The Official Writing Challenge
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05/11/06
I read this with tears in my eyes. Botched?! Hardly! Only one question - isn't the teddy anachronistic? Great writing.
05/12/06
What a sad story! It seems real, so I think it must be. Sad!
05/12/06
Knowing the story behind the hymn has always made it especially moving when I have the opportunity to sing it. Great job at retelling the tale.
05/12/06
This is absolutely one of my favorite hymns of all time and I'm quite familiar with the story. This made it very real to me and you were able to add so much depth the the character. Well done and nicely crafted!
05/13/06
Was that the event that sparked off the song? I love the format with lots of short sentences and white space and the changes in the text style. It made it easy to read. It reminded me of Job - when all those bad events happened, he worshipped God.
05/13/06
I hadn't realized the story behind this hymn. Your recount made it very moving and real. Well done.
Pat Guy  
05/14/06
This is what very well could have happened beyond the story.

'Did You do this for my girls? Did You summon death to dine with the clouds? Did You call on evil to make its’ bed in the sea? Answer me!' (I would have felt the same way)

You captured the moments and feelings behind the story. I was there - really good structure and writing!
05/15/06
Excellently written, but I didn't think it had been three years, but rather almost immediately. I will go and reread the original story. My local radio station had a great retelling of this just a few weeks ago. To think that such a moving song can come from great tragedy. Thanks for sharing this, J!
05/15/06
Thank you for doing this story! My eldest daughter and I have done 'It Is Well' as a duet, and it has special meaning to me because of my own losses.

To your readers, Spafford lost his four daughters after losing his business possessions in the Great Chicago Fire. He had stayed behind to tie up the insurance ends while sending his wife and family ahead to Europe. So, yes, he is much like Job in that respect. He lost almost everything but his faith. Thinking on the Teddy Roosevelt-teddy bear connection and whether a teddy bear would have been anachronistic-I'm not sure; I'd have to look up the corresponding dates.

Once you have written the story, go over it for any punctuation errors; I found a couple. Good use of italics and boldface to separate and emphasize some places. I liked the way you showed us a special place each girl would have in their father's heart.
05/15/06
ok, I need all your help. I can't find the phrase "eyes locked" twice in my story. I know I make careless errors, but can someone tell me where i put that phrase? LOL
05/16/06
Very well written. Thank you for sharing the story. Definitely a good read.
05/16/06
Heart wrenching and beautiful. He gives us beauty for ashes. Excellent writing!
05/16/06
One of my absolute favourite hymns, too, You have done the story justice! (Line starts: Maggie, his sweet little girl, danced in a beautiful pink dress. She looked up. Her brown eyes locked with his.)yeggy
05/16/06
Wonderful, powerful story! I believe Christine's "eyes locked" comment refers to your first line "Horatio locked his vacant eyes on the sea." and the point where you describe Maggie ... "Her brown eyes locked with his."

I was captivated by your descriptive style and drawn into the story as if viewing a movie. I felt the dampness of the sea, the rocking of the ship. Well done.

05/16/06
By the way ... I do believe that even with vacant eyes, Horatio's gaze could be locked on the sea. Semantics that do not detract from the power of this piece.
05/16/06
What a beautiful job you've done in bringing this heartwrenching, factually based story into being! You have used such effective poetic images in showing your story! Wonnderful!
05/17/06
Awesome job! Yes, I also read it with tears in my eyes. Wonderful story and knowing it is true makes it much more effective...have always loved the song.
05/17/06
Excellent entry packed with emotions and great descriptions!
05/17/06
This is powerful storytelling! Written with excellence. You may have a winner here. Amazing work.
05/18/06
Congratulations! This is beautifully written, and I'm sure Spafford would be honoured.
05/18/06
Congratulations, Jessica. This is excellent writing! It brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing this.
05/18/06
I apologize for not remarking on this story sooner. It has been quite awhile since I gave out the coveted KRAP! award... the KRAP award is bestowed on anything that I read and then my first reaction is "KRAP!, that was awesome!
You deserve all the attention you are getting.
Keep it up!
05/18/06
Wow, you're on a roll Jess! Your first Masters entry is on the board! The painful "dialogue" you used when he remembers each girl one by one is what makes this piece a winner.
05/18/06
Jess, I knew this was yours! Congrats for a well deserved placement. :)
05/18/06
Knowing the story behind the song, wraps a blanket of comfort around the reader knowing that a heart full of pain would sing again. Nice, very nice.
05/18/06
I love this hymn and was quite familiar with the story. But I'd never heard it told like this before!
Excuse me...*sniff*!
05/20/06
Let me add my congratulations, Jess. Well done. I also knew the story behind the hymn, and you did an excellent job of bringing it to life, with all its heartfelt grief and ultimate recognition of faith. I will look forward to reading more of your work.
05/22/06
Excellent character development, drama, and imagery. Perfect storytelling packed with emotion. :-)