The Unknown: The Orange Line.
Reader Critique

To: Frank Marquardt
From: Scott
Date: November 21, 1994
Story: What She Said

I like this story. I think (or suspect or whatever) that you are doing something here that is very difficult to do, liberally using your own experience in your writing, even using your own name. Regardless of the source, this is a well written portrayal of a sensitive individual’s desperate attempt to establish some kind of companionship. Yet at the same time, you can see things from the woman’s point of view, why she might not want to get involved with this slightly obsessive individual. The story is still rough, and I don’t see the point of some of the tangents, and I’m not sure that I completely understand the structure. Some specific criticisms:

  • The Lewis Mumford exposition doesn’t fit for me. I don’t see what significance it has to the specific “themes” of the story; the Garden City thing doesn’t have much to do with sexuality or human relationships.

  • The constant use of the f — — - g blanks irritates the s — t out of me. If you’re just doing this to avoid using real names (like Steak and Shake)—don’t. It’s cute and pointless.

  • Also, there are a couple of places where you use “she said” instead of “she asked”—is this just cuteness with the title?

  • Good restaurants in Chicago include the Parthenon in Greektown, the Irish Village on the Northwest Side, Gino’s or Lou Malnati’s for pizza, The Pelican (I think) for Bohemian, anywhere around Wrigleyville for Mexican, The Berghoff downtown, Chinese in Chinatown, and some great Thai joints around Bucktown.

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