Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: A Fat Lot of Use
By Sally Hanan
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“Vines,” my editor said, “go with a vines theme; we’re putting a book together – an anthology of short stories, prose, poetry etc. - and we’d like your writing in it. Unfortunately, your deadline is Sunday night. Can you get it in by then?” I could hear her apologetic, yet hopeful tone.
“Sure, no problem.” A sigh of relief came from the other end of the phone.
Flattered at her enthusiasm for my work, my cinematographic mind whirred into action.
On Monday, I visualized a woman’s bejeweled hand slowly disappearing under a buffed rug of murdering tendrils. Despite the killer ending, the story line remained elusive.
On Tuesday, I saw a young man rejected by love’s first kiss, and he entered the vine covered monastery walls to dedicate his life to prayer and artistic pursuits. His choice caused many sinners to be brought to salvation - through his painstakingly copied holy books, and his long hours of intercession on a chilled stone floor.
Wednesday showed me Rapunzel climbing out the narrow tower window and down the wall of vines alone, after strangling the evil witch with her shorn braids. (Prince Charming didn’t respond fast enough.)
Thursday’s vine was a big leafy, fruity bush with one wide bare branch that hung out near the ground. It fed off and passed on gossip, (hence the song, “Heard it on the Grapevine”) until God came along with His big pruning shears and lopped it off. Just because it was an impressively big and obvious branch didn’t make it necessary.
Friday had me thinking about the kudzu vine, which has taken over an estimated 7 million acres of the US southeast countryside. It is not considered a helpful plant at all, like some people I have had the pleasure of working with.
On Saturday, I thought of how vines can become the staple support system of the walls they grow on, and how, if the owner tries to remove them, the walls collapse. Certain individuals think they are like those vines in their churches. Fortunately, many faithful others ARE like those vines.
And now it is Sunday. I’m thinking of “young knockout marries old geezer with loads of money” type of story. Her main focus is looking good to others, so she whips the gardens at the mansion into shape -for future outdoor parties. Her evil stepchildren (who really want all their dad’s money for themselves) plant a single vine in a shady corner, where she won’t see it. It begins to take over every flowerbed until it starts to cover her - a mix of Monday and Friday’s ideas.
The thing is, it is still Sunday, and I have yet to send any completed inspiration on to my editor, but I have learned an incredibly important life lesson: writers can have the greatest ideas in the world, but they are a fat lot of use to anyone, including God, if the writers don’t take the time to fulfill the assignments given them.
P.S. My editor is looking for new writers … for an assignment due in tonight … any takers??
P.P.S. Don’t tell her I referred you.
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