Trying to Move On

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Photo courtesy of Maureen Farrelly via Pixabay. The bold text below is quoted from Dakota Feirer.

Her fingers are dressed in weathered rings. Moving in on her own, welcoming neighbors attempt to carefully circumvent the suspected sorrow. But they can’t help admiring the patinated bands, envious of her overzealous dedication. Abashedly downplaying their fascination, she’s scared they’ll see her verdigrised soul corroding underneath.

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7 thoughts on “Trying to Move On

  1. You have an interesting subject here with the curiosity of neighbors for the person’s history, symbolized by her rings. Unfortunately, your meaning is a bit obscured by some ‘dangling modifiers’. When introducing a sentence using a phrase with an “-ing” verb (like I’m doing here), you need to make sure that the subject of the main sentence is the same as the subject performing the action of that same “-ing” word in the introductory clause. When you say, “Moving in on her own, welcoming neighbors attempt …” and “Abashedly downplaying their fascination, she’s scared…”, the introducing phrase doesn’t refer to the same person(s) as the subject of the sentence, which confuses the meaning. You can avoid this by changing the way you introduce the sentence, such as “When she moves in alone, welcoming neighbors attempt…” and “Though they downplay their fascination, she’s scared…”

    I like the phrase “circumvent the suspected sorrow.” It says so much about the neighbors’ assumptions and the human tendency to avoid hard topics, and it has great consonance!

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    • Thank you for taking the time and effort to analyze and correct my piece. The first sentence you addressed is certainly awkward and incorrect; I was too stubborn to move away from an intended rhythm and made a mess of that line. However, the woman was intended to be the subject ‘abashedly downplaying [the neighbors’] fascination,’ (as in dismissing their interest) so I believe that portion was right, though while noting that the neighbors wanted to be polite, I can see wanting to read the downplaying as an act intended for the neighbors themselves. (It also doesn’t help that this portion followed a faultily constructed sentence.) Again, thank you for the notes and for enjoying the loaded bit of alliteration.

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  2. I really loved the imagery in this line: But they can’t help admiring the patinated bands, envious of her overzealous dedication.

    Something about it tugs at me. However, I am not quite sure if the rings are literal or figurative? I presume that the neighbors jealousy over the woman’s perceived wealth is making it difficult for them to show sympathy to whatever her plight is? She, likewise, is pretending to hold it together and hiding behind her wealth?

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    • Thank you for liking that imagery; I’ve been caught up in referencing copper/bronze corrosion lately, so I’m glad that line caught your interest.

      The rings were meant to be literal, but to have a figurative effect on the woman. The idea was supposed to be that the rings, paired with the woman moving into the neighborhood alone, were meant to hint at a recently lost significant other. (Though the rings don’t inherently mean that at all, and I admittedly bungled the line noting her being alone, so none of that likely carried well.) While the corroding of aged copper/bronze is typically seen as enviable, it likewise stains the skin a similar green, which was intended to suggest the woman’s idea of herself corroding while still bearing what has been lost. Sorry for the exaggerated explanation; I know these things didn’t work their way out through the story as I’d hoped and authorial intent doesn’t matter at all when readers have the final say in personally determining the meaning of what they read.

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  3. There’s a lot of rich imagery in this piece and an almost lyrical air to it. There were a few points of confusion for me though. The neighbours initially seem to be kind and caring, but in the next sentence they seem much more intrusive, jealous, and judgemental. It isn’t entirely clear under what terms the woman is newly single, or why she’s chosen to move. The corroding metal and her fear her neighbours will discover her corroding soul worked nicely, though a corrosion of soul implies bitterness and anger rather than sadness (which goes back to my point about why she’s newly single– was she widowed, divorced, separated?). I’m curious to see if this is a story you’ll expand into a longer format in order to more fully explore some of the metaphors you’ve included.

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    • Thank you for noting a lyrical sense in this; I have a tendency to favor rhythm over plot, which clearly had its affect on this piece. I never made any deliberate decision in the reason behind the woman’s solitude (dissatisfied with potential implications in the cases I considered), which was why I left it open, despite how faulty of an idea that was. The part about the neighbors was simply a suggestion that their intent did not hold in practice. As for the corrosion of soul, I imagined it as an expression of weakening, though ‘corroding’ can certainly carry heavier connotations. Again, thank you for noting how you read this; I will attempt to take these aspects into greater consideration going further.

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