been writing a fair bit but not finishing anything so i just made myself write something to completion. this is that effort. leave links!

Almost in an instant the wind shifts
and the smoke rolls in. After three days
you get used to the smell.
The sky is somewhere between yellow
and orange and tan, and the sun, you
can stare right at it, is a red bulb;
it's like mars, millions of years ago.
And we sit on a playground, swinging,
staring at the sun, doing and thinking
things we were told never to do, lying
outside in the smoke of a forest fire
burning down across the state line. Shasta
is in a cloud of smoke, and the drought
is in full effect there, the exposed clay banks
of the lake show the same color pallet
as the surrounding sky, alien, it's as if
the world is dying from here outward,
it's as if there will be an intimidating name
for this era in time, it's as if we're breathing
smoke and growing younger all the while,
it's as if the Rogue is the only sign
of life for miles in any direction
it's as if the road from here to grant's pass
is a straight line and if the haze would lift
we could see the distance to the strip mines,
it's as if we were in the middle of something,
and both have suddenly forgotten what it was,
and it's as if that's fine.
this really gets going with the lines repeating "it's as if". you have some really stunning and poignant lines embedded there, but i think that section might go on a bit long. it might be more effective to shorten it, and also, not to end on "it's as if that's fine". you're saying so many beautiful things that are more interesting than those last two lines - maybe to simply end on one of the images would be more impactful.

otherwise, there's a few weird lines here and there ("the sun, you/ can stare right at it, is a red bulb") but it's a nice read. it unfolds well. i always envied how you can place the reader into such a detailed time and place.

is this partially a reference to the fires in Weed, CA recently? Weed is/was a cool town. that area is special.
Im not sure exactly where they were based but it was september when we drove through some firefighting north of reading california around shasta and spent some time in the medford oregon area and one day we went into the store and the sky was blue and clear and then when we came out it was all martian and eerie and smelled different. I think there may have been a fire more near than the one we drove by off the five.
Thank you for the comments, I think you're right that there's a more mature ending to be had. Definitely was aware of the reversion/raw feeling of the end when I finished this draft but I just wanted an end, so its good now to have that pointed out and I can focus on it.
Last edited by jiminizzle at Nov 1, 2014,
I pretty much agree with Matt's points. "you can't stare right at it" as an aside for the sun doesn't seem to do much for you, especially with "staring at the sun" coming so soon after that line.

Though I disagree in that, somehow, the ending can be almost equally strong for me with or without the last line, but the rhythm of it is better with the last line, and the resolution of the last line sits very well with me, the false apocalypse of it. Even if there's a more mature ending, much of this may have to be revisited for it. The idea of a swingset in the midst of a forest fire leads me to that sort of dismissive last line. I think I sort of subconsciously expect it.

Anyway, I hope you've been well. The experience of being out there sounds otherworldly.
it says you can stare right at it (I think?), does that change it for you? I guess I don't see the problem there at the moment. But I am glad for your words and thoughts. Ill try some things with the ending. Initially just happy to have one but I think I can do better.
That definitely changes it, just a misread on my part.

Maybe the thing with the end is the abstractness of it. It just describes a feeling. Focusing in on something concrete, an image or action, would give it a different sense.