Below is the page up for critique on the blog on Thursday. Feel free to chime in with comments, create your own redline (please note the "font colour" button above the posting box, which looks like a drop of ink), and otherwise offer feedback. When offering your feedback, please please remember to be polite and constructive. In order to leave a comment you will need to register an account in the Forums, which should be self-explanatory.
I'll be back later with my own post on the blog and we'll literally be able to compare notes.
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Despair and Hope: Prologue
As flames engulfed the grotesque face of the monstrous 50-foot marionette, Zozobra’s horrendous growls and moans tore at Joe Rockwell’s soul. A host of people gathered in the darkness of Santa Fe’s Fort Marcy Park crowding in on him like the suffocating grief Joe had felt since his wife, Maggie, had lost her battle with cancer two months ago.
Thousands flocked to Santa Fe each year on the Thursday before Labor Day to the Burning of Zozobra, held during the Fiestas de Santa Fe. Zozobra, or “Old Man Gloom,” along the participants’ personal representations of their struggles, pain and disappointment of the past year, were destroyed in a deluge of flames and fireworks. Joe and Maggie came the year they moved to Santa Fe -- more than 10 years ago now -- and had been hooked.
It was a great exercise to write down their struggles -- losses, disappointments and problems -- and bring them to the festival. They would stand arm-in-arm or hand-in-hand and cheer as their gloom was destroyed in the inferno. Something about that physical process made a tangible emotional difference. On the way home, they found new excitement building toward the possibilities of the next year, and ideas began to flow.
This year was different. Maggie was not there, and that was it. His source of gloom. Tonight, Joe brought Maggie’s death certificate. This single item represented the nightmare this year had been: her final struggle with breast cancer, the pain and
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