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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: The Finger Painting Impressionist
By Sara Harricharan


My fingers are cold.

Everywhere is so shadowy and sad. It is as if I have somehow poured my grief onto this canvas, and it has crept out.

I see echoes of my mother and brother. They are silhouettes lounging by the windowsill. My beloved parrot Damy, is reflected is in the sun catcher that hangs from the doorway.

Sometimes I still hear her song when I’m painting. Her cheerful notes, Mother’s loving whispers and Jamie’s laughter blend into one emotion I can’t recreate.

My fingerprints adorn the edges of my newest masterpiece. Lovely red and blue splotches will be ladybugs when I am through.

This is my most beautiful work ever. I shall give this to Sister Adella, for the prayer room.

It is a picture of Mother.

I miss her so much.

This picture of her is as close as I can get. The same wild, curly hair, tinted in rich hues of black and brown with smiling lips, a dusty rose color and eyes that pierce my soul.

Someone is coming.

Footsteps warn me.

They are hollow, loud and send jolts of terror through every joint in my body.

Fear clouds my judgment.

My hands are plunged into the water bucket to wash away telltale paint. My wet hands scramble to hide my precious handiwork.

But I am too late.

“Jasmeet!” The angry snarl is bit off as my studio door is flung open.

Damy’s sun catcher flies across the room to land in my water bucket.

It is unnoticed by my step-father.

He is only staring at Mother’s picture.

My heart clenches into a knot as giant hands seize the picture and rip it to useless shreds.

The remaining scraps fall to the floor as his drunken slur bombards me. His scalding words trip over themselves, lashing into the leash I refuse to wear.

Names and words cannot break what is already broken.

When he leaves, I retrieve Damy’s sun catcher and put it to dry.

My stomach aches. My heart feels tied in a thousand knots, each one tighter than the one before it.

I have nothing left inside of me.

Except anger.

Nothing beautiful comes out of anger.

I want to hate him. I want to.

But I can’t.

Instead, I prepare a new canvas.

My hands clench into fists and I thrust them into the nearest cans of paint.

Black and red. How ironic.

The fists open to work their magic. My fingers glide across fresh canvas, creating something I do not understand.

I promised Sister Adella a painting for the prayer room. I must keep my promise.

Minutes melted into hours before her voice halted all creativity.

“Is that your heart?”

I whirled in surprise to see Sister Adella standing behind, her basket of jam over her arm.

“Sister!” I begin to move forward and belatedly realize my hands are paint-covered in angry black and red.

“Do not trouble yourself, child. I only brought a treat.” A jar of strawberry jam is set beside my easel.

As I washed my hands, she set the basket on the chair. I tuck the jam between my paints to hide it from my step-father and join her at the easel.

My face mimics the strawberry red as Sister Adella examines the product of my frustration.

“A heart is never locked, lass.” She murmured, expert eyes seeing what I thought I’d hidden. One soft hand rested on my shoulder and curved around to tip my chin up. “It is always filled. When we think there’s too much or not enough, then it’s time to make more spots and fill them up with love.”

Thin lips press a kiss to my forehead and a blessing is whispered over my head. “I’ll pick up the painting for the prayer room tomorrow.” Sister Adella paused in the doorway. “Keep painting Jasmeet, and open your heart.”

The first knot loosened.

Copyright 2008

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This article has been read 1356 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 02/14/08
An amazing sense of place and description in this piece. You paint a portrait - and an amazing one at that, with your words. You had me completely engaged.
Jacquelyn Horne02/14/08
This is a very good description of a child's pain and the attempt to work through it.
Chrissi Dunn02/15/08
A lovely piece - really descriptive. I felt like I was in the room with her. The author of this piece must be an artist too judging from the details only someone who knows could paint.
Dianne Janak02/15/08
I loved this tender, sad, melancholy yet hopeful piece that ran the gamut of almost all human emotion. The contrast of the stepfather to the sister and mom was startling and yet rings so true as to all of our lives... the good the bad adn the ugly, and somehow we get through it all. You captured so much truth in this, it is inspiring to know that there was actually a word limit! GOOD WORK.. bravo..
Laury Hubrich 02/16/08
This is a very creative piece. There is lots of emotion here. Thanks for sharing!
Seema Bagai 02/16/08
Beautifully written.
Yvonne Blake 02/18/08
Wow! So descriptive by letting us "hear" her thoughts and feel her emotions. Well done!
Debbie Wistrom02/18/08
Incredible! How sad, with such clarity. Thanks for an entry that won't be soon forgotten.
LaNaye Perkins02/18/08
This was haunting and drew me in. I was really impressed by your writing style.
Lyn Churchyard02/19/08
Well done! Sad yet hopeful as your MC did not give up, but immediately set to a new canvas (albeit in anger). I love the last line... "The first knot loosened."
LauraLee Shaw02/19/08
The raw emotion and passion in this piece impressed me. I liked your short, choppy sentences which added drama to the scene. I relate with your MC on so many levels. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 02/19/08
Great pacing--each little "brush" of your pen like a short stroke of the artist's brush, making an impressionist writing. What a marvelous entry!
Patty Wysong02/19/08
The emotion in this is so rich it drips. Amazing. I love Sister Adella's words of wisdom--so true.
Lynda Schultz 02/19/08
Too bad you only had 750 words—I would have loved to have known more about the characters in this lovely story.
Pam Carlson-Hetland02/20/08
Wow...such emotion! Definitely a piece that hits the reader on so many levels, heartbreaking and hopeful all in one. Great, great writing!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/20/08
Such emotion you managed to convey with your wonderfully descriptive piece. I think this is one of your best ones.
Sally Hanan02/21/08
Beautifully done. The only part I don't understand is why both her step-father and the nun can come into the same studio; it would make more sense if she paints in school and brings the first one home, but the second one is safe at school.
Henry Clemmons02/21/08
You are a true artist, much more than a writer. You gave this entry a life and that takes great talent.
Edy T Johnson 03/22/08
Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment on my "Good News Alphabet." Since I had to return the favor, I happened on this artistic masterpiece of prose. I, too, loved the Sister's wise words. Your writing radiates vivid colors for all the senses just beautifully.