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Old 8th Jul 2004, 2:53   #1
rick green
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Default Short Short Attempt

I wanted to enter the story competition, but haven't been able to get under the word limit yet. So I offer my meagre effort to you practitioners of Palimptology to do with as you may. If you see where some dead wood might be excised, please say so.

And with no further ado,




To The Point


“It was the championship game of the summer league I joined with Mario. We only made it to the finals because most of the other teams didn’t take it seriously. Mario & I played together on St. Anthony’s JV team the year before. We had youthful determination and some of Coach Delmer’s tactics on our side, but, unlike our opponents, we lacked raw talent. We were up against a squad of seasoned athletes with NCAA experience. They were alumni of the basketball program at Rice—not exactly coach K’s kids, but they’d reached a higher level of competition than we could aspire to. Nobody thought we’d win. Still, Mario & I agreed to rest up the night before. So I rented Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point.”

“I remember. That movie was weird.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot you were there that night. It was weird, but I dug it. Dale introduced me to Antonioni when he came back from college and assaulted me with enthusiasm for Blow Up. He watched it in Spanish class (they were reading Cortázar). ‘It shows how reality breaks down under scrutiny,’ he told me.”

“The professor speaks.”

“Ha! Yeah, but I liked Blow Up enough to rent Zabriskie Point, and that movie blew my mind.”

That movie?”

“Yeah! Remember the last scene, where the house in the mountains explodes, room by room? That really did it for me. All these mundane items, milk cartons, plastic chairs, TV sets, blown to smithereens & somehow the whole thing takes on this cosmic significance.”

“Huh?”

“I guess it all has to do with the camera, you know? It’s this point of stillness & perception amid all of that beautiful violence. It’s, like seriously metaphysical shit man!”

“Whatever!”

“It is! I was blown away, and I took that feeling with me to the game the next day. It was unreal: no one could touch me. I was like that camera: all the action on the court was in slow motion for me. I anticipated every move, scored at will, intercepted passes. Whatever those guys from Rice tried on us, I saw right through it--right into the heart of the universe, with all of its exploding milk cartons, and neutrinos, and black holes & everything.”

“Jeez.”

“Yeah, it was serious. We won the game, and in the jubilation that followed, Mario said, ‘What got into you man? You were fucking awesome out there!’
I told him, ‘It wasn’t me man. It was Antonioni—Zabriskie Point. We owe it all to ‘the Point.’’”

“Oh! So that’s why--”

“—Yeah! Mario loved that. Since then, whenever he describes something really amazing, he says it’s ‘to the Point.’ But I still don’t think he ever saw the movie.”

“I don’t think anybody’s seen the same Zabriskie Point that you did. That movie sucked if you ask me.”

“Ha! Whatever.”
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Old 8th Jul 2004, 10:29   #2
gil
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I think that's excellent. All dialogue. Nice. There's just one speech that clashes a little with the vernacular. It comes across rather literary:

Quote:
... I took that feeling with me to the game the next day. It was unreal: no one could touch me. I was like that camera: all the action on the court was in slow motion for me. I anticipated every move, scored at will, intercepted passes. Whatever those guys from Rice tried on us, I saw right through it--right into the heart of the universe, with all of its exploding milk cartons, and neutrinos, and black holes & everything.”
Though, having said that, maybe you intended him to go a bit weird at that point, but a few "like"s and "you know"s would have broken it up a little. I understand, though, that it would have put up your word count!
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Old 8th Jul 2004, 10:54   #3
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Nice - I'd end it with something a little more punchy than "Ha! Whatever.", especially as another character has already used this term, but I'm not sure what!

Should this sentence:

"It’s, like seriously metaphysical shit man!”

have an extra comma?

It’s, like, seriously metaphysical shit man!”
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Old 9th Jul 2004, 0:06   #4
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Thanks gil & knotty for your attentive comments.
I agree that there's a shift of tone in the paragraph you mention gil, but it may not be appropriate. I'll have to sleep on it. And I agree with knotty that the ending kind of fizzles. Sleeping on that too. I have to cut about 75 words to submit it to the contest, so it may change a lot in the next few days. Today I was wondering to myself if the overall concept is clear enough. I may have to tighten the focus a bit, whatever that means. Anyway, thanks for your help!
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Old 9th Jul 2004, 9:47   #5
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The concept is perfectly clear to me, although perhaps a little obscured at first by the American flavour of the language.

75 words is a lot to cut from an already short story. Post up the next draft when you're done.
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Old 9th Jul 2004, 10:55   #6
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Careful rick, Notty's a tough critic! I'm still psychologically battered by the old meanie.
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Old 9th Jul 2004, 11:57   #7
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"I'm still psychologically battered by the old meanie."

Jeez, I hope not mate! Anyway, it's for your own good... :D
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Old 9th Jul 2004, 13:18   #8
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Only joshing ... the last bit of feedback was 'robust', mind!
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Old 9th Jul 2004, 14:48   #9
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Lol - I'm always more mellow in the Summer.
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Old 13th Jul 2004, 4:49   #10
rick green
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Okay folks, I know you've been yearning for it, so here's the trim, new, 400 word version of my ill-advised story contest submission.

To The Point:


“Mario & I made it to the summer league finals because most of the other teams showed up hung-over. We played JV ball at St. Anthony’s the year before. What our summer league team lacked in talent, we made up for with youthful energy & drive. Our opposition was a squad of seasoned ballers with NCAA experience. They were from Rice, too old for serious competition, but still fit, and radiant with the aura of university athletes. Nobody thought we’d win. Even so, Mario & I agreed to rest up the night before. So I rented Antonioni’s Zabriski Point.”

“I remember. That movie was weird.”

“I forgot you were there that night. It was weird, but I dug it. Haley introduced me to Antonioni when she came back from college, assaulting me with enthusiasm for Blow Up. ‘It shows how reality breaks down under scrutiny,’ she told me.”

“The professor speaks.”

“Ha! Yeah, but I liked Blow Up enough to rent Zabriski Point, and that movie blew my mind.”

“That movie?”

“Yeah! Remember the last scene, where the house explodes? That really got to me. All these mundane items, milk cartons, plastic chairs, TV sets, blown to smithereens, & somehow the whole thing takes on this cosmic significance.”

“Huh?”

“I guess it all has to do with the camera, you know? This point of stillness & perception amid all that violence--it’s seriously metaphysical shit man!”

“Whatever!”

“That movie opened my mind. At the game the next day, I was like that camera: all the action on the court was in slow motion. I anticipated every move, scored at will, intercepted passes. Whatever those guys from Rice tried on us, I saw right through it--right into the heart of the universe, with all of its exploding milk cartons and black holes & everything.”

“Jeez.”

“It was serious. We won the game, and in the jubilation that followed, Mario said, ‘What got into you man? You were unbelievable out there!’ I told him, ‘It wasn’t me. It was Antonioni—Zabriski Point. We owe it all to ‘the Point.’’”

“Oh! So that’s why--”

“—Yeah! Mario loved that. Since then, whenever he describes something really amazing, he says it’s ‘to the point.’ But I don’t think he ever saw the movie.”

“I don’t think anybody’s seen the same Zabriski Point that you did. That movie sucked if you ask me.”
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