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Submitted on
December 26, 2013


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When she was six I came home one afternoon early and found her in my room with my box of art supplies upside down and my collection of long peacock feathers glued to her belt to make a lackluster skirt. The feathers were longer than her legs so when she backed away from me, surprised that I had come home, she tripped and smacked her head against my desk. There was an orange half moon on the horizon of the wood always after that. The funny thing was, I hadn't been angry in the first place. Seven days later she told me she had stolen the peacock feathers because she'd been learning about them in school. Her teacher had told her that peacocks were the most beautiful of all of the animals, and she told me that she wanted to be beautiful too. That night I'd tucked her quilt around her, kissed her sore little forehead and told her; you are already beautiful. I understood how she felt.

When she had just turned seventeen I caught her again. It was Christmas and I had come home a day earlier than planned when our parents had mentioned she planned to drop by for a few days. I took some overdue leave at work and thought how nice it would be to do those childhood things again with her. On the train I had let the shudders of the tracks lull me to sleep, and dreamt of old happy memories of dressing the tree, lifting her high to place the angel on the top. Buying chestnuts... opening presents. When I got home that evening, two boys were wrapped around her - and in the shock of my arrival suddenly three pairs of hands covered her breasts. Ten days later, New Years Eve, I slipped her a little of my champagne as an apology. Once tipsy she whispered to me that she just wanted to be loved. She fell asleep before midnight so I put her in the spare room of the house we were at, put my coat over her, kissed her soon-to-be sore forehead and told her; you are already loved. I understood how she felt.

When she was twenty-eight I found her the last time. She had asked me to visit her but I had been unsure, Gracie was teething and I didn't like to leave Martin to deal with her as he was as sleep deprived as I was, but in the end my conscience got the better of me. My sister never asked me for anything and she often dropped by just to see how I was and check on the kids, so I went. I had a key to her house and thought nothing of using it, despite telling her I wasn't coming over. Wrapped round her this time, not feathers or flesh; a threadbaring rope that would snap too late. Far too late. The note said 'I need the pain to stop, I just want to be gone'. Nineteen days later, I tucked a feather in her pocket and kissed her never-to-be-sore-again forehead, and I told her; you were already gone. I understood how she felt.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-01-10
First paragraph:

I don't want to say "show, don't tell" because you're doing a better job than I do of this. In fact, I don't want to critique you at all, because I can't say I could do as well.

So heck with it. I'm going home.

..wait, that would be a dick move; I'm already here and I started. Okay, I'm doing it, but you have to provide your own grains of salt.

I'm thinking that "box of art supplies upside down" could be more "show" though.

I'm confused about why there was an orange half moon on the horizon of the wood. Blood isn't orange. ...but probably it's blood. The "horizon" is a metaphor; there are no other possibilities. It was confusing.

"The funny thing was, I hadn't been angry in the first place." ...somehow I already knew that. ...but maybe it's best you tell us anyway. If you do, I suggest rewriting it so it doesn't include "funny thing" or "first place"; they feel redundant and conversational/vernacularish. Trimming for length is always good.

Second paragraph:
I think the second sentence stumbles a little. Not sure.
I don't like "overdue leave"; it doesn't feel like the sort of thing one says about one's own vacation time. Maybe "I finally managed to take some vacation time" or such. maybe not.
"shudders of the tracks" ...I was going to say something about that, but actually I think maybe it's better than what I'd do.
The punctuation gets a bit wonky between "lifting her high" and "opening presents." people buy chestnuts with any frequency? I don't know many people.

"in the shock of my arrival suddenly three pairs of hands covered her breasts."
It's kind of cute, but it's horribly horribly wrong to me. Of all the possible responses of a person in that situation, covering the girl's breasts is only something the girl herself would do (and that only if she recognized the intruder right away). The guys are going to be freaked, and either covering themselves, scrambling to cover, or challenging the intruder. Probably the lattermost.
...but it's cute, and adorably gallant; it implies that the two boys really loved her and were in a committed relationship with her. It's a shame I can't buy it at all; it tore me right out of the story.

Everything between "Ten days later" and "be loved" is just too long. You've spent so many words explaining that she got booze in her and said something. Trim. You're going for a similar pattern in the three paragraphs, so you'll have to trim them too. That's good. We don't need to know that the champagne was an apology. We don't need to know you slipped it to her (she's underage, sure, but you could just share it with her and we'd still know that. "Once tipsy, she whispered" ...too much words!

...ten days between xmas and new years eve? Must be a special leap year.


"Days later, at a shared moment stolen from a New Year's party, her champagne-fuzzed whisper was that she just wanted to be loved."

Okay, I need to learn to trim for length too. ...yeah. Needs work.

"soon to be sore forehead" ...hangover does not equal forehead. Should just be 'head". You can change the other paragraphs to match.

Paragraph 3:
"Last time" Whelp; I guess she's dead. Hope that's not meant to be a surprise.
"She had....coming over." ...trim for length.

"Not feathers or flesh" You don't need to point out the parallels. It's better if you don't; we'll notice 'em. I suggest getting rid of or replacing "threadbaring"; not sure that's a word, and it's not an important detail. "Far too late" = disposable.

...Seven days, ten days, nineteen days... 7,10,19. Not sure why those numbers. If you're hiding something in here (2019?) that's cool. Otherwise I'd just go with something like "later that week" or something.

"I told her; you were already gone. I understood how she felt."

What? She just killed herself. That's fine; that's the human condition and we all understand that to some degree. ...but our protagonist is also suicidal? Enough that it only took 19 days to calmly accept the death? This is new information; up until now...well, I guess we've got a pattern to stick to. The "I understood how she felt"...maybe that's the most important part, and I just didn't get it because I was caught up in the story. Hmm...

The title:

"Wrapped Up In Herself" ...I really like this title. I didn't read it until now. I skipped past it and read the first paragraph. I think I normally do this, actually; I'm reminded of Umberto Eco's assertion (which I disagree with but find interesting) that the best titles don't tell you anything about the story; perhaps I skip the titles until after the story so that I can better appreciate them.

Well, this title is very nice; not only do you have the wrapped up skirt of feathers (it's pretty challenging to trip on a peacock feather; it'd just get yanked off her belt. Perhaps she can just trip on some clutter? She did dump out the box for some reason instead of just rifling through it like a sane child. Actually, maybe you could change that; the upside-down box is a bit much.), then the wrapped up in two boys, then the wrapped up in the remains of a noose...

...okay, 'wrapped up' is kind of a stretch in those, but it's a stretch worth attempting!

Because this dead girl was self-absorbed, and telling the protagonist things that, well, are the human condition.

Okay, you've convinced me. You can keep the "I understood how she felt." ...maybe trim it for length? Perhaps "I knew." or "I understood."

Well that's what I've got. Some quibbles here and there, and an urge to trim for length.

Y'know, like I should probably do with this critique. But won't. Because my critique is not art. It's just 1000 words.
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ninjagirl371321 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014  Student
So freaking powerful. This made me ugly cry. Hardcore. Wow, forwards and backwards. This is pretty much equal parts beautiful and really, really painful
BloodshotInk Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014
:tighthug: aw, I'm sorry I made you cry. Thanks for commenting.
ninjagirl371321 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014  Student
It was a good cry, man :I No worries lol
haphazardmelody Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I definitely see why this was given a DD. Congratulations. This is just...unbelievably heartbreaking and powerful.
BloodshotInk Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014
:blush: Oh thank you hon, that means a lot coming from someone so talented!
haphazardmelody Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Oh please, you're super talented!!! :)
BloodshotInk Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014
WriterOfTheSky55 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I. Love. This. To. Infinity.
BloodshotInk Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2014
:) Thank you!!
crooked-clockwork Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014   General Artist
Beautifully heartbreaking and very much worth the read. I absolutely adore this piece. :heart:
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