Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

UGH! My husband has lousy timing. He got up to use the bathroom half an hour before my alarm was to go off, so now I’m awake even more ridiculously early than usual. I tried to go back to sleep, but then I heard what I thought was one of those emergency alarms you get on your phone, so I got up. Again UGH! I checked my phone, but there was nothing on it. I remained confused about the alarm until my daughter woke up and told me she had fallen asleep with her TV on and it was one of the emergency alert tests. Cryminies! Why would they test that thing so early in the morning?

Writer’s workshop was fun last night. We only had eleven people because three of the regulars were attending another function at the library, and another one got a flat tire on the way. The young kid I told you about, the one we were all so impressed with, he won’t be coming until soccer season is over and I think the others only came the first week to see what the group was about. That’s fine though, twenty-two was a bit too big; ok, way too big, at least for the room they gave us.

The group was in a mood. Some of the responses to the prompts were hysterical. Even this one adorable couple, who are considerably older than the rest of the group, came out with a few whoppers. Just like here in my blog, the group is given only ten minutes to write their responses to a prompt. It really blows my mind what people can produce with very little forethought in such a small amount of time. Todd, the gentleman who runs the our critique group, is also a member of our writer’s workshop, and the stuff he comes up with is absolutely amazing. Last night one of our prompts was it was either December 24th or 26th, but either way we were Santa, and he had us in stitches with his story about a Jewish tailor who took a job as a Macy’s Santa. We were literally rolling.

And then there’s Joanne (you’ve seen some of her responses to my prompts here on the blog), she has an uncanny ability to catch a mood or tone and make her reader be right there in the moment with her. Some of her things are witty, some have a twist you never saw coming. She can make you laugh, think, and, what I think might be her best talent, feel.

Week after week, between the writer’s workshop and the critique group, I am in awe of the incredibly gifted writers who surrounded me. Each with their own completely different writing style and voice; yet almost everyone has impressed me and I have enjoyed listening to what they have written even when it was something I never would have chosen to read. The perfect example is Keith. You know, because I have mentioned it a few times, I don’t read horror. I don’t care for it. It scares me. Being scared is not an enjoyable feeling. I avoid it. Keith writes horror. Keith’s writing is marvelous. Am I going to sit down and read his entire book? No. I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep for a month. But when he reads excerpts, once every two weeks at critique, I can handle it. I am instantly mesmerized when he begins to read. So much so, in the moment, I’m too distracted to be scared. (When I think about it afterwards is when I get the willies.)

We have others who are doing memoirs, again something I would not choose to read, but I find myself looking forward to hearing the next installment. Granted there have been a few pieces which were not my cup of tea, but even within those, there were certain phrases or observations, which were truly brilliant. I’m not delusional, I know what I write does not appeal to everyone. Some are going to love it, some are going to hate it, and that’s ok. But, even if what I write isn’t someone’s “cup of tea”, I hope they can at least find some redeeming qualities within the work.

I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:


Describe something edible without saying what it is - let us try to guess.


The smell permeates the air, bringing with it a flood of childhood memories. The temptation to peek into the oven to see if it’s ready is almost overwhelming. Five, four, three, two, one, the buzzer sounds. Carefully I remove the pan and set it upon the cooling rack. Juices still bubble through the slits in the bumpy crust. My mouth waters as the aroma, a combination of spice and sweet fruit, assail my nostrils, but I can’t cut it yet. It’s still too hot. I need to wait until it has time to cool, to set, or the filling will ooze everywhere and make a mess.

Every five minutes I touch the pan. It needs to be warm, but not hot. As my patients starts to wear thin, I move the cooling rack closer to the open window to allow the cool autumn air to speed the process along. I touch the pan again, almost ready. I get the vanilla ice cream from the freezer and set it on the counter so it can thaw slightly, enabling an easy, perfectly formed scoop. Plates, forks, a knife and a server join the ice cream on the counter. I touch the pan a final time. Perfect.

With great anticipation, I hold the knife over my masterpiece, making sure the first cut falls dead center. Slowly I let it sink in through the layers of crust and fruit. When the tip reaches the bottom of the plate, I drag the knife to the edge, ending with a decisive snap to get through the thicker fluted rim. I continue the process until eight perfectly formed wedges appear.
The time is at hand. The moment has arrived. The first slice is removed and placed on a plate. Some of the juices spill out, but for the most part, it holds its form. Next comes the scoop of ice cream to top it off. As the frozen confection meets the still warm crust, it begins to melt and mingle its creamy goodness with the escaping filling. I hand off the first piece to my youngest child and watch her eyes light up with excitement. She forks the first bit into her mouth. Her eyes close and she moans in complete bliss. I still have three more slices to deliver to waiting hands before I can have my own piece, so I quickly repeat the process.

Dang, less than a minute and I would have been done. So, what am I eating, or was about to eat? Funny, I now have a strange urge to bake today...

Your Next Challenge is:

Just one bite…


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.