“Poem For a Lady Whose Voice I Like” fanfic

 She is not the same person she was. On some level, she understands that something fundamental had changed. Words can be roads, bridges that connect A to B. But words can also be walls that separate and isolate. Words can be both things at the same time. A word can have more than one meaning. A word can have opposite effects. He said, “time off”. She heard “time off”. The dictionary describes “off” as “away from the place in question; to or at a distance”. So, why did “time off” came out of his lips as a road, and got to her ears as a wall? 

We tend to trust dictionaries. She did. What reason would she have not to? The words contained in a dictionary are a dogma. But now she found herself questioning this rigid notion encased in this hard box we call a dictionary. Does “off” have the same meaning for him that it has for me?  

He was very confused. He merely suggested an innocent truce. I was hard to believe that they knew each other for so long, but now they were complete strangers to each other. They grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same school and shared many friends. But right now, they spoke two different languages. English can be tricky that way. Words are not constrained by the meaning that a dictionary assigns them. They take new forms as we assign content and context to them. He was learning that the hard way. A misunderstanding? That would be an understatement. He meant what he said, but he was sure he didn’t mean what she heard.  

Neither one of them could summon the courage to bring it up again. They kept frequenting the same places, the same friends, the same spaces. But something was radically different. Their relationship changed. They were different.  

The space between them grew larger with time, a gap increasingly harder to bridge. Words could have brought them back together, but once the distance was too great, they had the opposite effect. They used them as a weapon to hurt each other. His, were blunt and heavy, like a mace. Relentless. With a heavy head that delivered powerful blows. Hers were sharp and acute, but not like a sword. More like barbed wire. A fence that surrounded her in every direction. A defense mechanism that both protected and isolated her at the same time. No one was allowed inside. She couldn’t get out either.  

With time, he got used to it. Others around him shared the same code, the same language. His words connected him to the people around him.  

She, on the other hand, grew apart from everyone around her. A castaway in a lonely island. Her only escape was to find a way out to a foreign place where a (metaphorically) different language was the norm. In time, she also found other allies. People who shared her language, but not her origin.  

That afternoon, when they ran into each other again, the distance that separated them gained a life of its own. A cold and distant greeting was followed by polite, meaningless small talk. And, on the surface, everything might have seemed fine. But tension was building up. One word out of place and that delicate balance between politeness and tension would crumble, giving place to a new war of words.  

¨How are you? I haven’t seen you around here in a while”, he said. “The days are evil, and I have to make the best use of my time”, she replied. So he said: you ain’t got no talent… 


I’d like to ask my classmates what do they think about the story, if it’s easy to read, and what would they change about it? 

My favorite things about the fanfic are the tone of the story, the remaining mysterious circumstances that drove them to the current situation and the possibilities that are still open.  

I’m not so sure about the language in general, and if maybe I should be more specific about details about the characters and their past.  

4 thoughts on ““Poem For a Lady Whose Voice I Like” fanfic”

  1. I like the way you showed how she interpret a word in her own meaning and how that lead to misunderstanding. your story was easy to read and yes, i think you need to give more details about their past.

  2. I thought your story was very interesting. However, I am not sure about the way you ended it. I know its a draft but maybe you can try to add more. Also it all seemed a bit repetitive with the concept of the different laguages.
    Overall, I think its a good story.

  3. The story started of soft and continuesly got deeper and more emotional which I really liked. It’s easy to read and understand. Yet it does need a little more specific details surrounding the characters. It would be interesting to know their relationship before the misunderstanding, it would give the ending a stronger impact.

  4. Fede,

    Beautiful work here — you have some great writing in there. Nice work!! To address your questions, I think you’re doing an incredible thing with words. You were doing a really cool thing with the dictionary in the beginning, and I think you kept that tone throughout; I agree with you about the mysterious circumstances being effective here.

    I also love that you started your own dialogue in front of the poem’s dialogue — that’s fantastic, and realllllly clever. Remember that different characters’ dialogues should be in different paragraphs, like they are in novels.

    Otherwise, I would encourage you think about your pacing. As it is, your pacing is beautiful; but, remember what we were talking about in class, about white space (on the page) and how it can serve as its own punctuation? Because your story has such powerful rhythm, I think it would be amazing to punctuate that even more by separating some of the paragraphs. I’m particularly thinking of the paragraph when you’re comparing their words (a beautiful paragraph, by the way) — I wonder if you want to separate “his words” from “hers” in different paragraphs, because it will give the reader a chance to pause and let the gravity of your narrative really seep into our bones.

    Gorgeous work, truly — I can’t wait to see how this develops.


Leave a Reply