Three Seconds (249 words)

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Tobias54

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Every circle I swim in my fish bowl, is like seeing the world for the first time. I can only remember three seconds at a time. Don't ask me how I know.

You knock on the glass and smile at me. I wave my body and a bubble shakes loose. I watch it rise, and then there you are—tapping on the glass.

I dance with joy. Shaking my fins and nodding my head until I forget why I am doing it.

I make bubbles and circles and never tire of it. Everything is continuously new to me.

Your eyes are huge as you stare at me, as if you don't know who I am. Then you shake food onto the surface of the water. By the time I reach it, I have forgotten how it got there. But that does not make me sad. Then there is a lady smiling, watching me eat, and I am happy with what makes her happy.

Suddenly I am sad. It feels unusual and I don't know why. The lady taps the glass and somehow I know she wants me to dance. But this only makes me cry. Why does she not see me crying?

A lady walks by my tank and does not even glance at me. Why does she treat me, a total stranger, with such disregard? I want to jump from my bowl and die. But then I see a bubble, and my world is new and alive.
 

Wahara

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I was really excited reading this at first, there was a stupid grin on my face, but then it didn't seem to go anywhere. I sense that the passage is attempting to scratch the surface of something more profound, but I can't see it. The only thing that you've accomplished (for me) is dropping me into the perspective of a fish, seemingly without rhyme or reason.
 
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Hedwig

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Hi Tobias54,

I think I'm becoming a fan :) I like how you are able to say so much with so few words. I did want to address what Wahara said:


it didn't seem to go anywhere. I sense that the passage is attempting to scratch the surface of something more profound, but I can't see it.

To me this felt like the story of a fish that goes from being the exciting new pet to an unnoticed, mundane part of its owner's life. It's quite sad, really.

I guess I do have to say I'm unsure why the fish would not become enthusiastic about the lady wanting him to dance for her, when he usually would be excited by this.

There is also a shift in pronouns after the fish is fed. Is the fish in a pet shop or does he have a home? You begin by calling the reader "you", but after the feeding you don't pick back up on that. True, the fish forgets that the "you" fed him, however, it seems like a shift back and forth in POV if you just drop the "you" altogether. Either the fish is limited to his own understanding of the world (ie, "the lady", "a lady"), or he has some identification with the outside world, like the fact that he can only remember 3 seconds at a time (ie "you").

I think there either needs to be more consistent pronoun use, or there needs to be a more clear delineation of the different between these people outside the tank.

I really did enjoy this!
 

Hedwig

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Hi Tobias54,

I did want to address what Wahara said:


it didn't seem to go anywhere. I sense that the passage is attempting to scratch the surface of something more profound, but I can't see it.

To me this felt like the story of a fish that goes from being the exciting new pet to an unnoticed, mundane part of its owner's life. It's quite sad, really.

I guess I do have to say I'm unsure why the fish would not become enthusiastic about the lady wanting him to dance for her, when he usually would be excited by this.

There is also a shift in pronouns after the fish is fed. Is the fish in a pet shop or does he have a home? You begin by calling the reader "you", but after the feeding you don't pick back up on that. True, the fish forgets that the "you" fed him, however, it seems like a shift back and forth in POV if you just drop the "you" altogether. Either the fish is limited to his own understanding of the world (ie, "the lady", "a lady"), or he has some identification with the outside world, like the fact that he can only remember 3 seconds at a time (ie "you").

I think there either needs to be more consistent pronoun use, or there needs to be a more clear delineation of the different between these people outside the tank.
 

Gunpowder Nash

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I identify with this fish. it is just like a writer posting a story to a board.
Sometimes your work gets enthusiastic reponses (food)
Sometimes your work gets misunderstood and over critiqued (tapping the glass to have me dance)
Sometimes your work gets no response at all (doesn't even glance / like a total stranger)
 

Elianne

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Every circle I swim in my fish bowl, is like seeing the world for the first time. I can only remember three seconds at a time. Don't ask me how I know.

You knock on the glass and smile at me. I wave or shake?my body and a bubble shakes loosens. I watch it rise, and then there you are—tapping on the glass.

I dance with joy. Shaking my fins and nodding my head until I forget why I am doing it.

I make bubbles and circles and never tire of it. Everything is continuously new to me.

Your eyes are huge as you stare at me, as if you don't know who I am. Then you shake food onto the surface of the water. By the time I reach it, I have forgotten how it got there. But that does not make me sad. Then there is a lady sudden switch to lady and not "you"?smiling, watching me eat, and I am happy with what makes her happy.

Suddenly I am sad. It feels unusual and I don't know why. The lady taps the glass and somehow I know she wants me to dance. But this only makes me cry. Why does she not see me crying? fish know what crying is, having always lived in water?

A lady is this the initial "you", the earlier "lady", or a third "lady"? Confusing! If they're all different, you could identify them perhaps by the colour of their clothing?walks by my tank and does not even glance at me. Why does she treat me, a total stranger, with such disregard? I want to jump from my bowl and diewow, that's pretty extreme!. But then I see a bubble, and my world is new and alive.

This piece made me think of Finding Nemo. Or Dory? Albeit with less suicidal thoughts :)
 
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