The Official Writing Challenge
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08/28/08
Very creative entry for this topic. I'm assuming that Faith has a mental disorder--I'm not sure which one it is that has to have everything in order. I love the way that's portrayed, with the stacks of mail, the dim lights, etc. And I love the way you show the compassion of the strange man. Excellent writing and creativity.
08/28/08
I too, assume that Faith is mentally challenged although it isn't immediately apparent. Like the way she deals with the stranger--at first she is annoyed with him and through patience begins to accept his company. Good job.
08/28/08
Wow.. this is so incredibly moving. What a guy. You gave us so many details to help us figure out things you never told us. Awesome writing.
08/29/08
Great portrayal of an autistic adult and the challenges such an individual faces. Many don't have the patience necessary to break into their world as this man demonstrated. Excellent writing!
08/30/08
Excellent writing! You must have firsthand knowledge or experience with an autistic adult. Haunting and beautiful.
08/31/08
Wow, the characterization of the MC was so profound; I felt as if I was experiencing a taste of her life through her eyes...I knew her. Excellent.
This one's even better with a second reading. If I hadn't picked up all the obvious hints in the characterization, "you freak" would have done it. I felt like I could see into Faith's soul, and I liked how the kind man was able to put her at ease.
08/31/08
Ah... you put both kinds of "patience" into one story.
I was wishing there was more, but you ended it perfectly...just enough to see that things were going to change for the better.
Well written.
I really like how you wove the game of patience with the characteristic of patience. At first I thought the MC was Obsessive Compulsive, but someone else mentioned autistic, and I think that's the right mental challenge she faces. I think it was good to infer and not tell us outright, Jan. Well done, as usual. :)
08/31/08
I recognize Asperger's when I see it and the familiar aspect of what I also see in my son has me rooting and cheering for Faith! Love the splash of hope at the end-just enough to let the reader know that maybe Faith will begin reaching out beyond her safe world. Love this!
I think the amount of revelation was just right. No further explanation was needed, and it somehow seemed to preserve her dignity. I wasn't familiar with the game Patience, but I think I could play it from your description! Great to see you entering again.
08/31/08
I loved this story. The character was well-developed, and it was easy to identify with her reluctance to open up to an unexpected situation.
Great writing here!
08/31/08
As a high school teacher who has worked with students with varying forms of autism, what I most appreciate about this piece is how you show your MC struggling to control it. So many people believe that the autistic aren't emotional, but many are lonely and do often feel like "freaks." This is so seamless, so vivid. I am, however, a little curious about the Mountain Dew guy, feel like I need a bit more background on him only because I am worried for Faith.
You've captured the ordered world of an autistic person well. I was rooting for Faith.
I didn't get that Faith had a mental condition; just thought she was shy. I'm sorry her sister called her such a name, but I'm glad this nice guy, a complete stranger, had the patience to take time to befriend her. Wonderfully written!
08/31/08
Love this entry. I worked with a high school student last year that showed similar characteristics to Faith. Great writing, as always.
I really enjoyed your entry as well. I thought Faith was just extremely shy, and fearful of interactions with another person. Either way, I truly enjoyed this entry.
09/01/08
Am I the only one who got a little creeped out by this guy? I was waiting for him to grab her or something...too many crime shows, I guess. LOL. The thing about this piece is that it gripped me. Every word was masterfully placed to result in an entry where I was completely engrossed in the main character's story. Beautifully crafted - as ALWAYS.
09/01/08
Well done. I have a son with Asperger's and a son who is autistic and bipolar. I often wonder what it would be like to see inside their heads. Thanks for brief glimpse.
09/01/08
How do we know Jan's back? The masterful, insightful way the author takes us into the human mind—that's how. Welcome back, Jan, and kudos on another excellent piece of writing.
09/01/08
Wow. Amazing writing! I felt totally drawn in to the story. Great to see your writing again!
09/01/08
This story leaves me wondering a lot - but that's not a bad thing. Why is this man so interested in Faith? What exactly is wrong with Faith? I can guess, and that makes it fun. I kind of like you not spelling it out, but letting the reader form their own conclusions. Wonderful writing, as always. :) Cat
I'm scratching my head trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with Faith, but you know, part of the fun is thinking about it.

In my opinion, this story works fine just the way it is, but it also could have worked by telling the reader what is wrong with her. I personally like the approach you took though.

As always, a very well written entry from one of the true writing masters. :)
I was fearful for the girl part way through, and relieved that she didn't come to harm; I still find it strange that authors can be identified so early in the process- I thought it would be anonymous somehow?
09/02/08
Anne--don't know how to contact you, so I hope you see this. Entries are anonymous until about Sunday or Monday, when the Challenge co-ordinator, Deb Porter, goes to the forums and posts an "All Clear". Then people can hint about the title of their entry, which is how all the commenters from a certain point know the story is mine.
09/03/08
You described the condition very well. Will the wall ever be broken down? You have left us in suspence.
09/03/08
I really liked this story, I can relate a little with it, my SIL is Mentally Challenged. I was also concerned for Faith, when the stranger kept coming back. Whatever happened to our world that we immediately see danger when someone is friendly and we don't know why? Even worse, we NEED to see and be aware of the danger.
09/04/08
Excellent piece, Jan!
09/04/08
Beautiful, tender writing. And skillful, too. But that goes without saying.
Still on form, Jan.
09/06/08
I just wanted to say, I love the richness of this!
I have to admit, I didn't really pick up on the "freak" part. I just figured it was something siblings do to each other (insult), that is unless the parents have instilled a sense of respect for each other in them.

Whether mentally challenged or socially challenged, I thought Faith's need to remind herself of protocol was great. There are times I catch myself doing things like that, especially in situations I am unfamiliar and uncomfortable with.

Great writing!