The Official Writing Challenge
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11/05/09
Wow. What a great husband to support his wife through this. Very good account of a mental illness that many have to live with every single day.
This is so sad and very heart rending. I know people who have been affected by this devastating illness and it is something that people to be more aware of. I like the caring husband you portrayed in this piece, very moving. Talk about in sickness and in health, this is truly the Christ like, compassionate attitude we are suppose to have towards one another. Great job!!
11/09/09
Having seen more than my share of new onset of schizophrenia during my medical career, I think you have captured the early auditory hallucination symptoms. In this case, I was pretty sure you were writing about tinnitus or the "white noise" in the ears--buzzing, ringing, sometimes a musical sound. It can lead to truly desperate behavior in some patients, who can become suicidal just from the noise they perceive. But it is not the same as the devastation of schizophrenia.

In schizophrenia, there are usually more psychological signs of anxiety, concrete thinking, paranoia, suspiciousness and social isolation before delusions become prominent.

A neurologist might suggest a psychiatric diagnosis after doing a brain scan, but typically an "official" diagnosis of a delusional disorder would come from a psychiatrist after all "organic" (other medical explanations) have been ruled out.

This was a unique take on the topic and the memory I will take away from this is how the husband truly becomes the "white knight" for his ill wife. Such a portrayal of Christ-like love in action.
11/09/09
Well, I wasn't looking forward to brutally critiquing you, but you asked for it!! Then I read this. And truly, my heart broke. Sympathy and horror for Abby, cheers and lump-in-your-throat pride for Kent and his love, wonder and awe at your creativity for the topic - all of these feelings flow through me as I read this. Sometimes I stumble over reading the present tense, it just seems more difficult to relax as a reader. But that fits well here. This piece is beautiful, harsh, almost fascinating - it will stay with me well beyond today. (sorry I couldn't be more help!!)
I was sure this was going to be the voice of the Lord speaking to Abby - what a devastating discovery. You unfolded this so that we learned right along with Kent and felt something of what he was having to deal with. I love the way you showed us the character of a husband who loves his wife as Christ loves the church.
11/09/09
Wow Jan You definitely got the surprise twist in there!
I wasn't looking for that type of diagnosis.You will probably rise back to top 40 with this.Blessings to you.
This emotional piece reached clear into my heart. You showed the actions of a godly husband perfectly in response to a devastating diagnosis. This also Shakespeare's idea that love does not alter when it alteration finds. Great writing.
11/09/09
brutally brilliant. i can't find anything to criticize this beautiful entry. keep on keeping on.
This is a condition I know nothing about and was deeply touched by the wife's despair and the husband's love...very thoughtful writing.
11/09/09
What a gripping piece. I admire your talent. I never saw the ending coming. I loved the husband's sensitivity. I agree with a previous commenter who perceived the white noise to be the voice of the Lord. You really suprised me. I loved this story.
11/09/09
I really love the details and build of this piece. As always Jan, exceptional work, I think the "white noise" slant was a very creative take on the topic. I am always impressed with your out-of-the-box treatments. A couple of things stuck out for me as a reader. 1) When I read the first line it prepared me for a script rather than a narative, I think it may have been improved from Kents POV throughout rather than a selectively omniscient third person. 2) There are several sentences where I think you set it up for a good "show" but opted for "tell" which surprised me and disconnected me a little from the story. Examples: "Kent comes home from work to find Abby with an ear pressed against the wall", "A Saturday breakfast, two weeks later, and Abby is looking drawn", "The doctor closes a file folder and speaks to Kent"...I think from Kent's POV these would have made for great "show and response" moments. As always Jan, I love your work, you are one of my favoritest :) writers, I hope these suggestions are received in the full knowledge of how much I respect your expertise :) - YBIC - Aaron
11/09/09
I also thought it was about tinnitus - an affliction that I suffer from. To realise that it was something much more serious - good writing. The use of italitcs to emphasise the doctors words was effective.
11/09/09
Wow. You told the reader so much about Kent and Abby in so few words. Your character development was amazing. Without "explaining," you really made the reader understand this couple and their relationship. Excellent.
Quite a story! So sad. Good job humanly portraying the sufferer.
11/09/09
Very nice. Good take on the topic and I adore Kent. He reminds me of my husband. For reals.
I loved all of the "S" sounds to help accentuate our experiencing her condition. Very intersting interpretation of White, as in white noise, reflecting all other noise to make it difficult to concentrate on anything else; including reality. I also liked the husband proving the whispering of the song to be greater than the condition's whisper. Very well done.
-Henry
11/09/09
Wow. This hit a little close to home. The husband's response was amazing, it melted my heart. I wish more spouses were like this.

Incredible writing and it "connected"!
11/10/09
Your quote of the hymn to end your story was brilliant. You haven't lost anything in your writing!
You packed a novel into 750 words. That's great writing. The pace of your story was rapid - adding to the growing tension of the story. I can't think of anything about it that didn't work. It was heartbreaking, moving and felt very real.
I can't add much more than what has already been said, other than to say this is very creative. I like the "white noise" angle. As always, your writing is tight and professional. Well done.
11/11/09
This is "classic Jan" as I've come to love your writing. Very, very special piece. You grab the reader right away and nothing and I mean nothing pulls him away until you release him.
All of this about a very hard-to-understand mental illness.
Present tense adds to the tension.
Telling instead of showing works even better for me in this piece.
A winner.
Mona