Print Story One almond torte
By ana (Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 10:35:27 AM EST) wfc5, post mortem (all tags)
very dead.

So of course I waited til the last weekend before the deadline to begin. I kicked some ideas around, and ended up with an unfortunate turn of phrase unrelated to anything food-like.

My esteemed partner pointed out that the thing in the first paragraph about the main character picking out an identity and expressing it in a style of dress is quintessentially ana-like. And here I was trying to be all stealth.

Having taught for a few years, there's little in life that's quite as nerve-wracking as that first time you meet a class. For a substitute teacher, it must be seriously hellish. So you hit the ground running, waste no time on the introductions, convince the kiddies you're a mean bastard they don't want to tangle with, and then, later, if there is a later, you can relax a bit to be more like your normal self.

The line about "You may call me by my first name, which is Mister" is slightly adapted from an instructor I had, who claimed his first name was Lieutenant.

After that opening, things just kind of took off. Write what you know, they tell me, so a math class took shape. Food. Damn. Forgot about food. How about a recipe rescaling problem. In what must have been a remedial math class in a junior high school for girls. Which, in his heart of hearts, the lonely, misgynistic Mr. Stark refers to as titters. Something he cannot, and the narrator does not, acknowledge, though it slips out of his mouth when a regular teacher asks how things went.

It seemed to underscore his lonliness and misogyny to have him know her, but she not remember him. I was rather proud of the line about her rolling over and asking her husband of 8 years to remind her of his name.

Beyond that, I don't know where I wanted to go with the story, and it kind of showed.

Mini-reviewers had these things to say:

  1. fleece: the scaled up a third idea is cute I guess but i was looking for some meaning or twist which I don't think is there? No, it's really not there.

  2. Scrymarch: There's much to like about this story, but I was horribly distracted by the easiness of the question. These are highschool students, right? Non-retarded ones? Well, it hadn't occurred to me at the time, but it's not a high-level class. And in his wild stab at some kind of word problem a class of young women might find accessible, a recipe was what popped into his head.

  3. Kellnerin: I think that the original recipe called for 1.7 eggs, but I've probably done my math wrong. Should have used metric eggs. Hm. I've made enough math errors in stories that you might think I'd check more carefully. I actually changed this humber several times, eventually becoming convinced it made sense.

  4. ana: is there a point? No. No, there's not.

  5. I think you might have finally taught me the number of teaspoons in a tablespoon, if only I can keep in mind which one is bigger. I always buy metric eggs, and leave the other two on the shelf. Well, happy to educate. Good luck with that eggful of sugar.

  6. toxicfur: I really like the voice in this one. I felt that it didn't really go anywhere, though, and Mr. Stark seems a solitary character. Why, exactly, would he need to scale the torte up by a third? This story feels like an excerpt from a larger piece. 'Preciate the liking of the voice. Guilty, re: not going anyplace. And I suppose it could be a vignette from a larger piece.

  7. BO: I was drawn in by "I am Mr. Stark. You may call me by my first name, which is Mister." That and "Very small eggs?" Heh. Thanks.

  8. 2 plus 3 equals 5: Not sympathetic. Again with the shallow on my part. No need to apologize.

  9. Persimmon: If it's in Norwegian, how is she supposed to know the 1 1/3 eggs doesn't make sense? Reason for disgust is not adequately established for me. Fair enough. I think he was relying on common sense, and his (unlike my) ability to get it to come out to a whole number of things that come in whole numbers. And more info up front about his own predicament would be helpful.

And there we are. Missed tying for last place by one vote, so it's not just the indiscriminate "vote for everything" crowd that liked it. At this rate I don't have to worry about organizing another contest any time soon.

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One almond torte | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
math by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 12:41:25 PM EST
It might not have tripped my fact-checking impulse if the number hadn't been one that would have worked if she'd gotten the calculation right.

For me, the ana-tell in addition to the clothing-as-identity was the classroom setting (cf. WFC1, reversed). Well, that and the fact that you stole my almonds, but that's cheating. Also, there's the formatting, but that's almost as much of a Kellnerin-tell (but seeing as I'm me, I knew it wasn't mine).

I would have expected someone named Mr. Stark in a WFC: Bad Pun story to be habitually clean-shaven and well put-together. At least, that's what he'd have been like if I'd written it. Your Mister is more interesting.

"If a tree is impetuous in the woods, does it make a sound?" -- aethucyn

You're the only author I guessed correctly. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 01:00:07 PM EST
I think it was the teacher character. You do teachers and students well - not necessarily classroom dramas, but people teaching (or trying to) and learning. It's a reoccurring concern in several of the things I've read of yours.

Nice title by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 11:33:56 PM EST
Every day I've been seeing it in the sidebar, I've wanted almond torte.

One almond torte | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback