FAIL­URE TO CO­OP­ER­ATE

Broken Pencil - - Deathmatch -

Fe­bru­ary 6, 2017 at 6:32 pm Kaitlin Trem­blay says: Fi­nally was able to fully into Fail­ure to Co­op­er­ate to­day! (Sorry in ad­vance if my com­ments were made yes­ter­day by some­body else, I wasn’t able to prop­erly get into the com­ments at all yes­ter­day or the day be­fore.)

Fail­ure to Co­op­er­ate is a ride! It re­minds me so much of Pi­card yelling “There are four lights!”, which is an in­stant love for me (and Tar­sucks is a fan­tas­tic tongue-in-cheek name). I also like the sly bits of hu­mour in there, al­though at times they do feel a bit in­con­sis­tent with the tone. I think that’s the one thing that stood out the most for me, was I couldn’t get a solid foot­ing with the tone of it. It’s in­tense, and it feels like it’s sup­posed to be hu­mourous, but it os­cil­lates a bit too much be­tween hu­mour and in­tense se­ri­ous­ness for it to gel (es­pe­cially with the oth­er­wise solid end­ing). Maybe this could have smoothed out a bit with more char­ac­ter­i­za­tion? Not un­der­stand­ing the pro­tag’s per­spec­tive left me feel­ing a bit un­teth­ered, un­sure of how I should be root­ing for her (do I want her to suc­ceed in her de­cep­tion? Do I be­lieve her?) The struc­ture feels a bit jar­ring, rather than let­ting it all un­fold at its own fre­netic pac­ing. Over­all it’s a roller­coaster of a story, very FBI meets frus­trated ev­ery­day barista.

Fe­bru­ary 9, 2017 at 1:39 pm Chaos Mcken­zie says: Hey… ear­lier I was talk­ing about your story and tripped over my words, but I wasn’t try­ing to make a joke, so very sorry for that. I’ve been pegged as the bully now, so I just want it clear that wasn’t my in­tent, I was typ­ing “trim the fat” and re­al­ized how in­sen­si­tive that was so tried to make light of it. Wasn’t my in­tent. I have been vot­ing for you.

Fe­bru­ary 9, 2017 at 2:31 pm Kaitlin Trem­blay says: This ain’t my first rodeo with crit­i­cism of my writ­ing and how these things go, I un­der­stand that process. But I find it funny that you re­al­ized it was in­sen­si­tive as you were typ­ing it, but kept go­ing any­ways and de­cided to post it. To be hon­est, I don’t care what your in­tent was. There’s a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing bru­tally hon­est and hav­ing fun in a tour­na­ment like this, and be­ing cruel, and if you re­al­ize what you’re say­ing is in­sen­si­tive, maybe con­sider that it falls on the cruel side of that con­tin­uum.

And that’s fine if that’s your M.O. and how you want to play this, but I’ve seen how you’ve been re­spond­ing to other peo­ple in this com­pe­ti­tion, and I thank you for apol­o­giz­ing, but hot tip: next time if you think you’re be­ing in­sen­si­tive as you’re typ­ing some­thing, maybe don’t post it. Think of some­thing else clever to say in­stead. You are a writer af­ter all.

Fe­bru­ary 9, 2017 at 7:32 pm Chaos Mcken­zie says: You posted on the week­end about your frus­tra­tions with the lack of be­ing able to edit com­ments, maybe posted quickly, with­out thought. I really thought you would un­der­stand that. Like I’ve been vot­ing for you and ev­ery­thing, but I wasn’t try­ing to be cruel, there was an hon­est mis­take there and it’s really frus­trat­ing be­ing at­tacked like am. My in­box, as ap­par­ently my email is easy to fig­ure out is full with abu­sive and threat­en­ing emails in sup­port of you and Rachel, so please – I ad­mit­ted to the mis­take, I didn’t mean to be cruel. If you are aware of which friends or who­ever are send­ing the death threats, can you tell them to stop. My email ac­count won’t let me block emails and they keep com­ing. (I know it’s likely you know noth-

ing of this – but I don’t know what to do about it)

Fe­bru­ary 9, 2017 at 9:08 pm Bray­don­beaulieu says: Re­port any death threats to the po­lice in your city! That’s se­ri­ous busi­ness, and it’s su­per-messed-up.

Fe­bru­ary 10, 2017 at 11:59 am Kaitlin Trem­blay says: I don’t know of any­body who would be do­ing so since my friends and I do not con­done send­ing abu­sive emails or death threats. And Bray­don is right, re­port the emails to the po­lice, be­cause it is se­ri­ous busi­ness.

Fe­bru­ary 10, 2017 at 10:19 pm A.G. P says: Yes, re­port death threats to the po­lice. This is aw­ful.

Fe­bru­ary 9, 2017 at 4:05 pm Chaos Mcken­zie says: I hon­estly thought in this sit­u­a­tion that I had did good, it was an hon­est mis­take, not in­ten­tional. It was one of those things that I re­al­ized af­ter post­ing how tacky it was… I can ad­mit my mis­takes.

Fe­bru­ary 10, 2017 at 9:24 am Su­san Read says: The com­ment board is un­for­giv­ing. You can­not take back, Or soften with a gen­tle tone; There is no undo, No friend to phone. Your words are judged At ev­ery click, While strangers tell you You’re a dick. It’s sick. But we don’t want to for­feit. It hurts but we’re too proud to fold. Surge ahead with a rush of en­dor­phins, Fall behind ‘cos my friends are too old. This con­test should come with a warn­ing, But not just to thicken our skins; It’s a click ev­ery night, noon, and morn­ing, That’s over be­fore it be­gins. Cost of en­try in­cludes lack of sleep, help­ing el­derly peo­ple nav­i­gate poorly de­signed web­sites, and po­ten­tially trig­ger­ing your anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, PTSD, panic, OCD, etc., ad nau­seum. Oh, and nau­sea. It will def­i­nitely cause that. Best of luck to the bots who de­serve it, Best of days to the peo­ple who cared; May your life be for you, and be worth it; May you never re­gret that you dared.

Fe­bru­ary 11, 2017 at 1:41 am om­crae says: I have ap­pre­ci­ated your writ­ing very much through­out this com­pe­ti­tion. Once again you have skill­fully shown your tal­ent.

Fe­bru­ary 11, 2017 at 7:50 am P.D. Wal­ter says: Su­san,

I’m sound­ing like a bro­ken record here, but sorry for tak­ing so long to get around to read­ing ‘Fail­ure to Co­op­er­ate’, and I apol­o­gize if I re­peat any­thing that has al­ready been said else­where in the com­ment threads that have be­come too long and tan­gled to read through.

I don’t have a lot to say be­cause this story is (a) a lot of fun, (b) reads very cleanly, quickly and smoothly, (c) made me laugh more than any other story, (d) is vir­tu­ally flaw­less, or (d) all of the above. [The an­swer of course is D.]

This story com­petes with ‘The Il­lu­mi­nated Throat’ for sheer en­ter­tain­ment value, and goes by at a sim­i­larly fre­netic clip.

I love the tone of the piece, a kind of wild, ‘1984’ meets ‘Of­fice Space’ com­edy about cor­po­rate para­noia and work­place so­cial con­trol. “We not only read what you tell us, we read what you don’t tell

us.” Brilliant! So much of com­edy is about de­light­ing in the ab­surd clash of con­texts. I love the high­stakes Cia-style in­ter­ro­ga­tion in the low-stakes word of bev­er­age sling­ing. Hi­lar­i­ous.

Su­san’s ini­tial con­fes­sion (bold to give her your own name!) is de­light­ful, maybe be­cause we ex­pect her to just keep deny­ing she did it, and be­cause I am sure most baris­tas do do it! “I give out free cof­fees to my friends. No. Not just cof­fees. What­ever they want. Lat­tes. Straw­berry blended lemon­ades. Even Frap­puc­ci­nos.” But there are so many funny lines: Page 2. How would you con­duct this in­ves­ti­ga­tion?

I’d make ev­ery­one fill out this stupid fuck­ing form and hope for a con­fes­sion be­cause oth­er­wise I have no le­gal re­course in the mat­ter. Shouldn’t say that. Page 3. List five (5) rea­sons why some­one might take this money.

I am hav­ing that dream where you show up to an exam that you haven’t stud­ied for, and sud­denly can’t re­mem­ber hav­ing ever at­tended a sin­gle class.

Ter­ri­ble wages. Poor treat­ment. Low self-es­teem. Bad day. Good day. Fam­ily prob­lems. Men­tal prob­lems. Cor­po­rate rage. Ser­vice in­dus­try burnout. Stick­ing it to the man. Just for a laugh. Drugs. Debts. De­pres­sion. Des­per­a­tion.

“Also, I be­lieve that any­thing I say can and will be used against me in a court of lat­tes.”

This is al­most too cute, but as we’ve learned here, peo­ple love puns. No, I think this line is great.

There are some nice images, too, like “the twenty-two watch­ful eyes of the Tar­sucks sur­veil­lance sys­tem”, but I think what I liked – and what im­pressed me – about your story is how spare it is (not a lot of de­scrip­tion or poetic flour­ishes), and yet how rich it still feels. We are per­suaded by the world of the story (maybe be­cause we have all pa­tron­ized Tar­sucks!), and you don’t need to fill in a lot of vis­ual or at­mo­spheric de­tails. I have no idea if this is really how they han­dle in­ter­nal theft, but I can to­tally be­lieve it’s this Or­wellian. If only you could have worked in a lit­tle comic riff on: “We want you to say, and be­lieve when you say it, that 2 + 2 = 5.” (Is there a cof­fee pun to be made in there some­where, I won­der?)

Any­way, I said I wasn’t go­ing to say much ex­cept that I really en­joyed it and hope it makes it through to the next round.

In­ci­den­tally, I’d be cu­ri­ous to hear more about your teach­ing, but it sounds from your poem like you’ve de­cided to bow out. It’s un­der­stand­able. Whether as tar­get, ally, or ap­palled by­stander, this has been a try­ing week. The lines where you start to lose the rhythm and just vent (“Cost of en­try in­cludes lack of sleep, help­ing el­derly peo­ple nav­i­gate poorly de­signed web­sites, and po­ten­tially trig­ger­ing your anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, PTSD, panic, OCD, etc., ad nau­seum”) cap­tures that frus­tra­tion per­fectly.

Have a great week­end. Thanks for writ­ing such an en­joy­able story.

Peter (aka P.D.)

Fe­bru­ary 11, 2017 at 10:13 am Su­san Read says: Thanks for this, Peter. A really nice mes­sage to wake up to (even as I see my karma fall­ing again, lol.. is this be­cause i said a thing?)

You nailed my hes­i­ta­tion to par­tic­i­pate this week (ap­palled by­stander is per­fect).. but my frus­tra­tions are with the inner work­ings of the com­pe­ti­tion, cer­tainly none of the au­thors or par­tic­i­pants. Frankly this whole karma thing, if it can’t be con­trolled (which is clearly the case) should not be weighted to votes. That is just ask­ing for vote ma­nip­u­la­tion, and the moral high ground WILL en­sure you lose.

I was look­ing for­ward to con­struc­tive feed­back from BP’S es­tab­lished read­er­ship, with au­thors par­tic­i­pat­ing but not re­lied upon to keep the en­tire com­ment board go­ing.

It also needs a re­design, can you just t’ief Red­dit’s code or what­ever? Col­lapsable com­ments. That’s all I’m sayin.

Any­way I never told my sup­port­ers to stop click­ing, I haven’t backed out, but I am also equally re­luc­tant to move for­ward. In case it is un­no­ticed, num­bers wise it looks like Kaitlin and I are in the bat­tle for who could care less. I can’t imag­ine keep­ing up with your vot­ers next week Peter! But good on you for ral­ly­ing and per­se­ver­ing. You are stronger than I, at least at what­ever this is.

If I do scrape into the next round (it re­mains a close bat­tle), I would like to come back to the mes­sage board and get back to dis­cussing the sto­ries based on their merit, and find­ing ways to learn from one an­other as au­thors. At least un­til the board gets this crazy long again.

I really en­joyed your story, Peter, I owe you a cri­tique and will make a point to do one. More im­por­tantly, I just had a rev­e­la­tion, you should be a teacher!! What do you do now? Teach. I think you are a nat­u­ral.

Fe­bru­ary 11, 2017 at 11:25 am Kaitlin Trem­blay says: Hey Su­san, I just wanted to chime in that I agree with you’ve said here, es­pe­cially about for who­ever makes it through to the next round for the mes­sage board and com­ments to fo­cus on what we can learn from each other Read­ing the thought­ful com­ments and cri­tiques on each story and learn­ing and grow­ing from each other is an im­por­tant and fun process.

Def­i­nitely ku­dos to ev­ery­one who has the en­ergy to be so ral­ly­ing! Gen­uinely im­pressed with so many here

As al­ways, con­tin­ued good luck to ev­ery­one, both in this and out­side of this! Fe­bru­ary 10, 2017 at 9:24 am Su­san Read says: The com­ment board is un­for­giv­ing. You can­not take back, Or soften with a gen­tle tone; There is no undo, No friend to phone. Your words are judged At ev­ery click, While strangers tell you You’re a dick. It’s sick. But we don’t want to for­feit. It hurts but we’re too proud to fold. Surge ahead with a rush of en­dor­phins, Fall behind ‘cos my friends are too old. This con­test should come with a warn­ing, But not just to thicken our skins; It’s a click ev­ery night, noon, and morn­ing, That’s over be­fore it be­gins. Cost of en­try in­cludes lack of sleep, help­ing el­derly peo­ple nav­i­gate poorly de­signed web­sites, and po­ten­tially trig­ger­ing your anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, PTSD, panic, OCD, etc., ad nau­seum. Oh, and nau­sea. It will def­i­nitely cause that. Best of luck to the bots who de­serve it, Best of days to the peo­ple who cared; May your life be for you, and be worth it; May you never re­gret that you dared.

Fe­bru­ary 11, 2017 at 1:41 am om­crae says: I have ap­pre­ci­ated your writ­ing very much through­out this com­pe­ti­tion. Once again you have skill­fully shown your tal­ent.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.