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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)

TITLE: Mister's Masterpiece
By Joan Campbell


His throw thrusts me against the cold, hard surface. Ow! That really hurt!
Okay Mister, lets talk this out. I dont think this is necessary, do you?
Just when I think my situation cant deteriorate, I feel water pouring over me.
Oh no! I hate water. Cut it out, please?
Now I start to spin.
Mmm, this is more like it. This feels good. Wheeeeeeeee!
No, wait a sec. Thats a bit too fast. Im getting dizzy. Just slow it down a bit. Hey, I said slower, not faster!

I see large wrinkled hands, darkened by years of sun, come towards me. They enfold me completely and push me down with such force that I find it hard to breathe.
Ow! No! What...are youdoing?

Its difficult to concentrate through the pain, but I think I hear a boys laughter.
Yeah, laugh away! Youre not the one rotating at this mind-blowing pace.
Now I hear a mans voice, deep and resonant: You try it Timmy, the clay feels lovely in your hands.
The large hands ease away from me and smaller ones approach, grasping me ever so gently.
Thats better, much better. Let the kid do it. I can handle this.

The man laughs: We need to put a bit more strength into it Timmy, otherwise well never create anything from this lump of clay. Like this.
His hands cover the boys small ones and I feel the intense pressure again. Yet now something interesting is happening. I realise that I am stretching and carefully changing shape.
Wait, did you say create? Is it possible for you to change me from clay into something, well, better?

See Timmy, its starting to dry out. It needs more water.
More cold water soaks into every part of me.
Like I said before guys, go easy on the water, wont you?
Grandpa, why do you have to keep it wet?
If the clay dries out, it becomes hard and unyielding. Then its impossible to work with and has to be thrown away.
Oops, thrown away? Keep that water coming there, Mister.

Im starting to feel safe in the old mans hands. His work still hurts, but its easier now that I know hes shaping me into something better.

Its turning out lovely, Gramps.
Is he talking about me? I hope hes talking about me.
Were almost done, Timmy. Now we just have to shave off the rough edges. Pass me that knife.
Knife? Youve got to be kidding!
The steel presses against me, more painful than anything the man has done so far. Yet, as I watch pieces of myself curl away, I feel lighter.
So this is how Im meant to be.

The wheel stops spinning and I see the old mans eyes studying me intently. He is smiling. Timmy, too, presses in closer for a look.
Its one of my best, the man says softly.
Me? One of his best! Did you hear that? I went from a lump of clay to one of his best. Hah!

Now its time for the furnace.
Furnace? Isnt that likefire? Hang on, why mess with something so beautiful now?
What does that do, Gramps?
It makes the clay strong so it keeps its lovely shape forever. Now its still soft and fragile.
Somehow I knew he would have a good reason.

Its worse in the furnace than I could ever have imagined. Im surrounded by fire, heat and smoke. I feel parched, lifeless and so alone. I long to hear the old mans voice speak over the hissing flames.
Im just not strong enough. How could you possibly leave me in here and think Id survive?

Just when Im convinced that I will shatter into a million pieces, the door opens and Im drawn into cool air again. I stand alone for a while, savouring the fact that Im still whole.
Suddenly a woman is bending over me.
Its lovely, Josh, a real masterpiece.
Yes, but look here, Louise, I feel his finger stroke my side, its a small crack.
No! I was meant to be one of his best, but Im not. Im worthless, no better than a lump of clay.
The old mans eyes still smile at me: Which just means I wont give this one away. Ill keep it with all my other favourites.

Joy fills me as I finally understand what I am - a masterpiece with a crack, yet still one of my Masters favourites.

(746 words)

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This article has been read 1385 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisha Hunnicutt01/14/10
Wow! There's a lot of meaning wrapped up in this one. I can apply it to my life in so many ways.
Nicole Campbell01/15/10
This is a really meaningful story. I love the way you have written it. Well done!
Kristi Peifer01/16/10
This was excellent! Such a wonderful parallel to how our Lord loves all of us cracked pots!

I love your take on the topic.
Ruth Brown01/17/10
Great POV. Very well done. Blessings,Ruth
Yvonne Geldenhuys01/18/10
Wow Joan - this is awesome. Loved the unkown of the beginning until it slowly began to dawn on me what was happening!
Adrie Zandbergen01/18/10
It describes the word "OW" perfectly. I can almost feel it.
Jan Ackerson 01/18/10
Clever and unique POV.

Common practice is to put spaces between all paragraphs, even the very short 1-liners of dialog.

I've started a class in the FaithWriters forums for Beginner and Intermediate writers. I'd love to see you there--look for "Jan's Writing Basics".

I really enjoyed the lesson here--nice job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/21/10
Beautiful job! I'm so impressed with your insight. Congratulations on a job well done!
Amanda Brogan01/21/10
Very creative to tell the story from the perspective of the clay! I've always loved the metaphor of our being like clay in Scripture. A perfectly portrayed picture of God's all-knowing care in putting us through purifying trials! Great job!
Louise de Beer01/21/10
Very well written. Loved it well done.