The Quiet Woman by Chris Sharp


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Post October 06, 2010, 11:20:14 PM

The Quiet Woman by Chris Sharp

A strange tale . . . for the most part, it didn't impress me a whole lot, but there were some delightful descriptives here and there in it, such as:
Many of them were trying the best they could to look human, the women wearing forceful perms and facials, even if they were forced to live a life that was half animal.
Overall, though, it didn't have a lot of strength to its direction. I like stories that are like solid vehicles, that carry the reader from this place to that one, and this seemed more to be drifting.
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Post October 16, 2010, 01:49:45 AM

Re: The Quiet Woman by Chris Sharp

Lester Curtis wrote: I like stories that are like solid vehicles, that carry the reader from this place to that one, and this seemed more to be drifting.

The tale is about being homeless, lackig a palce to be, one ancor in life missing, drifting.
So if it is able to convey such a feeling by narrative means I'd consider that a sucess.
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Post October 16, 2010, 10:07:16 AM

You could well be right, vates; that may have been the objective. Maybe the author will stop by to elucidate.
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Post October 16, 2010, 11:29:46 PM

Re: The Quiet Woman by Chris Sharp

vates wrote:
Lester Curtis wrote: I like stories that are like solid vehicles, that carry the reader from this place to that one, and this seemed more to be drifting.

The tale is about being homeless, lackig a palce to be, one ancor in life missing, drifting.
So if it is able to convey such a feeling by narrative means I'd consider that a sucess.


Presuming that is indeed part of the desired effect, it hits an existential note too. Life can have a way of "just being blah" that just doesn't quit. We do have the power to shake things up, but it takes a colossal amount of will to do this. One "problem" with stories is that they ARE perfectly constructed to deliver a payload, and life itself can be maddeningly unfocused.

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Post October 18, 2010, 07:30:04 PM

Thanks for inviting me to comment, Lester. I feel generally that commenting on one's own story is kind of superfluous -- it's like the cook coming into the dining room to insist that the soup is good. But generally as you might have seen from this story and another story I have written on the homeless for Aphelion ("The Momma on the Beach" in August, 2007) as well as my "He had to laugh at something" airing on DailyLove.net on Oct. 24, I am gleaning from my own brief and self-imposed experience of being a street vagabond that the homeless are as close as anyone to experiencing the supernatural. Thank you, Chris Sharp
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Post October 18, 2010, 09:55:06 PM

Chris Sharp wrote:Thanks for inviting me to comment, Lester. I feel generally that commenting on one's own story is kind of superfluous -- it's like the cook coming into the dining room to insist that the soup is good. But generally as you might have seen from this story and another story I have written on the homeless for Aphelion ("The Momma on the Beach" in August, 2007) as well as my "He had to laugh at something" airing on DailyLove.net on Oct. 24, I am gleaning from my own brief and self-imposed experience of being a street vagabond that the homeless are as close as anyone to experiencing the supernatural. Thank you, Chris Sharp


Not at all Chris! Everyone wants to know "how the author worked his magic". (Is he even real? Or is it an outsourced task from the Orion Nebula?)

Great author comments go beyond "the food is good". We'll figure that out. We might miss that you studied Hemingway by recreating the entire path of Travels with Charlie and then wrote about landmarks on the way, slightly disguised by literary license.
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Post October 19, 2010, 08:08:19 AM

TaoPhoenix wrote: We might miss that you studied Hemingway by recreating the entire path of Travels with Charlie and then wrote about landmarks on the way, slightly disguised by literary license.


Thought that was Brandon Nelson. I listen to NPR, too.

I thought that the personna of the 'working homeless', was a unique exploration of a modern phenomena that is probably getting more common. I mean, the guy had a job, but it wasn't enough to keep him off the street. . .

Wow.

Cool concept that was well explored with a twist into the supernatural.

Phone reception in the afterlife is kinda' neat, too. Who else was she talking to?

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Post October 19, 2010, 02:05:24 PM

The Quiet Woman

After reading this story, I got the feeling that there should have been an addition at the bottom. It should have said:
In the previous reading, was Leona really a ghost? How did the main character finally decide he could help her? How can we, as teenagers, reach out to those who may be older and are in need of care and compassion? Write a paragraph using your ideas or suggestions.
Is this well written? - definately! Obviously! It's like when I sent something off to the New Yorker - they began their rejection with: Despite this story's obvious merit... Well, despite this story's obvious merit, it ain't sci-fi and it ain't fantasy and it ain't horror.
It is a great touchy-feely tale about the loneliness of people who are homeless and/or over a certain age. I would love to see this author trip over the line into Sci Fi or fantasy or horror - but it hasn't happened yet.
P.S. Much like 'I Love Lucy' - if Spock started dancing on a sand dune while singing, "Heaven, I'm in Heaven" - I would notice that.
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.

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Post October 19, 2010, 02:20:07 PM

This is in answer to Bottomdweller -- even though as the author I feel like I shouldn't be involved in the post-theater discussion. Now this is the second time I am doing it. In my experience, Bottomdweller, the dimension of horror in the setting of real life has more terror for me than when it put into and normalized into a genre of horror. But I'm still not saying this is a good story, because I am the last person who could tell that to be true.
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Post October 19, 2010, 03:27:48 PM

last person

Well, Chris, I'm the last person I would ever label as a critic who knows what they're talking about BUT this seems much more like a simple piece of literature than a horror story. After 14 pages of life as a homeless person, the last three paragraphs say something creepy, maybe. If you're going to write horror, go after it with both hands - put clues throughout the piece to aim the reader in that direction. If this is horror throughout, I missed it.
I'll say it again, despite it's obvious merit (and there is plenty of obvious merit as a piece of literature) there is not enough meat and potatoes in this piece to call it horror, there is no science in it to call it Sci-fi, and there are no evil ice gnomes so it ain't fantasy.
In my humble opinion - throw in some horror if you want it to be a horror story. If you want it to be a love story - throw in some lovin'. It seems pretty simple to me.
I'd love to see the author trip over into writing Sci-Fi. I love the way Chris describes the scenes, the detail of the people, the way Chris twists words around to strengthen his perceptions. But this story still ain't horror.
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.

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Post October 20, 2010, 09:50:39 PM

Re: meat and potatoes

bottomdweller wrote:...
I'll say it again, despite it's obvious merit (and there is plenty of obvious merit as a piece of literature) there is not enough meat and potatoes in this piece to call it horror, there is no science in it to call it Sci-fi, and there are no evil ice gnomes so it ain't fantasy. ...


Bottomdweller hasn't surveyed the latest trend in cost cutting buy the midwest food conglomerates. "Horror with meat and potatoes" now means "a fine piece of literature with two pieces of chicken and one potato slice at the end." However, we here at Aphelion Farms wouldn't stand for such in our homemade fixins' !

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Post October 27, 2010, 01:24:41 AM

It almost seems like the narrator is suffering from schizophrenia. He presents with blunted affect (lack of emotion), avolitoion (lack of motivation) and hallucinations (the centaurs). Also, the story is disorganized and jumps around. I think the narrator is homeless due to his mental illness, which is very common in the real world. He might have once been a high school teacher, but isn't any more.

Bottomdweller is correct in that this story isn't sci-fi, fantasy, or horror in any traditional sense. It does have some aspects of psychological horror in that I feel like I'm trapped in the head of a schizophrenic, but it never goes far enough to actually make me afraid.

I can't honestly say if the story is good or bad, but it's not something that I would normally read. I, like Lester, tend to prefer stories that have a definate plot that moves along at a good pace. This is more like a Seinfeld episode. It's a story about nothing in particular except the strange things that happen to the homeless narrator, and all I do in response is shrug indifferently.

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