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The Neurotic Dancer

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  • The Neurotic Dancer

    A short story I wrote follows. I haven't shared any of my work for years so I'd be interested in hearing what people think of it, both positive and negative comments are welcome here.

    Lydia.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Foreword:

    This is a story based on common prejudices and assumptions. It is basically an extension of the metaphor “Never judge a book by its cover�. I have written both characters in the first person as they are both to be sympathised with equally.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I wish I was confident, like she is.
    She is fearless, careless and free.
    She twists and turns in perfect time, unintimidated, smiling, laughing.
    Her body is in perfect symmetry, luscious, curvy. It flows like a river to the music, everybody watches, no-one notices me.

    What am I but a piece of ass, totty, a pretty face?
    No-one ever talks to me, I have no friends, I dance alone.
    I want to talk to people, but am afraid. Besides they wouldn't like me anyway.
    My confidence is low, I came here for the music, I shouldn't let owt else get to me.


    Where does she get her energy? She's been on the floor all night, we're waiting (my friends and I) for her to tire, then we might dance.
    I'd like to see her fall from her throne as queen of the dance floor.
    I am too malicious, my jealously lowers my spirit.
    She is probably perfectly kind and perfectly nice.

    They hate me, those fucking bitches around the hexagonal table. They do nothing to disguise it. They keep staring at me, pointing, commenting,
    I bet they come here to slag people off, to release their hatred.
    I am not superior to them; they could dance just as well as I.
    They are beautiful socially confident women. What would I give to be able to approach people and talk to them without stuttering or forgetting words?


    Out of guilt and curiosity, I said "Hello" to her in the ladies, she smiled and her lips moved to say hi but no sound came out. I said I liked her dress, she muttered something else. "Are you OK?"

    Leave me alone. I feel ill. My vision is all blurred.
    Are you looking for some gossip or something?
    No. She's genuinely concerned.
    Stop being paranoid, talk to her.


    "Are you Ok?"

    "No"

    "Is it pills? drink?"

    What do you think I am, I don't use artificial stimulants, the music is enough to intoxicate me.

    "Sorry, you're ill; I'll take you home..." I bet she lives in a really nice house, far out of the way from where I live in the rough area.

    "Thanks"
    I probably wouldn't make it to the taxi office, I just have to keep calm, I'll be OK.


    As I pulled up outside her house, I saw her for the first time as a human being.
    Her eyes were closed and her face was white and not unblemished.
    When she staggered out of the car it was far from graceful.

    She had been so kind to take me home, she didn't even know me.
    She's not a bitch, my paranoia made her into one.
    She lives around the corner from me, I've seen her at the shops, she snubs me usually, but next time I will talk to her. I'll thank her. I'll try to build up a friendship.


    She thanked me as she walked up to her house. She smiled and said "See you around". I assumed she meant next rock night, but this Thursday I called in to the shop on my way back from the office and the miserable ignorant cleaner with unkempt hair greeted me warmly.
    I looked up in utter surprise.
    That's when I recognised her.

    END.

  • #2
    Very nice! I hope I can write at least ok in the future ^^
    Sweet moons!

    Comment


    • #3
      I didn't see the ending coming.

      I like how you use first person for both. You do a great job of making the voices very distinct, which adds power to the end, when they (both voices and characters) become more similar.

      Maybe more than that, I like the message. It's very simple, almost like you'd find in a child's book. (I mean that as a compliment, by the way.) Sometimes we need to be reminded of the simple lessons.

      How much of this is autobiographical? Sorry if I'm sticking my nose where it doesn't belong.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the comments, I am glad you liked my story.

        Originally posted by Doc
        How much of this is autobiographical? Sorry if I'm sticking my nose where it doesn't belong.
        When my partner read it he said he liked the bit with me in, I suppose there is quite a lot of my personality in the story...

        Comment


        • #5
          Have you read any of Jeff Vandermeer's short works? He has some stuff he calls flash fiction, which are very short stories like the one you wrote. It's a very intriguing form.

          By the way, are you going to post more of your work?

          Comment


          • #6
            I'll look up Jeff Vandermeer, I might find him an inspiration.

            I will post more work, but not today.

            Comment


            • #7
              here's mine

              Here's something I wrote a long time ago (I might just revise it right now, just to make it more current)....

              Two Sides of A Coin

              Julie Sutherland: My fiance John Gibson is six feet, two inches tall with short, well-groomed blonde hair. He likes to wear sweaters (I love it when he wears the blue cardigan that I bought him at Nordstroms!), Calvin Klein dress shirts, Levi's Dockers, and Top Siders. I love it when he wears jeans! He swims a lot to stay in shape. He is going to Harvard Law School right now. He's gonna be a D.A.! Next Saturday we are going to the Blues Traveller concert! My mother can't wait to see him. She thinks he's the best guy I ever met!

              Jenny Ulrich: My boyfriend is Marc D'Avienduch. He's five feet ten. He has long, but well groomed black hair, dark brown eyes. I don't know what kind of clothes he wears, but he dresses nice. He wears a lot of black. He has this artsy "New York" style about him even though he's from here [San Diego]. I think he puts a lot of thought into it, but he's so non-chalant about things. Always saying he simply looks better in dark clothes. He plays basketball and lifts weights to stay in shape. He goes to UCSD majoring in Bio-chem, but he's really been concentrating on his guitar lessons lately. He also likes writing songs on the piano. Tomorrow we're going to the Incubus concert. We're both big fans. My mom doesn't like him, even though he's the nicest guy I've ever dated. She says he's not my type. She openly expresses her disapproval, even when he's around. He finally got tired of her and told her to fuck off, so now things are really screwed up, but for some reason I've never been so happy in my whole life!
              \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
              Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview

              Comment


              • #8
                Etive, I liked being caught off-guard by the ending.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for sharing your thoughts Etive. Your style here reminded me in places of free-form poetry and I wonder if you also write poetry and if so would you be willing to share some of that also? Your post has attracted 80 page views at time of reply so quite an audience already (even if many are too shy to reply)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The Neurotic Dancer

                    Originally posted by Etive
                    "What do you think I am, I don't use artificial stimulants, the music is enough to intoxicate me."
                    True dat.
                    Music can be very intoxicating.
                    Likewise, music can be bad in some cases.
                    At the few experiences I had with "raves," I thought they were so artificial.
                    I went to a big one in Tijuana, Mexico that one of my friends helped sponsor. They had a bus shuttling people to a location which was some sort of business building, the underground parking lot--where most of it happened. I don't do drugs for the most part, mostly a chipper with mary jane which is infrequent. Like alcohol even less. Firstly, most electronica that people danced to (at the time, early '90s, and prob. still holds true for today) SUCKS. You know the techno-- constant synthetic kick drum at a tempo better for aerobics than expressive dance. How can this be fun? The live bands are always more interesting. Or perhaps the occasional violence that breaks out at such events. So I walked around with furrowed brow. Perhaps the "What the fuck?" look on my face is too obvious? At one point a guy comes up to me and says STTE: "What's wrong, bro? You are a good-looking guy. You should be having a great time!" I smiled (I dunno if it was a real one or not). Hey there was a guy who looked just like Patrick Swayze there, shirt off and everything, and he didn't necessarily look like he was having a good time, even though some girls-- like two that I saw giggle as he walked past-- react.
                    Why am I writing this? I dunno. Cuz it came to mind.
                    Whether or not you hate the music at raves, there are some who really get into the dancing and the music. I question how much they would be into it, if they weren't high on "X" or whatever drugs they use.

                    Me? Yeah I agree with you, L, with the belief that music itself is intoxicating, so why would you need drugs? Can drugs have the cathartic effect that music does? One year I was at a Judas Priest/ Testament concert. I strongly like both bands. I headbanged like crazy at that one. At one point the bloke beside me asked "What are you on?" Of course I said, "Nothing," and continued to bang away. The sore neck the next day, a fair trade-off. I pity the guy if he couldn't understand how drugs are not necessary.

                    Exodus is going to play here next weekend. Hmmm... it's been I while since I've banged real hard. It's a long time comin' next week!

                    THE END
                    \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
                    Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Horses for courses, Jericho. Can't speak for the music at the places you went to, but like anything it's easy enough to dismiss it if you don't get it; I'm always mystified how anyone can like Opera, less so about techno (because I like a lot of electronic music anyway). And people said and say the same thing about jazz and rock'n'roll - it's obvious that no one could LIKE that noise, they must be all drunk / on drugs. (Strangely no one says it about modern classical music, which is just as much an aquired taste).

                      There's that tale about Phil Spector on some chat show where the host had a go at the triteness of his lyrics, reading them out to show how 'bad' they were, and Spector quite rightly pointed out that he was 'missing the beat'.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes. Taste in music is subjective.
                        Some people don't like music period.
                        Now that's hard to understand!
                        I once had membership to one of the corporate
                        fitness clubs here in town. One night, they had on
                        techno, and this old-fart complained to the worker there,
                        saying, "if you don't turn this music off, I'm going to quit!"
                        The music was that aversive to him.
                        I could care less. I could block out the music if I need to.
                        I usually wear headphones anyway.

                        The drugs associated with raves to me seems
                        just as important, if not more important than
                        the music. Raves seem to be get-rich-quick kind of
                        businesses, making money illegally, using methods to
                        get around the law, using "guerilla-warfare" club tactics--
                        hitting quick, and then disappearing. Isn't that what raves are?
                        Historically at least.
                        It's not an "anarchistic" type of ethos that I can agree with
                        and think is cool. I feel the same way about tagging. Why in
                        the world would I need to express myself artistically by spray
                        painting illegible words on public property? Is there something
                        I don't get about that? I guess I would have to be truly poor
                        and oppressed to "see the light." :)

                        Getting back to Rock... sure there's the saying "Sex, Drugs, and
                        Rock N' Roll," but that's just because the adults involved
                        have been historically stupid idiots. Rock n' Roll isn't
                        restricted to adults and white people although what the
                        media portrays, says the contrary. Isn't it black people
                        who created blues and rock? Anyway, had to get that
                        off my chest. :)
                        If the show is at an arena or all ages club, entire
                        families can come if they want. I highly doubt that
                        pre-teens or teens are witnessing and being involved
                        with drug use while under the watch of adults. (Of course,
                        there are probably some rare cases.) It may be
                        an environment where they first learn what pot smells
                        like, but-- God forbid-- not where they first use it.
                        Raves and after hours parties? Are those events for
                        the whole family? (I'm not saying they should be.)
                        Does Junior take a "tab" of X for the
                        first time? That's what people do at these events
                        is it not?
                        I listen to a fair shair of electronica. The genres of
                        techno, trance, jungle, house, etc... is just not my thing.
                        (If I listened to large quantities of it, I'm sure I could pick out
                        a few tracks that I think are good, but I'm not.)
                        Using drugs especially is not my thing.

                        I don't think it's a question of me not getting it.
                        It's just not my thing. I could say that I think it's
                        straight-up asinine, but never do. I feel similarly
                        about alcohol consumption.

                        There was this girl that I worked with in radio that I
                        saw on one occasion wearing a shirt that said "Ravers Suck."
                        Her favorite band at the time was Portishead. I didn't even know
                        it at the time, but she's more like "my kind of people."
                        (I don't feel that strongly against raves to wear such a shirt,
                        but much later I did come to appreciate the music of Portishead.)

                        I question why rock n' roll musicians use drugs before
                        a performance. Just to calm the nerves?
                        For some reason, I don't think that's why John Bonham
                        like to get shit-faced. I suppose in typical 4/4 music, it doesn't
                        matter how altered your conscious is, it's simple meter. It's really
                        not that amazing that Def Leppard has a one-armed drummer.
                        Try putting him in Slayer or Don Caballero. Now that would be
                        interesting!
                        How I feel about music is usually (not exclusively) this: the more complex and difficult to play, the better and more interesting it is. I'm not a big jazz fan either though, which leads me to say: often times the weirder the music, the better. But that doesn't mean that I like Frank Zappa and Cronos Quartet either. Don Caballero and Zao are great examples of what I like. Most people don't even know who they are. It goes to show, music is a very diverse and subjective area.
                        I'll end with this: I doubt drugged out musicians would be able to perform
                        some of my favorite songs.

                        Sorry if this is offensive, if so, by all means, fire back :D
                        \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
                        Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Grey Mouser
                          Your style here reminded me in places of free-form poetry and I wonder if you also write poetry and if so would you be willing to share some of that also?
                          That's funny, I have only ever written strict-form poetry and have never been particularly happy with any of it. I try to avoid writing poetry these days.

                          Thank-you everybody for your kind, encouraging comments. I will post something else when I have something I am happy with but that doesn't happen often, until then I'm writing for the bin. :mrgreen:

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            "I question why rock n' roll musicians use drugs before a performance. Just to calm the nerves?"

                            I suppose it depends, but in one band I was in, there were two cokeheads and it was all about the rush. The rush of the drug, the rush of being on stage, the rush of the six people yelling "Shut up". One can argue if it had anything to do with the cocaine, but we sucked.

                            "It's really not that amazing that Def Leppard has a one-armed drummer."

                            He could do it; at least in the day. I saw him live before the accident and he is/was a very good drummer. Very good.

                            "How I feel about music is usually (not exclusively) this: the more complex and difficult to play, the better and more interesting it is."

                            Then you like progressive? It doesn't get any more complex or weird than King Crimson or Frank Zappa (and his progeny).

                            Music for me is the be all and end all. In the car, at home, at work (when I can shut the door). Almost any kind, although in certain genres I only like specific artists. There is plenty of music that can literally send a shiver down my spine.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You're alright Bill!

                              I like old Def Leppard a lot.
                              It has a lot of energy in an AC/DC kind of way.

                              Then they got older... "Pour some sugar on me?"

                              No thanks!!

                              I like stuff that can be considered "progressive"
                              I suppose I could like some King Crimson and Zappa
                              but I am a little younger than you, I gravitated towards
                              other stuff.
                              The "older (by 3 or 4 years) brother" music for me is Led Zep,
                              Black S., Hendrix, Floyd (to a lesser degree), Beatles, and
                              maybe missing a few...

                              Then there was the "older (up to 2 years older) brother" music of AC/DC, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and such...

                              but I found my own stuff to get into... Metallica, Testament, Exodus,
                              Slayer, etc... Darker, heavier, more evil, underground metal.

                              College radio opened me up to things I might have never discovered/ had access to by "ordinary" means (whatever that means).

                              Don Caballero might be like "a result of a mad genetic experiment, crossing King Crimson with Pat Metheney with Slayer." something like that.
                              \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
                              Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview

                              Comment

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