My Nana always told me, “Stop pulling faces kiddo. If the wind changes your face will stick like  that”. But it didn’t, not even when the wind changed. I like pulling faces: I did then and I do now. Nana was the kindest of the people I want to talk about: the people who say ‘stop’.

“Stop doing that or you’ll go blind”: Well I never stopped and I never went blind (and my palms are utterly devoid of hair). What motivated you to foist this untruth on me? Did an adolescent’s sexuality intimidate you?

“Stop after that one, you’re getting drunk”: Before I was 16 years old this might have been a fair warning, these things creep up on the inexperienced.  But as an adult I think you can assume that if I keep ordering drinks it’s not because I am fascinated by the different flavours.

Special mention must be made of the commonest stop phrase. I’ve been told this by close friends and utter strangers, scholars and beggars: “Stop smoking it’s bad for you”.  People like you passed legislation that all cigarette boxes have warnings on them, just in case there was someone like me, who had by some miracle, missed decades of public information programs addressing the dangers of smoking. Do you really believe that my decision to smoke is rooted in ignorance of the health risks?

For all of these people, those who choose to instruct me, I have a simple message: “Stop!”

5 thoughts on “Rant”

  1. Cute!
    I liked the story and the circularity of the stop in the final sentence. It made me smile.
    The tone came across very well. It could have slid into whingey whiney bitchy, but it did not.

    I have a slight logical problem with “not even when the wind changed.” I thought Nana’s thing was only if the wind changes.

    The only other con crit items I have are technical.
    My punctuation eyebrows raised a few times. But maybe I have just have an oversensitive colon – see below.

    fair warning: these things
    Stop smoking: it’s bad for you

    And I’m sure the legislation sentence needs another comma after “who had.” Or maybe splitting.

    1. Glad you liked it – not really sure about the style. I suspect that the rewrite will be titled ‘The Slam Poet’s Rant’ and be a little more poetic extreme. This really is the sort of thing that needs live performance.

      Colons as tools to prefix expositions are a recent discovery for me – your guides excellent examples of where I should have used this new toy. I found it very difficult to keep the long rolling sentences (which seemed to be part of the rant) and keep the grammar acceptable to me – think my normal style tends more naturally to terse and minimal.

  2. This is a slightly didactic piece (or maybe an “anti-didactic”, considering the tone of it 😛 ) in which the narrator complains about people they have known trying to shape their behaviour by telling them to stop doing certain things: masturbating, drinking, smoking. The moral: telling people to “stop” is rooted in ones own insecurity or belief in the other person’s ignorance.

    The writing was generally good. I did have a little nit or two:

    > “Stop smoking[:] it’s bad for you”.
    I felt a need for some kind of punctuation or extra word (maybe “because”) in the above.

    > might have been a fair warning, these things creep up
    I don’t think the comma works here (the second phrase is an independent clause). I would have liked a semi-colon, colon, conjunction, or some-such.

    > My Nana always told me, “Stop pulling faces kiddo. If the wind
    > changes your face will stick like that”.
    I thought that — in this case, where someone is speaking — the final full-stop should be inside the quotations.

    My only real problem with the piece is that the narrator didn’t manage to gain any sympathy from me. On the plus side, the piece did feel quite strongly like a rant, but like most rants I felt it was very much someone tossing their toys out of anger and frustration.

  3. I enjoyed this. I could relate to it, I don’t smoke but I have other habits that I’ve been told to stop all my life [nail biting for one]. I feel a lighting storm of rage when I’m told to stop – I want to say ‘my fingers – leave me alone about it’.

    I liked the tone of the piece, I think it fits with the anger of being told to stop doing something all the time.

  4. This was a great rant and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was bitter and angry and made some good points. I particularly like “Nana was the kindest of the people I want to talk about”. It and Nana’s story add a familiarity and intimacy which take the edge off the rant and make it more accessible.

    I have a few grammatical issues: I would put a comma between “changes” and “your face”, and a semi-colon between “fair warning” and “these things” in the third paragraph, and between “Stop smoking” and “its bad for you”.

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