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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: Sharing the Light
By Carmen Redding


It is a new candle, a gift received long ago and like those little scented soaps in every bathroom, it is still wrapped in cellophane, unopened, unused, virginal if you will. Shall I give myself permission to open it? Shall I break the seal, remove the wrapping, enjoy its fragrance and warmth? Shall I let it shine for others or shall I forever hide its flame in the safety of procrastination?

When was the last time I noticed it was there? Unused it beckons, ribbons of gold etched on red wax, too special to be lighted and consumed and too precious to be wasted and ignored? My hand trembles as I reach for it. As my fingers make contact with its base, a crackling noise reminds me that in order to enjoy this gift, I must breach the space between my fear and apprehension and its beauty and potential. Can I trust myself to be the one to unveil it? Once the seal is opened there is no turning back.

In order to break the seal, I must remove a square tag. On the tag I see the word: "luminessence." It is written in italics and purposely misspelled to lure the user into the pleasant expectation of a gentle glow and sweet aroma. In order to remove this tag, I must undo the knot on a smooth, red, satin ribbon at the top of the candle. When I do, the tag will fall away so that the seal can be broken and the cellophane removed.

I must work quickly. First, the ribbon, then the tag, and finally I slide the taper out of its covering to find...warnings and cautions. Only one applies to me: "Keep away from things that catch on fire." Before I place the candle on the cluttered desk, I make a space. I push back the clutter, trying to ignore the unpaid bills, the junk mail, an unfinished letter, a church book order, my son's baseball schedule, The New York Times, an unfinished book. The candle is now on the desk.

I am ready! Retrieving a match from the desk drawer, I wait. I hear the sound of my heart beating, the rumble of the heat pump filling the room with warmth, the chattering of the birds in the trees just outside my window. The world is still in that brief interlude between night and morning. The time is right. This is my moment. In one quick movement I strike the match, I see the light, I stretch my hand and waves of red and yellow light ignite the wick. It is done. The light and the fragrance exceed my expectations and I smile.

Then I reach for my manuscript and slip it carefully into a padded envelope, ready to share the gift that was given to me by God so long ago. So many years of hesitation...but no more. I will undo the shackles of my self-doubt and insecurity. I will allow the self-fulfilling prophecies of failure fall away. I will make room in my life for unexpected joy. I will unwrap the gift; I will light the flame. As long as there are thoughts to think and words to write, I will share its light.

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This article has been read 472 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanna Stricker05/06/10
Yeh! I, for one, are glad you went for it (submitting manuscript)! Good use of suspense...I was wondering, will the MC open the candle? Interesting twist--the warnings once the pretty package was opened.
Jan Ackerson 05/07/10
Very nicely written, with great images that appeal to the senses.

I didn't really understand the connection between the candle and the manuscript, and thought that maybe the manuscript didn't get enough "play" as the topic of this week.

Nevertheless, your writing skills are very evident, and this was certainly a pleasure to read.
AnneRene' Capp05/07/10
Unique, charming...excellent!
Mildred Sheldon05/07/10
Fantastic. You held my attention from beginning to end. The suspense was wonderful pertaining to the candle and you meshed it all together in a unique way.
Laura Manley05/07/10
Good story line, but I think I would have liked to hear more about the significance of the manuscript verses the candle. Well done!
Sharon Frampton05/08/10
I loved the suspenseful discription leading up to the mailing of the manuscript. It read like a good mystery. The first time I read through this I was wondering why so much detail about the candle. Upon the second reading I invisioned a sort of ritual celebration in finally sending the manuscript out. I felt like I wanted to know more about the "making" of the manual, how long it had taken, what sacrifices were involved, etc.
Good job!
Maria Kana Santos05/09/10
Good on ya, fellow writer! Keep the flame burning in your heart in the gift of writing God gave you. As you write consistently, you will see the glow in your style as you improve, as you become a better writer. Be encouraged. Good job. God bless you in your writing for His honour.
Christine Ramey05/12/10
I liked the content but got lost with the candlestick. I did not get the connection at all. Otherwise, I like it! Just keep writing! Never give up!