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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)

TITLE: A Fat Lot of Use
By Sally Hanan


It was a Monday when it began.

“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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This article has been read 1365 times
Member Comments
Member Date
B Brenton11/28/05
So true. I can relate so much to this it's not funny (thus I haven't done a challenge entry in a couple of weeks).
All these ideas... all this procrastination!
You hit the nail on the head.
It'll be so cool if this gets into the editors choice.
It just might, you know... ;)
Anita Neuman11/28/05
Oh this was hilarious! I started off thinking that it was a somewhat cute idea. But with each paragraph it got funnier and funnier as all those different ideas piled up. SOOOOOO funny!!!!
Amy Michelle Wiley 11/28/05
Now why in the world didn't I think of this?!!!! Oh, and I know who wrote this. :-D
Mary Lang11/28/05
Clever, ingenious and a riot! I'm sure you looked at my scribble pad. What a great way to turn writing ideas into a useful, enjoyable piece.
Shari Armstrong 11/28/05
ROFL!! that was awesome!
Allison Egley 11/28/05
Loved it. You came up with more ideas than I did, and you actually turned something in. My best idea only developed into a title: The Holly and Ivy. (Note--I didn't actually write anything for the challenge, so this is NOT a hint. :))
Linda Watson Owen11/29/05
ROFL2! Hilarious! An FW masterpiece! Haha!
terri tiffany11/30/05
Very cute and creative writing!!:)) Loved it!!
Marilyn Schnepp 11/30/05
And I thought I was stymied!! You take the cake! So many wonderful ideas floating around "up there"..but nothing coming out down here! Oh, so true, so witty, and so professional! Loved it!
Jan Ackerson 12/01/05
You have a wonderful sense of humor! Well done!
Pat Guy 12/01/05
What a big sigh of relief! And what fun to read! The heart of the matter huh? Loved it!
Sandra Petersen 12/01/05
Yup, this pretty much describes the effort sometimes to come with an idea for a challenge topic! Any one of those could be developed, couldn't they? Good job!
Cassie Memmer12/01/05
Clever! I really enjoyed this! Very entertaining!
Linda Germain 12/03/05
You have captured the universal delimma of writers with humor and honest confession. What a combination. Very well done. :0)
Lynda Lee Schab 12/05/05
Congrats, Sally, on your well-deserved placing! This was too funny - a unique and clever take on topic.
Blessings, Lynda
DeAnna Brooks12/05/05
Now I know why I envy bonifide writers ... new ideas flow, daily ... while I wake every morn to pages still remaining blank. Wonderful article. I could see it all. Congratulations many times over.
Suzanne R12/06/05
What a lot of excellent ideas, all very creative, and a fun way of tying them in together! And congratulations on your win!
B Brenton12/06/05
Wow! Way to guess it.
How did I know?

They made a good choice though. Perfect addition.

(hmmm... maybe I should be a judge...)
Crista Darr12/08/05
Funny, yes, but this line: "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." is inspirational. Congrats!