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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: Summer Deadline with a Twist
By Laura Manley


Anna snuggled in the crook of Richard’s arm. He had skillfully built a fire earlier, which he hoped would serve two purposes; one, take the chill off the room, and two, fill the room with an ambiance of love. Unfortunately, for Richard, Anna was on a mission of her own.

Anna broke the silence. “Honey, let's have a little brainstorming session tonight.”

Richard knew all too well from experience, where the conversation was heading. Every week, the writing website of which Anna was a member, offered a short story contest. At times, when Anna's slate came up blank, she turned to Richard for inspiration. This was one of those times.

Knowing Anna as he did, Richard automatically put his idea for a cozy evening with his wife on hold.
“Okay, so what's the word or phrase this week?” Richard asked, attempting to sound enthusiastic. It wasn’t that Richard didn’t want to help Anna, but he was none too happy that she seemed to be in yet another crunch situation.

“In a word...summer!” Anna answered.

“Summer? That shouldn't be too difficult, Anna. We're in the middle of summer right now.”

“I know, Richard, but think about it. Everybody is going to tell the same old story. They're going to write about a favorite summer vacation or the summer they lost their one true love. I want to write something original.”

Richard asked the obvious question – when was the deadline. Sure enough, he was right. Anna had waited until the last minute. She had two days before her submission was due. He thought during moments like these that the website should make it a rule you could not receive any outside help. However, on second thought, how would they be able to reinforce such a rule?

The telephone rang, breaking up the brainstorming session, which hadn't really made it to first base yet.

Richard was thankful for the interruption and after speaking briefly to Anna's mother, handed the phone to her.

Richard stepped out onto the deck while mother and daughter continued their conversation. There was a chill in the air that night, reminding Richard the lazy days of summer was waning all too quickly.

Something always seemed to keep Richard and Anna from making plans for a summer getaway. Their fifth wedding anniversary was fast approaching and that seemed more pressing to Richard than a night of brainstorming for a writing contest.

Richard sat down in the rocking chair he had lovingly built for Anna. He was beginning to feel guilty for his lack of support for Anna's love of writing when he was startled by her sudden burst through the French doors onto the deck. She was moving so quickly, she nearly tripped over Richard's outstretched feet. He got up from the rocking chair and took Anna by her shoulders.

“What is going on? It looks like you need to take a deep breath and try to calm down.” Richard gently sat Anna down where he had been sitting.

“Okay,” Anna said, as she took, not just one, but several deep breaths. “As you know, that was mother. She was calling to tell me that she and dad want to do something special for our wedding anniversary this year. You may want to sit down and take a deep breath yourself.”

Richard complied and sat on the edge of the top step of the deck as he waited to hear what his wife had to say.
“Okay, I'm as ready as I'll ever be,” Richard said, not able to imagine what Anna's next words would be.

“Mom and dad want to send us on a seven-day cruise!” She started to squeal like a schoolgirl.

“Where?” Richard asked which seemed to be the most logical question.

“That's the most exciting part, Richard! It's our choice!”

After the two of them had come back down to earth, they went back into the house. They held on to one another in a sweet embrace in the middle of their living room, where only minutes before they were working on a storyline for Anna’s Thursday deadline.

“You know what, Richard? Do you realize we not only are going on a dream vacation, but I now have my story for this week?”

Richard just shook his head and looked at Anna. “Once a writer, always a writer!” Richard said, as they fell onto the sofa laughing hysterically.

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This article has been read 624 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 07/20/09
Oh, I KNOW a lot of us can relate to this story! I have most definitely been there. What a creative take on the topic!
Jim McWhinnie 07/20/09
Wonderful little twist with such a vivid sense of the real moment.

Loved the natural tone to voice of your writing.

Also, a clear example of writing what you know!

Good work!
Marijo Phelps07/21/09
Enjoyed reading this - I hit the button too fast and submit something that should be worked on more! Where are you going for the cruise?
Nancy Tilson07/23/09
What great fun. I think I need your mother's number!