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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)

TITLE: EnGarde
By E.J. Swanson



Growing up in the era of movies like “The Three Musketeers” with Gene Kelly and “Joan of Arc” with Ingrid Bergman, I romanticized about the grace and beauty of sword fighting. The most effective duelist
seemed to be in complete control of his opponent at all times. Very often he would remove his opponents epee from his hand, pick it up, offer it back and continue the fight. Thus becoming the hero and winner of the duel.

Sometimes duels were not fought to “the death”, but simply fencing bouts. Those bouts could be as beautiful as a ballet to me. In my mind I could almost imagine them being put to music.

Finally, my big chance came at school when we had opportunity to have fencing lessons taught as a part of our Phys Ed Classes. I jumped at the chance visualizing myself to look like Joan of Arc at the front of the French Army. But I had absolutely no athletic ability. Alas, my “EnGarde” drew snickers and giggles from the class on-lookers. That was regrettable enough, but my “Lunge” was accompanied by a tangle of a back leg and a bent front leg that resulted in a very ungraceful fall. One would have to be a sixteen year old high school girl to fully understand the humiliation. My fencing career at an end. The power that I visualized having control over an opponent with absolute grace and beauty was not to be.

I threw a pity party. I was the guest of honor and the only attendee. My self esteem was at an all time low. I really felt I had nothing to offer of importance that could possibly make a difference in this world.

“Enter”, English Professor as if right on cue. He offered me a beautiful Schaeffer’s Ink Pen and a white tablet and said, “here, write! Use the gift God gave you. You will find power in the written word. You will be able to share it’s grace and beauty with everyone who reads. It will be more powerful than any sword you ever will yield.”

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PamFord Davis 04/15/10
Wonderful! I could feel the ups and downs of emotions you experienced! I love the Joan of Arc dreams. The ending touching story of your gift of a pen to use your spiritual gift is priceless! Keep exercising your gifts and your faith!
AnneRene' Capp04/15/10
Great "On Topic" story. Thoroughly enjoyed it, related to it and felt for you on bended knee in humiliation. Having been 16 (many years ago)...your pity party with you as the guest of honor and the only attendee gave me a good chuckle.

Loved your ending! Great Job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/16/10
You told a very poignant story. it is true that 16 yo girls tend to suffer deeply.

You had a couple of minor editing glitches but those can be fixed easily. I've learned the hard way to press the preview button at least 3 times before I press submit.

I particularly enjoyed the enter Professor part. How true that we all have some kind of talent. often it takes several attempts at different things to find our niche, but it's there if we keep looking.

Charlotte Maccallum04/17/10
Wonderful story. I think you nailed the topic. So glad you found you gift for writting. May it be blessed one hundren fold.
angelos2 wark04/17/10
Your story reminded me of one from the Bible.

When Peter cut off the ear of the soldier in the Garden, thinking the sword could overcome the enemy of his Lord. Yet it was Jesus the "LIVING WORD" who brought peace to the situation, showing Peter that the way of the sword only brings death. Peter later became a very powerful witness; his only weapon the sword of the spirit!

Well written and very encouraging!
Amanda Brogan04/17/10
Aww, what a sweet ending! I'm sure you thank God every day for that wonderful English teacher who helped you to see where your gift lies.
I've had experiences like that throughout my childhood as well. I've always been pretty critical of myself, thinking if something's not done 100% it's not good enough. I've had some of those pity parties about wishing and wondering why I'm not good at a certain thing. But my parents helped me to realize that God gives everyone different talents, and mine happens to be writing. And I wouldn't have it any other way. :) What a wonderful power there is in the written word!
Great job using your gift. ;)
Jan Ackerson 04/19/10
I love those old swashbuckling movies, too!

I wonder if you perhaps took the prompt a bit too literally?

At any rate, this was a fun story to read--and I'm glad you're using that "pen"! Really good title, too.
Sarah Elisabeth 04/23/10
Emily, congrats on placing 6th in Level 1! That's an accomplishment :-)

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the highest rankings on the forums:

Joan Campbell04/25/10
I missed this last week, but seeing your entry this week, made me go back. I love your graceful writing, Emily. I could see your fall and humiliation in my mind. So glad your teacher encouraged you to share your beautiful gift!