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You Should Read: I Want To Be A Camera by Janey Smith

June 27, 2010

You Should Read is a weekly Wednesday short where I suggest short stories and poems on the web to bide a little time on this dreadful–when will Friday come?–24hrs in the middle of the week.

I discovered this piece while reading a Big Other post (interview with Janey Smith included). Read at your own delight or peril, I suppose.

I liked reading this and yes, okay, the phrases “you would focus on her face” and “grass super close” are very overused, but all the same it was an interesting read, a reminder to always look at different perspectives, si? The title bugs me a bit (feels juvenile) but I’m tired and working on three sleepovers in a row (ha, quite a busy girl, art I?) so forgive me if your daily flash fiction is a little less flashy. It’s not every week that I can find a fricking diamond in the rough! That’s a power only Aladdin has.

First  Line(s): “If you were a camera you would see the grass super close, meandering up, out of its seeds, breaking through black dirt flecked with specks of white stuff on it, which is, probably, the unknown, or bits of inexplicable matter to which no one has given a name.”

Reading Time: 5min

Level of Enjoyment: A little bit Law of Diminishing Returns, but plenty of “ooh, how interesting, this story makes me want to put my nose up against my tree and have a piece of ‘super close grass’ poke me in the eye!”

7 Comments leave one →
  1. JANEY SMITH permalink
    July 1, 2010 4:10 am

    Hi, Susana. Thank you for reading my story. Let me know if you have any suggestions for a better title. My friends help write stuff all the time. I like to use the things they give me. Also, I’m not very familiar with economic terminology. How could I make the story more generous or less diminishing? Actually, I kind of like it when things disappear. It’s like clouds. Anyway, let me know and I’ll change it so that there are lots of stuff people will get from it. Your friend, JANEY SMITH.

  2. July 1, 2010 11:29 am

    Thanks for reading! I suppose the reason I was at first dissipointed with the title was because I originally read the Big Other post, and imagined that the title was indeed “Anatomy Of A Flash” which seemed to fit more than “I Want To Be A Camera” perhaps because I felt taken out of rather than put closer to a camera’s perspective. I liked the idea that in the story, people barely existed, were perhaps only hinted in the peripheries, but your title made it seem all about a person and those very whimsical ‘ooh, wouldnt it be cool if i were this’ desires.

    Ha, I kind of bastardized a common economic theory, the law of diminishing return, which suggests that the more you consume of a substance (for example, drugs) and the longer you consume it, the less effective it will be. So the first time you have ice cream, it’s the best thing youve ever tasted, but every other experience afterward will never compare. I think my goal was to suggest that the story started off strong, but petered off in the middle and end. I felt the last line, in particular cheapened the story, I suppose. It felt like you struggled for a way to end it. You say that you like it when things disappear, like clouds…I agree. The last line didnt feel cloudlike, as everything before began to feel.

    But anyhow, sorry I didnt give your story a proper introduction and ‘focused’ commentary. I was pooped yesterday. I truly enjoyed it ❤

  3. JANEY SMITH permalink
    July 1, 2010 12:52 pm

    That’s a good idea: Anatomy Of A Flash. It sounds so flashy, so capitalist. As if the story can be consumed quickly and without effort. I like it. I’ll change the title to that. I like the petering effect of the story. Its weakness and repetitions are its strengths, I think. The end line is perfect for today’s tough times, too. It’s cheap. Still, do you think I should add silver clouds or pillows of metallic clouds at the end? I like the idea of clouds, or cloud-like stuff somewhere around the end, making everything more wayward and strange.

  4. July 1, 2010 9:20 pm

    Perhaps! I like the idea of wayward and strange. But at the end of the day it’s your baby. Thanks for listening 🙂

  5. July 1, 2010 9:26 pm

    by the way, thanks for linking up to my page. I just noticed and I’m really touched.

  6. JANEY SMITH permalink
    July 1, 2010 10:04 pm

    Thank you, Susana, for helping me makes changes to my story. If you think of anything else that could make my story better, let me know!

  7. ben permalink
    November 1, 2010 2:21 am

    Susana Mai is the foremost aspiring author in the aspiring author industry. She talks about books, draws stick figures, writes never-ending manuscripts, and gripes–a lot

    …………………………soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo trrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeeeee…………

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