Author Topic: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).  (Read 1289 times)

Offline sericmarr

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Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« on: February 19, 2012, 06:57:38 PM »
                  Kumbayah   

   It’s a memory, almost a mirage, of a night at college. About 200 students are sitting cross-legged on the floor of a large multi-purpose room. On the stage a very handsome young man dressed in the requisite Levi 501s and a casual, ethnic styled shirt is playing an African nose flute, a chilling, mellifluous melody that cuts to the quick. I take sips from a jug of Almaden wine. Five feet from me is a young, under age blonde. I occasionally pass the jug to her. She takes a sip, gives me a tantalizing look, and passes the jug back. The man on the stage talks about his experience in the Peace Corps in Africa. The music and the wine, which is flowing freely, meld the group of two hundred. A common purpose, a common sentiment electrifies the night. Kumbayah.

    A year later the blonde appears in my art class. I surreptitiously fall in love. She is the daughter of a computer science professor at the university back when computers were in their infancy and in a locale very close to what is now Silicon Valley. She is beautiful both in personality and intellect and very talented as an artist. She remains emotionally distant. My heart is broken.

    I leave school, my love unrequited, but visit her in Boston two years later. We eat dinner at a Greek kiosk in Faneuil Hall. The aroma of the food, the tastes of the evening, the dark of the night sky. I spontaneously want to ask her to marry but the words stay stuck in a lump in my throat. I receive a note a week later that she will not be coming to the summer camp to visit me two hundred miles away where I am working a summer job. Our friendship ends.

   She chases a romance that fails while on a trip to Europe while I return to my academic studies in California.

   Thirty years pass.

   I muster the gumption and send her a Facebook message. She responds. We catch up. She is happily married, no children but has a horse and a dog to which she is devoted. She lives in the college town where I met her. She is happy but still in therapy. She relates that her parents were divorcing while we were developing our friendship, hence the emotional distance. She tells me she enjoyed our time together. We remain Facebook “friends.”

   I think back. That night with that handsome young man, Orpheus like, mesmerizing us with his nose flute. Now, with Twitter, the internet, Facebook, ad nauseum, what happened to the spirit of those long ago days, that particularly special Zeitgeist? Kumbayah.

2/19/12  
 
   


  
« Last Edit: February 20, 2012, 07:28:03 AM by sericmarr »

Offline Royal Kumari

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2012, 10:02:22 AM »
Perhaps there will be a part II?

Dare I say her marriage doesn't work out?
If not, there must be some reason why this woman has haunted your mind for so long.
Maybe the reason is for the sake of her being a muse--
After all, Kumbayah was a pleasure to read.

All the best and then some,
RK

Offline sericmarr

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2012, 10:54:43 AM »
No. I hope she remains happily married. I had a dream two weeks ago in which I gave her a genuine hug, a good bye hug. It seems after all these years I can now understand my adolescent situation, make light of it and learn from it. Thanks for reading and commenting. Much appreciated.

seric

Offline SparkyDashforth

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2012, 11:27:49 AM »
I think the writing is a bit terse, you should have let it flow more.
I would never start a story with the line 'Its a memory" either.
Do think of a way around that.
Otherwise good potential.

best

sparks

Offline sericmarr

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 11:57:42 AM »
I was striving for a clipped tone. I'll have to rethink that. How about if reverse phrases in the first sentence, "Almost a mirage, it is a memory of..."
Thanks for reading and commenting.

Seric

Offline SparkyDashforth

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2012, 12:15:22 PM »
Hi Serric, yes I like that better.

Yes I guessed your tone was intentional. Nothing wrong with a clipped speech
but where you transition in time, then I would return to a more flowing language.

best

sparky

Offline Leach

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 03:24:04 PM »
I would expand on several things.
1. In what ways was she emotionally distant? Did you have any conversations with her?
2. How did you come to find out that she pursued a romance in Europe?
3. How did you work out getting to visit her in Boston?

Expanding on these questions might make your experience more dynamic to the reader. If you can make me like the blonde, then I can empathize with your infatuation.

PS, does he have to play a nose flute? That image kind of interrupted me.

Offline sericmarr

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2012, 01:33:05 AM »
Thanks, Leach, for your comments. I was trying to keep to a minimalist style. I'll consider your "expansions."

The nose flute was arresting both in appearance and its tonal qualities. It was so "different" that I feel it is important to keep that aspect.

Thanks again for commenting.

seric

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2012, 11:30:12 AM »
HI -- perhaps consider rephrasing the continuous present 'is doing' verb phrases to simple present 'does'? :-\

are sitting ->>> sit
is playing ->>> plays
is flowing ->>> flows
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Offline Soledad

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2012, 08:51:10 PM »
Great piece. So she's still in therapy, huh? It may be a good thing that it never worked out.   ;)    I think the dream was probably an affirmation of the closure I assume you gained from the facebook encounter.

Offline Katinka

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2012, 09:39:54 PM »
sericmarr

I like it though it spans much time. What is the thread that weaves through the story? It's not romance-a string of casual encounters with a specific person. The spirit of Kumbaya isn't strong enough to carry it.

Offline WordBird

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2012, 12:54:42 PM »
                  Kumbayah   

   It’s a memory, almost a mirage, of a night at college. About 200 students are sitting cross-legged on the floor of a large multi-purpose room. On the stage a very handsome young man dressed in the requisite Levi 501s and a casual, ethnic styled shirt is playing an African nose GROSS, I want to stop reading right here. flute, a chilling, mellifluous melody that cuts to the quick. I take sips from a jug of Almaden wine.

   She chases a romance that fails while on a trip to Europe while I return to my academic studies in California. Just get rid of this sentence. It isn't necessary and clutters.
   Thirty years pass.

   I muster the gumption and send her a Facebook message. She responds. We catch up. She is happily married, no children but has a horse and a dog to which she is devoted. She lives in the college town where I met her. She is happy but still in therapy. She relates that her parents were divorcing while we were developing our friendship, hence the emotional distance. She tells me she enjoyed our time together. We remain Facebook “friends.”

   I think back. That night with that handsome young man, Orpheus like, mesmerizing us with his nose flute Gross again. Please figure out a better way to describe.. Now, with Twitter, the internet, Facebook, ad nauseum, If your intention is to make a romance weaved with gross stuff, you've accomplished that.what happened to the spirit of those long ago days, that particularly special Zeitgeist? Kumbayah.

2/19/12  
 
 

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2012, 01:03:29 PM »
But the nose flute sets the tone and the period.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nose_flute

Here's a guy playing one -- quite beautiful, really.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOBOg4NP6qI
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Offline WordBird

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2012, 01:10:33 PM »
This could be a simple issue of "target audience." Will the targeted reader know the beauty of a nose flute without having to conduct research in the midst of reading the story.

If the answer is yes, then leave it in. If no, then take it out.

Offline Kowboy

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Re: Kumbayah (Creative nonfiction, 452 words).
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2012, 07:58:23 PM »
CNF isn't as easy as it sounds. I liked this. Take the advice given and let's see an expanded revision.

Kowboy