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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Start (01/16/06)

TITLE: Miss Understanding
By Shari Armstrong


“You can’t finish if you don’t start,” Mary said.

“I know,” I grumbled. “Do you have any idea how frustrating this is?”

She folded her arms and said, “No, but I’m not the one who volunteered to do the advice column for the paper.” Mary grabbed her backpack. “I’m late for class. I’ll catch you later.”

“Meet for lunch?”

“Sure.” She smiled. “It’ll be ok. Just keep at it.”

“I guess,” I said as she closed the door. I stared at the e-mail and read it again.

Dear Miss Understanding,
I can’t seem to meet a nice guy. I go to parties, and they seem to be sweet, but as the night goes on they are all hands. What can I do?

I thought for a few minutes. “Lord,” I asked out loud, “people keep telling me I’m good at giving advice. So why is it that all these people seem to want to know about are silly, shallow things?” I stood up and paced around the room. “I know the editor said to keep things light, but I really want to use my talent to help others.” My stomach started to growl, but I needed to get this done before lunch. I sat down and started to type.

Dear Frustrated,
Why don’t you try telling the handymen that if you were in the mood for octopus, you’d go to a sushi bar?
Miss Understanding

“Piece of cake.” I saved the file and moved on to the next e-mail.

Dear Miss Understanding,
I don’t have a friend in the world. I feel like if I just disappeared, it would be better for everyone. I’ve failed at everything I’ve started, so now I don’t even bother.

“How did this get past my editor?” I looked at the e-mail address. It came from his account, but he never approved a letter like this before.

Dear Invisible,
The best way to have a friend is to be a friend

“Hmmmm…” I read it, and then deleted it. “They don’t need clichés. Lord, give me the right words.” I prayed and waited before I started to type.

Dear Invisible,
There is a friend who is always there. His name is Jesus. If you don’t know Him, please write me again and I can introduce you. If you’ve already met Him, but have drifted away, let today be the day you start to mend fences and rebuild that friendship.
Miss Understanding

I saved the file and said a quick prayer for Invisible before I sent my file to the editor.

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This article has been read 1236 times
Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany01/23/06
Nice dialogue!I think this would be good into a longer story too!:)
Jan Ackerson 01/24/06
Oh, I liked this! I wanted more!
Karen O'Leary01/24/06
Creative approach to the topic. I liked it.
Marilyn Schnepp 01/25/06
Brilliant writing, creative idea and fantastic answers to questions that are very Real to Real People in Real Life!
I was enthralled with this story. Great job!
Cassie Memmer01/26/06
Cute story! I really like the handymen remedy. And I'm glad that Miss Understanding wasn't afraid to reach out and offer truth. Nice!
Pat Guy 01/26/06
Yes! Me too! It felt like more! (love the handyman solution! ;)) Love Invisible's solution too - it's a good thing your paper would print such advice! Perfect!
Jeffrey Snell01/27/06
Great job! Tight, realistic and an interesting format.
Laurie Glass 01/28/06
What a clever idea and nicely done. I wanted more, too.
Debbie Sickler01/28/06
I agree this was too good to keep so short. Maybe you could have given us a couple more shallow problems to laugh about before the invisible one. Loved the sushi line, and I don't even like fish! I hope you post a longer version later for us to enjoy. :)
Linda Watson Owen01/29/06
Absolutely delightful! So cute and yet so profound!
Val Clark01/30/06
Be careful what you pray for, huh? Relaxing read. Love your sense of humour. Yeggy.
Suzanne R01/31/06
I love the title of 'Miss Understanding'! And her role. That was a clever concept.

I agree with the others ... more please! Well done.
Julianne Jones02/01/06
Ditto to the above. Well done.