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Poem: "When Someone Is Vulnerable" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "When Someone Is Vulnerable"
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Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 14th, 2016 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Detailed Feedback from alatefeline

Detailed feedback…on parts of this poem that drew distinct reactions from me. Part 1 of 3.

>> cut back
the brown stems of perennials,
and mulch over the flowerbeds <<

The specificity helps set the scene for me.

>> because Turq
was dead weight in his arms <<

My reaction: Oh no!

>>Neither patting him nor
calling his name produced
any kind of response <<

My reaction: Very not good. I’m worried about the characters, but also caught up in the plot, wanting to see what happens next.

>> "Airway, breathing, circulation,"
he recited as he worked <<

Yep. That’s familiar from First Aid / CPR training so it works for me as a plausible point of congruence.

>> His breathing was erratic,
and as Ansel listened,
it stuttered to a stop. <<

Reaction: NOOO! Ansel, fix it! I trust you! (Going to stop putting “my reaction.” You can tell reaction vs. analysis, I think.)

>> Whatever it was, it probably
wasn't anything a hospital
could fix. Ansel and Turq
had gone over that before,
because Turq's superpowers
tended to tear up his body. <<

Yep. Thanks for the recap. If the character didn’t remember it in the moment of crisis, I as the reader wouldn’t.

>>Ansel dug out his phone
and called Ethan Wheeler,
the healer who had worked
with him before <<

Backup is good.

>> "I've got him," Ethan said as
he knelt beside Ansel and put
his hands on Turq's limp body.
"I can keep him breathing, as
long as his lungs are intact.” <<

Whew! We are moving from survival crisis to medical treatment crisis. Even that is a relief…which knowing the delightfully devious author, means something is going to up the tension again soon in an appropriate rhythm.

>> "Well, there's the problem -- he's got
nerve damage scattered around
most of his autonomic system.” <<

How on earth do you do that? MORE mad science? Or is it a direct superpower side effect?

>> "I knew something was wrong,
I just couldn't tell what," Ansel said.
"I've had plenty of first aid training,
but ... nothing that covers this.” <<

Yes, and you’re worried to death because of that, aren’t you, Ansel? He’s doing his job to the best of your ability with Turq, but at that level of engagement, it’s very personal however professional it is. And he’s become an important friend to Ansel in however odd a way.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 15th, 2016 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Detailed Feedback from alatefeline

>> Detailed feedback…on parts of this poem that drew distinct reactions from me. Part 1 of 3. <<

Squeeeee! :D

>> cut back
the brown stems of perennials,
and mulch over the flowerbeds


The specificity helps set the scene for me.<<

Yay! I try to do that, not just to put the boots on the ground, but also to distinguish between different characters. Ansel has a cabin by a lake with a nice yard, and he loves doing outdoorsy things. Janie has an apartment in town, although she also pitches in at Ansel's place.

>> because Turq
was dead weight in his arms


My reaction: Oh no! <<

Yeah, Turq is not in good shape right now. :(

>> Neither patting him nor
calling his name produced
any kind of response


My reaction: Very not good. I’m worried about the characters, but also caught up in the plot, wanting to see what happens next.<<

I'm glad I managed to hook you along both of those lines. And just so you know, it takes more to flatten Turq than it does for most people, because not only does he have Regeneration but his pain scale is pretty bent. He can keep compensating a few notches higher than usual. So by the time he stops moving, he's really hurt.

>> "Airway, breathing, circulation,"
he recited as he worked


Yep. That’s familiar from First Aid / CPR training so it works for me as a plausible point of congruence. <<

Cool. I often look up details for scenes like that, although I have that one memorized.

>> His breathing was erratic,
and as Ansel listened,
it stuttered to a stop.


Reaction: NOOO! Ansel, fix it! I trust you! <<

:D I'm glad that's coming through, Ansel as competent and trustworthy.

>> (Going to stop putting “my reaction.” You can tell reaction vs. analysis, I think.) <<

Yes.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 15th, 2016 01:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Detailed Feedback from alatefeline

>> Whatever it was, it probably
wasn't anything a hospital
could fix. Ansel and Turq
had gone over that before,
because Turq's superpowers
tended to tear up his body.


Yep. Thanks for the recap. If the character didn’t remember it in the moment of crisis, I as the reader wouldn’t. <<

I appreciate that bit of feedback. One of the things I'm trying to track, because Terramagne is just getting to where they have enough density of input to identify patterns, is what things can be tended with conventional care and what can't. If a strongman has a failure of protective field and rips a muscle loose, a hospital can fix it because it's still just a ripped muscle. But if a tough guy has the same problem, that's difficult or impossible to fix without specialized equipment, which few facilities carry because there's not much demand for it. Soup care is a specialized field that is just beginning to coalesce and I've only got a handful of characters doing enough to have built up a real skill in it. Turq's problems tend to diffuse throughout a significant part of his body, and they're not static, the Regeneration will put things back together eventually. But the acute effects can be miserable and terrifying in the meantime.

Interestingly, there is one thing that would've been useful that didn't come up, because Ansel hadn't stocked it and Ethan could fix the problem faster by hand. Supplemental oxygen. Turq's problems hit his chest often enough for that to be worth asking if he can tolerate it. Ansel will probably think of it after the fact.

>> Ansel dug out his phone
and called Ethan Wheeler,
the healer who had worked
with him before


Backup is good. <<

Yeah, and Ethan is a lot better than he realizes.

>> "I've got him," Ethan said as
he knelt beside Ansel and put
his hands on Turq's limp body.
"I can keep him breathing, as
long as his lungs are intact.”


Whew! We are moving from survival crisis to medical treatment crisis. Even that is a relief…which knowing the delightfully devious author, means something is going to up the tension again soon in an appropriate rhythm. <<

:D *bows to Master Tolkien* I learned Hurt/Comfort from the best.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 15th, 2016 01:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Detailed Feedback from alatefeline



>> "Well, there's the problem -- he's got
nerve damage scattered around
most of his autonomic system.”


How on earth do you do that? MORE mad science? Or is it a direct superpower side effect? <<

In a weird way, it's both. Turq's superpowers didn't emerge naturally, but came from mad science torture. So they aren't "normal, healthy" superpowers. They malfunction, to a greater or lesser degree, fairly often -- and the less he's able to concentrate, the worse the effects tend to be. His teleportation currently amounts to tearing his body into tiny pieces and reassembling it elsewhere. The less focus he has, the more things tend to go wrong with that process. In this case, a lot of little nerve fibers didn't get lined up right. Even the big neural lines, like the spinal column, are really more like rope -- many tiny fibers twined into one thick cord. Not one cut, but lots of them. So instead of smooth function, a bunch of Turq's autonomic systems were skipping in and out like an electrical system with shorts in it. O_O Ethan's healing ability let him manually splice the most important connections first, and then work down the list of priorities. Anyhow, Turq's powers also tend to activate on a reflexive basis if he's hurt or scared enough. Getting stabbed was enough to trigger a reflexive jump -- and his hindbrain thinks of Ansel's place as a bolthole now. This is a huge improvement over Mr. Dipper's shitty gang.

>> "I knew something was wrong,
I just couldn't tell what," Ansel said.
"I've had plenty of first aid training,
but ... nothing that covers this.”


Yes, and you’re worried to death because of that, aren’t you, Ansel? <<

Absolutely. Turq worries Ansel to bits. Ansel cares about everyone; he's the kind of cop who would run into a burning building to rescue a crook. But he's especially inclined toward community outreach, which means he spends a lot of time helping people out of bad situations. He can get very, very attached to folks. As pesky as Turq is, he has a good heart, and Ansel knows that. But it's also painfully clear that Turq is not ready or able to accept much help yet, so Ansel has to hold himself back. Worry worry worry.

>> He’s doing his job to the best of your ability with Turq, but at that level of engagement, it’s very personal however professional it is. And he’s become an important friend to Ansel in however odd a way. <<

This is true. It's an awkward relationship, but they're making good progress.
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