The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp


Tell us what you thought about the August 2007 issue!

Moderator: Editors

Master Critic

Posts: 889

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post August 02, 2007, 06:08:58 AM

The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

Was this dedicated to the Hollywood Grill on Ashland and North? gotta love those Greek run diners.

clever story and made me laugh. the part with his boss on the phone and the mcdonald's was hilarious and had a bit of Falling Down in it. Sebastian's thoughts were candid and well put, they had a nice sense of wonder and hilarity that made them quite memorable.

and the story was perhaps a nice insight into how a homeless person comes about, but the ending confused me...the last lines, were those to mean much longer time has passed than merely evident in the plot? maybe his comments on how years seem like days in the natural state tie in to this?

good one.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 845

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee    USA

Post August 02, 2007, 06:26:52 PM

Re: The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

I think Mr. Sharp's story was excellent.  He has a stylistic approach that—once I got used to it—really managed to add to the subtext of the tale.  His clever use of both bolds and caps seamlessly accentuated the tone of the prose without a lot of extra verbiage.  I've never seen it done better.  

There have been many stories written from the inside-the-head-of-the-crazy-person perspective, and most of them leave me a more than a little confused.    Perhaps this is intentional, of course, considering the author's objective, but these kinds of story usually also leave a vaguely dissatisfied feeling behind.  I can only hope that this wasn't the writer's intention.

The Momma on the Beach, however, was structured well enough that it consistently followed its own internal logic.  I have a feeling that this is the key to telling this type of tale.  As an example of this:  when Sebastion sees his dead father's face looking back at him in the mirror, we know exactly what is going on.  It was a brilliant glimpse into what was happening to his mind.  His solution—stay away from mirrors—was completely consistent with the somewhat more confusing insight of how his furniture and the tree outside his house were acting toward him.  

Considering the genre, the reader has to consider the possibility that these (normally) inanimate objects may actually be doing these things.  Too often, we are faced with a story where we only think the protagonist is crazy and we don't find out he's not until the very end.  Once you've read a few of these kinds of story, you tend to reserve your judgment until you're done.  This one perfect passage made many of the poor fellow's previous perceptions much more explicable.

It is possible that now that I have seen it done properly, I might be able to use this perspective in my own work.  

And for this—along with a decent, thought-provoking yarn—I am grateful.

Bill Wolfe
Last edited by Bill_Wolfe on August 02, 2007, 06:33:43 PM, edited 1 time in total.
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."

Master Critic

Posts: 889

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post August 02, 2007, 11:41:48 PM

The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

agree with Bill on all counts, and also upon reading it again, have to say it a very touching story. the arc with his mother is most heartfelt, i think many of us know exactly how he feels. excellent.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post August 17, 2007, 03:36:03 PM

Re: The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

I must be missing the boat, because I didn't get it. I think I have a 'literary' mental block.

I got that this dude was homeless and nuts, but more deep than that... Perhaps I am not as well-rounded as I ought to be. What was the greater message here? Moms make you angry, but also set you right?

If he was just crazy, and the Fury was a figment of his imagination, was this really a SF story? What makes this Aphelion fare?

My head hurts.

Nate
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post August 17, 2007, 06:39:53 PM

Re: The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

I dunno -- it made as much sense to me as, say, "Another Sarah", ::) where the Sarahs were women / were chickens / were women but the farmer, wife and friends were giants or ogres of the fee-fi-fo-fum (grinding bones to make bread) variety. And the 'hero' wasn't homeless at the beginning -- he walked out of his home with its disloyal furniture and abandoned his job (along with his sanity?).
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post August 17, 2007, 08:12:53 PM

Re: The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

Well, I don't think that's a perfect parallel--I've always felt the giants were real, but I could see where it could be argued that it was just how the guy saw himself--but in fairness I stand corrected. Figment of imagination giants or furies belong here. :-[

Nevertheless, what was this really about?? I honestly do want to know.

Nate
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.

Master Critic

Posts: 890

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Johnstown, Pa.

Post August 18, 2007, 10:45:35 AM

Re: The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

What goes on inside someone’s head is always interesting, sometimes frightening, and often unimaginable!  Who really knows except the person who owns the head? Just think for a moment about all the people who pass by you during the day! Your friends, co-workers, family, strangers, familiar faces, un-familiar faces-----know what they are thinking about?

Some sections of the story were not clear to me. But the author might have written the story with that intention. One sentence that interested me was: “Using the Greek muscles of his back and his wrists to their limit, he pulled on very difficult black working boots that in their advertising claimed to move anything that could be overtaken by an armored car.”

I don’t have the slightest idea as to what the author was trying to imply! An advertising gimmick? Some symbolism? Whatever, it has me stumped.

Now Sebastion. A homeless person who suffers from insanity, obviously. And a good look inside the life of the insane!

Sebastion can be seen in any city. The homeless with psychiatric problems who wonder unchecked, alone and unaided; often ignored by family and former friends.
Tesla Lives!!!

Master Critic

Posts: 889

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post August 22, 2007, 06:18:27 AM

The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

you guys are way too "realistic", especially you Nate. this is a go with the flow tale, you can't analyze it too much. it's possible the protag has actually been homeless for a longer time than first implied, or maybe even imagines the whole pre-homelessness life, or maybe not. this story was about emotions and feelings: guilt, anger, love, joy...the part with his mother was truly touching. and a great many items here were also quite hilarious.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post August 22, 2007, 08:27:10 PM

Re: The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

you guys are way too "realistic", especially you Nate. this is a go with the flow tale, you can't analyze it too much. it's possible the protag has actually been homeless for a longer time than first implied, or maybe even imagines the whole pre-homelessness life, or maybe not. this story was about emotions and feelings: guilt, anger, love, joy...the part with his mother was truly touching. and a great many items here were also quite hilarious.


That's just the way I'm wired. Sorry.

So, it's point was just to convey the feelings of a character? That's it?

Nate
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.

Master Critic

Posts: 889

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post August 24, 2007, 01:58:33 AM

The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

probably the point was just to move the reader: did it for me.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 845

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee    USA

Post August 25, 2007, 10:23:41 AM

Re: The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

Okay, the guy was nuts.  It's a given.

But just like culture and upbringing can make you crazy, it can also provide a basis for redemption.

To me, our Protag's ethnicity (Greek) was a factor in his life, not his craziness.  He was on the verge of becoming dangerous to himself and to others, and at some level he seemed to know it.

The stories and experiences from his boyhood--the furies and his Mother (along with what seems to be a stereotypical Greek Mother figure with which he identifies) were the images his mind conjured and which started him on the road back to sanity.

Unless, of course, he wasn't really crazy at all and his furniture was looking at him funny.  And then maybe the furies were real, too.

That's part of the fun.

Bill Wolfe
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."

Master Critic

Posts: 889

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post August 30, 2007, 06:14:29 AM

The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

how do you reckon he was even on the road to sanity? because he decided to see his mom again? that's emotion, often the opposite of so-called sanity.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 845

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee    USA

Post August 30, 2007, 07:13:41 AM

Re: The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

A young surfer named Barkley had arrived on the beach with his board in his hand and his new brand-new bachelor's degree in his head. He saw Sebastion at once, and at seemed that this poor man was now running at him. Barkley side-stepped just in time to give Sebastion – who was intensely talking from both sides of his mouth -- his running route. Barkley simply had no idea he had marked the spot where the town's best-known homeless person had finally started the road to love coming home.



Last paragraph of the story.  Seems obvious to me.

Bill Wolfe
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post August 30, 2007, 09:32:17 AM

Re: The Momma on the Beach by Chris Sharp

A young surfer named Barkley had arrived on the beach with his board in his hand and his new brand-new bachelor's degree in his head. He saw Sebastion at once, and at seemed that this poor man was now running at him. Barkley side-stepped just in time to give Sebastion – who was intensely talking from both sides of his mouth -- his running route. Barkley simply had no idea he had marked the spot where the town's best-known homeless person had finally started the road to love coming home.



Last paragraph of the story.  Seems obvious to me.

Bill Wolfe


"Love coming home" = "sanity"? But love is madness, madness, I tell you! (If he goes home to Momma, she will spray some Windex(TM) on his head. That will fix him up.)

:D
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

Return to August 2007

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.