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*One of the most sought after reviewers at Writing.Com.* Seriously? *Laugh* There was a time my honesty could be brutal. Residing here 14 years, as a sensitive writer myself, I'm able to temper observations that neither flatter or off-put. I like to see the good, observe how each writing projects. If I review, it's mainly because I see the value. I want to strike up friendships and partnerships, though it can be quite isolating here for a non-conformist, who has bent part of the way, but not fully met with reciprocating compromise. This can temporarily cause me to bend back. *Smirk*
 
So if you want to see how I review, my feedback is public. Don't be afraid to tap in and see for yourself. *Smile* UPDATE: IF YOU'RE AN UPGRADED MEMBER, you don't have to gift me points for reviews. Send me that one free merit badge you're allotted monthly and I'll review up to 4 mid-length poems, or one short story up to 5k words.
I'm good at...
Sleeping. Retired now. I encourage writers with my reviews. I look for strengths and give direction on how to make something better. I am willing to continue to correspond with the writer if there is more I can offer. I look at what drives a reader. I think with my experience, I can see where your art derives from and is taking you. Sometimes, before the writer knows.
Favorite Genres
nature, love, psychological, drama, human interest, history, science, conspiracy, dystopian, fatalistic, tasteful
Least Favorite Genres
Horror, fan fiction, some fantasy and sci-fi, or anything Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones-ish.
Favorite Item Types
poetry, short story, essay
Public Reviews
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Review of Dusk  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello!

I have to say, Wow, so much imagery and great depictions in this raw poem with great potential. I was casually reading before the lyrical nature of this poem quickly appeared and helped me visualize what was going on with this presentation.

I would, if I were with you in person, go over this poem line by line. I see places to revise, restructure a bit, and help focus and theme while knowing fully what the author has intended. I feel I'm a bit of a bystander just letting this wash over me and seeing clearly the images you portray. I'm also capture by some unique expressions. So, I will attempt to highlight good stuff and point out areas that I see that could use improvement.

The trees arms and describing 'splintered fingers' was raw but beautifully started to set up this, to me, melancholy visualization being relayed from poet to reader. While you could restructure the phrasing a bit, I'm fully realizing at this point.

This line, 'a jiggardly fro/
with its rick rack veins...'


Awkward yes, but the lyrical, sing-songy feel I stumbled upon didn't rely on comprehending the full meaning of the words but the unique way a jazz player throws his fingers down at the keys of a piano. I wanted more of that. 'jiggardly' alone leaves me wondering, while rick rack (probably hyphenated) seems colloquial, and I needed more of that type of that language in the poem. Or, not at all, but captured with similar phrasing in a separate poem where you could be describing something even more animate.

Whoa-ho! "...seen through a glass square eye..." I've never considered looking through a window with this in mind. We forget that it's framed, that the glass is all that allows us to visualize with the parts cut out. A cropped image, if you will. This is an expression you can hang your hat on, try to compare when you write. It's impossible to fill a poem chock full of expressions as worthy of this. Just know it is part of the framework, the diving rod for all imagery when you come up with something like this. Like that clever jazz player, play off of it. It's your touchstone. Have I gone on long enough?

Okay, the not so good stuff that could use some help...

I will go line by line, but quickly. Let's start out verse by verse....

The dusk grey sky is on the move

*Bullet* I like 'dusk grey' but I prefer it hyphenated to show how the words work together.

-this dusty yellow night

*Bullet* I think this is vague. Is it the horizon? Why is it dusty? questions I have that I can only fill with is it hazy, smoggy, dirt rising up from a road? Needed a little more to go on.

the clouds, are departing
quickly.


*Bullet* Unusual separating that into two lines, which I assume was for emphasis. You can do better than 'departing' using clever descriptions. In fact, we using common names early on with scene setting. What do these clouds like similar to how you're going to describe the tree, for example.

Trees of arms stretched. Splintered
fingers reaching, unable
to make a difference
clouds pass every day


*Bullet* 'Trees of arms' was awkward. As like clouds, do trees have to be named. Let's just saw you're looking at a canvas as an abstract artist. You are painting images with your interpretive instruct. You could just say arms, if you've already set the scene and we would either immediately know they are from trees, or we'd investigate a little as we read and learn.

One mistake poets don't like to make is repeating words, as you've used clouds again and I think stretching another time. Have to flex the language muscles and find unique and creative ways to say the same thing without duplication.

This night is different.
Natures animation; a jiggardly fro
with its rick rack veins spreading
reaches, straining


*Bullet* Fun verse. But the night is different was too plain. I think you have to reach deep down and find what it was about this experience that inspired the poet to share. And, try to avoid repeating words that are too on the nose like night. Poetic words like black, noir, ebon, etc. come to mind, but it is however you would associate this 'different' mood. Is it eerie? Like a calm before a storm? If a person were to examine what makes it different, it could be in us. It could be that something is missing?

The downside of jiggardly is, while I see it as tree tops bouncing and the tree limbs after as veins are spreading, it doesn't connect fully as a visual image as displayed. They sound great together, but don't look great together. It's an opportunity to split them up. Go back up to description of branches and add the veins part. But, have fun like the jazz man and compliment jiggardly in one verse with a comparative images of motions, as well as the rick rack veins in the other verse with something. Should you break them up, rewrite. I'm just the messenger helping you re-envision something with pretty good potential and possible hone your writing craft along the way. Not saying I'm an expert or master, but been around the block and have read a poem or two, as well as wrote, in my time.

The paper cut, black silhouettes
of trees, move in unison
-a declaration of chaotic harmony
and unrest.


*Bullet* Repeating trees. Too on the nose, like before. You're good at expressions and depictions. I like silhouettes. The paper cut to me was unclear. I like move in unison. Sometimes, with a storm whipping up, things in trees do separate but then come back to swirl in motion together. I can visualize this. Perhaps, working on your poem in a way structured by some progression. You can put these scenes in some congruent, orderly event playing out on paper/screen.

A declaration of chaotic harmony and unrest is good, because you do get to summarize at the end as the author. This gets us inside your personal essay on the whole thing.

The silent motion
seen through a glass square eye
is quiet, calm

and almost welcome...


*Bullet* I read this and had two thoughts at the outset. Must be some thick, double or triple paned glass if you can't hear what's going on outside, or headphones. *Laugh* You do repeat redundantly *Bigsmile* with silent and quiet.

Great expression smack dab in the middle. I wonder if starting that last verse with that statement about the window described could roll you into a better ending. I think readers might wonder what they missed when they see 'almost welcome'. Did I miss some of the poet's emotional indicators and reactions to this scripted storm? If you want that, weave in words that could relate to feelings you want to express.

Not sure you need to end on three periods. Maybe, you weren't sure at that point if you were done?

Anyhow, a pleasure to read, consume and comment. Much to consider and inspiring to a reader to put this all together.

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer
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Review of Pick Me  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear willow ,

This was very lovely to read. This piece is so relatable with images of being in this scene that I can imagine. Some of the words and expressions used punctuate moments throughout the poem that connect senses with scene.

If I could run through the poem briefly:

They wave and they dance
on a gentle breeze.


This was a nice open. This use of movement already going off title and description line prepares me for what is a poetic moment in nature and waiting to full focus on what is about to be described, so I may use my own eyes to see.

Delightful and bright
so eager to please.
The sight, the scent,
my eyes, my nose,
the touch of soft yellow
against my clothes.


There's a lyrical quality here being added with words like 'bright' and 'soft yellow' as imagery and sensory type descriptions. If I could suggest anything to improve this experience is try not to explain so much, do this interpretive dance more by what you feel and we'll pick up on the imagery through those word choices. For instance, 'the sight, the scent' is a little too on the nose. It's alliteration and sing-songy feel are important...but, you could leave this out entirely, as 'my eyes, my nose' says the same thing, leaving you room to explore more and add more from this harmonious scene.

I waltz very slowly
absorbing the sun,


Maybe, 'very slowly' doesn't match the intensity and feel of everything else. I imagine the waltz is inspired by a feeling, obviously it can be assumed a spring day is the inspiration amid flowers and a warm sun. Describe the waltz in relation to how you commune and respond to nature...like how some deft dancers are described...I'm coming up short here, but floating, nimble or twirling, spinning, or with gaiety. Sorry, just trying to suggest something stronger. Maybe, something that matches the two lines below:

my barefoot and coolness
of meadow grass are one.


And, now I'm getting something akin to Julie Andrews about to sing 'the hills are alive...'

I bend with the wind
slide down the green stem
plucking the prized flower
and smiling within.


This in itself is the interpretive dance, and what you are building to. Such a great visual right down to smoothly picking that bloom. I can feel in my mind my own hand as a child sliding down the hollow stem of a dandelion or stiff stem of a daisy.

A handful of sunshine
buds blossoming still
Opening my heart
with your sweet spirit fill.


Two thoughts. First, what a great go to: 'handful of sunshine' but soon to become cliché. You could stretch for a greater expression, if you desire. It works perfectly, though. Second, is that last line. I like it. I would like it more if you put more emphasis on 'fill'. If you broke off that line and put that last word at the bottom, I see that working. If just a comma, or some other space maker, it would do. That's kind of like your ending note. I think you want to hold it after pulling off this symphony.

Pleasure to read, consume and comment. Thank you for sharing,

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer


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228
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is a sweet little poem celebrating and immortalizing love, making it permanent because it is written down.

I especially enjoyed the expression, 'the blueprint of you.' Seems someone is about to patent the other here.

About the regarded eternal, and making grand gestures like these is what seems eternal but is delusional, but acceptable to lovers and poets. It's not because it's transcribed, it's that process of setting words into motion shared. That's where it feels like forever. It's about freezing time, making it stop to linger over love. And, each time the page is retrieved, read, it slows to a standstill again.

It reminds we should be in constant reflection about what we got. The more we do this, the more transcendent.

Good job,

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer


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In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (3.5)
I found your free verse poem on the reviewing pages and thought I'd peruse and offer feedback.

This reminds me of a poem written to share with a love with its glowing revelations of fated bliss. I saw some poetic devices at work to make the words symbolic, comparative to love. What it lacked wasi a cohesive theme and supporting metaphors.

You described love like water, but it is not threaded throughout poem. Things should tie together, unless there is a progression of elements used as theme, since you make use of fire, too, by way of spark.

Poem does not break new ground for expressions, sticking with the tried and true. I might suggest this works better as prose, a monologue. It's empassionated discourse celebrates love.

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer.



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Review of Sensory Overload  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Tiffers ,

You examine and show conditions that could inflict frustration for an anxiety sufferer in your poem in a way I can understand. You set up shared social environs where constant noises disrupt.

In someways I can get the point of what you express, but maybe it's too general in terms like voices, clangs, bumps. I'd like to see a scene or scenes described. There are shared social experiences waiting to unfold. The clostrophobia of a subway, mall, restaurant, grocery store. Clinics, waiting rooms, family gatherings, etc. bring all kinds of people into mix.

You could have annoying people on their phones, rambunctious kids, and traffic. I think you say a lot and this poem suffices. I think you could really bring it home with a day in the life from scene to seen dealing with the most annoying things. You do well to show how it affects the narrator physically and emotionally.

This is a good poem and a great vehicle for sharing and describing these experiences and how they impact a sufferer. Great end with forcing a smile. That says a lot about social conformity.

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer


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In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear Spiritual Dawning

I really enjoyed what's at work here in your poem that comprises such clear and refreshing imagery. I found parts of this poem with such a earthen quality that a reader like me would yearn satisfying completion of this effort you've embarked.

She was standing there in front of me, slightly out of breath.

Great first visual, and it leaves a reader wondering 'out of breath' from what, running? No, a moment that takes your breath away. So, let's have at it...

I looked into her mystic eyes and saw what I knew best.

This was subpar compared with the start. I would describe what's mystic about those eyes, color or the way they opened upon the narrator... And cliché to say 'what I knew best.' I can't offer solutions for that, can only say you are capable of better from what I've read.

Our love was so intense, she had to wipe her tears.

I'm just realizing we're in the past tense, and that's okay because he is fondly recalling a moment. Sort of, making it legend. And in doing so, set up expectations more to regale us. 'Our love so intense' could use more describing in that moment that caused her to wipe tears away. What was it? That's what I'm yearning to know as I read on.

{I|Her clover, lavender scented dress buried all her fears.

This is where it gets good. This is the title line and the center of this poem's universe and all actions, words should spin around this beauty he is marveling with tears in her eyes for a moment being described. I would hyphenate 'lavender-scented' myself. unfortunate that 'buried all her fears' would play off of that. When does the narrator get to know what she's feeling. Omniscient? I assumed the narrator was him. To me, that would make it more romantic a telling, to the bar full of patrons or to the grandkids about the day they married. I would just find something stronger than 'buried' here.

In her dress of long pleated cloth, she shone just like the hills.

Now here I see dress repeated and there's an opportunity to continue on with it's description, so beautifully and simply evoked as 'shone just like the hills.'

With flowers in her long dark hair and looks that were to kill.

Type of flowers to evoke imagery that satisfies this scene helps. A comma could be added between long and dark. Strike cliché 'looks that were to kill'. I know rhyming has it's constraints but rhyming dictionaries can be found online for 'hills' to get that special way of describing her rather than telling the way this. This, for a poet, is an opportunity to stretch those creative word shaping muscles and put words together than draw on all fives senses and spark visions and feelings of our own that compare with this moment unfolding.

That long and flowery coloured dress, hangs around her waist.

we're back to the referenced dress. It is the focal point. I would caution you about getting to the point and keeping all the references together to keep a reader from going back and forth. You definitely want progression to the end, building this scene. The line does describe well, though I would cut most and replacing parts of previous description that were weak. You have words that gloss a bit or repeat like flowers/flowery. Just give us types of flowers that adorn, colors and all is forgiven by the reader enjoying.

Her beauty is strong and loving, heaven is what I taste.

So yes, the narrator is the observer. He should only get a sense of what she's feeling. Maybe, by describing what the narrator looks like can be reflected in how she's seeing things that can imply or infer what she is feeling. This line above is very ordinary and tells rather than shows. How is she strong? Loving?

In the forest we said our vows, keeping our words so true.{/I|

Yes, we have vows. But many better verbs than 'said'. Why not, "In the forest our vows echoed, words so true reaching the blue..." or whatever. You are closing this out strong now.

I placed the ring upon her finger, making her feel brand new.

Sealed it. But, how is she brand new? Cliché phrase. We want something the narrator visualizes that sends us as readers to comparable bliss. I could try to suggest better lines. If you've experienced this, if you've felt it somehow, grab on to those sensory images attached to words and cultivate them here for a reader to appreciate.

This poem is a great construct with some strong images that need companion words to bring more brilliance to your rough gem. If you can imagine a scene and the woman and that dress vividly, you can collect all the words and unique expressions to fully bring this to life.

It was a pleasure,

Brian
Circumpolar *Star*


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Review of Ode to Surgery  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A very short ode to surgery. I had a few thoughts on this that might help improve your offering.

I had to consider the two stanzas separately, as the first four lines are about how the writer struggles and the need for surgery. The last two lines are about going under anesthetic. I thought it was too cryptic to appreciate. the one amusing part of it might be assuming this writer is jotting these thoughts down while going under...like thoughts.

But, there is so much you could explore with this as one who is a master of lying on cots, sedated, waiting for blades.

First off, what hurts? Wrist to shoulder would affect writing. More description here needed. I think of carpal tunnel, though my wrist hurts from a Fitbit because of a torn rotator cuff, which affects my left wrist at times. So, you know, maybe a few details about nerves and bones and tingling or what not.

I like the functionality of lines three and four as part of a traditional rhyming poem. Nice meter and flow and centrifugal to this effort. Then, we get to nitrous, which is a good word but cramped in this short ode next to 'places.' It was too obtuse for me. I would like to envision the man with the mask asking you questions to check your coherency like counting backwards until you fall asleep.

And then, we're asleep. Really not much of a surgery. I love all the nurses, techs, and docs coming in and out of waiting and recovery, pre and post surgery with all their busied tasks. It really is a circus, at times and then a lot of waiting.

I love the roll on the cart down the sterile, cold hallway until we arrive through that door with a bang and I'm delivered to all the dim lit steel edifices and trays full of instruments and people waiting for you with masks on their faces.

Yeah, so much to experience there. And, I'm sure you thought of all that. If you're inspired to add further, you could have a smart, funny, insightful poem that could entertain a reader.

You got some good pieces in place here with this.

Brian


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Review of Begin  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Beholden ,

Wow, I saw this and I could really see the potential lay out before me. You have a freeverse poem from a tweet me a story contest? I read and want to play with that text to truly envision what the author is intending here.

The trick is to get a reader to visualize, feel what you are describing without telling. It's a short game of charades, perhaps>

You wrote:

Pristine, untouched, white page,
new snowfall of the author’s intent,
field for footprints
of the written word.


My first inclination is to remove that comma after untouched. White page is unto itself for me. But then it gets interesting, comparing it to new fallen snow. And I wonder, do we have to call it 'author's intent?' Could is be shown differently?

Maybe:
Pristine, untouched white page,
a field for new fallen snow
the author’s footprints...


And that's where I would stop and throw away, "of the written word," because it doesn't describe how the author is going to play on that snow, right? This is truly where the fun begins. Do you stomp fluffs flying from boot? Make trails sliding feet? You could kick it, mold it, etc.

The true test is to use operatic words to imply writing. I usually get a thesaurus and this point and look through available words that could imply both writing and winter gaiety.

Good offering that gave me pause to consider where this construct could go.

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer


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234
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Alternate Genesis story, alternate big bang theory are both what I thought as I read and wondered about mythology and how the human mind works. It gave me pause to think of how one would witness creation and how it relates to our own creation and resulting devices.

There is a lot of rhetoric here that describes some wonderful insights into creation and how many gods become one god and how ruling class forms over this nothing but everything created out of void.

It really is and isn't a story all at once. There are some descriptive words, but what I get is a sense of self, of inner turmoil fighting for some kind of supremacy. This is what man struggles with, alone, inside. so in a way, this is metaphoric and perhaps an allegory for something else. It's a struggle to really understand our own existence, ultimately, is what I feel as a result.

it was a pleasure to consume,

Brian



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In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
this didn't come across as fiction or real, but very strrangely about a group of people's affection for tickling and bondage, though I don't know why.

You get deep into description and it's didn't go like I thought it would. Strangely seemed bisexual and not. I kind of felt there wasn't any point to it, but some rambling, meandering, poorly written piece that lacks a full understanding of the English language.

It was a story, nonetheless. Just not for me, I guess. Thought it would at least have a point as I continued reading.
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In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: GC | (4.0)
Dear E.D. Archer ,

Well, I thought this was a good set up for action to come. I think of the old westerns being used to create SciFi like Star Wars and the scenes written here can parallel that. You have a character developing that uses particular expressions, has a code. Is a bit of the Han Solo type but a lot meaner. A gun for hire. A vigilante sort.

As far as setting goes, that can still arrive. I wouldn't rush into everything at once, a mistake many writers do and it shuts them down. Writing forward, you will see opportunities to go back and add details to scenes like this to make story coalesce.

You've identified an anti-hero and sub characters and described a menacing forecast of things to come. I'm sure it's just plunge forward from this point.

Brian


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237
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
I like this as a hymn or something that could suffice to lead in prayer. It has the old time gospel feel, almost overly familiar with it's inescapable phrasings. It reminds that it must be hard to break ground away from the traditional, inspiring words we've grown accustomed to hearing in services.

I had one wonderment about what you mean by 'exalted lamb'. Wasn't sure if you were addressing, as it continues to describe the lord? Maybe, read aloud it might seem more obvious.

I couldn't see errors.

Brian


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In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi Elle,

I took this poll and got to thinking about stuff that could streamline, reduce work load or give you more headaches related to Quills. *Laugh*

This has to be a lot of work with wonderment how this tedious, time consuming project manages to get pulled off from year to year. I've had a lot of thoughts about the Quills since its original concept, which changed a bit. Some stuff doesn't make sense, but it is important to WDC to have something sitewide recognizing authors.

As to the poll, I think another category needs to be broached. The case for unpreferred authors. I think yellow cases get a lion share of the attention, as this is mostly a who’s who of Writing.Com pulling in popularity votes to garner nominations and awards year to year. Not anything wrong with that. It's your party.

It’s not necessarily a meaningless event, since so much goes into it. But, a category for people who are NOT new or preferred in these categories would be special to those who get little to no attention because the website does not primarily put a focus on them. And yes, I’m perennially among them.

I’ve noticed through my reviewing efforts that there are a lot of black cases in the shadows who can't get recognition in Quills. I do get nominated yearly. I think that this might be another sticking point...the nomination process. It’s unusual to wait for a nom, when a writer has a lot of shining pearls (examples of their best writing) they’d like to show off in a big, yearly event like this. I can say I have not been judged on my best works in the past. Someone might randomly run through my port, pick out a thing or two and move on.

What I propose: All Writers should be allowed to offer up what they want considered for nominations, at least. It would save everyone time if any member of WDC wants to be considered for nominations, they should provide one link to all the items they want considered for whatever categories. I know how hard it is to get people to nom each year. Might feel like the contest is not going to come off. But think about it:

Give potential participants a deadline to submit works they want considered. You can decide a vetting process. Public polls to get nominated for some categories and/or a judge’s panel for others. Just something where you can put this all in a tight window, so you’re not constantly working on it and making pleas for entries. Also, hard dates makes it easier for fans of the Quills to follow the process of whose been nominated in what categories or chosen and who moves on to the next round to the finals before winners announced. I seriously never know what stage the process is in at any time because it seems either under advertised or cannot commit to a time frame. And there's some sort of party or parties at the end. I never know when they are. Nominations should get special e-vites to know when and where to see these events. Or did I totally miss the boat every year? *Shock2*

This writing site has opportunities to pull on the purse strings of about 90% of it’s membership because they are not newbies or preferred by allowing them to offer up stuff they're proud of. Might reinvigorate this community and increase traffic and participation. Blacks create more content on this website yearly than do all the newbies and colored cases combined. Easy numbers to pluck right out of those search engines. I would hope the Quills celebrates the best in writing. I think good writing is ignored. Let people submit their best work.

Last thought: Maybe, an award in categories for new members in 2020 to put the light on emerging writers.

Took the better part of two sessions to get through all my blathering to provide you with some cohesive feedback. Hope it makes sense. Just, you know, you shouldn't have to work so hard at pulling this off. I'm sitting at home doing nothing almost every day and people with full time jobs are trying to pull off all these activities for the rest of us. Just doesn't seem fair.

Brian
hope it made sense
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Review of Birthday Party  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi Jess,

There was a story building here that didn't seem fictional and lacked dialogue and true conflict and no resolution. I think it was a real life experience that the writer was trying to capture but either gave up on the project, hit a wall or just never had a real experience to share because nothing likely transpired at the party because people aren't going to call out someone like that for their religion.

I think the true hero and villain are one character until we have resolution to determine which is which. I felt like there was some good inner dialogue and I learned about Jehovah's Witnesses a bit more than I'm already pretty aware of, having been inside those Assembly of God temples and doing the bible readings one fall before I returned to my regular life.

It seems the narrator made a choice by dividing church and office and is slowly disconnecting from his first family. It would seem doubt is creeping it by the overanalytical way of justifying one's behavior for their new moral compass. I think if this story were to carry forward, it might show we can live different lives in different places while still appreciating our religions and customs.

The narrator did not show leniency for the Mormon or the dirty joke laughing coworker, so a bit of irony there. Jehovah's tolerate others, do not judge, but try to spread their message. Though, they are capable of cutting people off from their lives and from family if non-believers approach or if someone leaves the church. This was not setting up as a good or empathetic character.

But, I really love the psychology of it all. Much is reveal, whether intended or not. It was going somewhere and should be finished. I think many lessons could still be learned along the way and to conclusion

I would definitely develop those scenes with descriptions and dialogue to get a fuller flavor. I want to know more about the main character's reason for choosing this religion.

Thanks for sharing,

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer



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Review of Stay  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.5)
I really like this poem as song lyrics with the rhyme and the repeated ending line for each verse, because it had a certain rhythm to it for the most part. I could imagine this being sung, though I would not repeat that chorus, we'll call it, so many times on the end line. It is an opportunity to put two stanzas together in some places to continue a theme, then break for the repeated line, maybe cutting it in two places.

This has the feel of a song because of the desperate desire, the passion to describe and compare true love and its associated feelings. It's profound in its yearning obsession to milk time and spend every possible moment with what is obviously true love on a pedestal. Pretty daunting for the subject, but how we feel inside as poets nonetheless.

Good job,

Brian
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Review of Treasured  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
HI Mastiff bites hard ,

You know what's fun. Reading your lines from bottom to top. You still get the same story with ending. It shows that there is a natural progression in your lines telling a story. good to read.

Social distancing during these times is producing some new experiences. Glad you could lend something in writing to the current theme of our times. Good luck with the contest entry.

Brian


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Review of TREASURED  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear Chris,

That is a beautiful looking acrostic. It's either inspired or you found a prototype, either way it's a visual gem.

Great choice covering the current pandemic. This poem could be a meme. Treasured as the acrostic theme might be a stretch for me as it relates to our current situation. I'm not treasuring this time. In fact, I'm quite bored. This is definitely history. If we were treasuring our time together, get to know one another again, that I would treasure.

Overall, enjoyed it. Some good take aways from your poem.

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer
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In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Glenn Card ,

I think the premise for this story inspires a lot of the traditional messages about the season that are slowly being lost, as true appreciation of Christmas and more is overtaken by commercialism. Here you have a story that stands somewhere in the middle, acknowledging the need for Saint Nick and acts of giving over receiving.

I appreciated the idea of long wishing to get a wish from Santa through this act of getting close enough to touch the tassel of his hat. I'm not sure I've heard of that, but something tells me it existed and is not an original concept. The idea of how this could be attained was a bit weak for the story structure, wondering if maybe a child visiting a mall Santa would try this, believe it real legend, and not the story here I read about an adult with a personal relationship with Claus that included a round of drinks. I think if the narration was directly toward children, and it might be awkwardly, it would deliver better from an adult perspective. I prefer the idea of a child who set out many years to do this and finally find an opportunity as an adult with a chance run in with Mr. Claus. Needed a better set up.

It was a nice realization that narrator came to, however, listing all the reasons to be thankful and selfless with that wish rather than daring approach the tassel of his hat. The ending was awkward because what he's quoted as saying reads as paraphrasing. Might want to fix to be one or the other. Almost got a feel of the Moore classic with that parting paragraph. Kind of worked.

Good job,

Brian
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Review of 4 Summer Hiaku  
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Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear ,

I enjoyed the four haikus you linked together in a progression of scenes from summer. I found good use of senses to help a reader connect with the scenes portrayed.

I was troubled by the double use of still in that opening line and wondered if this could be avoided. A writer sometimes makes up their mind about a sentence structure or word choice without realizing how many potential readers will get tripped up, and at the outset is not the best time to experiment with such a choice. I commend you for trying.

I especially appreciated the middle haikus from strawberries to fireflies, scenes that were a pleasure for a reader to consume. They each stand alone as worthy haikus.

That was enjoyable to read and pleased to lend comment,

Brian
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Review of Screaming Kettles  
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Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I appreciate the story you share here, inspired by a real life incident golf to you.

It was a brief story that set up well. It gave me memories of being on the railroad tracks as a kid/teen and to feel a train nearby. Your writing here doesn't necessarily go into enough detail about that experience feels.

Was it just a locomotive? No way a train could sequentially stop that quick for the driver to get out and yell at them. Though, a yardman could while the train cleared the scene. Train implies cars, but if it was just a locomotive, it explains why they didn't feel train through ground before hearing (my experience) it coming.

It reminds a little of movie/book 'Stand By Me' with the dare by the kids on train bridge. I think you could add more detail to this, lend more to that ending. It's a slice of life piece with at least some rising tension, but no true conflict/resolution.

We were learning something about the main character with the beatings when he was younger and wanting to kill himself. To me it's Kafka's gun, because you introduced it without fully using it. I like to think that there was either irony in lying on those tracks to be initiated with a group versus original yearning of suicide, or was it adrenaline to jolt one into a secured more actualized self? Not fully realized since the beatings by his father are over, or still happening? Not sure, but it would add to tension either way.

So, it left questions for me that were holes in an otherwise intense story with briefly harrowing moment. I say, expand more on this and get a fuller appreciate of scene, play it out. I think more shouting and dialogue. You could milk that tension.

This story could be part of something larger, like a novel about a boy who figures out his family and social life, coming of age story.

Brian
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Review of First Girl  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Hyperiongate ,

I stumbled upon this piece and since it's short and easy to consume, thought I would offer input. I do see opportunities for improvement in this 55 word story that would give more brevity to allow more definition in that opening line to hook a reader. Warning, I can be direct, so I apologize in advance.

The problem with something this short acting as story is the inability to give enough context right away to satisfy a reader about what is happening. So, it was easy to misunderstand what you meant by 'mess.' I thought the literal term. It was too vague and needs better description.

To give you more room for discovery of that line and compacting what happens in the next two sentences. "He stole a quick glance at the source, Julie Robinson. She always sat in the row next to him. 'quick glance' was good, telling. But, does 'always sat' need to be stated? I propose:

"He stole a quick glance at the source, one row over." Is her last name necessary? Her name at all? Now I'd remove 'as' from start of next sentence. And, is he casual, or nervous? Why is he so certain handing her a note will go well for him, since he has to continue sitting next to her in the aftermath? I further propose:
"Class broke for recess. Thomas put a note in Julie's hand that would seal the deal, reading, 'I like you, do you like me?'"

Can I just say that declaration is weak. You have the open and ending to work on. Why is there recess after first period? Suggestion for how it could have read:

The period was ending and Thomas was melting from the heat. He stole a quick glance at the source, one row over. When class broke for recess, he stood in her way. Thomas put the note in Julie Robinson's hand, hoping to seal the deal. It read, "I like you, do you like me?"

That's 53 words. Adjectives are your best bet for additional exposition. Knowing more about the characters like age or something that describes them helps put reader in that story visualizing, relating.

Though, I suspect this was written for contest, it never hurts to have fresh eyes on the process that brought this out and see if there are other avenues to explore when constructing a write that can get to the point and express better to help a story unfold. And really, 55 words? Tough for story telling fulfillment.

Just some thoughts. Just what I saw.

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer


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In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This used to be one of my favorite poetry contests back in the day. I followed a link over from another poetry contest, wondering if it was still accepting entries.

What I enjoyed about participating here when it was in its heyday was the title prompts. And looking at what still remains is still as inspiring as it was when I was writing entries.

Hopefully, we'll see this contest return and back in action, though it's going on three years it would seem. I thought these contests got kicked around from member to member to keep them running. This seems like a simple contest to have that would encourage participation on WDC.

What I also liked about it was there wasn't a bunch of rules to trip up entrants. It's unfortunate when technicalities omit people who work hard to produce content for contests and get disqualified. A contest that's fun with no hassles is better than the contest pages with easily misunderstood or missed rules to discourage.

well, here's hoping,

Brian
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In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
I enjoyed the style of this story and the way it laid out with the twist at the end. The narrator is in control until the reveal, when he isn't. There seems to be a moral and a bit of redeeming nature in this tale.

It reads so fast and moves through scenes so quick I wondered if it was on purpose. I wanted just a little more time for discovery in some parts. But it became easier to comprehend when this ended with finding out about the money problem, something no spouse wants to leave to another when they depart. I thought maybe that scene was rushed a bit. It left me wondering if he was being preyed upon or scammed. And was it the appropriate time to bring up business? Shyster! Can I say that?

Id did find a typo in all of this. "How can I every tell her?

The narrative language and the customs seem to ring true, though I wonder if they are too cliché for contemporary fiction. I only know this from seeing Jewish people portrayed, mostly through comedy. The main character is so emotional and dramatic and for effect; though he is supposedly the strong one, I can see he is falling apart.

Definitely entertaining to read and sad but redemptive, though I thought he didn't approve of his daughter's husband... so, hypocritical? Because this moves so fast, it doesn't discover how he resolves his feelings about moving in with his daughter's family. He is too quickly convinced. I expected more stubborn pride.

Definitely could have been a much longer story, in my eyes. but, worth the read.

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer


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In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
You have written an enlightening essay on divorce in modern culture and its likely purveyance in our future world. It made me think of why people started 'shacking up' instead up sharing nuptials.

This looked well researched and documented to support thesis. It was a little stiff and maybe left a few thoughts for a reader like me unanswered. For instance, is marriage the pinnacle of a relationship? Is it too romantically coveted that no one is doing the homework on how the arrangement would work? I know some churches consult and educate couples before they reach the alter with the blessing to move forward. Education is missing.

I think the pressure cooker for marriages is appearances. They seldom deal with their problems, get counseling. They hide their dirty laundry from family and friends, ignoring warning signs that their struggles to co-exist and communicate are a factor.

This article does cover much of the psychological drama, especially if there are kids involved. I think you did some good research on the subject.

I did catch a typo, third paragraph with sentence that starts, "The is due mostly to the fact..." This instead of 'the' was needed, I assume.

The marriage institution might be fading, as is the nuclear family. along with that, gender confusion is popping up. More people are transgender or bi-sexual and might overlook marriage. And those that got their way to be married might know better what they want out of a relationship? I'm not sure.

Thought provoking stuff,

Brian


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Review of Names  
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Take a lesson from the Goo Goo Dolls who went they hit it big time regretted their band name. They had continuously changed band names and never imagined that they would get discovered under that band name and have to stick with it.

K.A. is a great way to describe a writer without gender, which is valuable in the industry. Shakespeare is a nickname a jock gives to anyone who can speak in full sentences and is a bit too much pressure to live up to. Alex is nice but too generic. Fluffy, well that just gets you stuck in cutesy land forever and you don't get to branch out, grow up or get taken seriously. Shrimpy is a great friend nickname because there is an inside joke/friend thing.

But, all the names, nicknames make for great story titles and how they came about

My two cents.

Brian
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