Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Here's my response to Trifecta's Week Sixteen Challenge, in which I brutally abuse the poor, innocent comma:

Wretched is the state of love sometimes, though we cling to it violently anyway, for years. She needs you, but she can only understand your own need, your own love, when you sacrifice yourself completely. You do not love, she thinks, unless you give. You do not love enough, she thinks, unless you give everything. How can this not, despite your best intentions, your fondest wishes, your own naïve delusions, encourage her to slowly fall apart, to follow a path of illnesses and injuries, real and imagined, which require you to prove, again and again, your commitment, your love, your willingness to subsume yourself into her?

This is not, no matter what you thought when you ran away together so many years ago, laughing, giddy with the adventure of escape, this is not the love that the poets sang through the centuries. No matter what you went through before, you did not know then, but you have since learned, what desperate human need looks like.


Jester Queen said...

Codependency at its worst. Your description is perfect.

Weissdorn said...

I don't mind in the least your wooing of the comma in your poignent piece of imprisoning love, which engulfs one to the point of self-identity loss. Au contraire! It seems to add to the desperate emotional tone of this.
The only thing I recomment is not to separate "How can it not" from the word "encourage her"; change the split infinite from "to slowly fall apart" to "to fall apart slowly"; eliminate the double use of "this is not" in the same sentence; and cross your fingers the judges didn't notice you used "wretched" as an adverb instead of an adjective (because it's an enticing use of the word "wretched" - I like it).

I, Rodius said...

Thanks for the feedback. I disagree that "wretched" is an adverb in this context. The sentence is essentially "the state is wretched." Since "state" is a noun, wretched is an adjective.

Fair enough on the split infinitive.

I wrote the "this is not" sentence first without the repetition, but I thought it was confusing. Because the idea is to fill each sentence with modifying phrases,so many words come between "this is not" and "the love" that I changed it to make the sentence easier to read.

Nicole said...

It's kind if cloyingly depressing, and I mean that as a compliment. It's the kind of "not love" that, after reading about it, I want to shake it off, I don't want it sticking to me. Infecting my relationships. Good work here.

I, Rodius said...


Trifecta said...

It's great having you back regularly, I, Rodius. This is a great little vignette and so what if the comma has been brutally abused (for the record, I don't think it has at all). The piece is packed with emotion and is really well written. Hopefully see you at the weekend.

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