Thursday, September 22, 2016

Talkin' Heads #3

TITLE: Cuckoo's Cradlesong
GENRE: Adult Memoir

“You think if we have a kid now, you’ll resent it?” he asked.

I nodded.


I groped for a way to convey what I felt. “Because it’s going to use me up,” I said. “It’s going to suck me dry and there will be nothing left.”

“Suck you dry?” he repeated, trying to smother a smile. “You make it sound like we’d be raising a vampire, not a baby.”

“What I mean is, if taking care of you and the dog and my students already pushed me to a breakdown, what’s adding a baby going to do?” I looked at him with anguish, and then dropped my eyes to the floor, ashamed of my fear and selfishness.

“I’m afraid parenthood might drive me to a point I can’t come back from.” I thought of the knife and how close I’d come to an extremely final decision. I sighed. “Maybe if I could give up teaching, it would be better but…” My voice trailed off.

“But we can’t afford food, much less doctors and medicine on just my salary,” finished Ruymán. “I know. I’m sorry about that. I wish it was different.”

“I could always get a different job,” I suggested. “Maybe something that didn’t require sixty-hour work weeks?” Between the time in the classroom and the late nights grading papers, teaching ate up all the time I threw at it and it was still never enough.

Ruymán nodded. “A new job could be good. Let’s give it a try.”


  1. Mmm-hmm. This is why I feared offspring (vampires, all of them). I can relate.

    I once wrote, "He threw up his hands," and a critiquer said, "Maybe he shouldn't have eaten them, then..." Now I can't see body parts "doing" things without getting a really comical or sometimes gruesome image... So maybe she drops her "gaze" to the floor instead of her actual eyes? YMMV on this particular quibble.

    Other than that, I didn't see anything that pulled me out of the scene. I think it's well done. I especially like the emotion in the bit where she trails off and Ruyman picks up, apologizing for his salary. I like that I can feel a touch of regret and guilt just through the dialog without any accompanying description.

  2. The content here works very well. I can feel the woman's emotions and the husband's caring. Nicely done, there!

    Since there are only two people in the scene, and because you have done so well with getting the emotion across through their words and actions, you might consider eliminating a lot of the tags. Most are unnecessary.

  3. Nicely done.

    I'd delete 'with anguish' - it's redundant

    And the second last paragraph probably needs rewording.

  4. Overall this was very good believable dialog. Sometimes the MC gets a little word. Could her explanations be shortened?

  5. Nicely done. Everyone has pointed out all the nitpicks already so I'll just second them and say good job!

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