The Official Writing Challenge
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05/29/08
Wow. This gave me goosebumps. So many teenagers are "lost" in one way or another, and no one notices.

I love the girls' names, and the voice of this was excellent.

I'd love to know more of this story.
05/29/08
Oh man.. my heart is breaking for Baylee... you pulled me in and had me hanging on every word. I love these two girls!
This story is chillingly well told.
05/30/08
Wowzer, quirky sums it up. Your ending was brilliant and chilling. Masterful descriptions and dialogue, especially packing so much into just 750 words. Well done!
06/01/08
Well done. I was captivated. Your MC is kind and believable. I felt the pain mixed with understanding as she read her phsych book. And I loved how you framed the story with books.
06/01/08
The heartbreak of mental illness is captured well in your story. Its onset comes, often, in adolescence, taking everybody by surprise. What a crushing blow. People are allowed to have sickness in every part of their body except their brains. It's just another part of their body, but when it goes awry it colors every part of their lives. Catastrophic. Thank you for your inventive story.
06/01/08
Wow. Another fabulous story. I liked the way you left clues throughout the story and then wrapped it up at the end.
06/01/08
I loved "humid charms of a Mississippi woman". And I got that sinking feeling right before Flynn did. I went to high school with a Baylee--you got the rhyming part right. Heartbreaking condition to watch progress. Good story.
Your first two paragraphs stirred something in me. The worlds kids can create are astounding sometimes.

Sad too, how as adults we get wrapped up in other worlds.

This story tugged at my heart.
06/01/08
oooohh! so sad... Your descriptions and dialogue pulled me through the story, wanting Baylee to 'wake up" to remember her cousin and their happy childhood.
Excellent
06/01/08
I so hope the outcome was a good one for Baylee. You portrayed Baylee's mental illness well. Having worked with the mentally-ill as I acquired my degree in psychology, I recognized your description immediately. Wow! I sense this might be a true story; I pray all has turned out well.

Your story also tugged at my heart because I too had a cousin I was very close to. Our family was the one to move far away, and she and I lost touch. We were eight and nine years old. I rarely talk with Deb since then, maybe a phone call every few years. Makes me kind of sad.

Blessings, Cheri
Such a heartbreaking realization. Great job developing the characters in such few words. I liked this.
This is so sad, but realistic, too -in every detail. You left us with questions...will Baylee's mother have the wisdom and strength to investigate further? How did her life in Mississippi contribute to her mental illness, or did it? Of course these questions aren't typically easy or quick to be answered, so your open-ended conclusion is perfect. Very good!
06/02/08
A sad story of cousins caught up in situations beyond their control. I enjoyed the teacher descriptions and wondered if, "Veldman could be distracted if you asked about her cat" is based on a real-life person? :) Wonderfully written story and I learned something too. Thanks.
Well done. I was captured from the start. Your characters are very believable. I wanted more to be able to see Bailee get help. Great job on topic.
Wow, powerful entry. I too, suspected something of the sort as I've know people with this illness and have done a little research on it. Well written!
My former pastor's brother suffers from schizophrenia, so I was able to guess what was going on as you began to reveal the girl's strange behavior.

I'm very glad that you shared this story about this heartbreaking illness. You took a tough subject and made it a pleasure to read about, and I was rooting for Baylee to get the help she needs. Well done.
06/04/08
loved the way the MC ( is this a true story?)... took care of her even at that age when many teens would have rejected her. What a sad, but compelling story. Not on drugs and yet acting weird. Loved the hidden story behind the story of the moms as twin sisters, and how their roads had gone to different places... This really piqued my interest of mental health and the lonliness of those who suffer... Great writing.. simple but profound... Dianne
06/04/08
This is chillingly accurate. I almost wrote about a cousin of mine with the same problem. I'm glad I didn't because you did it so much better than I would have done.
06/04/08
I was not sure where the story was going, but like a jigsaw puzzle, once I got closer to the end, all the pieces started coming together. Wow, what a conclusion.
Setting cousins aside, what a precious story of frienship and compassion. What is remarkable, too is that these two were brought together at first for a very good reason, even though that reason did not become evident until years later. It is memory, sometimes of the simplist things, that causes us to care and be empathetic; and, in this case to help in the healing of what life has dealt to those we shared those memories. Wonderful work, wonderful story!
I felt so sorry for Baylee and how her mother got so preoccupied that she didn't see the illness in her child. Your story captivated me from beginning to end. Great writing.
06/04/08
So sad! I'm glad that Flynn did find out and try to help, but I felt bad for Baylee. At first, I just thought she was abused or something, but then it took the little twist at the end. That was good-nice job! ^_^
06/04/08
Wow...very well written. I really got drawn into story. And I definitely got connected to the characters -- I feel awful for poor Baylee.
06/04/08
I can't wait to show this story to my husband, Jan. He works with people with schizophrenia-he sees so much that's good and valuable and lovable in them. It's a heart-breaking disorder. I've always wondered what happens in the brain to cause these changes. Excellent-simply excellent story.
What a sad and compelling story. Beautifully written!
06/04/08
This is a study in power writing. Absolutely outstanding and I thought your ending was superb. Love your work Jan, truly.
Ah Jan, another EC Award :-) Congratulations, you are a true Master.
06/05/08
Wow! Your research paid off! Nice job on a well-deserved win! You go, girl! Blessings, Cheri
06/05/08
I'm happy for your well deserved entry. Besides your masterful writing, it was a refreshing new angle on a not well known topic. Hope someday this will be published. We all need more sensitivity of the mental health issues. SOO happy this will appear in the book!
Congratulations, Jan. I'm glad this entry placed.
06/05/08
Wow Jan, this was amazing.
06/05/08
This story about Flynn and Baylee was chilling. Well told. I actually had to read it twice to fully understand the ending. But it snapped into place...Poor Baylee! Flynn was very astute to recognize the symptons of Baylee's problem. And I liked the ending. Flynn didn't see the Baylee she knew now, she saw the little Baylee of seven. And my mind goes on to finish the story. Flynn will help her cousin overcome her problem..Well done...Helen
06/06/08
An extraordinary piece. And told with compassion.
06/06/08
This was an incredibly sad story but also one of hope. With a diagnosis and proper treatment, things could look somewhat brighter for Bailee. I liked how you even gave some hint when the cousins were young...every Saturday they arranged the books in proper order...until the one cousin moved away. Congratulations on your well-deserved win.
06/06/08
Very absorbing and sad. Well written.
06/06/08
Jan - excellent story well written I really enjoyed reading it.