The thing I hear most often about my writing is, "It's too dry." I'm sure this happens to other people too. I'm working on eliciting emotion through writing, and I'd like a critique on some of my first bits.
I wake up screaming - again.
I’ve woken up screaming at least once a night since it happened. Most nights I’ll wake up three or four times, bathed in sweat.
I can still see her face fading from recognition, each time I awake she’s silently begging me to save her. I see her face twist with the sudden terror as she slips, time slowing as she starts to fall. I feel the look of betrayal, deeper than the deepest ocean, when her fingers barely brush against mine as I lunge to save her. Then...every emotion I’ve ever seen, and so many more I could never begin to describe, all meld together with abject terror as she falls. Those same feelings are ravaging me from the inside, taking my world and ripping it to shreds in the blink of an eye. Pieces of paper, torn apart by a storm.
I couldn’t tear my eyes away; I had to watch it all. A twisted sense of responsibility to her memory, or something. She fell for so long - when her body hit the ground, it was smaller than the ant crawling next to my hand.
I stayed there, on the edge of nothingness, for three whole days. I ate nothing. I drank nothing. I did. not. move. I played all of our mutual experiences over and over again in my head, promising her all the while that I’d never forget her. I knew the first time I’d told her this that I was lying: at some point my memory would fail, or we would grow apart and the memories would be rewritten. I could see in her face that she knew I was lying too. But...we both also knew that there wasn’t any other way to live. That even though we know that nothing can last, we had to act like it could, like it would. Act like we were the immortal fomori of legend, casting linguistic spells on those around us, running circles around people with less-developed minds. Capricious spirits of the wind who nevertheless held such capacity for love and understanding that it overwhelmed us on a regular basis.
I cried in her arms, cried over all the things we could never do nor fix, all the people - who by simple virtue of existence deserve unrelenting love - whom we couldn’t save. People whom we’d never meet, whom we could never help. We grieved together for the people who are too blind to know that they can’t see, who will live forever in self-created misery - people we will never be able to help. We grieved for the people they hurt out of ignorance.
You could argue that childhood abuse coupled with a unique perspective has created martyr complexes. But we didn’t do this for ourselves. We didn’t do this because we wanted others to know who we were. We didn’t do this for praise or fame.
When you realize that we are all just living collections of basic particles, that invisible air is made from the same type of particles, that all things are made up of the same stuff -
When you realize that knowledge, culture, beliefs, and more are all just things we are given -
When you realize that the only objective Truth is that we each have our own subjective experience -
When you realize that the only true knowledge is experience taken in its original context -
When you realize that the world is uncertain - that language is imprecise - that experience is ineffable -
-- you begin to realize what it means to really live - and you would never go back, even if you could.
I hope for you.
I love for you.
I miss you.
I’ll never forget you.
This is not intended to have characters, a plot, or much structure. This is specifically about creating emotion in the reader.
Did it work? Or not? (why not?)