Original:

“Loomings.

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.”

MLA (Modern Language Assoc.)
Melville, Herman. Moby Dick, Or, The Whale. The Floating Press, 2008.

APA (American Psychological Assoc.)
Melville, H. (2008). Moby Dick, Or, The Whale. [Auckland, N.Z.]: The Floating Press.

 

 

Mine:

Loomings.

Call me Marcella Loomings. He left me with nothing so I gave back his leftover paperwork.  His next wife can carry it.  All I am now is a one bedroom on the 3rd with a galley kitchen. Not even a stray cat to feed at the window. My days are squandered washing dishes dirtied by yachting tourists with someone else’s name tag pinned to my shirt.

   They sneer and smirk, snarky shark women in sunhats and bright darkened glasses. They titter giggling laughs behind raised fingers and I find myself growing grim.  They splash their drinks on the cloths, tiny ‘oppsies’ falling from fish lips. I consider deliberately following them into the street to knock off their hats and stomp on them. It requires a strong moral principle to not scream in their faces that locals are people too.  They trundle back to happy ocean camp.  I stand to my elbows in suds, never to see the same two suntan lathered faces again.

   The liner’s sardine packed with unwitty pathetics from faraway lands, ripe for the picking by Somali pirates… or just ripe for picking.  All people, at some time or other, harbor the very same feelings stirring my guts. Look, oh fate, someone dropped a boarding pass. Not surprising.

 

The image of a pistol, the ocean, and me… firing.

    My brother has a gun. He’s home.

        The ship leaves for open waters in a little over an hour.

            Marcella Loomings… soon to board the Queen of the Sea.

 

 

   Moby Dick is a literary classic, so I thought I’d flip gears to suspense/horror. Very little of the original remains. I did away with most of the antiquated language, like ‘driving off the spleen’ and the ‘ball’ to go with the pistol, in order to present a more modern tale. The narrator is also female, deliberately.  Maybe a touch cliché, but female villains, if portrayed with zest and care, can be far more frightening than a man  in a clown suit wielding a bloodied ax (thinking of you Annie Wilkes.)

   In the original, Melville writes “having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore” and Ishmael goes on to explain all the forlorn, miserable, gloomy things he finds himself doing.  In my version, I tried to show that feeling of aloneness, disassociation, and detachment.  Then use it as the fuel to soon be ignited by one too many inconsiderate guffaws.

   As for the formatting, that was also intentional.  I left the first line as well as the opening line to the first paragraph sit on the left-hand side of the page.  It’s a sort of blah look to go with the bleck feeling of the narrator.  The following two paragraphs are of normal format, depicting normality in Marcella’s life. The change in her character… the realization… starts at the fourth to last line, thus the shift in formatting.  If I were to continue writing this story, I would go back to normal formatting in the next paragraph, and shift again where needed.

 

~Sarah Ockershausen Delp

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