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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/lastcactus
Review Requests: OFF
33 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review of Sunflowers  
Review by Coffeebean
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hello Jellyfish

I hope you don’t mind, but I went looking in your port to see what I might find.

I read more poetry than I will ever write, but this helps me to know what sounds right.

I found “Sunflowers”.

The title caught my eye right away. Because I am a wee bit of a garden freak, I gave “Sunflowers” a quick peek.

I like it.*Smile*

However … I do have a few suggestions for you to consider.

I might have written this: In the spring … not springtime.

In the springtime
I planted seeds in
Yoghurt pots,

Putting seeds in Yogurt pots. Wonderful visualization.*Thumbsup*

Their shining faces

For some reason unknown to me each time I read this … I want to say, “Shiny faces.” Maybe that’s because when I think of the sunflower’s large seed head … I see how they reflect the sunlight.

They opened up their petals.

I believe ‘opened up’ is a redundant phrase. You might have written it as: They opened their petals. Or maybe even like this: Their petals opened.

Their blackened faces*Thumbsup*

Rot in to the earth.

This … I might be wrong, but I wonder if it should read: Rot into the earth.

‘Into’ expresses movement or action. Something becomes enclosed or surrounded by something else.

I definitely did ‘nit-pick’ while offering my suggestions, but if I didn’t like “Sunflowers” I wouldn’t have bothered sending my thoughts. Also keep in mind … I only offer my suggestions for your consideration.*Smile*

Coffeebean





2
2
Review of The Dream  
Review by Coffeebean
In affiliation with The Storytellers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Angus

I’m going to designate today as Pick-On-Angus-Tuesday.*Bigsmile*

Once, you have read my review … you will think I’m picking on you, but that’s not the truth. Your short story, ‘The Dream’ is too good and worthy to be passed over and not ‘picked on’. I read your story out loud to my wife (she never reads anything). After I had finished reading the last line; she sat quietly for a moment or two and finally said, “That’s deep.”

I agree.

In 299 words … you paved the way for me (the reader) to venture into Clyde’s mind.

Sadly, I think Clyde learned a cruel lesson that life offers … “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Put on your best clown face, Angus and read what I have to say about ‘The Dream’.

At eleven o’clock on Sunday night Clyde Taylor stepped into his small trailer and slammed the door.

No comments here. Flash fiction doesn’t require a long-drawn-out introduction. You gave me a character and a place where the action takes place. ‘Slammed the door’ – although not a strong hook … it could still be considered as a hook.

He wasn’t in a good mood.

Comment: This sentence is telling and not showing. Most often, when the word ‘was’ creeps into our writing … we are telling and not showing. And how do we show a character’s bad mood? That’s not an easy question to answer. Slamming the door pointed in the right direction. To bad Clyde doesn’t have a dog to kick or child to brow beat. So you see … I have no suggestions here, but my thoughts.

He opened his refrigerator and grabbed a beer, the last one of course, and sat down at his table. He was hoping maybe that would at least take some of his headache away. His head was throbbing. It felt like a steel rod was trying to poke its way out of the middle of his forehead.

Comments: Here … continuing with the bad mood … Clyde could yank open the fridge.

Delete ‘the last one of course’ and save words … maybe? Yank is informal … yet means: pull with a jerk.

Okay … let’s pick on the word ‘was’ some more. I think it’s wrong to rewrite an author’s work, but to make my thoughts clear … I must.

Clyde yanked open his refrigerator and grabbed the last beer, and sat down at his table. He hoped a beer would take away his headache. His head throbbed. It felt like a steel rod was poking its way out of his forehead.

Here … I deleted the word ‘of’ twice and also put away the words ‘maybe’ – ‘least’ and ‘some’. They are good words, but used to often, they broadcast a passive writing voice. Sometimes a more direct approach works better. Of course, it could be you are setting a mood here which I failed to see (understand).

Too many hours, too little sleep.

Suggestion: I believe I might have done this sentence in italics. Make it Clyde’s thoughts.

Lighting a cigarette, he watched as he let the smoke drift lazily out of his nostrils, then slowly fade away.

No comments here.*Smile*

Just like my life, he thought. Slowly fading away.

No comment.

He could still hear the voices of the crowd outside as they made way their way to their cars. The voices, the people, the crowds, the job, his life; he was sick of all of it, and he needed a change. He’d been on the road for too long, going from town to town, seeing people he would never see again, and when it all came down to it, what was he?

Comments: First sentence gives the impression that the voices are making their way to their cars. Suggest: He could still hear the noisy crowd as they made their way to their cars. Better yet ….. ‘to the parking lot’. This deletes one ‘their’.

I might have tacked the ‘Who was he? On to the same line with ‘What was he? And put all 6 words in italics … making both questions his thoughts.

Who was he?

He remembered a time in his life when he was happy. He had a good home, a good job, a good wife, everything he ever thought he would need.

Suggestion: He remembered happier times in his life, when he had a good home, a good job, a good wife; everything he had thought he needed. This is a more active voice.

And then they came to town, and he threw it all away to chase a stupid childhood dream.

No suggestions here. This sentence is the back-bone of the entire story. It is direct and written solid with a active writing voice.*Thumbsup*

He crushed the cigarette out and stepped into his bathroom. He looked at himself in the mirror and didn’t like who looked back. Without thinking twice about it, he grabbed his nose and violently ripped it off. Then he went to work on the rest of his face.

No comments here. If I were really nit-picking I might mention the fact that you used ‘looked’ twice in the same sentence. Just something for you to think about.

… grabbed his nose and violently ripped it off … Good job here, Angus. This stirs the reader’s imagination.

The hell with being a clown in a circus. It was time to go home.

Comment: The ending works.

You want to make this more concise? This is just for a final thought and something to consider. It always helps when writing flash and word count is important.

I could be wrong … Passive: a clown in a circus Active: a circus clown

Another approach: The hell with being a circus clown. It was time to go home.

Saved two words.

My last and final comment before I let you off the hook, Angus.*Smile*

The last lines could be done in italics … again done as Clyde’s thoughts.

The hell with being a circus clown. I’m going home.

Okay, that’s all I have for now and you know my speech: I only suggest. I’m no expert blah, blah, blah. *Pthb*

Coffeebean





3
3
Review of Jack Smasher  
Review by Coffeebean
In affiliation with The Storytellers  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hello Mitch

When I began reading your story … Jack Smasher, my imagination ran wild and visions of Sam Spade flashed before my eyes. Oops, I’m indirectly telling my age now.

The Adventures of Sam Spade was broadcast on old-time-radio. (For those who don’t know or remember … old-time-radio was like today’s TV, but without the picture)
Like Jack Smasher … Sam was a fictional character who … with notable cold detachment, a keen eye for detail, and unflinching determination always found his own justice.

You pulled me into the story immediately. I didn’t have any other choice, but to continue reading. I just had to find out what’s happening here.

Jack Smasher absolutely falls into the Comedy and Action/Adventure genre.

After reading this, I wonder if you shouldn’t delve into the comedy genre more often.
You definitely succeeded in making me giggle while I read your story.*Thumbsup*

Now I have some comments/suggestions.

I wondered why you began with these words … 'The name is Smasher' and not 'My name is Smasher'. Maybe trying to set a certain tone? I’m only curious.

Identifying the evil crime boss as ‘Carl the Creep’. Bravo … I really like that.

There are several good lines that stand out in this piece. Here’s just one:

I'll have your little bundle of joy back in your arms by dinnertime.


…and came with a free pack of bubble gum to boot.*Bigsmile**Bigsmile*


That’s right, Detective Jack Smasher. I wheel the bike from the garage and hit the streets.

When I got to that line I had forgotten Sam Spade and was now thinking … “Police Academy” and Sgt. Eugene Tackleberry.*Smile*

I don’t intend to spoil the story on the outside chance that anyone will read this review before reading your story … but I loved the fact that you named the statuary ... Stoneface and Rockhead. ‘Brilliant’*Thumbsup*

Probably like everyone else who read your story … here’s where you had me and I said out loud, ‘Oh my God.” Everything you had written up to this point scrolled across my brain … and I’m thinking. “You did it, Mitch … you pulled it off.”

“Ma! Eugene's shooting a water gun in the house again!”


Comment: Here I stumbled a little. Who’s dialogue is this I wondered and then quickly recovered.

“Would somebody open the door?” It's Chief Peevish! The Chief of Police has come to rescue me!




“Eugene! Did you smash your bike into your Mom’s car? There’s also a gutter can in the driveway!


I’ve led a sheltered life. What is a gutter can??? Something similar to a rain barrel?


I have been captured by terrorists and must now escape from their cruel prison. It's a simple job and I love it.

Love the ending. Back in his bedroom and not allowed out and Jack’s imagination goes on without a hitch.

Great ‘funny’ story, Mitch.

Coffeebean
4
4
Review of Sleep  
Review by Coffeebean
In affiliation with The Storytellers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Pen

I saw your request on the Review Request Page.

I promise … I will not flame you. Reviewing anything outside the realm of short stories isn’t something I do very often, but I’ll give this a try.

I see that you labeled this as ‘other’. As I am not a student of any kind of poetry/poems/verse or is it called ‘free verse’? … I probably would have labeled it ‘other’, too.

You have a lot to say …

At times when we are very tired our most inner thoughts come from deep with in ourselves … maybe this is what you were doing. Your words: Wrote when I was tired.

Now that you have your thoughts recorded, maybe you could smooth them out. In short pieces like this every word counts … sticks out like a sore thumb if not used properly or purposely.

Like I said … I’m not a poet … I’m not an expert, but I see a few things I would like to comment on. Maybe they will give you something to think about.

I sleep, yet I am still so tired.
No rest comes for my weary brain.
No rest comes for my weary body.
No rest comes for my weary soul.
It I sleep, it is light.
If I dream, it is unmemorable.
I wish to dream my wild dreams again.
To awake full of ideas and fantasies.
I search for my wild dreams and await their return.
So I can once again arise the sun, bright and warm.
I think I will sleep now.


A fast and hard rule with any kind of writing: Sometimes less is more. Edit – edit and edit.

Here’s what this means. Your first line consists of 8 words.

I sleep, yet I am so tired.

Suggest:

I sleep, yet I am tired.

Your next 3 lines are 7 words long with the same words except for brain, body and soul. Is this repetitious? I don’t think so. It works for me.

Fifth line: You may have meant to use ‘if’ not ‘it’. Regardless, in the first line you wrote … I sleep. This makes ‘if’ wrong.

Suggest: When I sleep, it is light.

Sixth line: You are not sure if you dream and if you do … you don’t remember them or they leave you without an impression.

If I dream … this sounds okay to the ear. I like it. Problem is the word unmemorable … seems out of place to me. Maybe you could ponder over this line and come up with something special.

Seventh line: Even though you are weary and memories of your dreams escapes you … you still wish to dream. Not ordinary dreams … but wild dreams.

Suggestion: I’d leave this line just as it is. It says what you intended … doesn’t it?

Eighth line: Drop the period on the seventh line and try reading it this way:

I wish to dream my wild dreams again
And awake filled with imaginary ideas.

(Or something similar … search your imagination, which is apparent that you have.)

Ninth line: Here I would say that you have to much going on in one line. Searching and waiting. What if you narrowed this down to just … waiting?

Suggest this, but I encourage you to again … let your imagination do your writing for you.

I wait for my wild dreams to return.

Tenth line: Again, drop the period in line nine.

We can’t arise the sun. This line needs the most work. Albeit, the word ‘arise’ is poetic; I’m not sure it works in the style you have written this piece. I’m not sure I understand the ‘bright’ and ‘warm’ either. I’m sorry.*Smile*


Suggest something like this maybe:

I wait for my wild dreams to return
So I can once again rise rested with the morning sun.

I think I will sleep now.*Thumbsup*

I have given you my comments and suggestions … only intended to help you find other paths and other thoughts about your work. Editing and rewriting is your job, and I hope I gave you some things to think about. I know your words gave me something to think about … so maybe … we both succeeded.

BTW: I suffer terribly from insomnia. I think that is why I was drawn to 'Sleep'.

Coffeebean
5
5
Review by Coffeebean
In affiliation with The Storytellers  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hey Angus

This won’t be an ordinary review. I said what I wanted to say to you in a private email. But the more I thought about it … I knew that I had to publicly commend you for having the courage to write … Texting and Driving.

The young man who you wrote about in your piece said and I quote. “I was tired, distracted with thoughts of homework and wasn’t texting.”

Distracted with homework? Give me a break. That’s ‘lawyer talk’ … plain and simple.

He wasn’t texting at the moment of impact! Yeah … right. He sent 193 text messages that day, but he stopped when he placed himself behind the wheel. I’m sure he did.

Who sends 193 text messages in one day? What have we as a society become?

No need to apologize for writing this piece, Angus.

Coffeebean
6
6
Review of The Bug-Man Sting  
Review by Coffeebean
In affiliation with The Storytellers  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Hey Mitch

Here’s a review of your story … The Bug-Man Sting.

Your story’s title caught my eye. I like stories about bugs, especially when roaches are present.*Bigsmile*

You are correct in your assessment when you stated in your bio … “If I just wanted to hear that something I had written was nice, I'd ask my mom to read it.

Any serious author wants to hear more than … “I like your story.”

Here are my honest comments and thought-out-suggestions. That’s what I do. I suggest. What you choose to do with my suggestions is your prerogative.

You’re ending. I was a little disappointed. Without notice or preconceived warning … you placed Ezekiel into your story. Why? Did he actually steal the scarf? If not, maybe he should have. This would have given the reader a twist in the end.

He was finally going to catch the exterminator. This nonsense of things going missing from guests’ rooms was going to end. Preston, the bellhop, had always suspected Glen the bug-man. The thefts were always discovered on Wednesday which coincided with the roach treatments.

There are no grammar violations in using the word ‘going’ twice in the same sentence, three times in two sentences. However, a more pleasing version in prose would be to weed them out. Something for you to consider as you write your next short story.

Also. I wonder if Wednesday shouldn’t be plural. The thefts were always discovered on Wednesdays which coincided with the roach treatments.

Preston eased into the hallway pushing his decoy luggage cart. Glen was in Room 526. The bait, a silk shawl that Preston had snuck from Room 372, rested on the nightstand of Room 528.

You did a good job easing the prompt words into your story. Not forced as I quite often see.

Suggestion: … rested on the nightstand in Room 528.

Preston skulked three doors past the target room. He positioned his decoy cart and dug his 35mm Kodak from his pocket slipping the safety strap around his wrist. He peaked over the mock luggage and the trap was now ready to be sprung.

Suggestion: … peeked … not peaked. We can blame spell-check for that.*Smile*

Preston giggled to himself anticipating the look on Glen’s stupid face. He had hated Glen in eighth grade when the other boys envied him because he was already shaving. What kind of freak can grow a beard at thirteen? Preston smirked. The kind that kills bugs and steals and is about to get busted!

I like this sentence: What kind of freak can grow a beard at thirteen?

You might want to consider breaking this sentence into two thoughts: He had hated Glen in eighth grade when the other boys envied him because he was already shaving.

It read a little awkward … I think.

Glen entered Room 528. Preston slid along the wall to the target room and waited. When the door opened, Preston gaped over the bug-man’s shoulder and the shawl was missing!

As a reader, I was left wondering … who opened the door? Maybe it’s just me, but I think there are too many things going on in one sentence. Opened – gaped – missing. I would suggest: The shawl was missing! … one sentence standing on its own.

“A-HA! Caught you, bug-squasher!” Preston reveled in Glen's shocked and confused expression. The Kodak flashed in the exterminator’s face. The bellhop was about to begin a physical search when Ezekiel, the weekly bible inspector, also exited Room 528.

“Caught you, bug-squasher!” I like that.

Should Ezekiel exited the room or appeared in the room? In reality … you have him leaving the room twice … I believe.

“I am so glad you are here, Mr. Ezekiel,” Preston shouted. “I could use your help!”

No comments here.

“No time, I have got to run. God bless you, Preston.” Ezekiel brushed past Glen and Preston and hustled into the elevator.


A comment: This could be my personal preference (but I don’t think I am alone) … the word ‘got’ weakens prose. This could have been written as: “No time, I have to run. Plus: It is dialogue and most often when real people speak … they seem to be conservative with their words.

Comment: As I mentioned in the beginning … I would have been a more contented reader if Ezekial would have been the thief.

Here … as Ezekial hustles into the elevator … you had the option of showing him stuffing the shawl somewhere or admiring it … or something from your own imagination. I envision Ezekial as a man of the cloth … clergyman. You pointed me in that direction with the words: … bible inspector. (My own imagination working over-time).

Of course, now I am bordering on ‘rewriting’ your work and that is not my intent. I only offer suggestions or ‘food for thought’.*Wink*


Preston smiled and wave approvingly before turning to Glen. “Okay Pesticide Prince, spread eagle on the wall!”

Comment: waved not wave

Of course, I must ask … “Why would Preston wave approvingly at Ezekial?” What did I miss here … I’m wondering.

That’s all I have, Mitch. Always feel free to email if you have questions. Sometimes, I’m not as clear with my suggestions as I would like to be.

If you feel the need to defend your work … I’m not the guy to come too. If you have a strong desire to improve your writing skills … I’ll listen to what you have to say. I’m no expert … not even close, but I do read a lot and I believe in truthful, honest reviews.

Coffeebean


7
7
Review of Childish Behavior  
Review by Coffeebean
In affiliation with The Storytellers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello, ‘I’m jus sayin’

I read your question in the Tech Support Forum and later saw your request on the Request Review Page. Here’s what you said: I am looking for honest reviews on my work, I am trying to better my writing and attract more readers. All reviews are welcome, thank you in advance.

I’m going to be as honest as I can be with you. I have found from my experience while being a WDC member that reviewing will help attract more readers. No … writing and sending reviews doesn’t always mean that you will attract readers like ants going to honey, but reading and reviewing other author’s work will help your cause in the long run. Like in real life … there’s no guarantee.


I have a few thoughts and suggestions about ‘Childish Behavior’ and while I’m typing them I will be thinking of two things that came from you.

“Looking for honest reviews.” and “Trying to better my writing.”

For the lack of a better word, I might ask you why your story is ‘formatted’ the way it is.

Why is it? No … you don’t want to present your work in one huge block of words like you did with your story ‘Yesterday I talked to Grandma’, but there is a happy in between.

I love dialogue. I like using it in every story and I think it is a necessity that can either make or break a story. Dialogue, if original and sounds authentic can make an average story into a good story, and in some cases into a great story. Good dialogue is like no other part of a story in that it can, and it ought to, give some sense of being an event unto itself.

Your story is ‘all’ dialogue. Is that wrong? In a nutshell … yes. For a story to be read with interest you ‘need’ narration. This is the part of any story that accompanies dialogue.

Maybe Cheryl and Lisa have encountered one another in a crowded Wal-Mart. Maybe that squeaky wheel on Cheryl’s cart is driving her crazy as she pushes it through the maze of shoppers. Give me … the reader something. Think about this while you write: Who-Where-What-When and Why. Plus … you really want to work your way into the reader’s mind, consider … Sight-Sound-Smell-Touch and Taste.

And while I’m still on the subject of dialogue, let me mention … tagging dialogue. I’m sure you know what tags are. You used them in your other work.


"Get over here Marcus, I told you about talking to strangers."

Suggestion: “Get over here, Marcus; I told you about talking to strangers, “ Cheryl yelled.

The tag could be written as, …his mother said. Or …Cheryl said. I like yelled, because that’s what a mother would do in the real world … don’t you think?

Note the comma before Marcus. Other examples are: “Wow, Cheryl, really?” … “Look, Lisa our friendship… and this one, …would happen, Cheryl?” There are others also, I just pointed out a few.


"Get over here Marcus, I told you about talking to strangers."


(Who is Marcus? The reader never knows for sure. Don’t allow your reader to guess to often … he/she will stop reading.)



"Wow Cheryl really? I went from being your best friend of fifteen years to being a


stranger? So you gone keep walking like I'm not talking to you?" (Are you going to keep walking away like I’m not talking to you?”)



"Look Lisa our friendship is in the past and that's where I left you. Now if you would excuse me, I need to get back to my grocery shopping."



"You can't seriously still be upset with me because your son lost a fight he started. I mean, what did you think would happen Cheryl?"



"Your boys double teamed my son and you did nothing about it Lisa!"



"Marcus was the one who felt froggy and leaped not once but twice! My boys stand up for themselves and protect each other at all times, you know that."

(felt froggy???...I don't get it.)

"That's what I'm saying Lisa you condone that type of behavior. You know,I wouldn't have been mad had you let one of your boys fight my son one on one. But you stood right there and let them jump my son."



"Just like you standing here defending your son, I'm always gone(going to) defend mine. I stopped them from hospitalizing the boy, but he got what he was asking for."



"I am going to walk away from you because you are starting to make my blood boil."



"Come on Cheryl, we used to be able to talk about any (anything) and everything and now we can't get pass (beyond) a simple fight amongst children?"



"No, what we can't get pass(passed) is the fact that it was wrong and you refuse to acknowledge that!"

(I believe I would delete the explanation point and make it a period)

"Okay Cheryl what do you want me to do (comma here I believe) apologize? Reprimand my boys? What exactly is it that you want from me?"



"Lisa, it's too late for all of that and it wouldn't be sincere. We can't go back in time and to be honest I really wouldn't want to. You wasn't (weren’t) that great of a friend to begin with, so I'm gone (going) to continue to live my life without you. Have a nice day."



"Well I guess there's nothing more to say. I will leave you be, you will come to your senses one day, and when you do you know how to find me."

(A lot … if not all of your dialogue does sound natural … that’s a good thing in your favor. Add some tags … this will help the reader focused on who’s doing the talking. I got lost a couple of times. And most important … add some narration into your story. Give the reader a reason to want to read to the end. I hope that at least a part of what I have suggested will be helpful when you edit and begin your next story.

You have a ‘good feel’ for what an argument might be like between two mothers that are defending their children’s actions. Exploit that and I think you could be on to something here.)

Coffeebean
8
8
Review of I See You  
Review by Coffeebean
In affiliation with The Storytellers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Angus

I’ve read your story, from the first paragraph to the last line.

Excellent flow, Angus.*Thumbsup*

I think you followed the prompt to the letter. A well deserved win I might add.

This is a well-written story, however; I do have a few suggestions I would like to pass on to you. As always … ignore them or set them aside for future reference.

Kathi knew exactly what Beth was going to say to her even before she went into work on Monday morning. And sure enough, Beth was right there to greet her as she walked in (through) the door.

“What the heck happened to you?” Beth asked as she helped her boss take off her coat. “You look like you didn’t get a wink of sleep all weekend.”

Kathi walked over to the coffee pot and poured herself a cup. She knew she didn’t need to explain, but if she didn’t, Beth would likely start thinking of her own answers.

As she sat down at her desk, she looked at her secretary (Beth).

“Actually, I didn’t.” She glanced at the morning invoices, then returned her attention back to (her secretary)Beth. “Tell me something, Beth. Did you ever have a recurring dream?”

Beth sat down in a chair with a puzzled expression. “No, not that I remember. Why?”

“Well, the reason I look like hell is because of this dream I had Friday night.” She took a sip of her coffee. “Well, (It) it was more of (like) a nightmare. Somebody keeps telling me to look in the mirror.”

“Somebody?” Beth asked.

“Yeah. Somebody or ‘something’.(something) I’m in my bathroom, sitting on the toilet, and I keep hearing this raspy voice saying(comma here … maybe) ‘Look in the mirror. Look in the mirror.’ Over and over. I look around, but there’s nobody there.” She (Kathi) rubbed her (tired) eyes. “Friday,

(I suggest starting a new paragraph here. “Friday, Saturday and last night. It kept waking me up. …. Reads a little awkward to me.)

(I suggest ‘something’ like this or similar in your own words: The same dream kept waking me up on Satrurday night and again last night.



Saturday and last night. It kept waking me up. That’s the reason I look the way I do. I haven’t been sleeping, and I’m literally scared to death to look in a mirror to even put (on)my makeup on. Not to mention not being able to sleep.”

Beth took a drink of her own coffee. She’d never seen her boss like this, and she wasn’t sure what to say. “So…what do you think you’ll see if you do look in the mirror?”

(Darn good dialogue in this part of story, Angus.)*Thumbsup*

“That’s just it, Beth. I don’t know what I’ll see. It’s like that voice is taunting me. Or warning me.” She shook her head. “I don’t know what it means.”

“That is strange, Kathi. But if it’s just a dream…I mean, what are you going to do? Never look in your mirror again?”

Kathi shrugged her shoulders, but she knew that wasn’t the right answer. “No, of course not.” But that (That) was the only answer she could give.

“You know what, boss? You need to take the day off? (Would this be a question or a statement?) Or a few days. You haven’t given yourself any time off since I (I have or I’ve) worked here, other than weekends, and that's been ten years. Go buy yourself something, or go to the park, or... I don’t know. But if you ask me, you need a vacation. You’re killing yourself. I can take care of the clients for a few days.”

Kathi glanced at the invoices again. The business was all caught up, and she knew Beth was being sincere.

“Alright,” she said. “Maybe you’re right. I guess I have been working too hard. But are you sure you can take care of this place by yourself?”

“You know I can, Kathi.” She stood up and handed her coat to her. “Now you go get some rest.”

(Suggest this: “You know I can.” Beth stood up and handed Kathi her coat. “Now you go home and get some rest.”)

# # #


Twenty minutes later Kathi was back on the highway heading home. She felt a little better about giving herself some time off, but she doubted if that was going to solve her problem. What? she asked herself. What will I see if I look in that mirror? She knew the voice was speaking about her bathroom mirror, because she’d already chanced peeking into the rear-view mirrors of her car a few times without seeing whatever she was supposed to see. Or hopefully, not see.

(Suggestion: You might consider deleting the reference to the rear-view mirror. It interrupts things. I could be wrong, but that’s how I see it.)


Look in the mirror. Look in the mirror. She could still hear that voice. It was like it was anchored in her mind.

(Suggestion: She could still hear the voice that was anchored in her mind.)


Look in the mirror.

Kathi suddenly realized how childish she was being. Beth was completely right. It was only a dream, and she couldn’t very well go on avoiding (avoid) her bathroom mirror for the rest of her life without selling her house. She made up her mind right there on the road that the first thing she’d do when she got home was go straight into the bathroom and confront this stupid fear, dream or no dream, voice or no voice.

(Reads okay, but I do question this: …right there on the road…. A little awkward reading)


# # #


Since her divorce, Kathi was used to walking into an empty home, by herself, but today it seemed a little more empty (emptier) than normal. Clouds had moved in, and she hadn’t bothered to open the drapes before leaving for work, this morning, giving the front room a rather dark atmosphere. She immediately flipped on her (the) lights as she stepped in the door.

Without thinking about it, she called out, “Hello?” and then realized how foolish she was still being. But the sound of her voice still gave her some comfort when nobody answered. She set her purse down on the counter and went to the bathroom.

The mirror was mounted on the wall over the sink to the (her) right as she stepped in, and it reflected the small window and her shower stall at the other end. All appeared empty from this angle.

But what will I see when I look directly into it? she wondered.

“Enough!” she blurted out. “This is crazy.” She walked over to the mirror, but kept her eyes on her feet. Taking a deep breath, she raised her eyes to the mirror.

And there was her tormentor:

A laughing, 108 year old reflection of herself, staring back into the eyes of a 40 year old screaming Kathi.

That's all I got this time, Angus.

Coffeebean
9
9
Review of TL;DR  
Review by Coffeebean
In affiliation with The Storytellers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello, Asabiya

I couldn’t resist the urge. I had to look up your handle and find out for myself if it had meaning and if it did … what does it mean. I love learning new things and new words every day. Here’s what I found:

A useful word: asabiya

Asabiya is the capacity of a social group for concerted collective action. Asabiya is a dynamic quantity; it can increase or decrease with time. It is sometimes translated as esprit de corps or as “social cohesion”, but it is more than that, it is also about getting things done.

Usually, before I review anyone’s work I like to read something about the author. I was a little disappointed that you haven’t filled in the blanks with a biography.

Fortunately, you do have a verily lengthy bio written. We have many things in common. I also grew up in a small rural American town (village). I also enlisted (Army) a month after HS graduation. After 8 years and one tour in Vietnam, I moved on to other things. Among my many hobbies is reading world history and American history. So … you see … we have a lot in common.

Albeit, writing and reviewing poetry is not my thing … I’ll give it try.*Wink*

I get your message you are conveying in this work … TL;DR

After reading what you’ve written … I felt as if it was something I could have written if I was being honest with myself.

This is where we have come. Yep, we’re here now. Now, I’m left wondering … “What’s next?”

Billions of minds searching, reaching out in a digital stream unlike any era.

It boggles my mind sometimes when I think: I have become one of those billions … yet I still let a computer fluster me and sadly … I don’t always understand my grand children’s text messages. Will they stop sending texts if I am too-long and not brief? Or will I end up talking to myself?

Rivers of words flowing in air,

I suppose … if I want to be a part of the words flowing in air … I must learn to be brief. Sometimes, you can teach an old dog tricks.*Bigsmile*

Hopefully, I will do everything correctly this time and once I send this review … I won’t be talking to myself.

Although I didn’t pass anything on to you worthwhile, I hope you realize … I get it*Bigsmile*

Coffeebean

TL;DR.

Too long.

Too-long;didn't-read.

This is where we have come.

The information age, long awaited.

A time of communication across the globe,

into space, the universe and beyond.

Billions of minds searching, reaching out

in a digital stream unlike any era.

Rivers of words flowing in air,

touching, feeling, and then

I realize in a blink

you must be brief

or else you are

only talking

to your

SE;LF.

10
10
Review of Ode to Coffee ...  
Review by Coffeebean
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
A poem must really hit me before I call it good. This one hit me. Thanks! BTW, I am a coffee drinking, afterall, isn't it one of the main food groups. I am going to make a copy of this and let my wife read it. She drinks coffee also. Loved it!

coffebean
11
11
Review by Coffeebean
Rated: E | (4.0)
First, I enjoyed your story. As I was reading, the words took me back to the small town I was raised in and the way it once was. Some of your paragraphs might have been structured differently...maybe not so wordy and still gotten the message across.

Albiet 911 is an important issue and will be for many years into the future, I believe I would have left that out of the story. It just didn't fit in for me. Maybe expand the thought..Soon, new buildings. That paragraph was the start of a great ending. Hope for the people of a small community and so forth.

Bottom line... your story entertained me. Brought back memeories. Thanks.

Robert
12
12
Review of To Shenandoah  
Review by Coffeebean
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
I really liked this short story. If I may I will add the one thing that let me down some. Would liked to seen some interaction between the Lt. and the General's wife from the time of the encounter to her death. Still...a darn good story. I was entertained and it kept my interest to the end.
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