Judges Comments for Assignment # 1 Alien Landscape
Land of the Long White Cloud
I love the connection between an emotional space and a physical one. Being lost, in a place and a relationship, is a neat concept. There is strong symbolism that becomes even stronger on the second reading.
The notion that finding our way might take a day on one level, but might also take years.
My feeling (a good feeling) was that this was one slice of a much larger story. You could visualize how they had found themselves where they were, and you had a sense of the effort it would take to get out.
What I like:
The key word here for me is psychogeography, which is a relatively recent term used to define the impact an environment can have on an individual, the interaction. What I love about this piece is that the world the author has created is being meaningfully and intentionally filtered through our narrator. So the sound of boots on wet ground suggests not just the nature of the terrain, but also the conflict between the two characters, who are tragically out of step. Very clever. And of course the piece is full of lovely nature writing: colossal moss-covered trees, and the salty taste of the fog-covered Tasman. Gorgeous title, by the way.
What Id like to see more of:
I hope the above-mentioned nature writing pops up again in another assignment. In fact, Id like to see it dominate a piece. Its clear that this is where the authors strongest voice appears in the story (just listen to the sound of the quotes above when you say them aloud), and I think this attention to detail is far more compelling than any didactic information or journalistic explanation of the journey.
Questions (not necessarily to answer, but to think about):
1. How much information (about characters, about a relationship) is it possible to convey through the creation of a sense of place?
2. Why do writers have such a strong inclination towards summarizing a moral for their readers, and what impact might such a summary have on a readers emotional connection to a narrative?
3. How might ending this story on your second to last paragraph (with the line: Where did we go wrong?) change the overall narrative?
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