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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sizzle (05/02/13)

TITLE: From a Sizzle to a Fizzle
By Noel Mitaxa


Everyone we meet has a story to tell.

Some stories are a series of anecdotes, which unfold as we get to know them. Others need to be coaxed into the confidence to share their unique contribution to our world. Still others simply insist on pushing on conversational doors that are clearly marked Pull, with the deep conviction that the whole world will collapse unless everyone else hears every dreary detail of how important they are.

Finding any exodus from people like this can be difficult—though I do recall a classic rebuttal from the movie Shenandoah, when the late Jimmy Stewart as farmer Charlie Anderson told a bothersome character, “Right now, Ah cain’t think of anything else Ah wanna hear you say!”

But it’s a pleasure to be drawn into the aura that radiates from people whose integrity needs no embellishment. One such person is Roger, who fell into conversation with me just a few weeks ago.

A first glance gave no indication of anything dramatic, for a slight stoop appeared to age him beyond his years. This was emphasised by a sense that his hair—like mine—had endured the trauma of a deep-seated dread of heights. Yet from beneath his extended forehead, there was a warm twinkle in those deep blue eyes.

From further below, his voice expressed an effortless strength and resonance that invited anyone nearby to pause to listen to him. This was the kind of voice that could make reading out telephone numbers could sound like the directory had been penned by Shakespeare himself.

With years of experience in drama, both in secular performance and in Christian ministry, Roger regaled me about the plays he has performed, and about others who have performed with him. Ever with a slight touch of self-deprecation, as he confessed – with a wink, “Steven Spielberg is always telling to stop all this name-dropping!”

Self-deprecation broke out through one of his stories; one that I will dine out on for some time to come.

His dramatic reading team had once visited a church to bring to life the miracle where Jesus healed ten lepers, with only one leper returning to express his gratitude. Roger’s part in the script was to be that leper, and his line was a very simple one: “I returned to Jesus, and I fell on my face at his feet.”

Staging or scenery, or any movement by any of the cast, were unnecessary, for their vocal communication skills had become so well-honed that they could depict the dramatic energy from any scenario within congregational imaginations.

“We were clustered in the sound booth at the rear of the sanctuary, and we were really sizzling. There was an almost tangible rise in people’s emotions as they progressed through the script with us, for they were being drawn into the whole atmosphere of this event. I felt such a powerful build-up to my line…”

Then as he paused briefly, a flash of unmitigated horror relive itself across his features—leaving a contorted, ashen grimace in its wake…

“Until I heard myself saying, ‘I returned to Jesus, and my face fell off at his feet!’”

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This article has been read 465 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ellen Carr 05/11/13
This is a great anecdote told really well and your comments about the types of people who one would or would not like to keep listening to ring true. I enjoyed it very much1!
C D Swanson 05/11/13
Excellent job with this true account that will touch base with all those who read it. I especially loved how you tied it into a scripture that is so well-know.

My favorite line, which will stay with me for some time to come, if not always is this: "...that are clearly marked Pull, with the deep conviction that the whole world will collapse unless everyone else hears every dreary detail of how important they are..." Classic!!

Well done.

God bless~
lynn gipson 05/11/13
Thanks for the wonderful story and even more for the belly laugh. Always love reading your entries! Very well done.

BLessings, Lynn
Vince Martella05/12/13
Loved the opening line - short and powerful. The story drew me in and you did a great job building suspense. Thanks for reminding us there are great stories everywhere if we take the time to listen.
Judith Gayle Smith05/12/13
You have humbled those of us who may be enamored of our golden prosaic prose, dripping from our . . . enough. I am still tickled by this. The last line was perfect.
Christina Banks 05/12/13
I loved the part where you wrote "endured the trauma of a deep-seated dread of heights". I'm still grinning about that one.
Carolyn Ancell05/13/13
What fun. I love the part about those who feel their prose must be heard in every detail. (And then there are those who try to repeat: "Have I ever told you about ....?" Oh, my, yes, several times.) Took me a few seconds to get the hair fear, but when I did, laughed out loud.
Beth LaBuff 05/14/13
Oh, the image of a poor leper, who most likely had lost other body parts and now losing his face. :) Your conversations with this man must have been enthralling. You are a master story-teller! I completely enjoyed this.
Bea Edwards 05/14/13
It took me a second but when I got the leper- face fell off connection, I grinned ear to ear. Well written all the way to the punch line.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/16/13
Congratulations on ranking 29 overall!