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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Deep End (03/06/14)

TITLE: A Writer?
By Jim Newton


Brutally, I recall the response I received when I announced to my parents that I would pursue a career in writing. At twenty two years of age, it was truly uplifting.

My mother let out a stunned, "A Writer? Jimmy…!"

As a businessman, Dad's first concern was always money. As a Father, his first concern was always money. "You'll starve to death. Writers are a dime a dozen. Ninety nine percent of them wind up on Skid Row as bums. You've really jumped off the deep end on this one."

"Thanks for the encouragement, Mom. Dad, get me a copy of those statistics and facts. This country needs that information. That is truly shocking. Do you think the cover-up goes as far as the White House?" Of course I didn't express those thoughts. I may be crazy, but I am not insane.

Those natural parental concerns fell on deaf ears. I was determined to become a writer. Setting my jaw, I said my goodbyes, and left to work for a large corporation and set about becoming a writer…thirty eight years later. I had displayed an uncanny determination for my age.

After my war time experiences, I dedicated my writing to the Lord. I felt a vault of life experiences was needed to properly glorify him in my writings.

As I set about to write, I prayed for God's guidance, wisdom, and truth. He gave me good advice, "Always in your writings show my great love, be my beacon of hope in the darkness, reflect the forgiveness and compassion I have given to you, and keep the wise cracks in line. Here's something that might be a good fit for your talents…one-liner greeting cards."

At long last, I entered the fast-paced and exciting world of writing. A glamorous life style most can only imagine. I began the process of submitting to publishers the novels, short stories, insightful rewrites of world history, and anything else that entered my brilliant mind.

The emails from publishers and their editors began to fill my inbox: "Thank you for your submission. At this time…actually, any time in history, to be accurate, Blankety Publishing Company has no need for contemporary trash spawned by a person of your insidious nature. Feel free to take this email and its contents personally. Do not respond to this email (we unlisted our email address after your submission). On the brighter side, there are literacy programs that may be of help to you. Your Fiend, Maximus Rejectus, Editor By Nature

All the emails were identical. I laughed...nah, more like cackled. They'll be sorry when my books are perched atop the New York Times Bestseller list, and Amazon has my number on speed dial.

Two weeks ago, Warren plopped down beside me at Sunday school. "You're the writer I've heard about. You must be taking the money to the bank by the grocery cart, huh? That's got to be the life of Riley. Write a few words and kick back the rest of the day. Guess that's why so many writers become crazed alcoholics."

Our eyes locked. "Looks like you have it all figured out, Warren. How many people can afford a rotary dial cell phone like mine, or have to wait for sales before they can shop at a thrift store. Just kidding, it's not that bad. Not until next Thursday. Got any whiskey on you?"

Then, Bill Watkins corrals me in the church lobby, "Hear you're a writer nowadays. I'm gonna write a book when I retire next year. People tell me I'm a good writer."

"That's great. Do you write on a regular basis?"

"Are you crazy? I'm not retired, yet. I have a real job. Listen, I wrote a couple of stories for English class when I was in Junior High. My friends thought they were hilarious. They told me I should be a writer."

Forgive me, Lord, "Your friends and the internet are the best recommendations you can get regarding your talents as a writer."

"You got that right, Jimbo." Bill's voice filled with pride.

"What's the subject of your book, Bill?"

Bill's voice changed with that caught-you question, "Oh, I dunno, probably…be about the corruption in the government…?"

"Bill, my wife's signaling for me to get a move on. When you get that book finished, let's get together and I'll critique it for you."

When one jumps off the deep end, you'd best have God as your lifeguard. As a bonus, he'll provide the humor.

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This article has been read 93 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 03/13/14
Great job! I love this story, it was well written and so entertaining!

God bless~
CD Swanson 03/13/14
Oh, and I want to add, "straight from you heart" that reached out to the reader! Excellent job, thanks for sharing!

God bless~
Judy Sauer 03/14/14
In a humorous way you captured the essence of a writer. With denials and naysayers rather than encouragement's needed, and the multitude of rejection letters, and yet your perseverance prevails. Nice job
Toni Hammer 03/14/14
This was super entertaining--especially the rejection later. Fabulous work. I hope it does well with the judges.
Lillian Rhoades 03/14/14
This an artfully done satirical piece. I like how you introduced each phase of your rude awakening. I chuckled at several points in your story because you so aptly described the experiences of a wannabe writer.

Just one of my chuckle spots: "Your Fiend, Maximus Rejectus"

Opinion: Not much red ink, except the following: "I said my goodbyes, and left to work for a large corporation and set out...Eliminating the first "and" avoids the "run-on sentence label.

Your piece was full of wit, and definitely a good fit for the topic.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/16/14
You have a delightful tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. I think it's a requirement for writers to have a self-deprecating comeback. You had me chuckling throughout the whole story. I could also relate to the MC and the people surrounding him who really didn't have a clue. That is so true in many aspects of life, but like you subtly point out, God has our backs. Amen to that!

I'll admit, your first word threw me off and I spent too much time trying to figure out exactly what you meant. (A good deal of that I own by obsessing over the unnecessary.) The way it is written, it sounds like your recollection was brutal, but I suspect it was more your father's response that was brutal. That could be what you meant, but it did cause me to stop and try to figure it out. Another thing a good writer needs at the least is a good resource like Strunk and White's Element of Style or my favorite website, http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.hmm or at best, an editor to help catch little things like using a hyphen in twenty-two. Another thing to remember is you only cap words like father if it is a proper noun and a substitute for a name. If you use a qualifier like my, a, the, then it just is a common noun and should start with a lowercase letter.

I think you did a fine job of tackling the topic in a fresh and different way. I could totally relate to how many people think it's so easy to write. Especially with the surge of subsidy or vanity presses, anyone can become a published author. It definitely puts a different spin on the art of writing. You did a nice job of summing it all up in the end. I always enjoy a story that starts and ends with a good giggle. Plus your last line is chocked full of wisdom. No matter where we are in this world, how wonderful and comforting to know that God is watching over us with his Eagle eye and flotation device in hand. Thanks for sharing. This was a delightful read from beginning to end.
Philippa Geaney 03/18/14
Totally relate to this!
I found I had to re-read a few sentences -which probably means I hadn't adjusted to your voice rather than requiring or recommending you change.
I so loved the economy in your words. With the subtle humour it dove-tailed well.
Larry Whittington03/18/14
I liked what you wrote. It is somewhat realistic.

When you write, teachers always say, "Consider your audience". To this I always add "and make yourself the first reader". You have to get something out of it before anyone else can.

As a math tutor, I would tell my students the reason for the term "starving artists" was because they hadn't study enough math before they started painting. They couldn't manage their finances.

Yours has some thought put into it.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/20/14
Congratulations on ranking 3rd in your level and 29 overall! The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.
Judy Sauer 03/20/14
Congratulations on 3rd place
Sheldon Bass 04/01/14
Very entertaining piece Jim. Had me laughing out loud. You have a real knack for touching on those things we can understand and identify with. As well as a great sense of humor. I look forward to reading your next entry. Keep up the good work.