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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: The Critic
By Yvette Roelofse
09/17/08


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I gave you my words once. They breathed my breath and saw my sights; their heartbeat throbbed rhythmically with mine: they were alive. With each page you read, they exhaled; with each page you turned, they breathed in again, waiting to share their life with you. They wanted you to know them, to feel their trembling pulse; but you…you did not want their breath, their fragile hold on life: you wanted them to bleed.

This is the passion of your life: this carefully controlled cutting; this surgery that maims and wounds, and never heals. You tell yourself, and me, that you are cutting out the dead flesh of the literary body; that you are leeching out the poison that infects the literary mind. Some pens, you say, should never have been inked; some words should never have been penned; some books should never have been made to breath. And you…you are the demi-god who chooses who should live and who should die, and who should just eternally bleed. The incision must be deep.

You are the warrior, you say, of the ones whose words are worthy. You cut a swath through the mediocre and the weak, letting them fall in bloody shreds along the way, clearing an uncorrupted path for the knights whose words you worship as your own. Your pen is mightier than any sword, and twice as deadly. You wield it effortlessly, slicing through the flesh and bone of those who offer you their words -- words still raw from being pulled from their most tender parts. It is a rite of passage, you say: a ritualistic rending of the strong from the weak; a test of value and of valor. The gauntlet must be run.

So beaten and bloody, scourged for all to see, they throw themselves as patient pilgrims at your feet. Penitent and supplicant, they pour their prose like prayers before you; prostitute their poetry for the praises that you promise, but have no power to give. For you are a god unto yourself: promising immortality, practicing immolation; burning the incense of their words on the altar to yourself; throwing to the ravens their shredded remains. You feed off their fragility, the pureness of their prose, the soul of their submission. The sacrifice must be made.

And this is life, you say: this sacrifice of self to win your favour; this rending of our flesh in your vituperative reviews. You prize yourself too highly. I have seen your feet of clay: have seen the sterility of your soul, how you try to destroy what you yourself cannot create. Your power is but an illusion, an elaborate game you play with words that have no air to breathe, no soul to sing. So I will not bow, nor break, nor bleed; I will not write for your scalpel, your sword, or your sacrifice. I will not write for you at all.

Yes, I gave you my words once. You stole their breath and stilled their pulse; you severed and scorned and burnt…but your review is now forgotten, while my words live still.


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This article has been read 546 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/18/08
Wow! Powerful words--and I find myself scared to say anything else!
Beth LaBuff 09/19/08
So there is a flaw… this "one" has "feet of clay" and his "power but an illusion." Your writing is amazing and powerful, causing me to analyze my words. This is a very creative/interesting entry for the topic.
Chely Roach09/19/08
Yowzers...very intense writing. The incredibly descriptive phrasing completely captured any writer's distain of the "critic". And your words live on:)
Tim George 09/23/08
Reminds me of the literary critic in Lady in the Water. This is a fantastic story that I do not expect to win. Not because it does not deserve to but rather because of the wound in inflicts. Bold and powerful. A winner where it counts.
Yvette Roelofse09/25/08
Thanks for the comments. Just wanted to make it clear that this is not about faithwriter's folks :) It is entirely fictional.
Clyde Blakely 10/24/08
I don't know if I've ever read such powerful words on a FaithWriters challenge. Excellent. Yet, at times, I find the critic my best friend. And have been there amongst your words also.
God bless and keep writing.