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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Writer's Challenge (NOT the FaithWriters Challenge) (06/10/10)

TITLE: The Autobiography of a Blessed Bore
By Charldene Ashley


"I was born in a summer storm on the side of a country road. A howling wind pounded the car with rainy fists, as mother writhed and screamed then finally pushed me out into the arms of a terrified dad."

Too weird. And creepy. Does it really matter that I was born in a car on the way to the hospital? It could just as well have been a sunny morning in a maternity ward. Or a bowling alley. The circumstances of my birth don’t portend anything. My childhood was ultra normal--Leave it to Beaver ordinary. Gotta start over.

"I grew up in the 1950’s, a time of rock ‘n roll and fallout shelters; of cool cats and squares; of crew cuts and hula hoops. It was the decade of hope and growth, of Eisenhower and the new National Highway System—a river of asphalt linking—."

Stop. What is this—a history book or an autobiography? Do I need to mention Ike and hula hoops? Do I even need to discuss my childhood? I’m not on a psychiatrist couch. And besides…it’s a boring tale. No adolescent angst. No teenage drama. Toss it.

"When I moved to Manhattan, I thought it was the beginning of the best part of my life. With my brand new MBA, I would scale the corporate ladder in my shoulder-padded suits and smash though the glass ceiling of my grandest ambitions. I would embrace this new world of vibrant self-actualization; pushing personal boundaries and taking thrill rides to the edge of my moral universe."

Yikes! This sounds like Gloria Steinem meets Harold Robbins aboard the Starship Enterprise. Who am I kidding? I was more Walter Mitty meets Mary Poppins aboard the Good Ship Lollipop. Truth is, I was a hopeless dreamer who spent long tedious hours in a tiny cubicle, then went home alone to a dinky apartment, ate popcorn dinners and spent the night with romance novels. Nothing scintillating to titillate readers. Pure snoozefest. My most memorable moment in Manhattan was when I first met my future husband—standing in a lunch hour bank line. Pure serendipity.

"A string quartet played Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major as I walked down the aisle, clutching a gardenia bouquet, its fragrance filling the church sanctuary with sweet promise. He stood by the altar, gazing at me with those smiling blue eyes. I was atingle with the radiant filament of eternal love."

Atingle? Holy Harlequin Books! Any decent publisher would burn it and demand a notarized affidavit swearing I never write again. Who am I kidding? No one cares about a stranger’s connubial bliss and beautiful children. It’s boring. People want conflict, pain, tragedy and…redemption. Hmmmm. Okay, let’s talk redemption.

"I was born in 1999 at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, while my son underwent surgery for a brain tumor. In a windowless waiting room, I met my Father for the first time. He’d apparently been near me all my life, rocking on His heels outside the door of my heart, waiting to be let in. But I never noticed or cared. Life was good, I was good—I never thought I needed Him. Boy was I wrong!

"He revealed that I was more monster than Mary Poppins; every ugly word I’d ever uttered, every unkind deed and thought had made my soul as foul and leprous as the worst of humanity. The Truth hurt. Horribly. But He saw my shame and offered the gift of redemption. As soon as I accepted I was overwhelmed with joy, so beautiful and projound you couldn't slap the smile from my face. Oh, and I felt peace, incredible and incomprehensible peace.

"I realized then how richly blessed my “boring” life been: I’d survived a difficult birth in a ’52 Pontiac; been given a happy childhood and loving parents; was married to my soul mate; had real hope my son would fully recover; and had gotten up close and personal with the true author of my autobiography.

"This was the beginning of the best part of my life."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 06/17/10
A great piece. I liked the narrator's voice.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/25/10
Congratulations on placing in the top 15 of your level and the top 30 overall.