Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Experiment (02/16/12)

TITLE: The Great Misadventure
By Cheryl von Drehle


Emily’s experiment with homelessness was short-lived. As she was loaded into the ambulance, she was bathed more in embarrassment than blood. To add to her humiliation, the first responder stabbing her arm for an IV line had a crooked smile displaying perfect teeth, gorgeous blue eyes covered by cascading black hair, and an “I live in the gym” physique.

“You must think I’m an idiot.”

“In my line of work, that would cover a lot of ground.” His smile, meant to relax her, drove Emily into instant depression. She closed her eyes. She marveled at the fallout of her excellent plan and considered the possibility that she lacked humility, not to mention common sense. What was she thinking?

Having recently graduated from the University of Chicago’s School of Journalism, Emily was convinced the world needed her. She covered Chicago’s version of Occupy Wall Street, only to be crushed when her many articles were rejected by every publication she approached. Editors were even less impressed with her insights garnered from various campaign trails.

Her Lakeshore Drive parents pressured her to apply for business school. She would not. She wanted to be a writer, not a bean counter. In desperation, she conceived a full proof plan. She would go undercover.

It took her a few weeks to determine under what cover. Inspiration was continually defeated by history. Cursory research on every idea sealed the ubiquitous “been there done that” syndrome…all her good ideas: taken. She finally decided. So what if she could not come up with something that had never been done? Didn’t Ecclesiastes declare that “there is nothing new under the sun?” Her fresh take and youthful perspective on the subject was the key to success. She would be homeless.

She knew homeless people: had eaten with them at Occupy Wall Street demonstrations; served them at her church’s soup kitchen; given them dollar bills and tracts on her way into The Gap. That would be her story: undercover homeless teenager. Maybe she would even attend the local high school and report on adolescent attitudes toward her when fellow students found out she was living in a box.

After several weeks of careful planning – scouting street corners, shopping for her new wardrobe, rehearsing in front of the mirror, devising riveting journalistic questions – she was ready for the streets.

She lasted two hours.

Her first hour challenged her stereotypes. After reciting her concocted back-story to a homeless mother with three children, she felt guilty. But that is what undercover is all about, right? developing a persona to pursue the story. She was also chagrined by the generosity of her fellow homeless addicts, who shared their meager food supplies, and the paternal kindness of an elderly drunk who shared his story. But she was exhilarated by the experience and shockingly proud of her ability to pull off the disguise.

At which point, the situation took a nasty turn. She was later vague on the details, but she remembered a disturbance, shouting, gunfire, and her stubborn refusal to move out of harms’ way – she had a story to get after all. The gentleman who growled at her to run lacked the finesse of persuasive speech. When she wouldn’t budge he picked her up and tossed her to safety under a stairway, unintentionally breaking her patrician nose and spilling her blue blood down the front of her shirt. And that is where this hunky first responder found her.

Once she was cleaned up the emergency room staff was unimpressed with her injuries, and left her to her own devises. She grabbed a taxi and headed back to her apartment to nurse her wounded pride and reflect on her experiment gone awry.

A month later Emily’s story was written, after further reflection on Ecclesiastes 11:9: Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.” (NIV) After much reflection on the wisdom of learning over experimentation, instead of shopping her narrative in misadventure for publication, she submitted it with her application to a journalism internship.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 414 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Melanie Kerr 02/23/12
One would hope this isn't based on personal experience. I thought the generosity of the homeless people towards you MC was wonderful. If she had just listened to their stories she would have had all the material she needed!
C D Swanson 02/24/12
It never ceases to astound me that the humble and the broken are usually the most "generous." So, I don't know if this story was true or not...but the outcome of the kind gestures and sharing of meager portion of food, does NOT suprise me.

Beautiful story and well written. The humble have the most fulfilling stories to tell.

God Bless~
Amica Joy02/25/12
This is a very good story that got my attention all the way through. I was seriously shocked about the fact that while your heroine was pretending to be a homeless person she didn't realize how needy these homeless people were. It didn't hurt her to get a first hand glimpse of their sorry state. She wasn't there to reach out to them. But it did hurt her when she got hurt. She was just interested in witnessing something that would give her a great story. That hit me hard. :-) A great story about a young girl who has a lot to learn - far more than she actually was made aware of. I really liked this story a lot.
Helen Curtis02/26/12
A very interesting story for sure and a great take on the topic. Just one little bit of red ink, the term "full proof is actually "foolproof" - apparently it's a common misspelling :-)

I really enjoyed this and would certainly read more of her adventures should there be more of them. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/29/12
This is a great story. I enjoyed learning the valuable lesson along with young Emily.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/03/12
Congratulations for ranking 13th overall!