Reviews for Anything but Dull Aches
Charactarantula chapter 1 . 2/24/2013
This is a review I owe from the WCC like, three years ago...

I noticed your 'propensity for long sentences' long before I read your a/n. Most of the time, your structure works quite well- but occasionally (for example "How can she be missing sprawling unsteady words on lined paper denoting how much she loathes herself?") there's confusion, which requires me as the reader to re-read the line a few times. [maybe just because I'm high, but apologies there] One thing that might help is better appropriation, if that's a thing. For instance, in the line: "She's learned the hard way that she can't trust strangers because they can scratch her heart..." wouldn't it make more sense to say 'you' instead of 'she?'

As in, "She's learned the hard way that you can't trust stranger, they'll scratch your heart to tatters without blinking twice."

Hard to visualize "plastic dog-tag collars," and they seem irrelevant in the long run...

"and though she knows it she doesn't even stop to try." *although

"too functional for her to function." fairly 'meh' about this- I think you can convey the idea better without reusing function; you might love the reiteration, but I'm not of the opinion that it pops.

"She wants to wait listless on hard mattresses for doctors to come in and talk to her." Dope.

A lot of poetry to your prose, which I like- particularly in your last paragraph. Stand-out moments for me included: "She hungers for piano keys and clinked bottles" /and/ "he craves lamplights and summers and shared beds dimmed by liquor - both times"

Personally, I think you convey the narrator's depression quite well, but it's not particularly special or engaging to me, specifically. There is a lot of allusion to the past, the importance of the past to the narrator, and you hint towards what these relationships were or what they meant- I'd guess it's more-than-slightly personal, but what do I know?

Another thing that stands out to me is the following line: "a notion she knows is deliriously stupid because she was madmadmad at the time." For me, this contributes to your semi-blurred line between speaker/character. As far as I can tell, she's quite mad now- contemplating suicide, staying in bed into the late afternoon, etc... so it's a strange sort of juggle. She's reminiscing and longing for this 'other time' and this 'other boy' while simultaneously being so repulsively self-deprecating that I almost don't want to care about her plight.

I applaud you for avoiding what I think could have been a far, far far more cliched version of this story- because while the plot rings familiar bells to me, you approach it in a concise, poetic way that I think is mostly successful.

good work,
Jake