Peer Review by SomeFormOfWriting (United States)

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December 2017 Vignettes

By: Lauren Nelson


December 3, 2017:
The sunlight streams through the mosaic of iridescent window panes, the rays filling the cavernous atrium. I glance at the sun; I was informed that a rainbow ring encircles it today. Any variety of people stands in the balconies, looking down at my orchestra; a child sits with her legs swinging between the railing, listening intently. Our sound is pervasive; quite possibly, shoppers in the back of Belk could discern our repertoire. The warmup finishes, and the bustle of customers can once again be heard. The director steps on the podium, the concertmistress stands, and I give the piercing A440. 

December 2, 2017: The 120 decibel sound pounds in my ears, even as we sit far from the crowd; the feeling parallels being indoors during a thunderstorm. I tend to find myself on the periphery of such events, but it is different this time. We sit on the gym floor and she tells me more of her secrets. Her face is hardly an inch from mine, but I’m not uncomfortable. I am always content in such platonic intimacy as this. We rejoin the crowd, the blunt of the sound engulfing us. She embraces me randomly, saying something indiscernible. “What?” “Love you!” she yells.

December 1, 2017: I live inside my mind. The vast majority of the things that I say are premeditated. Those statements that come out in a manner I attribute to my chronic awkwardness occupy my thoughts for days and nights on end. When I hug someone, I wonder if my hands are in the right place, if I’m holding on too long, if I’m breathing too loudly… I never want to let go but I can’t be fully comfortable. Even playing simple songs in front of a small group, my stomach turns, my hands shake, and my mind turns to chaos. Ah, overthinking. 

December 5th, 2017: I remember her running after me on the playground, for I knew where the best places to evade the bullies were. Why would a 2nd grader threaten to choke her? We were never friends, but I helped her. Now, she is dead. I am not sure of the circumstances surrounding her untimely demise. I never truly knew her, but the concept of her death feeds my anxieties regarding driving. Every time I drive, I think of the many dangers. She could be me. All this goes through my mind as I merge onto the highway, hands white around the wheel.
December 9th, 2017: The sight is almost blinding, somewhat eerie, but beautiful. Every inch of this cursed Alabama soil is covered in pure white snow. It is as if us Southerners are not fit for such goodness; maybe that explains our usual lack of winter weather and almost consistent presence of hellish heat. Everything seems strangely peaceful, slightly darker, but clean. It is strange to see my world this way. I can feel the melting snow seeping into my boots and freezing my toes, but I remain outside as my fingers turn stiff and red. This only happens every once in a while.

December 11, 2017: The manuscript is faded, nearly to the point of illegibility, likely due to repeated copying. At first glance, the cadenza seems daunting. I set my metronome to a slower tempo and the monotone beat drones. Almost mechanically, my fingers roll through the notes until they hitch on a difficult passage. Failure is practice. Again and again, faster and faster, and suddenly, they do not hitch. I play through the faint notes again to make sure it wasn’t just luck. I stand away from the corner and repeat the cadenza so it will resonate. Next, I’ll need to add the music.

December 22, 2017: I carefully put my fingers to the keys, keeping the pedal down to hide my lack of skill as the chords progress. I sing along to the song I’m playing. Maybe this isn’t an instrument I’ve mastered, but it’s one I enjoy. My sister comes in and begins playing the chords; now, four octaves of a chord fill the room. She sings the melody, and I add a harmony, adding to the layers of tonal complexity. It is all quite spontaneous. She pretends to hate piano, but she does this of her own accord. Who can despise music like this?

December 26, 2017: The warm glow of my lamp illuminates each word as I race through the pages, eager to devour the story. It has been so long since I have read like this, and it’s addicting. The 2 am silence is freeing, and I begin to lose myself completely in the text. Time and senses disappear, and the words take over my mind. My eyes are just a bit heavy, but the book is aching to be read deep within the most genuine part of my soul. I can sleep in the next day, I think, almost trembling fingers turning another page.

December 31, 2017: My feet pound against the ever-moving surface and I attempt to regulate my shallow breaths, sending oxygen to my aching muscles. My heart pounds in my chest and I push my fist into my chest to dull the sensation. My throat becomes dry and I can feel the sweat pooling up and stinging in my eyes, but I keep going. Do I have something to prove? Maybe that I can live past seventy. My genes do not promise an extremely long life, it seems. My attempt to exercise seems futile. I strain to the two mile mark, and pause, gasping.


Since November 1, 2017, I have written a 100-word journal every day. I am posting my favorites here.

Peer Review

I feel like I could really relate to these vignettes, especially the ones about music and exercise.

Nothing else, really, since it's a vignette. I'm wondering, however, if it's difficult to compress all your thoughts into only 100 words?

Reviewer Comments

Vignettes are amazing. Throughout ever single one, you keep a consistent tone throughout; a tone fitting to the subject. This was a review of the MyFormOfWriting Competition way back when, sorry it took me so long to review!