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The Last Supper by Harry Buschman

 
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 10:42 am    Post subject: The Last Supper by Harry Buschman Reply with quote

As always, you bring your characters to life with little effort, and I can see and hear them, as well as see and feel the setting. The butcher, Mrs. Epstein, her husband and children come alive--as well as their relationships--with relatively few words.

But the ending was not strong enough. Did I miss something? Perhaps you could expand the ending, just a little, to show why the last supper was so important, why Edna would spend the last of the 2700 dollars and so much energy to have the family over.
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matt
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:42 am    Post subject: The Last Supper - Reply with quote

I thank Dave for bringing this to my attention. I didn't find any weaknesses in the story. The early scene with the butcher was disgusting. It gave me that feeling one gets when counting pennies with which his mother sent him to the grocery store. That appraisalof someone's worth that happens while trading is a pitiful tradition. I'm glad no children were in that scene.

The narratives tone of mundanity while describing events that were personally huge, worked rather blissfully along that edge of bittersweetness.
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dkneip
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:08 pm    Post subject: character Reply with quote

A great story about the hardship of time and financial burdens and I really liked this one BECAUSE of all the characters. Dave, I totally agree with you on Harry's development of those characters; always done with ease. But not only that, they all possess an air of "real life" to them and it makes the story real and believable.

I blame all of this on Harry's sense of dialogue. This man knows how people speak. Some authors would have that butcher asking all the wrong questions. Harry got it right and I like the butcher because of it.

Another example is of the neighbor who looks over the railing, annoyed by all the noise. She had two lines and she appears for about five seconds. But her total weight on the feeling and theme of the piece is immeasurable.

For anyone wanting to study good and honest dialogue, I would refer them to this story.
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Harry
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for reading and commenting. The Epstein's were people I knew as a child back in Bed/Stuy. Although I was a Catholic, Solly and I were as close as blood brothers and through him I picked up the curious idiom of Yiddish/English and the warm sentiment of his family. They were lonely people because they were the only Jews on the block, but every once in a while they'd throw a party for their enormous family and I'd be invited.
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mattt
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:36 pm    Post subject: because Reply with quote

It's because you were family (Harry) Sir, back when you were Harry.
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dkneip
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:38 pm    Post subject: Solly vs. Edna Reply with quote

Harry, knowing now your background as it relates to The Last Supper, I love that you chose to write NOT about your "blood brother" Solly, but about his mother, Edna, and her trials preparing for this meal.

A winning decision!
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Harry
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The story got started over in the 500 word project on this forum. It's the third one down from the top "Drawing" by Janett.
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dkneip
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2004 1:36 pm    Post subject: Origination of The Last Supper Reply with quote

Harry, I went ahead and found the location of the birth of your story.

It truly was fascinating to me to read that, because although your main character in THAT piece was the butcher, and well portrayed even in 500 words or less, I see now how you took the essence from the OTHER pieces, (let's credit Heidi, Mattt, and DaveR (and also Janett for the picture)) and planted their fundamental theme into creating The Last Supper based on NOT the butcher, but Edna.

I love watching "behind-the-scenes" or "making-of" documentaries on movies. Especially the A. Hitchcock films, "Birds" and "Psycho" each have brilliant special features on how the piece was put together.

So to see it in writing, in this way, is inspiring to me. I think Heidi sets the table, doesn't she? "Someting told her that in the end her life would get better." - your consistent theme throughout this story, sort of a "hard times now, better day tomorrow, let's hope" kind of feeling. This flows so smoothly through your paragraphs and character description and action.

Then Matt throws in this wonderful although complicated visual, "Being at the time between earth and water, there was something of a soup, we all were together." I love that "soup" idea where each character in The Last Supper is basically in the same boat - everyone has to survive through good or bad. In this way, everyone's relative. That's something YOU have to create and it's done flawlessly in your story.

And DaveR's theme of real turmoil, but the will to survive: "As my flimsy raft dove into deep troughs and rose high on the crests of storm driven waves, I clung to the remains of a broken mast." How beautiful that both your character and his would, faced with this sense of crashing waves all around, still have the hope and good sense to hang on and fight.

Hope is endless. If you have it, you'll always come through in the end. That's what I like about your story. I'm never feeling sorry for your characters because they're strong and determined.

DaveR posted that the ending was a little weak. I, kindly, disagree. Because I see now, as I did then, that there is no ending for these characters. They'll always have hope and survive and their last supper is significant to me because it puts them at the peak before the valley. But after the valley, with hope, comes another peak.

So again, Harry, a beautiful portrait. I certainly appreciate this story in more ways than one.

Thank you.
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Linda
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2004 7:03 pm    Post subject: Re: The Last Supper by Harry Buschman Reply with quote

DaveR wrote:
As always, you bring your characters to life with little effort, and I can see and hear them, as well as see and feel the setting. The butcher, Mrs. Epstein, her husband and children come alive--as well as their relationships--with relatively few words...


You have a gift, Harry, and it's beautiful. My children have all left, the kitchen is cleaned, and I plan to spend the next two days reading and catching up, but first, I wanted to echo all of the positive things I've read tonight about your work. You are such an inspiration to me.

Linda
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: Origination of The Last Supper Reply with quote

dkneip wrote:


It truly was fascinating to me to read that, because although your main character in THAT piece was the butcher, and well portrayed even in 500 words or less, I see now how you took the essence from the OTHER pieces, (let's credit Heidi, Mattt, and DaveR (and also Janett for the picture)) and planted their fundamental theme into creating The Last Supper based on NOT the butcher, but Edna.

. . .

So to see it in writing, in this way, is inspiring to me. I think Heidi sets the table, doesn't she? "Someting told her that in the end her life would get better." - your consistent theme throughout this story, sort of a "hard times now, better day tomorrow, let's hope" kind of feeling. This flows so smoothly through your paragraphs and character description and action.

Then Matt throws in this wonderful although complicated visual, "Being at the time between earth and water, there was something of a soup, we all were together." I love that "soup" idea where each character in The Last Supper is basically in the same boat - everyone has to survive through good or bad. In this way, everyone's relative. That's something YOU have to create and it's done flawlessly in your story.

And DaveR's theme of real turmoil, but the will to survive: "As my flimsy raft dove into deep troughs and rose high on the crests of storm driven waves, I clung to the remains of a broken mast." How beautiful that both your character and his would, faced with this sense of crashing waves all around, still have the hope and good sense to hang on and fight.

. . .



And my small piece/contribution was inspired--I felt the emotion and perhaps subconsciously copied the style-- by a Rimbaud poem, "The Drunken Boat," that Matt had referred to, and I read, in his post long ago.
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