Saturday, October 30, 2010

We have a winner in the FOREST FOR THE TREES writing contest!

There was an amazing wealth of talent on display in this contest! It was great fun to read your entries. And as a bonus, we learned some interesting things:

Like, Cullen is a plant!
Vinny (3:05pm)

And a poet (other than Countee!)
Rebecca LuElla Miller (6:34pm)
Germaine.dulac (7:49pm

A town in Scotland
M.A.Leslie (10:54pm)

A number!
Patty 12:44am

SarahW (5:38pm) Got almost all the connections right
except Temple which is Temple Grandin, one of Betsy's clients.

Special recognition for one exquisite line:
Together we do not hope as we watch the road
Alii Silverwing (7:35pm)

These entries were weird, but enticing

Alaskaravenclaw (4:25pm)
Rachael Harrie (1:45am)

Nicely done but not really a story

Lauren Doyle (3:46pm)
Cameron (4:18pm)

Adrienne (4:48pm)
Taratyler (5:33pm)

AKDD (9:12pm)
Jjdebenedictis (3:14pm)

Nicely done stories:
Melanie (4:53pm)
Stephen Duncan (6:01pm)

Mags (8:21pm)
Christwriter (9:12pm)

Showinguptowrite (9:55pm)
Peladon (9:14am)

Nate Wilson (10:21am)
Alexis Lampley (11:54am)

Rea (7:37pm)
Kay Bigelow (8:50pm)


Jdh (5:24pm)
Patty (12:44am)
Caroline (1:18am)

Each one of these is exquisite in a different way.

Rachel Searles (9:41pm)

With her at my side, it’s easier to come back to the Midwestern town I grew up loathing. Kids here grow up in shoebox homes on narrow streets, biking to the Dairy-Freez and summer blockbusters, morphing into teens who drink Bud at field parties.

Lucy is different. A city girl, she wears heavy eyeliner, has an affinity for scarves that she picked up during a summer in Paris, recites Countee Cullen poems for fun. My mother still isn’t speaking to me in full sentences.

I kiss the soft skin of her temple to wake her.

“Morning, Alanna,” she whispers, smiling.

Bingol (9:58pm) (Sadly, this entry is disqualified because the writer entered twice)

I. Paris
She didn't know why she'd imagined things would be different here.

II. Kids
They were the best things in her life, largely because they'd undermined every other source of pleasure.

III. Cullen
He wanted to strip her from the straightjacket of her marriage, to cradle her in his brown hands.

IV. Loathing
He didn't understand that in the slanted light of the illicit afternoons, his wrists were buckles and his fingers straps.

V. Temple
She would recite the mourner's kaddish and light a yarzeit candle. She would pretend the person she mourned was already dead.

Charlie Pratt (4:20pm)
The kids were doubled over in the back, vomiting. We’d arrived in Paris that morning, only to discover that my loathing of a child’s griping is eclipsed only by the stench of half-digested Roquefort, which was having a soggy rendezvous with the rear floorboards. The rented Peugot, a name which now seemed quite appropriate, transformed from fuel-efficient adventure-temple into a mobile bastille of whine and cheese, while I knew, like the Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen knew, that I must “hide the heart that bleeds, and wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.”

The winner after several agonizing re-readings is Charlie Pratt. Congratulations Charlie!


Michael G-G said...

Good on ya, Charlie Pratt. I loved your "mobile bastille of whine and cheese" line.

All the finalists were breathtaking.

Can we have another contest soon, please??!? (MG-G continues to whine and cheese)

Anne R. Allen said...

Absolute brilliance Mr. Pratt!

These are phenomenal. Amazing how much great writing appears in these contests.

Anonymous said...

I intended to enter another three or four times, such is my devotion to La Lerner, but in the end I watched old episodes of 'Wipeout' instead. I like to think she would approve.

Jenny said...

Congratulations, Charlie! Well done.

Thanks, Janet. This was a fun contest. (I should have thought of Temple Grandin, as I live in Fort Collins, where she teaches at Colorado State University.)

Rachel Searles said...

Wow, thank you Janet! Made my weekend! Congrats to you, Charlie Pratt :)

Sarah W said...

Drat---wrong Temple.

Congratulations, Charlie---that's a wonderfully descriptive (and regrettably familiar) entry!

Soggier than a serpent's tooth is a grating child . . .

jjdebenedictis said...

Ooh, great stories from all the finalists! (I especially liked Bingol's. It created tension in every single snippet.)

Christina Auret said...

Congratulations Charlie, and well, wow.

Steve Stubbs said...

I agree. I did not have to agonize, either. I knew who the winner was without even scrolling down.

Damn, there's some talent on this list.

Rachael Harrie said...

Congrats to the winner. What a fun contest.


Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Congratulations to everyone. I'm loving these contests. Thanks Janet.

M.A.Leslie said...

Janet, thank you for the contest. I look forward to another in the future. Great stories everyone.

Terri Coop said...

WOO HOO! Way to go to the finalists. Although Charlie, I have to stretch reality to think of a child eating Roquefort, it serves the parents right to be stuck in Parisian traffic in a bastille of whine and cheese. Roquefort . . . blarg!

My own nano-epic of a loathesome roadtrip starting in Athens Georgia to Temple by way of Paris, Texas just didn't make it off the drawing board. Just as well, y'all opened a can of whup-ass on this contest.

dylan said...

Congrats Charlie Pratt

Years ago I spent time writing pop-songs with a friend.

Telling a story (or trying to) with such a limited amount of words reminds me of that experience. Both require such discipline.

Not that the other experience did anything for my batting average in these contests.


stacy said...

Congratulations, Charlie!

Charlie Pratt said...

Thanks, all! I read some fantastic stuff in that comment section. This was fun. Thanks to J.R. for a fun contest. :)

jdh said...

Sometimes I read these and wish that the writer would carry on with the story. Charlie's story is one of these cases. Such a strong voice revealed in around 100 words (sorry I am too lazy to count). Congrats!

Dave Cullen said...

Congratulations, Charlie. Nicely done.

I really enjoyed this, Janet. Thanks for using me in the contest, even if almost no one actually used me. haha.

I was fascinated to discover a poet and a town in Scotland share my name. (Scotland might just be my favorite place in the world. Toss-up with Vietnam. Slightly different climates. Neither is their best feature.)