
Ah, cicadas. I only realized after I posted and started to receive reviews that not everybody knows what a cicada is. They're very common over here (and annoying. Also very annoying), so my ignorant self didn't think it would be an issue. Still, I'm glad it didn't take away from your reading at all.
Ha, I think you're one of the few reviewers thus far who expected the end. I tried to kind of build to it and give hints, but perhaps I was too obvious (or you're just a genius; that too). Maybe I'll go back and reword some things, but my laziness may just prevent me from doing anything to it.
Thank you for the review! You are lovely. The review is lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
xx Report Review
I'm not lying when I say this is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever read.
I took the liberty of looking up the poem you based this on and it was incredibly powerful; I absolutely loved it. Also I ended up having to actually look up what a cicada was as well, considering I don't exactly live in the most warmest of countries, ahah.
Either way, this didn't affect what I though of this. You gave so many scenarios in which this could go, but it all leaded to the same road, the same troubles and the same feelings. I adore that you did that - I found it superbly different and brilliant.
Halfway through this I had begun to realise what you were implying the end would be and my heart broke. It was so ugh I can't begin to explain how I felt about the end when I kept on pressing forward and each and every line was affirming my terrible conclusion.
I love that you've set down such a wonderful basis for a relationship, that they start out as they all do and then dwindle down so much after the excitement, but the characters grow so beautifully and realise they don't need excitement - they don't need sparks or fireworks or days that are filled with things they've always wanted to do as a child. How they are, where they are is perfect enough for them.
I love the way you repeat 'Hold that thought' it has such a cutting and biting edge to it to pause that oncoming scene. I'm rambling like no one's business and, to be frank, I can't rave enough about how I love everything about this.
I'd say the only thing that I thought was slightly out of place was the penultimate line, but that is because of preference and I don't think you'd need it. In another opinion it could be too much ambiguity for another reader and you've provided this for so many audiences.
This was just...electric in the most heart-wrenching, despairing and stunning way.
XXXAuthor's Response: Thank you so much! I'm really sorry I haven't responded 'till now. I was just... honestly, overwhelmed by this review, because it's just so lovely, and I wasn't quite sure how to respond in a way that would do it justice. :)
Anyway. I realized only after posting this that not everybody knows what a cicada is, so I'm really glad that you actually took the time to look it up, because I think it adds a little bit to the description if you, you know, know what a cicada is. They're very common over here, and so the lines including them (and the title, I suppose) just came naturally.
I wanted to show a different side of love. The honest side, the gritty side, the side where things aren't always as exciting as romantic comedies make them out to be. So thank you, thank you for liking it! I was a little worried, to be honest, because I know that most of the romantic stories end just that: romantic.
Your review is lovely and you are lovely and I love you. I think that just about sums up how I feel about receiving this.
xxx Report Review
Aw. You almost made me cry, two more sentences and I would have been bawling, this was one of the most beautiful stories ever! You are clearly a wonderful writer!Author's Response: Thank you so much! You've absolutely made my week, and your feedback is much appreciated. Report Review
So impressed right now, I can't even begin to tell you.
There's so much beautiful stuff in here.
You should put a different line in your summary, btw, because the one you chose totally isn't the best one. SO MANY GOOD LINES.
WoW, I really really need to read your college essay.
Email it to me, yess?
Keep writing stuff like this.Author's Response: YOU there. If you think it isn't the best one, you should tell me which one is, dear. :)
Either way, your compliments are love, and the review is very much appreciated!
xx Report Review
This was incredible! GAH! I am honestly so in awe of this - it's absolutely beautiful. And I'm also aware this is the lamest start to a review I've ever done. BUT Y'KNOW. This aint no ordinary review! ♥
It feels as though this was a poem in itself, with the comforting repetition of 'let's say' and the breaks between the paragraphs. Yet, you still told me this wonderful, heartbreaking story about human nature and being young and growing old, and you still let my imagination take me where it needed to go. One shots or snapshots like these always seem to take my breath away because it's rare you find them. I skim read a lot of stories whenever I'm online, some I'm not particularly interested in and am reading for the heck of it, or some on recommendation threads, and I just - I don't know. I feel like some don't feel natural. It's so on the off-chance that you find something that you can relate to, or at least partially understand. Especially with emotions like love, something you can say over and over again and it doesn't give it any more meaning. God, it's always such a cliche for love to be so perfect all the time and to have lovers finishing each others sentences, right? And sometimes when I read some fics, even if I do like them, I can't help rolling my eyes and expect the characters to say what they do, because things like love and hate are just too complex to put down in words. It's so much deeper than, 'we have so much in common!' or 'he totally makes me laugh!'.
But even as I've said that, you've had a pretty fantastic go at it, and, oh wow. I don't know. I felt like they really were in love, not just because you know, you've said they were in your finishing section, ha, but because it oozes through every line, and you've put it so simply, and your language is beautiful, and their movements are so intimate and delicate, and they're one, they're really, really one. That's why it hurts so much at the end, because even though they've crumbled and their spark is almost out, they're still at least only a little bit together, until she finds out, and oh, then suddenly they're not. I can't even explain; it's just so subtle and perfect and you-and-your-damn-wonderful-writing. I'm going to take a step back and breathe now.
As you can probably see, I always feel a little bit daunted when I get asked to review perfect little gems like these, because I never know what to say and consequently embarrass myself as with the above. So I'm going to revert to your 'critique focuses' bit and try and make this review less squee, though we all know it'll probably pop back up at the end. I really didn't think it was too choppy, because, reading your info at the top I know you were inspired by a poem. But saying that, even if I hadn't known, no, I wouldn't say it was choppy. It was just right. It was your tempo and it was flawless.
You also asked whether I felt the characters were flat, to which my response is: WHATNOWAY! How dare you suggest such a thing :P They are lovers, and sometimes you are not supposed to see every facet of them. Sometimes lovers just define themselves and they are one being. I felt like that with this, that they are one together, as I said before. With the tense switches too, I felt like that heightened the tension and I guess the passion also. I could see your contrast in the writing, like how everything was rose tinted, and then suddenly in italics, 'she's tangled in her sheets', 'she rests her fingertips on the cold brass handle'. I expected to hear something bad at the end because you'd built it up and up and up. Ugh, I'm so in love with your writing. You make everything sound wonderful, and you give me everything I need to paint that picture in my mind.
So on a scale of 1 to 10 of helpfulness with this review, I'm going to rate myself a 2, but you know, I pretty much have nothing else to say that could be of true value. This was really astounding. I hope you hold this little over-excited and a bit strange review in your heart, because, just, oh. You need to be told again and again how beautifully you write. Thank you for writing ♥
Laura xxxAuthor's Response: Oh my goodness, Laura, I am absolutely beaming over here. I just... wow. And usually with really long and thoughtful reviews like these, I'll take a few hours to digest them and sit down later to write out a proper response, but. I just can't do that now. Because your review has just... well, blown me away.
First of all, I want (and need) to thank you from the absolute bottom of my heart. Truly. You have no idea (or maybe you do, I dunno) how much praise like this means to me, because I always feel like writing is just sort of something I do for fun. It's this thing that, honestly, I left for a few months to get on with my school and just now got back to, and to have you say such wonderful things just... well, makes me beam. :)
And I totally get what you mean about love. It's a really complex thing and someone as young as me may not have even felt it (I'm not completely sure if I have myself, even). But... I do know that love isn't always perfect. And I really tried to convey that here without getting too angsty and emotional etc. The fact that you realized this, and said something about it is just so... flattering. I certainly hope any love I experience in my lifetime is complicated, even a little bit messy. So thank you, thank you, thank you for highlighting one of my biggest concerns with writing about love here, and telling me that I, quote, "had a pretty fantastic go at it."
Thank you for getting to the critique focuses, lovely. They were minor concerns I had, and the previous reviews hadn't really touched on them at all, and so I'm absolutely thrilled that you've quelled my fears with each of them. So, again, thank you.
Your review is going down in a very special place somewhere between my brain and my heart. Please know that your praise and admiration and, yes, squees are truly touching. I cannot ever thank you enough.
xx Rin Report Review
Oh my goodness, Rin. There are no words...
First of all, YOU'RE WRITING AGAIN!! I'm so thrilled, I've missed having your beautiful one-shots to read every now and then. I hope you've got more delights coming my way ♥
Your writing is so beautiful that it just makes me sigh. Your word choice is perfect and the result is this stunning piece of work. I love how you describe the spark going out of their relationship and how it doesn't matter, it was so gorgeous.
The sections in italics lead me to believe they'd broken up, but the ending was just like BAM. Such a shock and so sad! I went back and reread it after I reached the end and I wonder how I'd missed the signs.
This was so so so wonderful, Rin. Thank you!Author's Response: Oh, you're welcome, lovely! It was your oh-so-inspiring post in my MTA that finally prompted me to post something. :P
Gah, those sections in italics were giving me so many problems when I was writing it. I was wondering if it messed the flow up too much, but I s'pose I was just being stupid. Honestly, I think if I was reading this for the first time, I would have no idea (just like you) that her husband had died. I mean, really. People who predicted correctly blow my mind.
And thank you, thank you, thank you! You're so very, very marvelous, and I wish I knew how to express my gratitude to its fullest extent. You are amazing, and thank you for the wonderful review, and I love you very much. â¥
xx Rin Report Review
I loved this one-shot, it's stunning!
The repetetive elements, such as 'Hold that thought' and 'Let's say...' make this all the more poetic and add really nice effect!
For some reason, I didn't expect Ernie to die (I'm not good at guessing the endings of stories) but the last two lines made a real impression - and I love the last words; 'And the windowpane chirps like a cicada', the effect it has is unreal!
Good job on this, I realy enjoyed reading!Author's Response: Thank you so much! I really appreciate your review.
Those last words were really, in truth, hard to write. I generally like to end with a phrase or line that will keep the reader thinking, or at least make the story a little more memorable. I'm so, so pleased that you thought the ones here were good, because they were such a struggle to write!
Thanks again for the review. It's made my week. :) Report Review
That was so lovely ;_; I knew after a few sections that someone had come to tell her that her husband is dead, and as I read on, I kept dreading and dreading for it to arrive. The way you spin their love story is so simple and down-to-earth, and especially effective this way, I think. I don't know that Siken poem, but I think the style was very appropriate for this fic - I felt like I was wading through her flashbacks and dreams of the future.
I adored all the phases of their relationship you went through. From he traces the inside of her elbow with his fingertips she can't help but feel like it's one of the most intimate gestures she's ever been a part of to her fence posts are like prison bars, the window panes like atmospheres that decidedly hold her in to while he watches the lights go by and she counts with her eyes closed, he reaches out to tuck her hair behind her ear. Your words can I just eat them up ♥
Strange detail - I really liked this focus on their hands. Their small touches, and the contrast between how she's alone and gripping her own hands, and then the section where he's clutching her hand and they're going to repair the house together.
♥ I love it alll :3Author's Response: Ahh, it's my Secret Santa! And she's absolutely marvelous and I love her to pieces.
Well. Where to begin with this response. Firstly: Thank you! This review is just... wow. It's very unexpected, and it's entirely flattering, and I'm not sure what to do with it (if you don't count sitting here and mopping up my drool from the keyboard).
I'm actually very, very impressed that you guessed the ending when you very first started. Not that there's anything wrong with that; in fact, I think that may have added a little bit to the reading anyway. Still. It's not something that I could have done in a million years, so kudos to you.
I didn't focus on the hands on purpose, actually. It's just something that I find myself writing whenever I describe a relationship. Still, the fact that you noticed makes me all fuzzy inside. :)
Thank you so much for the review! It is very much appreciated, and you are a spectacular human being for leaving such a stunner.
xx Rin Report Review
This was a very interesting way to write a story but I love how you did it. It kept my attention and I really enjoyed reading it!
Keep up the good work! :)Author's Response: Thanks so much! I was a little iffy about the format, so I'm pleased that you liked it. It was definitely something new for me.
Thanks for the review! It means a lot to me. Report Review
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