The Steve Forti Award for amazing machinations with prompt words goes of course to:
Steve Forti 8:13am
I think we may need to just have a whole book of Steve Forti entries at some point.
Not a story, but wrenching, heartbreaking to read
Mary Kathleen Mehuron 9:14am
and special recognition for the entries mentioning the alot!
Deb Smythe 10:11am
This isn't a story but it cracked me up completely
Amy Johnson 12:11pm
Oy, early polling was so promising. A request to lift my spirits: Regular commenters, lurkers, et al., Other than the election, share something noteworthy about this year, plus something you’re hopeful about for next year.
Colin: Bought a house this year. Very nice book deal next year?
Donnaeve: My debut. Even better sales next year.
Colin: Unpacked all boxes. Significant book deal?
french sojourn: Escargot. More escargot.
Colin: Hung all pictures. Major book deal? That makes three comments. Happy New Year!
Amy: Risked using humor. Cheers up queen/doesn’t get booted off blog?
The queen laughed.
A great name for a cat, one I might have to steal for future adventures with Her Grace, the Duchess of Yowl
Zoe Marzo 3:04pm
This isn't really a story but it's so beautiful I can't just let it go
leah reynolds 4:52pm
Ole Smokey's lined with rockers. Guy strums Cohen’s, So Long Marianne,
yearning for better days.
Bowie, too. I raise a whiskey. Goes down like Gatlinburg.
“Like he matters,” a voice echoes above the melody.
I tuck my head, rough skin, a shade darker than the bar.
Like I matter.
Gloves spoon - lovers next to my empty glass.
TV's mute. Images scroll across the screen: Vengeful Zealots;
Day of Judgement; One hell-fire missile at a time.
Screen fades. Custom orthopedics. Sad souls to happy soles.
“It's time that we began to laugh
…and cry and laugh about it all again.”
This isn't quite a story, but it's such a perfect example of innovative form and diction that I couldn't let it go unremarked
Karen McCoy 7:45pm
It happens every year. We meet, exchange pleasantries, and buy our respective dying evergreens. This time, she invites me over.
We talk about better days, when not every toy was plastic, or wrapped without batteries included. We share a lot of wine.
Is there hope this holiday season? Neither of us know. I ask her why she buys the brownest, most nonextant trees; she’d rather Death scythe them quickly instead of watching them suffer.
A strike of lightning outside—all the tree’s needles drop to the floor at the same time.
A wonderfully nuanced line
John David (manuscript) Frain 1:04am
The master bedroom, where she left everything - including the king-sized bed where we would both lie.
Lennon Faris 1:14pm
When my baby was a month, he colicked.
Exhausted, I held him.
When seven, he broke his arm skateboarding.
I rushed him to the hospital.
High school freshman year, he washed his hands, over and over.
I found him help and hope.
Tonight, University phone call: ICU, critical. I’m flying, hating her, praying.
My baby: ashen exterior, IV lines everywhere. Only the attacker dead, news blasts. A lot better than expected.
My hatred moves. After all, mine’s still alive. Exhausted, I hold him.
Hers isn’t. She can’t.
I’m sure she does, too.
Of course, this is entirely too topical for all of us, whether we've been touched personally by gun violence or not. The beauty here is in the the pairing, and the rhythm of the sentences. And it's just gorgeous writing. Simple, and elegent. There's not a word out of place.
Marie McKay 3:49pm
We were buddies, all three. For years, side by side, except on the narrower sidewalks where I'd drop back a pace; a natural volunteer.
We were close, but we'd hang out on Tuesdays, and I'd a lot of Tuesday shifts; the guys understood.
If one of us couldn't pay the next bill, we helped each other. I was the lucky one, always had work.
They were each other's Best Man. I'm not one for speeches. I'd hoped they wouldn't ask me; the guys knew that.
Nothing else for it. They've kids now. l'd better take the rap. It is Christmas.
This is a perfect example of an entire story in what isn't said.
Timothy Lowe 3:52pm
“Hope doesn’t pay the rent, Tom.”This just cracked me up, and after a series of very dark entries, that was enough to make me love this. Plus the imagery here is so evocative: "we shambled into the bank, groaning" "you and your undead patience"
Meg searched my face for the answer. We’d wanted a better life. But being an extra in the zombie apocalypse was the best I’d been able to do. Some of those people were Walking Dead freaks, zealots. I did it for the nonexistent paycheck. That, and the makeup.
“Maybe in a year I’ll land something,” I said.
She smiled, pressing the latex scar-tissue onto my forehead. “You and your undead patience.”
We shambled into the bank, groaning. Wide eyes. Nervous laughs. Then gasps.
“Empty the drawer into the bag,” I said to the teller.
Fun, fresh writing!
Mallory Love 7:09pm
These were supposed to be the best years of my life: traveling the world, spoiling the grandkids, finding my zeal.
But then the diagnosis came.
The losses were insurmountable.
First, the ability to move. Next, the ability to speak.Then, the ability to hope.
Getting better wasn’t an option.
My husband couldn’t bear it. He silently begged me to let go, the truth in his eyes too hard to ignore.
Celestial otherworlds called to him.
I couldn’t watch him die. I made sure the pillow covered his face.
“How does the defendant plead?”
My attorney rose.
But not regretful.
The beauty here is the twist. Did you see it? The phrase "best years of my life" lead the reader to think the diagnosis is for her. Then, those last four sentences turn it all around. I had to read this twice
to make sure I understood.
This is textbook subtle writing. Very very hard to do.
S. D. King 9:13pm
The next-to-last gift was wrapped. She bought Jeremy everything on his list this year – except the cats.
She’d hoped Roger would be understanding, but no.
“You indulge that kid too much. You okay’d glee club, then drama club. Sissy stuff.”
Didn’t matter. She bought a whole case of Spam and individually wrapped each tin. The Mormon Bible was on Amazon. Easy. But she better not let Roger ever see the last request. Luckily she knew just where to buy them.
Pleased with herself, she rechecked Jeremy’s scribbled list:
X Book of Mormon
X Kinky Boots
This just cracked me up completely.
And it's lovely and subtle as well.
Just Jan 9:28pm
I’ve just informed my wife that I’m leaving for Belize on New Year’s Eve. With my secretary. She’s taking it a lot better than most women would. She plucks an envelope from our Christmas tree and hands it to me.
“You shouldn’t have.” I hope she can return it.
“I didn’t.” She looks me in the eye. “It’s for Darren.”
Darren, my best friend, lives next door. “You got him a gift?”
I slide a finger under the flap and remove a black and white glossy. “What is it?”
She smiles and pats her stomach. “A girl.”
This just cracked me up. So much unsaid. Deft writing. This is a terrific entry.
Let me know what you think of the finalists, and if your choice got overlooked. I'm always interested to see which ones you liked that I didn't put on the short list.
I read everything over again and it's so damn hard to choose.
I can see I really went for the entries that cracked me up this week. I think my malaise after the election made it hard to read the entries that were really dark.
In the end, I have to choose Mallory Love for the lovely subtle writing, and the delicate twist that turns the story on its ear.
Mallory, if you'll email me with your mailing address and the kinds of books you like to read, I'll send you a prize!
Thanks to all of you who took time to write and post entries. I really look forward to reading all of them, even tho ones that don't make the mentions.