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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)

TITLE: When It Lives In Spite of You
By Carol Sprock


I don’t remember when first I knew I existed. Do any of us, really? I sometimes picture my author daydreaming in his fragrant, unruly garden, idly tapping his fingers until he found me hovering, a theretofore unknown sliver of cosmic imagination, snagged me, and birthed me. Do not be mistaken--I am no fanciful glimmer in some far-off story, no more than any of you are. I am real and my story is your story, the story of you.

Perhaps I presume too much, yet I am certain you understand, you who seek as I seek to capture quicksilver bits of the incomprehensible, knitting the fraying strands and kneading in the yeast, using the stuff of life to make sense of, to make tangible the sublime. You and I, we’re alike, architects who grapple with fragments of heart and soul, grasping what others cannot see but which we know exists, chiseling tiny scratches of reality, scripting it all into a world that is there, present.

And it lives—that something that is not artifice, possessing a sentience not our own. Notice this it to which I refer, a seemingly vague pronoun. Strangely appropriate, do you not think? We cannot identify its antecedent, cannot specify a sufficient semantic meaning no matter our stream of words. Oh come now, you know of what I speak. Consider yesterday, swirling the dust motes of letters across your page, you labored to a painful delivery, at once horrendously taxing yet equally, immensely satisfying, ending with a grand relieving release, a cavernous sigh, a diminishing of yourself in order to make alive the other from what had been nothing. Were you not in some measure awestruck at what appeared, what now is? You all agree, do you not, that it is animate and concrete, that somehow it breathes and lives beyond you, almost in spite of you?

Yes, you find that the seeds you sow grow far beyond the boundaries you originally marked out, improbably vibrant as they sway in autumn breezes under a harvest moon until you pluck their fruit, marveling at the taste. You gasp at the rainbow defying thunderclouds, at the piquancy of a lark’s early-morning call, at unraveled cloths fluttering in an empty tomb, this evidence of something you could only hope for, but which I knew existed.

But then what? For the rainbow fades, the bird flies away, and with an almost despairing hope you sing, “It is well with my soul” at the graves of your children. All too soon, it is gone, the book of what might have been thudding to the floor, its spine cracking, the binding broken, its words skittering off the pages, scuttling beneath the door, the next chapter forever lost, and you find yourself a tad bewildered, even disgruntled, for you thought you’d captured the whole, only to learn it’s all been a momentary mirage, the promise of what still glimmers darkly, unrealized.

I see in your eyes you know this truth, you know the ephemeral nature of what you create, you know the epiphany of nanoseconds is never adequately reconstructed. No matter all your toil, you never quite realize your goal, even though your noses flare at its spicy aroma, your heads tilt at its symphonic beat, your toes curl against the weathered ground. You understand that what seemed so certain, so amazing in that moment is still yet to be.

Do you stop? No, I do not allow you to. Instead, I bugle forth another cavalry charge and you, we, begin the story anew. Though what we leave behind may seem ashes scattered by the sound of wind, with each stroke as you sketch the shifting shadows of the invisible, you change the world. Surely you will acknowledge that we move mountains, you and I.

How can I know that you persist because you know the unseen things? Have you not felt me, a nodule no bigger than a mustard seed burrowed into the tender part of your soul? We are made of the same stuff, made by the one who guides our craft across the glorious maelstrom. The one who breathes life into you also creates me. That author who perfects and completes you also perfects and finishes me. The Word made flesh scribbling with us, beginning to end, in the earth’s sands.

Do you now know me? I am Faith, your Faith.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sherrie Jackson04/23/09
Beautiful language, beautifully constructed.