IAT 313 – Linear Narrative Draft: “Thirst”
A friend recently told me a story about a professor that gave a lecture to his class with only a glass of water. [AL: We need more context. Who are these characters? Why do we care about them? Set up the scene.] The professor began by asking how much the glass of water weighs. A few students shouted out random numbers such as "50g, 100g, and 140g...” Then the professor held up the glass at arms length and asked his students what would happen if he held the glass up for a few minutes, and the class responded that his arm would get tired. He perused further and asked what would happen if he held it up for an hour. The class responded that his arm would most likely lose sensation and become numb. Upon asking what would happen if he held it up for a day, one student anxiously replied that he would need to go to the hospital for help. The kind professor acknowledged the response and deemed it satisfactory.
The professor then moved across the room all the while still holding up the glass of water, and began to tell his story. "Most people treat problems in their life like this, they hold on to a problem for hours, days, and even years. The weight of the issue becomes more and more difficult to handle, but all the while the problem itself stays the same." The students smiled at his simple explanation. He asked what the students thought he should do with the glass of water and they all simultaneously shouted with "PUT DOWN THE GLASS!” My friend told me that the moral of this story was to know when to let go of problems and set yourself free. [AL: Giving away the moral like this is anti-climatic.] I can’t help but think of myself in the exact situations over and over again, holding onto my glass of problems for hours or even for days feeling like I am trapped inside my glass of conflicts [AL: Show us, don't tell us about the problems. We also need more details.]
MF: if this was a much longer story, devoting this much space to the theme of the story would be ok, but in a story this short, it takes up too much of the text, revealing the overall moral etc.
The professor’s example is very interesting and also questionable for me, in the way that a glass is clear and is meant to be able to pass light through and let us see from both inside and out, but in reality I sometimes feel the opposite. I feel as if I can’t see beyond my problems and concerns, as if I am inside a dark hole that just spins round and round. [AL: Again, this is too general. You keep alluding to these "problems" but don't show us what they are.]'
Acknowledging our concerns in life and trying to find solutions is our nature. Though, being able to know when to draw the line and letting life happen as it should, takes more awareness, practice, and patience. But maybe there is more it. What if we enjoy pain to some degree? I’m not referring to physical or self-inflicted pain, but rather the idea of wanting a reminder of life and our existence. Perhaps, we think of such problems that occupy not only our mind but also affect our presence in a crowd, where at one point I am sitting down at the dinner table with my friends sharing laughs, but in the next I feel as if my soul has left my body and I am another invisible person in the room watching myself and others in the room. Is it wrong of me to separate my mind and body at times just to see if I am really there?
MF: ok, all of this is like explication AROUND a story, this is like abstract conjecturing about life or something, it's not really feeling like a narrative at all, yes you have some characters but mainly the narrator is just musing about life in general, there is no action, conflict, climax etc. It feels almost like a blog musing about life in the abstract.
Although this simple and touching story of the glass of water brings up a good point, I beg my reader to consider a new perspective. [AL: Why are you using direct address?] The professor teaches that one should put down the glass in order to relieve the pain, but he never explained why he picked up the glass in the first place. The act of picking up the glass of water represents a need that a person is trying to fulfill with the contents of the glass. It is easy enough to say that when the glass feels too heavy we should put it down; however, does that mean that the need has been fulfilled? What if the reason we have not put it down is because we have not quenched our thirst yet? I would like to offer an explanation for that part: [AL: This is very pedantic.] people cannot relieve their pain by putting down the glass because they have not been able to get what they want from the glass or have not yet found a substitute for what they seek from it.
MF: too much telling and abstracting, very little showing of a story.
One of the hardest things in life is to let go of something when you have not satisfied your need to the fullest. You are left desiring more of something you cannot obtain and then as a result you are unintentionally making yourself miserable. Living a good life is not about learning to walk away from your problems; it is about perusing your desires and understanding which pains are necessary in achieving that goal.
[AL: This is less of a narrative and more of a reflective writing or journal peice. You have not incorporated any of the elements of good storytelling that were discussed in class and in the readings. There is no narrative arc. The characters are 2 dimensional, and all the action is described in past tense and nothing is shown through action. You don't offer the reader any reasons to care about the characters or what happens to them because everything is so general. I would suggest for your next version (if you choose to contunue with this draft) converting the language to present tense and writing it as if it is happening now. Also, give details about the character's life. What is happening to him that this parable that his friend tells him affects him so much? You might also want to think about the narrator and why you chose a first person perspective. ]