Clouds

1999

Review #11:
Reviewed by: Sheri Graziano
Comments:
When I first began reading this story I didn't think it would be anything special but you quickly pulled me into the scene as it developed between the two young people. I loved the play and conflict in their conversation. Really great short story!

Review #10:
Reviewed by: Stevehen J. Warren
Comments:
Reviewed on xenex.org, not through my website. I don't know why this guy reviewed one of my stories or why he picked this one, but here it is.

The Good

The author captures the idea of writing children excellently. The author unfortunately captured lobsters in the process and those, in turn, eat the children before they can relate anything remotely interesting.

The Bad

Those clouds they keep looking at are a swarm of asteroids that will crush not only their feeble dreams but also their young bodies. Their parents, so intent on escaping the impact, left them to die. This world is no longer safe for children.
"What does that cloud look like?"
"To me it looks like the avatar of death, the unquenchable thirst of a God who longs to be heard in our hearts again."
"I'm scared, Shannon."
"Of course you're scared Chris, your sin makes you afraid."
"I never told you this, but my dream was to see you in the sky, to see you in the collection of water, to understand that you were the one meant for me."
"Must you overdramatize everything, Chris? Why don't you dry your eyes, keep your chin up and be prepared to be reduced to burning particles like the rest of us?"
"You're right. I'm sorry, Shannon."
"Not as sorry as you will be if we don't make love right now." Chris never noticed the knife as it plunged into his heart, never saw the reflection of the blade as it kissed the light of the sun. He only felt a sharp stab and the sound of his heart collapsing around the blade. Above, the sky roared in approval, as the President, a fan of big budget movies, sent an array of nuclear missiles into the sky in vain hopes of deflecting the oncoming swarm. Russian automated response components, abandoned for over twenty years, sprung to life, sending their automated response towards key American cities. Chris whimpered, Shannon laughed as she clutched his head against her bosom, and the sky awoke in fire and ash.

None of this actually happens in the story, but you have to admit that's a great idea.

The Review

SwankiVY -- because internet writers don't have grown up names -- spins a tale of childhood innocence. Two children, both alike in dignity, decide to spend their day staring into the sky and relating to one another what horrific visions appear to them. Methinks these children got into their parent's LCD stash, but that's just an interpretation, and subtracts nothing from those D.A.R.E readers in the audience. Shannon, as it turns out the lesser annoying of the characters, has a dream.

"I think I want everyone to know me because I can tell good stories. I want everyone to read my stories and then think about the story, and then write me long letters about how much my story changed their lives."

This story reminds me that midgets, if given the chance, will kidnap my daughter and stare with her into the sky. Where are the parents? If anything, this story will lead to me harshly judging anyone who comes near my future daughter. Get your hands off her, you little pervert.

"Well, when they were both thinking about the same things, making up the story together, the way they saw the sky was a lot more the same than when they were thinking different thoughts. It only makes sense, don't you see?"

No, this actually makes no sense. Visualize the center of sense as Boston, Massachusetts. Now using your magic flying bicycle and a pint of vanilla ice cream, travel to where they keep the magic flying train. Now the train runs on dreams, but only good ones, so you'll want to think of something involving kittens and a ball of string, unless you want to hit the ground somewhere over Iowa. Trust me, no one would notice.

Here's the problem with this story, children do not interact this way. Hell, grownups rarely interact with more than three mumbled words before grinding on each other in a purely inappropriate way. Maybe it's just me though; maybe I'm missing the point to all of this.

"Not everyone will miss the point like you," Shannon barked. "I don't mean you are stupid but it certainly seems like I was clear enough."

You weren't clear. Where are you going with this? I have no idea what you want this story to say.

"Thank you," said Shannon, pacified. She took a bite out of her apple.

Well, that's a horribly simplistic answer to end this discussion. I can't believe you're just going to sit there, eat your apple and pretend nothing is wrong with us. You're supposed to be my wife, Shannon, remember that. Why did you suddenly change your mind?

"Because maybe I'd want to be someone else's wife, or maybe nobody's at all," she explained. "There's no reason why I should think about marrying you."

Forget it, let's just look up to the sky and look at the clouds.

"That one looks like a frog," he said, pointing.
"You're absolutely right."

Therefore, the female of the story is compromising with the stupid male. Nice job killing the women's movement, SwankiVY, way to freaking go.

Your Moment of Insanity

"We could talk about my stories," she said, brightening.
"But I don't want to talk about your stories. We already heard one story and now I don't really feel like listening to you tell another one."

It's as if the author inserted a recording machine into my mind.

Your Musical Moment Provided By Benny Profane

"Had another gray day here. The Novocain's too weak. I can feel your drill but you know I still hope you find what you seek."

Review #9:
Reviewed by: Jared
Comments:
I agree with several of the other reviewers: I think you do have considerable talent as a writer. Though you don't rate this story very highly, I think it's one of the best of your selection: it has that gem-like quality that the best short stories should have. It also has a fairly densely metaphorical structure, right down to the apple. I spend a lot of time combing the net for stories to use in my tutoring and teaching sessions, and I am glad I chanced upon your site, and this story in particular.

Review #8:
Reviewed by: lisa
Comments:
this story was so good. omg you should seriously be a professional writer that gets paid. the people talked like they were right out of a story book. keep up the good work and teach me how to write like this

Review #7:
Reviewed by: Mikey
Comments:
This was a interesting little story the setting and dialog was great The concept of two people looking at the same thing but both seeing something different was well said. Again you are so able to bring a reader into the world you create with the descriptions and wording you choose on many a story's that you've written I could think of no better way of saying what your characters say. I would give Clouds a 3 star rating

Review #6:
Reviewed by: Jonathan
Comments:
I thought that the girl used her story to tell the boy how she would like them to try interacting. His questioning was like a train, and she felt vulnerable like a baby deer.

Her bringing the subject back to her stories first sounded selfish, but she wasn't being as literal as he. When he agreed to try (what he clearly labeled a "compromise"), and he saw a frog (not something like a train), she was immediatly happy to see his frog. It seemed that he caught on.

Thank you, I found it a nice short piece, and it worked (evoked something) with me. It felt nice that I saw something that maybe you did not intend.

I wondered more about each of the characters and what made them like they were.
...also at the end my immediate urge was to see these same clouds to see if I could see a the frog too.

Review #5:
Reviewed by: Dan M.
Comments:
Here's my opinion...
Ok maybe I need to read this again but I missed the point here.
It just seemed like a piece from a script from a movie where you just get some character background on some characters.
I know there was a point to this, a metaphor, about the story telling relating to their current situation, but it seemed strange to stand on its own like that.
So overall I thought it was a starnge way just to put a point across about a metaphor.
Ok And I hate to be negative but I did'ne enjoy reading it.
It started out okay then just got fluffy , like a piece of a scene from a movie like "Tuck Everlasting" or something.
But hey, keep it up and I'll read some others.

Review #4:
Reviewed by: Melissa
Comments:
I liked this story. I found the dialog between the children to be amusing, and the female character (Shannon) 's wit to be charming and quick. What I derive from the story is not quite a "moral" , but a message. I wonder whether Shannon really believed, at the end of the story, that the cloud looked like a frog or if she was merely agreeing with Chris to suggest her favor for the subject change.

Review #3:
Reviewed by: Joe
Comments:
I enjoyed Clouds! I wad kinda disappointed that you gave it only 2 stars. I thought it's point was conveyed perfectly. Plus, it's such a cute little story! It really doesn't need anymore work to it, so I think it deserves 3 stars! Thank you for your time.

Review #2:
Reviewed by: Raul
Comments:
I loved the characters of this story: Shannon and Christopher. One of the hardest things I think there is to do in creating character is to paint a picture without the use of exposition. Bringing out elements of personality and character in dialogue, while still keeping the dialogue fresh is a challense. And I think the author did a great job with these two characters.

Truly an unjoyable story.

Review #1:
Reviewed by: The Author Herself
Comments:
"Clouds" is rambly and has no point. It is basically just a fun piece of brain candy, and amusing because of the way the characters interact with each other. They have different aims in life and different values, and yet they can see eye to eye if they really try. I think people probably miss my point in this story, not that there was much of one to begin with.

Read it:

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