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My Love, For The Stars

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I've been thinking about getting back into writing, particularly with some more space-based stuff. I decided to give an idea I've had for a while a go, and it came out as this short, short story, titled "My Love, For The Stars"

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When we were young, we'd look up at the sky together. Laying upon the grassy hills out back, we never thought about the present or the past. Hands clasped together, fingers entwined, you told me about the stars and the moon and the planets. You told me about gravity and atmospheres and vacuums.

I didn't understand a lot of it, but I loved it because you loved it.

I was eleven and you were twelve. You had a shelf full of leatherbound books and charts and notepads, and you used to take out your notepads and show me elaborate starcharts, criss-crossed with lines and arrows. You told me all about your plans, all about how you'd get to Mars one week, to Venus the next, to Mercury and Saturn and Jupiter. And then you began to tell me about Andromeda and Betelguese, and how you'd conquer the whole galaxy when you grew up. Sleeping out in your tree house with you, I could imagine that we were in a rocket ship, speeding into the night sky, exploring the universe... hand in hand.

I was sixteen, and you were seventeen. We kissed every morning before class, and you told me every day about our future. I read in the news that some company had landed a ship on Mars, and I could see the urgency on your face. You would conquer the galaxy and no one else, and I always thought that I'd be by your side.

I was eighteen, and you were nineteen. I waved goodbye as you boarded your ship. The crew was already there, and they were waiting for you, and I couldn't see you because there were tears in my eyes. I was happy, because I knew that one day I'd marry the first man to explore another solar system. You told me you'd be gone for months, and maybe years. But it was okay, because you'd write me a message every day, and when the circumstances were right and the technology permitted, you'd call me and maybe I could even see your face.

I was twenty, and you were twenty one. You wrote me a message. You told me that we couldn't be together, that there was too much distance, too much time between us. You didn't know when you'd be home, you didn't know if you'd even ever see me again. They were beginning to set up colonies where you were, and soon you'd have to go farther. You had too little time, too much to do, too much to explore.

But that's okay, because it's been a year now. Sometimes I look up at the night sky and I still think of you. I'm not sad, my darling. I always knew who your true lover was, and that your affair was with me, and not the stars.

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Yes, strangely affecting, despite its terse, journalistic, delivery.

The style won't work every time, though, I think.

the last line "that your affair was with me, and not the stars." Is this right? Seems contradictory.

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@whYNOT: I'm not sure how it came across, but the way it was written was meant to mean that speaker's lover had always loved the stars, and that his love for that was primary, his love for her secondary. I.E. He didn't abandon her to explore space and the such. Rather, his love for the stars had -always- come before her, and that she had known that.

Could you elaborate on what you said about my style?

@Rudmer: Thank you, that's what I had hoped for.

Edited by Iudicious
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@whYNOT: I'm not sure how it came across, but the way it was written was meant to mean that speaker's lover had always loved the stars, and that his love for that was primary, his love for her secondary. I.E. He didn't abandon her to explore space and the such. Rather, his love for the stars had -always- come before her, and that she had known that.

Could you elaborate on what you said about my style?

@Rudmer: Thank you, that's what I had hoped for.

..."that your affair was NOT with me, but with the stars."

- is the sense you apparently mean? (or, another way, "with the stars, not with me".)

I think this anecdotal style of writing is powerful - sometimes.

Because it's a super-short piece, it works. It comes over as a combination of straight reportage ("you did this," "I did that..") , and a sort of free verse, ("I was 18, you were 19", "I was 20, you were 21".).

That repetition of ages is what holds it together, plus, a good conclusion, that refers back to the intro.

As i said, terse, maybe minimalistic, ( it is a technique) but the effect can wear off if done too often, imo.

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WhyNot: Iudicious has it right. The primary love is the stars, the affair--the temporary diversion from the true love--is with the narrator. Quit trying to "correct" him.

okey-dokey, got it now.

But in that case it's a bit ambiguous - for idiots - which weakens the strong conclusion.

In my opinion it could be much stronger by editing it something like this:

"I'm not sad, my darling, I always knew who your true love was."

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I appreciate the feedback, particularly on my style, whYNOT. When it comes to the way I used my words though, I think that it's best left as is. I used the words correctly by their definition, and the possibility that someone might misunderstand it is no reason to dumb down my writing.

@brian0918: I'm not sure if it's bad or not that you expected the story to end that way.

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I think the reason that line could be confusing is if the fleeting aspect of "affair" does not sink in on the first reading. I don't think you should dumb it down, but it's legit to ask if another word can stress that fleeting nature more forcefully.

It is a bit nit-picky of course, but when someone posts it isn't clear how nit picky they want the feedback to get.

BTW: I posted a link to this on OO.net's Facebook page.

Edited by softwareNerd
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