Author Topic: PC066: One Paper Airplane Graffito Love Note  (Read 12402 times)

Heradel

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on: August 20, 2009, 10:39:05 PM
PC066: One Paper Airplane Graffito Love Note

By Will McIntosh.
Read by Christopher Reynaga.

A paper airplane drifted high in the sky above the field. I nearly crashed my bicycle, straining to follow its path as it circled above the treetops at the far edge. It held the wind beautifully. Pausing, it hovered over the field just as a sea bird holds its position above crashing waves.

I slowed to a stop, feeling for the ground with one foot, afraid to take my eye off the craft lest I lose it in the clouds. Neck craned, eyes to the sky, I let the bicycle drop. I tracked the paper’s elegant flight, running this way and that like a boy as it slowly, slowly lost altitude.

As it made its final pass, it gained speed, careening across the field. I loped after it as it tumbled end-over-end and lay still.

I plucked it from the grass.

It was folded in a distinct design–squat and wide, with a hinged belly. It was covered in writing.

Rated PG. for surrealism appearing through several fractured narratives.

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the_true_morg

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Reply #1 on: August 21, 2009, 03:43:59 AM
love story that was touching...and boring.

it wanted to be interesting but everyone in a area loving sappy graffiti. that aspect was truly fantasy. in out current times only a few Graffiti artist even get mainstream accolades for their work. this story falls into a fantasy world where found art (paper notes and graffiti) are taken much more seriously. just could not get past that part of the story to find it really enjoyable. nothing clicked for me.  love the podcast just not this story.

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DKT

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Reply #2 on: August 21, 2009, 08:07:48 PM
I disagree. Except about the love story part :)

This episode has the distinction of being the only Podcastle story that I got choked up on while reading. I totally fell in love with it, kind of the same way the narrator fell in love with Anna. It seems so insane initially, but it's a beautiful kind of crazy. And then at some point, you realize it's not crazy at all. The delight and joy and heartache of love this story hits was on a Bradbury level for me.

Everything about this story I love. Anna's experiences somehow being mirrored by movies and music. Her rebuke that she's not a magical creature. The way her mother died. How she decides to take control of the situation by writing confessions in art and graffiti just melted my heart. (It wasn't just graffiti, I feel like I should point out. It was confessions. I've actually seen a coffee table book that had a similar idea, and it's fascinating. Will look for a link later.) And the way it ended, with his desires and hopes reflected on a movie screen? Note perfect. I'm just completely in love with this story.

Thanks to Will McIntosh for writing it. I'm going to have to go search out more of his stories now...And Chris Reynaga gave it a pretty good reading.

Fantastic, in every sense of the word, and definitely in my top 5 Podcastles.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009, 08:22:43 PM by DKT »



stePH

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Reply #3 on: August 22, 2009, 02:39:44 AM
I liked this story a lot.

And I don't have any music on my iPod or my computer to point and laugh at.  Nothing I would be ashamed to have people know that I listen to it.  So  :P thhhhpt!

(You probably have Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Michael Bolton, and the like.  :P)
« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 03:03:35 AM by stePH »

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Cerebrilith

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Reply #4 on: August 22, 2009, 09:43:31 AM
Oh man, this story was so boring I zoned in and out of it and honestly have no idea what it was even about.



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Reply #5 on: August 23, 2009, 03:25:18 AM
i really enjoyed this story; i thought it was filled with the simple things in life that people miss and those are the things that makes life unique. i love the subtle fantastic elements it was like a look into a seemingly normal world but brimming in oddities.

all in all i thought the story was quite good



MacArthurBug

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Reply #6 on: August 23, 2009, 05:47:25 PM
The story seemed a bit disjointed. I adored the idea of a town that liked graffiti- and I liked the life in movies. But the tie that bound the ideas seemed weak(In my humble opinion). The story was still pretty enough and I found myself hoping he got his girl.

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Heradel

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Reply #7 on: August 23, 2009, 10:46:19 PM
Oh man, this story was so boring I zoned in and out of it and honestly have no idea what it was even about.

In the future, please try listening again before commenting. Comments like this aren't very constructive, especially if you can't say why it was.

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stePH

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Reply #8 on: August 23, 2009, 10:52:00 PM
Oh man, this story was so boring I zoned in and out of it and honestly have no idea what it was even about.

In the future, please try listening again before commenting. Comments like this aren't very constructive, especially if you can't say why it was.

That the story failed to hold hir attention does say something about it that's as valid as any "constructive" criticism.  (Though personally, again, I enjoyed this one.)

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Heradel

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Reply #9 on: August 23, 2009, 11:00:54 PM
Oh man, this story was so boring I zoned in and out of it and honestly have no idea what it was even about.
In the future, please try listening again before commenting. Comments like this aren't very constructive, especially if you can't say why it was.
That the story failed to hold hir attention does say something about it that's as valid as any "constructive" criticism.  (Though personally, again, I enjoyed this one.)

Ok, but I'd still rather people that had that trouble take a second run at it before posting, or at least try to explain why the story was boring to them rather than simply saying it's a boring story. I'm not going to require it or anything, but in fairness to the authors, narrators and editors I'd like comments to have a bit more content/analysis. 

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Reply #10 on: August 24, 2009, 04:48:46 PM
Marvelous use of language.  One get's the impression that the author might be a pretty decent poet.  Beautiful writing, but the story wasn't particularly engaging for me.  I don't usually find this sort of surrealism very appealing, so that may have had something to do with it.  I had a hard time getting a grasp on the setting, and the written confessions just didn't seem to fit anywhere or serve any purpose, other than to give the protag a way to declare his love.  I got the impression that the author was trying to make a point about something, but that the whole conversation just flew over my head.  Very nice work with the reading, by the way.



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Reply #11 on: August 24, 2009, 08:02:46 PM
I did enjoy this one.  It took me to a place where I have never even conceived of.  No tired fantasy tropes here.  Love story tropes that is another story.  But I did find myself wondering about the townfolks who suddenly embraced unorthodox "artistic expression".  Did they try and outdo each other first on a bus then on building then paper, then cows???  Cool idea with the bovines next time I'm out tipping cows I might bring a spray can with me. ;D



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Reply #12 on: August 25, 2009, 01:15:11 PM
I usually have a habit of forcing myself to sit through a story. But in this case it actually got me to scream yell and turn the thing off. It even moved me enough to make my first literary critique posting ever! Let me explain where I am coming from and why this piece moved me in a reverse psychology kind of way.

The narration and the story telling was moderate. But the key part that got to me was when the main character declared that the moment in the cow field was the end of his life I through up my hands and turned it off. The very notion that two people's happiness and joy not only defines their existence but that it is prematurely ended over some preconceived and irrational social expectation is absurd.

I found that I was very heated at the idea that the couple could not find a peaceful compromise. And not to any unwillingness on the females part but due to some ill-conceived notion that a married woman is incapable of even being in the same presence of another man. And yes I am biased as I am Polyamourus.

But the more fascinating thing is how this concept irked me. I remember when I was young and I would have reacted the same way when a prospective girlfriend would tell me she is seeing someone. And it stemmed from this idea that I had to follow social standards despite how illogical and unhealthy they may be.

I really scared me to see two soul-mates never reach fruition because there was the possibility of there being more then one soul-mate for the individuals. Or even varying degrees of emotional investment for the many relationships. It scared me to realize just how ingrained these social standards are to people. How even though I may disagree with them to some it is their way. It is their wish. And I have to learn to accept that as they need to accept others.

It's the wonder of individuality. Although I never finished the last three minutes of the story. It has in a sense through self introspection offered a deeper meaning unrelated to the spirit of the original work. How surreal.

Thanks.



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Reply #13 on: August 26, 2009, 12:15:04 PM
  I found this to be a very touching and heartbreaking story. Somehow stories about true love lost because you didn't know to wait for it to come along always gets to me.

  I wish people around here would stik to this type of graffiti, it would be infinitely more entertaining than seeing people painting their silly little nicknames on everything.

  Things did start to fall apart a little for me towards the end, but the last line really saved it.

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r4diation

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Reply #14 on: August 26, 2009, 04:31:27 PM
I really liked this story. Mr. McIntosh does a brilliant job of creating the emotional connections between the two main characters, and in doing so, drawing the reader in too. The fantasy elements were subtle and sublime.

I particularly liked how Anna's notes inspired others to make their own confessions, playing on the human desire to speak freely in an anonymous context. (I'm looking at you, Internet.)



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Reply #15 on: August 26, 2009, 11:49:23 PM
Just finished this one. Loved it. It kinda reminded me of some of Isabelle Allende's stuff but I'm not sure why.

Really, really good, and it even ended on a note of hope.


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Reply #16 on: August 27, 2009, 03:54:51 AM
Listening to this story,  I was reminded of a time I watched a Stanley Kubrick film marathon. It ended, of course, with 2001: A Space Odyssey. I felt then very much how I felt after finishing this one: I didn't realize how much I NEEDED to hear something hopeful, especially after so many dark stories with sad, ambiguous endings. Lovely to hear, and delirious in tone.

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Reply #17 on: August 29, 2009, 09:08:57 PM
Wow. I loved this one. It was a confession, writ large, of how we want to know, and be known.



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Reply #18 on: September 03, 2009, 10:30:55 AM
@Aquarello, that's a beautiful summing up. Agreed. Welcome!


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Reply #19 on: September 03, 2009, 06:40:55 PM
I must admit that although this wasn't the best piece I have ever heard, the message and feeling of hope at the end made me, well, hopeful. :)



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Reply #20 on: September 04, 2009, 08:34:35 PM
I don't think I liked this story. It was very long, the reader was talented but I think he might have had the wrong accent, I had no idea what time period this was -- was it an olde-tyme 50s thing or a sleepy-little-town thing -- and the films referenced didn't lock it down for me at all. The general plot -- boy meets girl, boy loses girl, girl starts graffiti trend in her former town, boy waits for her to come back -- was good, but all the surreal stuff around it didn't work for me. It felt too much like magical realism trying to be fantasy, instead of one or the other.

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Reply #21 on: September 08, 2009, 06:11:46 AM
I enjoyed what this story might have been rather than the story itself.  I imagine the story would have fared better as a book or a movie as opposed to a short. 



Swamp

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Reply #22 on: September 08, 2009, 02:48:01 PM
I enjoyed this story very much.  It was touching and hopeful.  I like a good love story wrapped in good fantasy.  I liked that, to take control of her life's story,   Anna began writing it herself.  I also liked the thought of someones life being played out in books and movies.  I suppose if we looked hard enough we good all find scenes from our life played out in movies.  Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome does that for me. 

Seriously, this story reminded me a lot of Mira which played on PP a couple months back, mainly because of the plot points of a mysterious woman coming in and out of a man's life and the movie theater playing old movies.  However, this story was more hopeful.

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Kanasta

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Reply #23 on: September 13, 2009, 11:02:13 AM
To me this felt a bit overstuffed with fantastic elements- like someone had two different story ideas and decided to put them into one story. Did Anna start the "graffiti trend"? If so, I think the story would have been stronger had it not started with a description of graffiti in the town , how revered graffiti/confession artists were, etc. Maybe I missed a time jump in the narrative, but it seemed to me that the story was taking place in a town where it was already common to post your "confessions" as graffiti, so it was not as powerful when Anna posted hers, and also did not make sense that townspeople were calling her a vandal and a hooligan for doing so, when apparently graffito artists were so highly regarded. Also a bit of a plot hole - if Anna was writing her life story all over town, how did our hero manage to miss all the mentions of her husband, so that her revelation came as such a shock?
Some good ideas and I liked the writing style, but did not feel that it all hung together.



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Reply #24 on: September 13, 2009, 03:34:15 PM
I liked the fantasy aspect of the story. I hated the romance, It made me want to throw up.

However, that's likely tied to issues on my end rather than the story. I have to go to a wedding in a week and the very thought makes me sick to my stomach and want to barf.

Bleh.



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Reply #25 on: September 13, 2009, 03:49:14 PM
Maybe I missed a time jump in the narrative, but it seemed to me that the story was taking place in a town where it was already common to post your "confessions" as graffiti, so it was not as powerful when Anna posted hers, and also did not make sense that townspeople were calling her a vandal and a hooligan for doing so, when apparently graffito artists were so highly regarded. Also a bit of a plot hole - if Anna was writing her life story all over town, how did our hero manage to miss all the mentions of her husband, so that her revelation came as such a shock?

After the narrator described the graffito confessions, he said "I know how it all started..."  At that point you can picture Wayne and Garth (SNL reference) waving their hands and going "Didiloo  Didiloo" to mark a flash back in time.

Anna wrote her first graffito on the train cars the night after their first date at the movie theater to start taking control of her life.  If someone was going to write about her life, it might as well be her.  At first, the toenspeople didn't like it, but as it continued, it became widely appreciated, and copied.

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Kanasta

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Reply #26 on: September 14, 2009, 07:44:21 AM
Thanks Swamp- I thought I must have missed something! That's tyhe trouble when you're listening on a noisy commute... Still doesn't explain how our hero managed to miss all the graffito references to hubby though...



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Reply #27 on: September 14, 2009, 08:49:21 AM
Thanks Swamp- I thought I must have missed something! That's tyhe trouble when you're listening on a noisy commute... Still doesn't explain how our hero managed to miss all the graffito references to hubby though...

I think - though I was a bit confused about this myself, so I'm not entirely sure - that this is an artifact of the mixed chronology - the graffity that mentions a husband was a new one (and perhaps a copycat one), not one of the original series that were written in the flashback, before Anna told the narrator she was married.

I was somewhat confused by the cow graffity - it sounded like it was one of the first ones, but Anna herself didn't seem to know what it said. Oh well.

Anyway, I enjoyed this story, but was not wowed by it. A good one, but not one I'm likely to remember in a few months time.



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Reply #28 on: September 15, 2009, 03:43:30 PM
Though a bit on the sappy side, this story managed to succeed for me.  I enjoyed it.  Since sap and mush are usually non-starter story qualities for me, though this seems like faint praise, it really isn't.  A story that overcomes my biases has to work twice as hard and be extra good at what it does, and this one did and was.  This one was like a lot of Jeffrey Ford stories, which start out in voices and about subjects which I'm almost certain to have no interest in and then draw me in inexorably despite all that.  Nice job, Will McIntosh and great reading as usual by Chris Reynaga.

(And btw, if we're still taking nominees for coolest name, I'd submit that "Reynaga" is a damn cool name.)

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DKT

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Reply #29 on: September 15, 2009, 03:44:56 PM
Thanks Swamp- I thought I must have missed something! That's tyhe trouble when you're listening on a noisy commute... Still doesn't explain how our hero managed to miss all the graffito references to hubby though...

I'm pretty sure the only clue that she had a husband was the line "I should feel guilty, but I don't." At least, chronologically-wise. There might have been something more at the beginning of the story before we flashback and find out how all the graffito confessions started, but I don't remember for sure.


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Reply #30 on: September 15, 2009, 03:58:47 PM
For anyone interested in anonymous confessions, I can't recommend Post Secret enough. I thumbed through my friend's copy it's a fascinating compilation of confessions people anonymously mailed on the back of postcards to an artist.


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Reply #31 on: September 18, 2009, 07:39:59 PM
I didnt really care for this story, it didnt help that the main character was just a really unlikable guy



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Reply #32 on: September 23, 2009, 08:39:00 PM
I loved this one.  One of my favorites.  Too many authors in fantasy neglect the emotional drama, this did not.  It was so touching that when the story finished, I was riding a crowded elevator and trying very hard not to cry.



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Reply #33 on: September 25, 2009, 09:19:38 PM
I loved this one.  The prose was lyrical and entrancing.  This felt like a Magical Realism story, and reminded me of those Griffin and Sabine books about two lovers who corresponded by mail but could not meet.  Gorgeously written and read.



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Reply #34 on: September 29, 2009, 04:12:45 PM
I loved this one.

To me she was a kind of unwilling modern muse.

What can I say, I love fresh twist on old classics.

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Reply #35 on: December 28, 2009, 07:44:27 PM
The parts of this story that I like I really really liked, and the parts that I didn't I really really didn't.

The parts that I didn't
-the town taking up the graffiti trend with no one complaining about it.  If someone writes a love note on the side of my house, I'm not going to be thinking about how heartfelt it is, I'm going to be thinking about how now I'm going to have to repaint the damned house.  Now if the anonymous artist would come back and paint it back to its original color, or if it were drawn in chalk on a sidewalk (so the rain would wash it clean) that would be another thing entirely.
-Her mother death by coin-smothering I just found to be completely ridiculous to the point of making the whole story seem like a lame joke.  If I loosen my belief so that this can be a metaphor it's not so bad.

The parts that I did like:
-The unexplained fantasy element of elements of her life showing up in media.  That was cool and nothing I've ever seen.
-The fact that to take control of her life she wrote her own story.
-I really enjoyed the ending when he saw the movie, given the import of movies in her life.  It would've been slightly cooler (but not much) if he'd professed at the end that he'd start looking for the shop she worked in, because that's what happened in the movie, instead of just generally hoping to see her again some day.