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The Pilgrim
  • My submission for the New Middle Review No. 1. Here’s a draft:


    Any comments and/or criticism will be most gratefully received, and I’ll work with them for a redraft.

    If we’re doing voice recordings I was thinking of maybe doing it in first person for the recording, but I’m not sure about that for the story itself. Hmmm. Anyway, thanks for reading.

  • Reading now —

  • Awesome story, alistarr! Just finished it & am on my phone, but wanted to say my basic feeling is that you’ve got a resonant and well-executed scenario that doesn’t need the first or last sections. Start with section 2 and maybe pick & choose some background from the 1st section to add to the graf that begins, “The deliberately vague description was enough…” That’s all the reader needs, and what s/he imagines about the separation will be dramatic enough without the play-by-play of section 1.

    Hope that doesn’t sound harsh. I swing a big scalpel sometimes. But seriously, you’ve got a powerful premise in the idea of someone searching for and imaging his lost love via radio transmissions…

  • Yeah.

    I finished this yesterday and I think Mr. Peacock has the core of it right, though I don’t know if the first or last sections ought to be axed—perhaps rather re-worked to support the basic excellence of that section 2.

    The story hooked me, but I wanted to be a little closer to eye-level with the protagonist, or get inside his head a little more or something.

    Really good, though.

  • Massive thanks both for reading it and for your thoughts, D and CP - I really appreciate it.

    Reading back now with your comments in my mind I think I can see what you’re both getting at. The story came (in part) from a novel idea I’ll probably never bother writing which was basically a split thing where the protagonist always thinks he’s dreaming, so in one half he’s this guy having weird fantasy dreams about the future, and the other half he’s living in this new world and having vivid dreams about his past. Now that I’ve basically appropriated the character and ditched most of the ideas that went with that plot then I can see how the switching becomes perhaps a little superfluous.

    Hmm, I’ll do some thinking. Thanks again! And if anything else pops into your head then feel free to post up.

  • alistair, i’m sure you’re a Philip K. Dick fan already, but there’s a part from Valis that i recalled when reading your piece - it’s passage No. 32 from the “Tractates Cryptica Scriptura”:

    The changing information which we experience as world is an unfolding narrative. It tells about the death of a woman. This woman, who died long ago, was one of the primordial twins. She was half of the divine syzygy. The purpose of the narrative is the recollection of her and of her death. The Mind does not wish to forget her. Thus the ratiocination of the Brain consists of a permanent record of her existence, and, if read, will be understood that way. All the information processed by the Brain - experienced by us as the arranging and rearranging of physical objects - is an attempt at this preservation of her; stones and rocks and sticks and amoebae are traces of her. The record of her existence and passing is ordered onto the meanest level of reality by the suffering Mind which is now alone.

  • I’ve never read anything by him, but I’m not particularly well read so it’s not like I’m deliberately shunning him - I’m just bad at reading :-(

  • You should read him. He’s great!

    I have your story open but I haven’t had time to tackle it yet. Sorry about that!