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We walk into the apartment building.  The building for old people.  

It smells like old people.

We silently take the elevator to the second floor; her room is 205.  Mom has the key, so she opens the door. The apartment is so empty.  No little old ladies with white hair and a waggling crooked finger.

Empty.

There's still newspaper on the floor by the door.  Mom and I remove our shoes and put them on the newspaper, lest her ghost throw shoes at us.  Or, maybe, hit us with a broom.  She never did it to me, but Mom says she used to.

The pantry is full of food; mostly Fig Newtons.  We always brought her Italian cookies when we came to visit, but she'd make us eat them while we were there.  We would insist they were for her, but what good were cookies without someone to share them with?  Italian cookies, Fig Newtons, and tea.

The cookie jar on the counter is full of tea bags.  You could never have Italian cookies and Fig Newtons without tea.  Or, coffee, though Mom always said I couldn't have any.  Tea with milk and sugar for me.  The taste still reminds me of her.

We venture into the bedroom.  The bed is made perfectly; the covers don't move, even when we sit on them.  I wonder who made the bed.  Was it her, or did someone else come and make it after the fact?  Did she make it that morning before she fell in the laundry room?

Jesus is staring at us from His cross on the wall.  I stare back.  He looks sad.  I guess I wouldn't feel happy, either, if I were nailed to a cross.  He's with her now.  I bet He's smiling over her.  There's a rosary on the dresser.

Mom is opening the dresser drawers now.  The top drawer has no clothes; only pictures.  Ninety-five years of pictures.  Flower shops, grandchildren, sisters, daughters.  A deceased son; he never left home.  Died of a stroke nine years before.  She found him when she came back from grocery shopping.  I still remember her weeping over his grave.

We put the pictures away and get up from the bed; the covers still don't move.  I follow Mom into the living room.  The new television we bought her sits on top of the old one.  She liked the old one; it had the dial to change the channels, but you couldn't get cable on it, and it was so old, too.  She didn't like the remote control at first, but she got used to it.

There are pictures everywhere.  Almost a century of love and memories on the walls and almost every surface.  The glass cabinets are full of trinkets; the key is still in the cabinet door.  Mom says I can take something.  I take a little plastic elephant, but nothing more.  It will go nicely with my collection.  I don't even collect elephants, but somehow I got a collection.  I just have so many that people think I do, and they give me more.  

I guess I did collect this one.

There's a wedding picture on the wall.  It's black and white, from seventy years ago.  She looked so young and so beautiful.  She must have been so happy.

The are albums full of pictures in the drawers here, too.  We take some.  She won't mind.

I look in the pantry on the way out; the orange juice isn't there.  She told me once that she kept it there, and after that, I was always glad I never drank any.

We pick up our shoes from the newspaper and leave, and the apartment is empty once more.
My great-grandmother, Grandma Josie, died on June 10, 2007. She slipped on some water and hurt her hip in the laundry room across from her apartment, and they did surgery; she didn't recover. We lived in Maine at the time, and she lived in Syracuse, New York, so we came back for the funeral. My Nana (her daughter) sent us in to her apartment to see if anything needed to be put in order and to see if we wanted anything before my cousins got there. What I remember most is the still, quiet emptiness of the apartment, and how even though she wasn't there, it still felt like her. This was five years ago now, but I still miss my Grandma Josie like crazy. She was a feisty old woman, and I look forward to seeing her in heaven one day.

Questions for critiquers:
- How is the flow? Where can it be tweaked?
- I was trying to go for a lonely, quiet sort of feel here. How did I do? Can it be improved? How?
- Are there any grammatical/orthographic errors?
- Are the details too personal to be understood, or did I explain them well enough? I wanted the piece to be personal as well as accessible.

:iconthewrittenrevolution:
Critique: [link]

OHMYGOD A DD I I I I DON'T EVEN OMG
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-01-01
Epitaph for an Old Italian Woman by =snurtz The suggester writes, "A deeply personal nonfiction piece that is nevertheless a moving and lovely piece of literature for a public audience. The prose is to-the-point, simple, direct, short. And yet, for all its crispness, it manages to be sweet and sentimental." ( Suggested by pinballwitch and Featured by thorns )
:iconanotheroddity:
It is a masterpiece of simplicity. The piece flows very well, and has a lovely smooth feel.

The little ambient things are listed in clever detail that really adds accent to the piece. It is a piece of love, quiet, and nostalgia.
It has motivation/reason, an exemplary technique, and leaves a calm, yet yearning impact. A reader can relate, understand, or simply learn.

I enjoy the technique of 'a simplistic masterpiece' , which I feel is a piece that is full of detailed elements and beauty, but is yet still filled with of a beautiful simplistic character.

This was a good read, thanks :)
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
22 out of 22 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

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:iconpanicrusnik09:
PaniCrusnik09 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013
I'm crying now. Of fear, for I selfishly don't want to lose my own. Such a poignant piece, to instill these... Thank you for the strength to write and share this.
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Writer
I'm sorry to make you cry! <3
Reply
:iconpranavmash:
pranavmash Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013
This is beautiful writing. Sorry to hear about your loss. Such writing is a wonderful way to keep memories alive. Joy and Love!
Reply
:iconpinballwitch:
pinballwitch Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013
Ahaha so glad ^thorns decided to feature it! :D Congrats congrats congrats!!!
Reply
:iconkaye00:
Kaye00 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
This reminds me of my Grandma. Basically everything in this sounds like her.
Reply
:iconkyanitearcher:
KyaniteArcher Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Brilliant and smooth. You really captured the feel you were aiming for here; it's as if I can smell the dust and old-people smell of the room. Congrats on the DD :)
Reply
:iconredemmo:
Redemmo Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
I have one critique, this line bothers me:

I look in the pantry on the way out; the orange juice isn't there. She told me once that she kept it there, and after that, I was always glad I never drank any.

Maybe I'm just being thick and not reading the nuances properly, but the line seems out of place. "I was always glad I never drank any" is a rejection, and I just can't see how it's supposed to meld with the rest.

This piece is very touching, though. It has a good opening; the shortness of the first sentences reassures readers that it's not going to be a ramble. If it'd been a long descriptive paragraph at the beginning, it probably would have scared off most readers. Personally, I especially like the bit about the elephant collection, and how "I guess I did collect this one."

Cheers,
Redemmo
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks for your critique! I can understand how you'd think that - I just sort of thought it was a funny little fact about my grandmother. I remember one time that she was at our house, and we pulled the orange juice out of the fridge. She said, "Oh, you keep yours in the fridge? I keep mine in the pantry." It was just one of those silly old lady things. ^_^

Thank you for all your kind comments <3
Reply
:iconfallure:
FAlLURE Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist
So sad. Personally, I've never experienced the death of a grandmother. It must've been tough.
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Writer
It was, but I knew her time was soon... I mean, she was 95 years old. The last time I saw her, I said goodbye to her in a way that I knew I'd be satisfied with if I never saw her again. That helped a lot. :)
Reply
:iconholygreatgrandparome:
holygreatgrandparome Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is disturbingly alike to an experience I witnessed, Italian grandmother and all. She was my great-great-aunt, but still. Thank you for writing this, and congrats on the DD!!!
Reply
:iconveeseegoth:
veeseegoth Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
today viewers, tomorrow contractors. no exception there. democracy.
Reply
:iconlindenare:
Lindenare Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I read this when you first submitted it and enjoyed the simplicity and descriptions; now look at the shiny DD! Congratulations again, my friend.
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you love! <3
Reply
:iconsenshistock:
SenshiStock Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
This was lovely and touching to read. I'm happy it was featured. So much love! :heart:
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you so much!!! :heart:
Reply
:iconmacabreaustererelume:
MacabreAustereRelume Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013   Writer
You captured the moment beautifully. I couldn't stop reading, just wanting to sink in the emotions.
Reply
:iconatram95:
atram95 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Is Magnificent!! Congratulation I love it!!
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
thank you!
Reply
:iconjswebb:
jswebb Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013   Writer
This was an intriguing read, and the author's comments enhanced the connection for me. I have lived in Syracuse my entire life. Do you happen to remember where her apartment was in the city? I'm just curious; the frame of reference could make this story even more poignant for me.
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
It was outside of the city, actually in East Syracuse... I think it was on Kinney Street.
Reply
:iconjswebb:
jswebb Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013   Writer
Oh, okay. I know exactly where Kinne Street is.

I am very sorry for your loss; I recently lost my grandfather on December 26th, so I relate to this story very much. Thank you for sharing it with us here.
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
aww, I'm so sorry! It sucks when people are taken from us. Thank you for your kind comments.
Reply
:iconstory-of-a-mind:
Story-of-a-Mind Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
It reminds me strongly of walking trough each of the empty houses of my grandparents. Different times and places, but both had this empty feel to them while in the same time being filled with memories. Even some precious little gems of texts and pictures that made me learn something more about my loved ones even after their death. Thank you for writing this.
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you for your kind comments. <3 I think that everyone who has lost a loved one can identify.
Reply
:iconstory-of-a-mind:
Story-of-a-Mind Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I wanted to write something for one of my grandpas, too, maybe even both of them. I just didn't manage to do so up to now. Now maybe your story can help me to do so. :)
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
Get on it! A story about loss is something that people can really relate to - and it really helps to sort through your own feelings!
Reply
:iconstory-of-a-mind:
Story-of-a-Mind Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I finally managed to write something about one of my grandpas. You can find it here if you would like to read it: Old Hands
Reply
:icondoggirlinu:
doggirlinu Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:party:
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Congrats on the well deserved DD! :heart:
Have a nice day and Happy New Year! :holly:
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you! <3 Happy New Year!
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! :holly:
Reply
:iconinqsthuyen:
InqsThuyen Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Photographer
I can totally relate, though it was a grandfather i was close to. I can;t really explain it well though, but the first few words caught me. It somehow speaks directly to me, like something pouring out without really telling everything. Can i say, saying a lot without saying anything. Your work more of shows the feeling of entering a room that is Empty. More of a gap, like that of feeling something in the dark of the room an finding out it is not there any longer. I really wish I could simplify all of this. But there really is something that you feel connected to as a reader. It's as if I had already expected what i would find and had found it.
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
I know what you're getting at. What you're trying to describe is not describable in the English language. Thank you for your lovely comments. <3
Reply
:iconteddybearcholla:
teddybearcholla Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
So wonderfully written, I was smiling and crying at the same time. Thank you for sharing a bit of your life! :heart: Congratulations on your DD! :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
I'm... glad it got a reaction? Is that the right thing to say when I've made someone cry? Haha idek. But thank you!
Reply
:iconteddybearcholla:
teddybearcholla Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Sure it is, right. I remember my art teacher long ago telling us students, paint what you know best. And I believe the same goes for writing!
You're welcome!
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013   Writer
I've got to "fave and run" right now (I'm falling asleep!) but will gladly read a piece like this. Thank you! :+fav:
Reply
:iconscapegoatie:
scapegoatie Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
This is a wonderful read. I wouldn't change anything about it. I felt like I was reading about my own Grandma; she's an old Italian woman too, and though she's still alive, reading this makes me think I'm reading about her death in the future. Even the bit about the TV rang true with me; she hates the widescreen TV her second husband salvaged from the trash when it was still practically brand new. It's so funny how this is about your grandma, but it makes me feel like it's my own. It's disturbing too. But that makes me like it more. Great work. :heart:
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
I guess I'm glad and I'm sorry? haha. I'm glad it rung true with you, and I'm sorry that I made you sad, I guess!
Reply
:iconinqsthuyen:
InqsThuyen Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Photographer
yes, i was reading about my grandfather as well. I could totally feel it there. The first five sentences felt like an outpouring of floodwater. Something that could get you enveloped over. But somehow, I like and LOVE the effect the writer made. Showing what she saw without saying everything, it allows the reader to FILL IN THE GAPS, that in itself gives a strong feeling of relating, something that every reader looks at, something that they can relate with.
Reply
:iconbrassteeth:
brassteeth Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
Was great when you posted it, seems even better now. Congratulations on a well deserved D.D!
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you! <3
Reply
:iconmechanicalfantasy:
mechanicalfantasy Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
Sad...
Reply
:iconpinballwitch:
pinballwitch Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012
:aww: The prose is to-the-point, simple, direct, short. And yet, for all its crispness, it manages to be sweet and sentimental--and the style itself suggests some of the emptiness. I felt it as I read; the loss lingers in the space in between the lines. Well done.

I love the orange juice part, and the elephant collection.

Throughout the piece, you include details that are specific and personal, and they hint at who your grandma was--except, of course, they aren't her. It's personal and accessible, and yet we still don't know your grandmother, not really, because she's not there, but we get some sense of her. It's another way the prose itself echoes the emptiness left behind.

I'm sorry that I don't see a specific place that begs for tweaking, nor have I caught any errors. In my opinion, you've done a very impressive job of putting together a deeply personal piece that is nevertheless a lovely piece of literature for a public audience :nod:

:iconthewrittenrevolution:
Reply
:iconinqsthuyen:
InqsThuyen Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Photographer
I could not say it, but Pinballwitch had said it all. All i can say while reading was "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

The elephant collection, that's heavy stuff.

The prose is yes, to-the-point, personal but subtle in the details, very visual, there are enough gaps to as the other comments said, to give the feeling of emptiness.
Reply
:iconpinballwitch:
pinballwitch Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013
aha I love the little emoticon with the punching bag :D very appropriate choice there
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so much for your kind words! <3 I'm glad you felt that it accomplished my goal.. that makes me really happy! :D
Reply
:iconswangal:
Swangal Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
lovely (though sad) story
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Student Writer
thanks love~
Reply
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