Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana Flegal


Welcome to our Wednesday edition of Would You Read On?. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to stop by our blog. Kindly comment if you would read on or not. Last week’s contributing author is revealed below this first page.

This weeks contribution is a nonfiction title:


Chapter 1
Sweat rolled down my back as I stood against the hot, red brick wall. The sun blazed down on the small field. My classmates and I formed a line along the exterior wall of the school gym. Squinting against the bright sun, I endured my least favorite part of the day. Why couldn’t I be athletic like the other kids? The team captains began calling out names in an alternating rhythm: Matt, Jennifer, Rob, Susie. Fidgeting, I plastered a fake smile on my face while I waited. I made eye contact and silently begged him to choose me next. Giving up, I stared down at my shoes. I knew the outcome before looking up. I was the last one against the wall. Again.
I excelled in the classroom and enjoyed all other aspects of school. However, when the hour came for Physical Education (P.E.) class, I developed a case of what my sister and I deem nervous stomach. You know, it’s that sick feeling of dread deep in your gut. Nervous stomach materialized when I lined up with my classmates while team captains chose their teams. The type of sport didn’t matter: kickball, softball, or—the worst sport for a skinny, uncoordinated girl who couldn’t throw a ball—dodgeball. I dreaded being chosen last. Even next to last would ruin my day.
The nervous stomach feeling is a familiar one. It still sneaks up on me. I am a 36-year-old single woman. No one has chosen me. I’m still standing here against the brick wall—fidgeting, staring at my shoes, and hoping my name will be called next. Satan whispers a little lie, “You are not worthy to be chosen. You weren’t then and you aren’t now.”


Would you read on?

A big thanks to last weeks author, Kristen Joy Wilks. Kristen lives with her Camp Director husband, three fierce little boys(4,6,and 8), and an enormous slobbery dog at beautiful Camas Meadows Bible Camp in the Cascade Mts. Stop by and visit her blog and introduce yourself.

18 comments:

Rick Barry said...

Yes, I would read on. The author uses first-person POV well to share what's going on inside her. She effectively arouses curiosity as to where she's standing and what's about to happen. The only thing that gives me pause is that, in paragraphs one and two, I had believed I was reading about a teen girl in our own time. She surprised me a bit by jumping forward a couple decades. Of course, if I'd picked the book off a shelf, the front and back covers would've tipped me off that this is an adult, not a teen.

Timothy Fish said...

I would say that I probably wouldn’t continue reading. The whole thing could be tightened significantly. When I read the first couple of paragraphs, I kept noticing sentences that seemed to say the same thing, just in a different way. I also thought of saying, “show, don’t just tell.” But then I reached the third paragraph and I realized it was non-fiction (which I would have already known if I’d read all of Diana’s introduction). With that knowledge, I’m of the opinion it should be tightened even more.

Remember how they used to pick teams in school? There you are, hoping one of the team captains will pick you next, but they always picked the fastest, the strongest, the most popular, and there you are, the person no one wants, but they’re forced to take. I’m a 36-year-old woman—single. That nervous feeling still sneaks up on me. No one has chosen me. I’m still standing here, fidgeting, staring at my shoes, hoping my name will be called next. I hear a whisper in my ear, “You’re not worthy to be chosen. You weren’t then. You aren’t now.”

Part of the reason I prefer this shorter intro is because we all have memories of picking teams. We can draw on those memories, so we don’t need a more detailed look at the author’s memories. People won’t read a book like this to hear stories about P.E. They are looking for what the author has to say about the topic of the book. It is better to get there quickly.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Yes, the writing was very clear and I could easily visualize that day at school when the author wasn't chosen. I also like the tie-in with the here and now.

Caroline said...

Of course I would read on. Who wouldn't unless you're a super-extrovert who does the choosing instead of waiting to be chosen. All of us success, love, respect. Good writing!

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Most of the books we read are not perfect. So while this could be tightened, and probably would be before publishing, Yes I would read on.

Kristen said...

Yes I would. I love the last part that ties the non-fiction subject to the story. However, let me know that the story happened in the past and not on a present day playground. I don't believe they do the team captian thing in schools anymore (too demeaning) and it was hard for me to believe the story knowing that info. But yeah I would read on.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Yes, I would read on. The second graph does not need to tell readers what was happening in the first graph. Unfortunately, we all know! I liked the tie-in to the grownup not being chosen - again.

Bonnie Mae Evans said...

It grabbed my attention immediately with her description of leaning against the brick wall in the hot sun. Coming from that era, I have been that little girl. It took me back. What I loved was finding out it was being told from adult perspective, how as adults we can still feel sidelined. I think a lot of people could relate. It could be tightened a bit but, I would read on.

Ace Collins said...

I would read on, in some ways we can all identify with that feeling. We all wonder if and when the bus will stop for us. Good stuff, gets inside the reader's head in a hurry.

liz said...

I would totally read on. Grabbed my attention immediately! Singleness can be such a brutal place and I know I felt the same way when I was single. I could have really used a book to point me to more of God's truths and fewer of Satan's lies!!!

Sandra Ardoin said...

I don't read much non-fiction, so I really liked the way this started out. I felt as though I was reading fiction. I think the second paragraph could be dropped, with the exception of mentioning the "nervous stomach" since that's mentioned in paragraph three.

Yes, I'd read on.

Juli said...

Enjoyed the imagery. I would not read on. Too many painful memories of this being me that I would prefer not to be reminded of.

Linda Glaz said...

Tim, love ya brother, but I don't think you'd read on for anything. But me? I would SO read on. While I was a Tomboy in school and usually got picked right away for sports, I didn't always get asked to dance, not when I looked at my feet all the time, but that was then and this is now. We all grow and learn to like ourselves, or hopefully we do. I would def read on to see what happens in her growth. Well done! Don't change a thing, you had me in the first paragraph!!!

Cheryl said...

While I like the imagery here, and that this nonfiction submission reads like a novel, I wouldn't read on. Not only was there a lot of repetition, I didn't like getting the feeling this scene was happening present day and then finding out it was the past.

Susan R said...

I would definitely read on. I don't think it needs to be "tightened" at all...to tighten to the shorter version dulls the emotion that wells up when I read the author's imagery. As I read this, I get the old familiar "nervous stomach" (love that description!)in remembering what it was like to experience the heartache of not being chosen in PE. My attention is immediately captured, and I want to find out more. It is written in past tense, so I was not thrown to find out that it was written as a past experience. In my opinion, linking this to the feelings of a present- day 36 year old single woman is a brilliant way to emphasize the emotion. Bravo!

Katherine Hyde said...

I was always the last one chosen for games, but this somehow failed to evoke those memories for me. That might just be because I missed the note that this was nonfiction and was expecting it to be fiction. Then I was thrown off by the fact that the voice is that of an adult, so you think you're reading about an adult until the third sentence. I'd suggest the author put a big, bold clue to her age at the time of this experience early in the first sentence.

Christine said...

As I was reading this, I could relate to the teenage girl with the nervous stomach. This was me. Always picked last and feeling inadequate. Those feelings stay with you in adulthood. I am intrigued by what the author wants to convey. I would read on!!

A couple of spots caused me to re-read the sentence as it was difficult to follow. Maybe just a little polishing needed.

Jeanette Levellie said...

That depends. If you take out obvious items that insult my intelligence, like that P.E. means physical education and what a nervous stomach does, I may want to find out how your story ends, or how the Lord helps you overcome the feeling of rejection. It's an issue we've all struggled with, so we could use some help breaking it's hold. Keep writing--I think you have something to say!