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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default "Stieg" part one

    This is the first part of my short story, Stieg. Please, would you correct my mistakes.

    Stieg had struggled hard until the last day. Although in his eighty years he had experienced many drawbacks and difficult situations, the last months had become a nightmare. It began when one of his three children proposed that he should leave the house and move to a nursing home. His youngest son had talked with a friend who gave him advice that the house should be sold before the father died. In that way, they would pay lower tax. “Why should we waste our money and give it to the state, when we already pay one of the highest taxes in the world? Why should we fund our politicians who are already rich and live in their fantasy world without any contact with reality?” Henrik asked. Lotta, whom Stieg loved enormously until that moment, joined her brother with the words, “Father, you’re too old to take care of yourself.” She held Stieg’s gnarled hand with her well-manicured fingers, gave him an apprehensive look and said, “You know well that there is no doctor in the village. Your neighbours are old themselves. If something happens, who is going to help you?” He scrutinized her beautiful face, thinking, you bitch! I know you’re greedy, but I could not imagine you’ll sink so low. He remembered how she sat on his knees even when she became a mature woman, and how she kissed him, hugged him and purred like a cat. He was proud of her when he gained her academic degree, he was overjoyed when she married and gave birth to her two children, but today he wanted to disown her. She and her husband had a house and a holiday cottage, two cars, all possible gadgets and appliances, and still, they were dissatisfied. Their salaries were high; they could travel all over the world and eat in the best restaurants, but their greed made them ever hungrier, greedier.

    Stieg glanced at his oldest son, Thomas, who was reclining on the sofa, hiding behind his spectacles. He was teaching students philosophy, but here he seemed to have forgotten what the wise men of the past said about morals and ethics. He avoided his father’s eyes, looking at the window, although outside was nothing to be seen but an overcast sky. Let’s hear what Socrates and Kant say about avarice, he wanted to ask Thomas, just to see him blushing and squirming, but decided to remain silent. His children had already made up their mind and just waited for his consent, his defeat.
    Now Stieg understood why they had been so kind to him lately. Since he had become a widow five years ago, they would come mostly two, three times a year, but lately, they would arrive almost every month, with their cars and their children, after which his house and orchard would reverberate with the merry voices and laughter of his grandchildren. At first, he was delighted to see them, but when he understood the real reason for their visits, Stieg became restrained.
    When they left, he would go into the orchard, smell the grass, trees and flowers, and promise himself he will die in the house, where he and his wife had spent so many beautiful years. His poor wife must have been turning in her grave. As long as she was alive, her children had been the most important thing in her life. She gave them so much love and care; she sacrificed so much to make them happy, but look how they returned the favour – by treating their own father as expendable goods.
    For Stieg, his wife was still alive. He kept all her clothes in the wardrobe, her jewels and perfumes on the dressing table, and in the hall on the coat rack there were still her jackets and coats. It pained him to think of the day when he would be gone away forever. His children would throw themselves like vultures over every valuable object, without feeling bad conscience.
    The thought of spending his last days in a nursing home filled Stieg with fear. Here, in his own house he was comfortable. He ate what he wanted, he slept whenever he liked and as long as he wanted, and he watched TV or listened to the radio without anyone telling him to change the program. He never felt bored, because there was always something to do in the house or in the orchard. If something went broken, he did not need to call a tradesman, he was able to repair almost everything by himself. Whether it was about replacing broken tiles in the bathroom, repairing a leak or unblocking the sink drain, Stieg always did the job properly, like a professional. He had an old Volvo, which he used now and then to drive to the nearby town to do his shopping or to visit the post office. Sometimes, the old machine would jam or not work properly, but Stieg, knowing it inside out, could tell what was wrong with it just by listening to it.
    When the weather was nice in spring and summer, Stieg would sit in his orchard and enjoy reading books, magazines and papers under the blossoming trees and twittering birds. He could not imagine parting with all these beautiful things, which for him were priceless. He could not imagine selling part of him. It would feel like an amputation of a limb, or cutting out an organ. It was true that he felt lonely. His closest neighbours were an old couple who lived in a house about fifty meters away. They both were in poor health and hardly could walk, and it was just a matter of time when they would be moved away to a nursing home. Stieg could not remember when he spoke to them lately; it must have been months ago. Nowadays, besides his children his only visitors were a postman and a newspaper delivery man, whom he occasionally would invite for a cup of coffee or a beer. The village was dying. Young people had already moved to Stockholm, Gothenburg and other cities where they could find job and have comfortable life. They would return here only to sell their respective properties and never indulge in nostalgia. This was what bothered Stieg the most. Young people were not tied to their roots as their parents had been. Almost in an instant, they could move away hundreds or thousands of kilometres and never look back. For them, land and roots meant nothing. They were only interested in profit and money, which they would spend buying more gadgets and lifeless things, searching in vain for satisfaction.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: "Stieg" part one

    Please bear in mind that we are volunteers here, with limited time to spare. Your post is quite long so it might be quite some time before someone has long enough to go through it.

    My first comment is about your first sentence. What do you mean by "the last day"? The last day of Stieg's life? The last day that the world existed? The last day of your story? It may be that the rest of your story makes the context clear but as an opening line, it needs work. If you're talking about the last day of his life, then call it "his last day".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "Stieg" part one

    I wrote intentionally only " until the last day" because I wanted for the readers to find for themselves what that "last day" should be. They could find the answer if they continue to read the story. But if that sound ungrammatically wrong, I am wondering if I could write instead. " Stieg had struggled hard until the last day to remain in his home." ?

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: "Stieg" part one

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I wrote intentionally only " until the last day" because I wanted for the readers to find for themselves what that "last day" should be. They could find the answer if they continue to read the story. But if that sound ungrammatically wrong, I am wondering if I could write instead. " Stieg had struggled hard until the last day to remain in his home." ?
    No, that doesn't work either. "The last day ..." sounds like the end of the world. If you say "until the last day he lived in his own home", it works but you have given away your secret. You can say "Stieg struggled hard until the end". That way, many people will think you mean "until he/she died" but some will simply wonder what you mean. At least that retains an air of mystery.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #5
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "Stieg" part one

    I am wondering if I could simply write, "Stieg had fought hard to the end to remain in his home."?

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: "Stieg" part one

    Yes, that works.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  7. #7
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "Stieg" part one

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    This is the first part of my short story, Stieg. Please, would you correct my mistakes.

    Stieg had struggled hard until the last day. Although in his eighty years he had experienced many drawbacks and difficult situations, the last months had become a nightmare. It began when one of his three children proposed that he should leave the house and move to a nursing home. His youngest son had talked with a friend who gave him advice (Either "advised him", or, "told him") that the house should be sold before the his father died. In that way, they would pay lower taxes. “Why should we waste our money and give it to the state, when we already pay one of the highest taxes in the world? Why should we fund our politicians who are already rich and live in their fantasy world without any contact with reality?” Henrik asked. Lotta, whom Stieg loved enormously until that moment, joined her brother with the words, “Father, you’re too old to take care of yourself.” She held Stieg’s gnarled hand with her well-manicured fingers, gave him an apprehensive look and said, “You know well that there is no doctor in the village. Your neighbours are old themselves. If something happens, who is going to help you?” He scrutinized her beautiful face, thinking, "You bitch!" I know you’re greedy, but I could not imagine you’ll you'd sink so low. He remembered how she sat on his knees even when she became a mature woman, and how she kissed him, hugged him and purred like a cat (kitten is better here). He was proud of her when he gained her academic degree, he was overjoyed when she married and gave birth to her two children, but today he wanted to disown her. She and her husband had a house and a holiday cottage, two cars, all possible gadgets and appliances, and still, they were dissatisfied. Their salaries were high; they could travel all over the world and eat in the best restaurants, but their greed made them ever hungrier, greedier.

    Stieg glanced at his oldest son, Thomas, who was reclining on the sofa, hiding behind his spectacles. He was teaching students philosophy, but here he seemed to have forgotten what the wise men of the past said about morals and ethics. He avoided his father’s eyes, looking at the window, although outside was nothing to be seen but an overcast sky. Let’s hear what Socrates and Kant say about avarice, he wanted to ask Thomas, just to see him blushing and squirming, but decided to remain silent. His children had already made up their minds and just waited for his consent, his defeat.
    Now Stieg understood why they had been so kind to him lately. Since he had become a widower five years ago, they would come mostly two or three times a year, but lately, they would arrive almost every month, with their cars and their children, after which his house and orchard would reverberate with the merry voices and laughter of his grandchildren. At first, he was delighted to see them, but when he understood the real reason for their visits, Stieg became restrained.
    When they left, he would go into the orchard, smell the grass, trees and flowers, and promised himself he will would die in the house, where he and his wife had spent so many beautiful years. His poor wife must have been turning in her grave. As long as she was alive, her children had been the most important thing in her life. She gave them so much love and care; she sacrificed so much to make them happy, but look how they returned the favour – by treating their own father as expendable goods.
    For Stieg, his wife was still alive. He kept all her clothes in the wardrobe, her jewels and perfumes on the dressing table, and in the hall on the coat rack there were still her jackets and coats. It pained him to think of the day when he would be gone away forever. His children would throw themselves like vultures over every valuable object, without feeling having a bad conscience.
    The thought of spending his last days in a nursing home filled Stieg with fear. Here, in his own house, he was comfortable. He ate what he wanted, he slept whenever he liked and as long as he wanted, and he watched TV or listened to the radio without anyone telling him to change the program. He never felt bored, because there was always something to do in the house or in the orchard. If something went was broken, he did not need to call a tradesman, he was able to repair almost everything by himself. Whether it was about replacing broken tiles in the bathroom, repairing a leak or unblocking the sink drain, Stieg always did the job properly, like a professional. He had an old Volvo, which he used now and then to drive to the nearby town to do his shopping or to visit the post office. Sometimes, the old machine would jam or not work properly, but Stieg, knowing it inside out, could tell what was wrong with it just by listening to it.
    When the weather was nice in spring and summer, Stieg would sit in his orchard and enjoy reading books, magazines and papers under the blossoming trees and twittering birds. He could not imagine parting with all these beautiful things, which for him were priceless. He could not imagine selling part of himself. It would feel like an amputation of a limb, or cutting out an organ. It was true that he felt lonely. His closest neighbours were an old couple who lived in a house about fifty meters away. They both were in poor health and hardly could walk, and it was just a matter of time when they would be moved away to a nursing home. Stieg could not remember when he spoke to them lately last; it must have been months ago. Nowadays, besides his children his only visitors were a the postman and a newspaper delivery man, whom he occasionally would invite for a cup of coffee or a beer. The village was dying. Young people had already moved to Stockholm, Gothenburg and other cities where they could find job (Either a job or jobs) and have a comfortable life. They would return here only to sell their respective properties and never indulge in nostalgia. This was what bothered Stieg the most. Young people were not tied to their roots as their parents had been. Almost in an instant, they could move away hundreds or thousands of kilometres away and never look back. For them, land and roots meant nothing. They were only interested in profit and money, which they would spend buying more gadgets and lifeless things, searching in vain for satisfaction.
    TO BE CONTINUED
    Gil

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