Title: Enternal Envelopment
Subtext: Perpetually on edge.
Date: 25 Aug 16 (Thursday in the PM)
Time: Less than a minute
Replies: 17
Revisions: 6
Publicity: Workshop

In what ocean lay before me, in one second alone, a thousand smaller creatures were painfully consumed by a thousand larger creatures. Life and death as if by size.

A wraith of warm air crawled up from behind, offshore and enveloping.


Elk » Authorship
Elk » 6:50 AM 12 Oct 16
Elk » 11:47 PM 01 Sep 16
Elk » 11:42 PM 01 Sep 16
Elk » 8:43 PM 25 Aug 16
Elk » 8:42 PM 25 Aug 16

The Thread (17)

 Author's voice in grey. 

  1. I both like and dislike that first sentence. Obviously it can be written in a much less muddled way. But I’m okay with muddle with intent, which I think I perceive here.

  2. The mighty Zika virus would like to plead its case re: size.

  3. @bear — Would you mind offering up a sample rewrite?

  4. I could, but I think you’re approximating (perhaps replicating) some kind of classical or even biblical syntax, so I don’t want to go straightening out something purposely kinked.

    Maybe, though, you can clear a couple of things up. “In just what ocean lay before me” seems like a question, or the beginning of a question, though the sentence turns declarative after that point. I’m not certain of the meaning of that phrase in this context.

    Also, there appear to be inconsistent tenses in the sentence (“lay,” “were”). Is there a reason for this?

  5. Ah, I get it now. “What ocean” is what portion of ocean. I see.

    The tenses still seem a little screwy. Are rather than were?

    It’s a strange sentence – but again, I think deliberately so.

  6. But it no longer reads classical or biblical as before. I was reading it funny, probably due to lack of commas (after the introductory clause and maybe setting off the prepositional phrase beginning with “in”).

    So I guess the tenses are consistent. But maybe try lies/are rather than lay/were? Or, if lay/were, that rather than this?

    Something’s still screwy there.

  7. Okay, “lay before me” definitely has some classical/biblical/possibly romantic element to it.

    I’m all over the place on this one.

    Rabbit’s made a good point – I’m not sure size is the most essential (or even an essential element) in this dynamic. Consider the killer and blue whales and which eats which.

  8. The ocean is currently laid before him like something to read — it lay before him. The one second in which 1000 creatures are consumed lapses, so it’s past while he stands by looking. This could be that, or in could be introduced with a comma — I can see how that’d clarify. Is one or both necessary? I liked the rapid flow possible without punctuation. And on this versus that, I wanted the reader to be pulled into the second for a second, as opposed to just having it pointed out to him or her.

    It’s two sentences — to accomplish anything in two sentences I did have to be conscious of the syntax. I rewrote that first line several times but no longer recall the other versions. I’d def enjoy reading other cuts at it.

    I rewrote the second line once, and I think see the other version in the revisions.

  9. How about,

    In what ocean lay before me in one second alone a thousand smaller creatures were painfully consumed by larger creatures – etc.

    I took out the “just” and “this” and moved some things, obviously. I think that when we try to pinpoint too much (“just” what ocean, in “this” one second), we lose something.

    Also, I’m not sure of “painfully” as a modifier for “consumed” – they were eaten painfully? Does the adverb describe the process of ingestion for the prey or predator?

    (Interesting if both – physically for one, morally for the other.)

  10. Good call on painfully — will have to consider. I meant painfully dying, but the moral implications of the painful act is an unintentional entendre I want to give more thought to.

    Your version is ok — but I strive to avoid proximate placement of two prepositions like in. Your version brings the ins closer together. I do like the efficiency of it, though I have to wonder if without the generic modifiers the very principle behind the statement is hidden too far off, or is lost altogether.

  11. I’m also thinking of coining a new word in the context of the principle at work here, and amending the title accordingly — Enternal Envelopment.

  12. Sure. Fine reasoning. I personally think my version has a more inherently sensible order and is thus more clear. Place, time, idea. Yours is place, idea part one, time, idea part two.

  13. That’s true — but again, that break for time stresses it. Perhaps setting it off with commas is the proper compromise.

  14. Enternal Envelopment = Dog eat dog, we’re all the dog, it’s one big dog. Wind is every fate.

  15. Title change executed.

  16. Restructured — try that on for size, pun intended.

  17. I liked the original.

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