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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bookends (01/30/14)

TITLE: Testimony
By Toni Hammer


In the beginning was love.

Her first taste of abandonment came when she was told her pillars of strength would no longer reside together. But there was still love.

Anxiety and depression wrote hate mail on her arms. The angst ridden tears only the young can cry covered her pillow at night. No words could be formedójust quiet sobs of isolation. Though she could not feel it in the darkness, still there was love.

Bitterness trailed behind her through the years. Drugs and desire consumed her. For brief moments, hope would clutch her to its chest only to be pushed aside by her past. In the shadows, though, there was love.

Age gave way to maturity and she began to give up childish things. Occasionally she allowed peace to take her hand and walk with her. In that stillness she began to believe in the omnipresent love. Despite attempts to run, to hide, her soul had begun to give in.

In a quiet place a song of great and awesome eternity pierced her deeper than anger or betrayal ever had or ever could. She surrendered to the love that had been stitched within her from the beginning.

The sun was bright when she committed to another. Though fear was in the front row, love was beside her. Years passed and she put her strength into cultivating new souls whom she would teach and love with the same love that had always been with her.

The struggles were many. Her old friends heartache and sadness and uncertainty were all too frequent visitors. But she clung to the love that had been with her on her first day.

On her last night she will lay silent. Love will come to her and say it is time to come home. There is more life to come, a greater life, but it will be time to leave.

In the beginning was love. In the end will be love. Two perfect bookends to an imperfect life.

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This article has been read 527 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 02/06/14
Spectacular work here! I was moved by your story and I felt your emotions in this whole piece. Nicely done.

I loved this part:
On her last night she will lay silent. Love will come to her and say it is time to come home. There is more life to come, a greater life, but it will be time to leave...

God bless~
LaVonne Wood 02/08/14
Wonderful piece, filled with emotion. If this is your first writing I'd say you did a great job. I liked the phrase, stitched within her from the beginning.

One suggestion I have is that you try to omit or replace words like 'had', and 'the'.
For example you could say 'her soul began to give in... or 'surrendered to love stitched within her'.

Great job, keep writing! Vonnie
Danielle King 02/08/14
Amazing writing, especially for your first entry. This is a creative take on the topic, and with all the little details, you've made it flow beautifully and hold the reader's interest. Great job. Hope to see more of your work.
Larry Whittington02/08/14
The article felt ethereal and not concrete - no definites.

What between the bookends would determine the outcome?

Maybe this was the feel that was intended.
Colin Swann02/10/14
Loved this article. A wonderful writing talent. You'll come on in here in leaps and bounds. Thank you so much.
Lillian Rhoades 02/10/14
Even though titles do not play a major role, your title definitely undersold your article. Consider a more arresting and eye-catching title.

I remember reading somewhere that the writer should identify the MC at least once, so that the reader does not view the MC in the abstract.

Also, you write about love that is undefined, almost metaphysical. Perhaps that is intentional, but it leaves me wondering as to the source of that love.

I loved the last line. It was a perfect conclusion that tied directly to the topic. You used great, descriptive word choices.

Despite my comments, you show
great potential, and could very well be among the winners.;-)
Wendy B McLain 02/10/14
What fantastic writing for a Level 1 Writer. A possible winner for sure! Looking forward to reading future entries.
Ellen Carr 02/11/14
Great writing! Well done! I would have liked a bit of description of the MC (eg about what she looked like, or her name) so she became a little more real. But otherwise a great first challenge entry.
Francie Snell 02/11/14
WOW! This is a beautiful love story. The raw truth in this testimony is powerful. It was written so well that I couldn't possibly give it any red ink. You ended it perfectly as love being the bookends. Great writing!
Linda Goergen02/11/14
This was a wonderfully written story. I was captivated by the first line and then held until the powerful ending! You shoved a lifetime of drama and emotion in a small capsule of words. Amazing job for a first entry and I see you moving up the ranks pretty fast! Well done!
Phyllis Inniss02/11/14
This piece was just brilliant. You did a wonderful job of creating a persona that showed love was the essential and dominating force in her life. Love is what sustained and overcame all the shadows of the past.
C D Swanson 02/13/14
Congratulations Toni!

I loved this entry!

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/13/14
Congratulations on ranking 1st in your level and 23 overall! The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.
Toni Hammer02/13/14
Thank you so much to everyone who gave such wonderful comments, feedback and critiques! I am overwhelmed by the support of this place.
Robert Douglas Brown02/15/14
Hi Toni!

I know this article is a few weeks old, but I was very moved by it. You are a great writer. Keep it up, and soon you will be at the Master's level.


Doc B.
Rachel Malcolm 03/21/14
Wow! This piece carried me along like the rising and falling of waves. What powerful imagery your words contain. Lines like, "hate mail on her arms" and the idea of "love stitched within her" paint pictures in my mind.

Your ending leaves me completely satisfied--the mark of a great ending!