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Submitted on
July 17, 2011
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(Contains: ideologically sensitive material)
"I still cross myself, y'know. When I hear sirens. Or about people being hurt. Killed. Things like that." The girl raises one of her shoulders in a shrug and rests that elbow on the arm of her chair, the opposite leg crossing over to compress her in one half of the seat. "I find it weird, sometimes. Myself. It's an impulse, though, I guess.." She shrugs again, looking off to the side, toward the room's bank of windows. The view wasn't impressive, but it was distracting enough to be an excuse to avoid her therapist's gaze. Noticing this the older woman raises an eyebrow, showing a rare bit of interest in her client.

"Does this make you nervous?" Her voice fell a bit flat, but the words cut through the troubled teenager's blank stare. Without moving her head she flashes a pair of hazel eyes at the boring woman she paid too much an hour to merely sit there. The third shrug she threw out was less convincing. They both pretended not to notice.

"Does that matter? I mean, it's just.. Faith. A bunch of beliefs. Mine don't even make sense as a cohesive group to most people. Why should how they react to it make any difference to how I feel?" It did make her nervous. More than most things. It was one of those things about her she couldn't change, and some people didn't like her for it. Like saying they couldn't be friends because her eyes weren't blue. That's how she saw it. What she believed was who she was. So she didn't talk about it. This felt a safe place to broach it, though. She paid her enough for it, surely. But she waited for the response.

"It matters to you. And that makes me curious. I do care about what you have to say." After their last meeting this was true. Initially she'd observed the girl as a bit dull, quiet and easy to handle. Seeing she was wrong intrigued her, so learning more seemed worthwhile. A glance at the flimsy, nearly empty case file shows her a piece of paper with her client's first name. 'Jasmine'. If things went well it'd get thicker sometime soon. Maybe she could actually do some good by getting a bit more involved. On the other end of it the younger girl hadn't really needed any prompting to begin, but what she got shocked her bad enough to launch her headlong into it after only a very slight pause. She was the most passionate about anything as she'd been since her exit those days ago.

"It's just.. I don't do it for 'God'. Or, not the Catholic god behind it for most people. But it's not hollow. I know some people just do it out of impulse. Genuflect because they were raised to do it. Because it's an impulse like breathing. They haven't gone to church in weeks, years, decades. But they do the front because that's all it is to most people nowadays. A front that's been branded into their brains. So deep most of them don't even know." Her eyebrows were knitted and both hands were in front of her, gesturing as if pulling the words out of her mouth. She was looking in the general direction of the woman staring rapt at her, but she wasn't seeing her, and it was obvious in her eyes. It just was easier to think without having to focus on everything else. "I mean, people look at me when I say I don't follow a religion. But at least I BELIEVE in what I do. When I cross.. It's not for Catholicism, it's not for Christianity, it's not FOR anything like that. It's for faith. It's.. It's a way for me to show I have faith that something out there can lend a hand when good people truly deserve it. It's how I show faith the only way I know how. Because.. Because I have it. Maybe not the way others see it. Maybe a bit abstract and shifty. Maybe fluid and indefinite. But I do have faith. When I'd lost so many things.. I still had this faith. Just a little. But enough to pray to whatever might be able to help that I would make it through. And.." She gestures vaguely with her hands at the world in general, a semi circle with her fingertips encompassing everything in front of her.

"I'm still breathing."

A pause fills the room a bit, the silence feeling almost pregnant with thought. Quietly, Jasmine gathers her things up and heads toward the door. Moving, with a start, the therapist glances at the clock before clearing her throat. With her hand on the doorknob the other girl turns her head, one eye looking at the woman, curiosity on her face.

"You still have another twenty minutes." She looked interested, which caused the younger of the two to smile a bit. Like earlier she raises one of her shoulders.

"I know." Turning back toward the door she opens it and walks out of the room, closing it quietly behind herself, the flat soles of her Converse making next to no sound on her way out of the building.
Critique for TWR
[link]
_________________________________________________

•Was the differentiation between the two clear or was my writing muddled?

•Did any of the speech or accompanying actions seem choppy enough to disrupt the piece?

•Should the speech and actions have been more separate?

•Was anything unclear enough to take away from the writing as a whole?

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:iconpinballwitch:
pinballwitch Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012
Congrats on DLD :)

Okay, "I'm still breathing"--I know you want it to stand out and all that, but as it is, it's a bit problematic with the line breaks like they are, because in standard prose we would assume that it was now the other person speaking.

If you write like this:

She said, "Blah blah blah. And...

"I'm still breathing."


That's ok. (Notice the lack of closing " in the first paragraph)

However, since you want to include some body language, things get tricky. As it stands, "I'm still breathing" is ambiguous because usually we'd assume it was the next speaker's turn, but the context suggests that maybe that isn't the case (but it isn't clear. for all we know the psychiatrist is just trying to finish the girl's thoughts and may be getting it all wrong).

Possible ways to make things clear (I'm sure you can think of more, too):

"Blah blah blah. And..." body language blah--

"I'm still breathing," she said finally.


or

"Blah blah blah. And..." body language blah.

Then she brought her gaze into focus and stared back at the woman. "I'm still breathing."


There are definitely ways to do it without tagging the "I'm still breathing" or including anything else in that paragraph, and keep the phrase stand-alone, but you have to REALLY set it up clearly in the preceding paragraph if that's what you want to do--make it clear she is about to say something more and also make it clear that she actually gets the word in (as opposed to being interrupted). Tricky but doable.


Okay, those were my thoughts on clarity. Otherwise, fairly clear :)
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:iconjassiemaam:
JassieMaam Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ugh, yeah, I realized that with how I space things it gets muddled like that. I've done another piece with these characters and changed it so that their words each have separate fonts for when things like that happen, I just hadn't gone back to this piece and clarified it yet. I think I'll get around to it now that people are reading it again. Thank you very much for bringing that to my attention. c:
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:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012   Writer
A belated :iconcongratssignplz: on your DLD! Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I already fav'd it on 11/20.
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by =DailyLitDeviations in a news article that can be found here: [link]

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article. Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconjassiemaam:
JassieMaam Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, wow. That's awesome. Thank you so much~
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