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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing (01/11/07)

TITLE: Roll With It
By janet rubin


I roll my shoulders and stretch my neck while the computer boots up, like a boxer waiting in the corner of the ring, waiting for the bell. I watch the tiny hourglass hovering in the middle of the monitor’s screen and plan my strategy for the next chapter. Finally, the hourglass changes into an arrow, and I am able to open my document. I scroll through three hundred forty-seven pages before I find the place where I left my characters hanging.

I’m just beginning to lose myself in my fiction world when a voice breaks my concentration. “Hey.”

My breath escapes in a huff before I can stop it. “What is it, Ashley?”

“Don’t call me that. I told you, I’m going by my middle name.”

What is it with this crazy name thing of hers? I swivel my computer chair around to face her. “Okay, first of all, if I wanted to call you by your middle name, I would have made it your first name. Secondly, Delta is a family name, your great-grandmother’s maiden name. I am NOT going to call you Delta.”

“Whatever. Ashley sounds like a soap opera chick.”

My eyes catch a glimmer of something sparkling between her shirt and jeans, and my stomach churns. “Is that…a belly earring?”

She laughs. “Not belly earring. Belly ring.”

“Why would you do that? You’re not into that kind of thing. Why are you acting so…so…crazy?”

She rolls her eyes. “Obviously, I am into this kind of thing, or I wouldn’t have done it. You really don’t know me very well.”

I squeeze my eyes shut and rub my temples. I have no control over her anymore. “Did you need something?”

She shuffles from one foot to the other. “It’s about California.”

“What about it? You’re not going.”

Her voice is quiet, but firm. “Yes. I am.”

“Oh c’mon, Ashley. You couldn’t stand being that far away from your family.”

She stares at me, immovable.



“Fine. Delta. Your mother will fall apart. How is she supposed to deal with this?”

“That’s your problem. Not mine. I’m going, and you can’t stop me.” She darts from the room.

Slowly, I turn back to the computer, my mind pondering the probable outcome if Ashley… no, Delta, goes to California. Her mother will sink into depression. Things definitely won’t turn out the way I had planned.

But sometimes, you’ve just got to roll with it.

I highlight my last few paragraphs, then hit, “delete.” And then I begin to type:

“Delta’s mother clung to her, refusing to let the embrace come to an end. Finally, Delta pushed away. She avoided looking directly into her mother’s eyes, which shot guilt-rays into her soul like only a mother’s eyes can. She headed for the airport’s security checkpoint. I’ll call you when I get there…”

Three hours later, I’ve added two thousand words to my story. I’m amazed at the new direction things have taken. Delta’s mother really needed to face life without her, and the trip west is leading Delta to make some interesting revelations about herself.

Keys jiggle in the door, and in walks my Chelsea. “Hey, dad. Get much written today?”

“Yeah, I didn’t do too bad. I renamed Ashley Delta.”

Chelsea grabs a glass and heads for the water dispenser. “Cool. Ashley sounds kinds like a chick in t soap opera.”

My jaw drops. “Honey, you still don’t like body piercing, right?”

“Ew, no. Gross.” She grins at me. “Why, dad, you thinkin’ of getting your nipples done or something?”

I shake my head. “No, I don’t think so!” My heart rate slows to normal as she sits beside me at the table and flips through the pile of mail she brought in with her.

“Hmm.” She tears open an envelope. “Check it out. This is from that Bible school in California I told you about. I emailed and asked for information.”

I let the possibility sink in. Strangely, it is peace, not fear, which fills my heart. I am not in control of my baby’s life. Far from it. I’m not able to simply delete her dream of attending college three thousand miles away, because I am not the author of her life.

But I know the Author. And He is in control.

I reach over to the computer and exit my document. Then I lean in close, next to Chelsea. “So tell me about this school.”

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This article has been read 1357 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Crista Darr01/18/07
Funny how our characters come to life and mirror our own lives and struggles. Some great lines in here - especially the piercing dialogue. Well done.
Joanne Sher 01/18/07
I just love this art imitates life imitates art thing. Great dialogue especially.
Mo 01/18/07
Cool, I especially liked the ending.
Jen Davis01/19/07
Very cute. I liked the intro and thought you did a great job of misleading the reader in the second paragraph. My favorite part was the moment of realization when his daughter first comes home, and I also enjoyed the play between his character’s life and his own. Great job!
Marilee Alvey01/19/07
Master, indeed! With the stroke of your keyboard you have alienated me even further from the promised land of "Master." That having been said, I bear no grudge! I loved this. You showed exactly how, if you craft your characters fully, they should walk right out of the page and into real life. Amazing job!
Betty Castleberry01/19/07
You led me right where you intended. I was convinced Ashley Delta was the *real* daughter. A well written and enjoyable read.
L.M. Lee01/19/07
Nice story. I like they way it flowwed.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/20/07
I loved this. I was taken in by the "novel" daughter; then I was glad to have been fooled. That is good writing!
Jan Ackerson 01/21/07
What fun! And our characters do take on a life of their own, don't they? This was great reading.
darlene hight01/21/07
T. F. Chezum01/21/07
Very good job. I really enjoyed the read.
Sandra Petersen 01/22/07
You had me going for a while, thinking Ashley was the writer's real daughter. Excellent dialogue. Very creative idea. Well done!
sharron pete01/24/07
Very good job. I enjoyed reading this!
Kathie Thomas05/06/07
Apologies for contacting you this way but could you please urgently PM me with your bio notes for the Faithwriters book "Hidden in the Hymns"? Thank you.