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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)

TITLE: Please--Read Cousin George's Story
By Jan Ackerson


The curtain rises on a large, comfortable living room. The many chairs and sofas are all occupied by assorted people, softly chatting. Children sit cross-legged on the floor, playing games. A bassinet holds a cooing baby.

Upstage, semi-transparent screens show two backlit rooms, with silhouetted people silently moving about.

A bright light appears from stage left.

Mother: Oh good, here she comes! (Everyone looks toward the light. Mira emerges, somewhat dazed.) Mira! How lovely to see you! We’ve been waiting for you, you know.

Mira rushes to Mother, and they embrace.

Mira: Mom? This isn’t…heaven, is it? I mean, it’s great to see you, but I was expecting…you know, to meet Jesus, my own mansion…this looks like our old living room.

Mother: (laughs) Oh no, this isn’t heaven. The real you is there right now, I’m sure.

Mira: The real me? Then who am I? And…(she looks at the others. Some of them grin and wave)…isn’t that Dad? And Aunt Penny? Oh, there’s Brad! And Sadie!

Several family members hug Mira. Brad leads her by the hand to a sofa. Everyone settles down, and Mira looks questioningly at Mother.

Mother: Well, well. How to explain…Oh, I know! There’s something writers often hear: “Your characters will live forever in the words you write.” You’ve heard that, right?

Mira: (beginning to understand) Yes…

Mother: Well, here we are! All together in this lovely room—just waiting for people to read us.

Mira: So you’re…the family I wrote about? All those stories?

Mother: Yes, dear. Look over there—Sadie’s sixteen, but…hmmm, where did they go? Sadie?

Three girls of different ages all wiggle their fingers. Another one peeks out from behind a chair.

Mother: See? All Sadie. You were always writing about Sadie. (She adjusts her glasses) Mira, dear, now that you’re here, our family is complete again. You won’t be writing any more, of course.

Mira: But what do you—we—do?

Mother: Oh, not much, but it’s very pleasant here. We mostly just wait for readers. And it was always fun to greet new arrivals. (She looks around the room) Look, Aunt Penny’s being read right now. Remember that story you wrote about her? It was so funny!

A spotlight illuminates Aunt Penny, who puts down her knitting and fluffs her white hair. After several seconds, the light dims. Penny resumes her knitting.

Mira: That was cool…what’s that like, Aunt Penny?

Penny: Oh, it’s lovely. It tingles every time they laugh. But sweetie, I really wish you’d fixed that typo. It’s a little bit embarrassing…

Mira: (thoughtfully) Mom, some of my stories were pretty sad. Does it feel bad, when the readers cry?

Just as Mother starts to reply, Brad and Mira are illuminated by spotlights, as is the baby in the bassinet. When the lights fade, Mira takes a deep breath.

Mira: (lifts the baby and holds her close) I see…that was a sad story (she holds out the baby and studies her face, smiling) but we feel the love, every time a reader appreciates the story.

Mother: Yes, dear. Now that you’ve been here a little bit, look around. What else do you see?

Mira surveys the stage. She spots a dim corner, where an indistinct figure occupies a small chair.

Mira: Is that Cousin George? I can hardly see him…

Mother: Yes, the poor thing. No one reads that story any more, and he’s fading right away. That wasn’t really your best work, dear. Now keep looking…

Mira walks around the stage, stopping occasionally for a hug. At one point, she stoops to nuzzle a small orange cat. While she walks, occasional family members are spotlighted, in solos, twos, and threes. Finally she notices the screens with the silhouetted people moving behind.

Mira: Who are they? Wait, I think I know…families of other writers?

Mother: No…think, dear.

Mira: Then they must be…other characters I wrote? Made-up characters?

Mother: (beaming) Yes! And I’m just sure they’d love to greet you, whenever you’re ready. Spend some time with Brad and Sadie first. All the Sadies. But soon, dear, won’t you?

Rapid images flash across the screens: animals, fantastical creatures, uniformed men, women in garden hats—all manner of people from every era. Mira watches, then sinks into her seat.

Mira: Y’know, I’m not ready to meet them yet…I did some unusual writing. Maybe I’ll just rest here with you all for a bit…

A spotlight illuminates Mira. She closes her eyes and holds Brad’s hand as the curtain slowly falls.

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This article has been read 1634 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon06/12/08
Wow. This is incredible. So, so creative. So...wow. I have to ponder this, and then read it again. So much depth here. Great, UNIQUE, take on the topic.
Joanne Sher 06/13/08
A COMPLETELY unique and out-of-the-box entry, that is definitely going in my favorites. Gotta read it over and over (and over).
Sara Harricharan 06/13/08
Oooh, I love Mira! I can definitely relate to her-and her writing adventures, would love to know what happens when she meets the rest of her 'characters'. lol. ^_^
Beth LaBuff 06/13/08
Amazing creativity here... I couldn't wait to see what would happen next.
Karen Wilber06/13/08
I can't wait to find out who wrote this. Very creative metafiction. I like how you have all the different Sadies at the different ages. Brad's her husband, right?
Pretty cool.
Yvonne Blake 06/13/08
(smile) I knew it !!! My characters ARE real...I just knew it!
What an interesting setting! I like the thought that our writing will stay alive as long as someone reads it. It makes me want to write my best!
Patty Wysong06/13/08
Wonderful! This is so full of creativity and detail. It's also very comforting as a writer. *grin* Great job!!
Dee Yoder 06/13/08
This story will definitely resonate with the writers here! Love this concept and the feeling that our characters do live on after us somewhere! Very unique and beautifully written.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/13/08
How fun! What a creative idea. I like it.
Chely Roach06/15/08
Wow...to see the mind of a genius at work. Wowzers. Excellent. I loved this!
LauraLee Shaw06/15/08
AmAzInG~love this!
Joy Faire Stewart06/15/08
Each time I read this, I found something I had missed...amazing and unique. Loved it!
Betty Castleberry06/15/08
Yes! How cool to think our characters carry on when we are gone. Super creative.
Lyn Churchyard06/15/08
I'm still sitting here with my jaw hanging around my knees. I'm shaking my head in disbelief at the sheer ingenuity of this entry. Jan, I tips me lid to ya!
LaNaye Perkins06/16/08
WOW, I am blown away. This is so creative, you have such a great imagination. Bravo!
Mariane Holbrook 06/16/08
The word "creative" is perhaps overdone, but I still have to use it. Quite an entry!
Deborah Engle 06/16/08
Wow! Who else but you?
Yvonne Blake 06/16/08
I knew it was yours, Jan. I loved this.
Norma-Anne Hough06/17/08
Wow Jan what an amazing story. I loved it. Well done.
Tessy Fuller06/17/08
Very awesome - I love the out of the box look on the topic. That is a great look into the mind of a writer and how we want our characters to come alive as we weave together words of their existence.
Debbie Wistrom06/18/08
After I read this (and enjoyed it immensley)and read the title again, I felt that you truly are someone special and that your gifts need to reach others outside of FW.

I do hope you are pursuing being published outside of this site.

Thanks for being you.
Catrina Bradley 06/18/08
VERY cool! I love the idea, and the writing brings it to life.
Joshua Janoski06/18/08
Wow. you really got me thinking about my characters that I have created in my stories (including the ones I have neglected). Brilliant writing!
Sara Harricharan 06/19/08
Congrats! ^_^
Aaron Morrow06/19/08
Congratulations on the EC! Excellent, excellent writing as always!
Lyn Churchyard06/19/08
Jan, heartiest congratulations on your EC. Well done... again :- )
Colin Swann06/21/08
Thanks you masters for your expertise and encouragement that we writers experience from you, right from starting out as beginners.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/21/08
This, as all your pieces, was very well written. What I liked best about it was the thoughts that lingered in my mind about the characters we create. In his introduction to DANDELION WINE, Ray Bradbury said (paraphrasing) that his beloved family still lives--why? because he says so.
Seema Bagai 07/24/08
Jan, your writing never ceases to amaze and entertain me. I hope you are considering finding a wider audience for your work.
Helen Dowd08/29/08
You have a great imagination, used for the entertainment of many. You certainly do write "creatively". Great story, one so very different from the norm...Helen