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A Sort Of Homecoming

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  • A Sort Of Homecoming

    I was in the mood for some experimentation the other day and tried to write a piece with lots of mythological allusions, something like James Joyce's style only not as complex.

    A Sort Of Homecoming


    'Not out!'

    'You're out!'

    'No, I'm not!'

    And it went on for the next fifteen minutes, Darkness had descended and both teams saw preferentially. The bowler saw the ball hit the concrete slab which they used as a wicket. The batsman saw the ball go past him for a wide. His teammates were equally convinced that the bowler's foot was out of the crease.

    'I'm going home. It's getting late.' the bastman announced. He picked up his bat and ball and trudged off home. The others began drifitng homewards in groups of two or three. Vinay sat on the wicket with his face cupped in his palms. Darkness awakened a quesy sense of dread inside him. He couldn't stay in the park. No, there were too many mosquitoes and Harsh had heard from the watchman that foxes came out from the woods at night. No, he had to go home. With a sigh he got up and set off from the park.

    He took the longest route he knew with street lights. He cut across the lawn to a clump of bushes and high ornamental plants. He crouched low among the plants, brandishing a gnarled, termite ridden branch in his hand. He was a hunter. He was stalking the Savannah lion. He creeped among the bushes, signalling quietly to imaginary companions. He was no ordinary hunter. He was the huntmaster. He was the best of all the tribes. But huntmasters were old. He didn't want to be old. No. He was a lone hunter trying to make his mark. Yes, that was it. He imagined a movement in the bush and hurled his spear which splintered promptly upon impact. He lapsed into a self invented 'tribal dance' to celebrate the kill. He heard something move for real and ran as fast as he could to the road where the lights blazed and everything was visible.

    He stood in front of the building, reluctant to go in. He was hungry and tired and itchy from playing in the grass. He crossed the courtyard to the corridor and peeked in. The door was open and he could see the shoe rack across the room. He could see his school shoes, now coated with dust; his white canvas shoes which were slowly turing a pale brown shade due to youthful carelessness on the playground; big black seude shoes but no sandals. He was home. She wasn't. He sighed and walked back to the courtyard. He sat on the neighbour's scooter and idly plucked a leaf from the tree beside him. He tore it slowly with relish. It was Mukund, he had kicked him at school.

    Mosquitoes were swarming over his head now and they darted again and again to strike him and then flew back away from his reach. They're Mongols, he thought. He'd read about Mongols in a book in the library.

    A man cycled past him at a furious pace, lost his balance and fell. He got up swiftly, hot with embarassment and kicked the ground and his cycle angrily. 'Fucking slippery road'.

    'Khashayarasha!' he exclaimed. He had read about Xerxes in the same book.

    He was very hungry now. He got off the scooter and walked toards the door, each step taken with utmost reluctance. On the stairs he was Perseus and he slew the Gorgon Medusa. The stick broke when he hit the column.

    With a final, heavy sigh he walked to the door. He was Theseus in the dungeon. He walked in to be greeted by that familiar strong, fruity and pungent smell and curses slurred in inebriation.
    Devils are the bagel's favourite breakfast food!

  • #2
    Interesting... though, your allusions aren't really used in any sort of context- they're more like daydreams. I'm reminded more of the Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
    Originally posted by Ryan_DuBois
    Usoki, you're the crankiest asshole we know. Not that it's a bad thing, it just means that you smell funny and are best left hidden in darkness.
    And it's embarrassing when you make any noise at all.


    • #3
      Yes, that was intentional. I tried to reflect the haphazard thought process of an average, if a tad well read, 8 year old kid. I was just stating that Joyce was an influence, I was not trying to copy his style. I think I worded it wrong. As an aside, although I quite like his way of writing, I found Ulysses to be almost unreadable. I guess I'm not in the frame of mind for heavy reading right now.
      Devils are the bagel's favourite breakfast food!


      • #4
        What most struck me about this was the way that you revisited the mindset of an imaginative child. We were all one of those once, but perhaps we don't quite recall the way that we used to see everything in our world as having at least two coexisting realities. In a way, this little excerpt served as a nice reminder.

        A couple of critiques: I'm not sure if the cricket game at the beginning served much of a purpose. I usually like how you slide sideways into your stories, from an unexpected angle. However, maybe the description of the game was a bit too extensive or just...unrelated, really. Were you trying to point out how the group dynamic pushes everything into realism and he must wait to be alone before he can imbue his world with dimension? But don't little children often play make-believe together as well?

        The ending I feel could use a bit of reworking. The images start coming in such fast succession that it almost feels like the little guy is losing his grip on reality. Also, it comes off as slightly obnoxious that each moment brings a different literary/mythological reference than the last. I'm sure that he mixes them all in his mind, where they take on a new sort of logic, but it feels a bit more like a recitation of his literacy than a believable sequence of images.

        Finally, the strength in your writing is in the way you evoke places, images, feelings, etc. You have a very impressionistic way of writing that has plenty of its own merit without the addition of any "action". I feel like you might be telling yourself that something needs to happen in order for your writing to be interesting or engaging. I have noticed this in other short pieces you have written. However, slapping down something haphazardly in the last paragraph or two is not really effective in terms of plot and, more than this, is just not necessary to somehow "validate" your writing. If you wanted to add something about an alcoholic parent to a larger piece, then of course that would be fine; however, in the context of this very short work, it has the effect of being merely jarring.

        As usual, this is extremely well written and has a lyricism that is really remarkable in your writing. You have shown us several pieces that really merit expansion into longer stories or even into CYOA's.
        Last edited by Vesnic; 11-15-2011, 07:55 PM.
        My sanity, my soul, or my life.


        • #5
          I still lapse into imagined parallel realities. I haven't grown out of it yet.

          The match was just a sort of starting point. You see, the basic idea I had while writing this was that the kid has an alcoholic parent at home and he is hesitant to go back home after the evening's play due to the abuse he will be subjected to there. So, bereft of choice, as he drifts back home he lapses into imagined realities in an attempt to get away from the harshness of the one he is in.

          I suppose I did go overboard towards the end. I hadn't meant to add so many references but I was on a roll of sorts while writing.

          Thanks for reading it finally. ;P
          Devils are the bagel's favourite breakfast food!


          • #6
            Yeah, no prob

            I'm not saying that I don't think it works to have an alcoholic parent as part of the story, but I think it would have been more effective to
            a.) Weave in a bit more about this into the body of the piece, little subtle hints here and there, relating to dread and whatnot, to counteract his vivid fantasy life.


            b.) Expand the story so it's not just like a moment of BOOM at the end, without anything further.
            Last edited by Vesnic; 11-15-2011, 07:55 PM.
            My sanity, my soul, or my life.


            • #7
              I did express his reluctance to go home at places. Were they subtle to the point of being unnoticeable?

              Nah, I like the brevity of the piece. I don't want to enlarge it.
              Devils are the bagel's favourite breakfast food!


              • #8
                I should probably reread it then. Don't get me wrong, it's an extremely good piece. You know I just like to put on my fighting horns and take a stab or two at things.
                Last edited by Vesnic; 11-15-2011, 07:55 PM.
                My sanity, my soul, or my life.


                • #9
                  Aye, I wouldn't have asked you to read it otherwise.
                  Devils are the bagel's favourite breakfast food!


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