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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Facepalm (05/15/14)

TITLE: Dear Graham: Please, by all means, come pick the rotting flesh from the bare bones of my pitiful carcass of a story
By Joe Moreland


I sat down at my computer to review the story I had written last week for the Weekly Challenge on Faithwriters. I was surprised to find a collection of very nice comments gathered at the bottom of the page. Eagerly, I set to reading the little notes other writers had left for me.

All of the comments were very kind, with a few offering up minor suggestions on words that were misused or presented incorrectly. This is the risk you take by announcing you welcome “red ink” (which means “I want criticism”). Of course, writers don't really welcome any criticism whatsoever, but it would be rude, not to mention a sign of weakness, to admit that. So we grit out teeth and say “Please, by all means, come pick the rotting flesh from the bare bones of my pitiful carcass of a story - tell me what you see wrong.”

Too melodramatic? It's what I do.

So, I had a little red ink (the more I looked at it, the more it looked like a wagonload of red ink). Nothing I couldn't handle, of course. I would just find the evidence that my version was correct and my attackers were wrong. Simple, yes?

Just one problem – the stupid internet was not supporting my thesis.

Oh, well, I figured. I should probably thank everyone anyway, right? I mean, that's the polite thing to do, right? I mean, you can't have people thinking you are a thin-skinned, paranoid freak who can't handle someone tearing apart the fabric of your life, right? Right?


So, to get even, I wrote “Thank You” notes.

Dutifully I set about the task. I decided at random to just start from the bottom of the comments and work my way back up to the first. It was pure coincidence that the last three had no red ink whatsoever – that had nothing at all to do with my decision to start there. It didn't. I'm serious. Fine, don't believe me. I don't care.

I don't.

Anyway, the three thank you notes to Allison, CD and Graham went very smoothly. Each began with an opening that looked something like this:

Dear Allison, thank you very much for your kind comments on my challenge entry this week: (name of challenge entry omitted to protect the anonymity of this author for this week's challenge).

I was very pleased, except for one thing. The name of my entry, (name of challenge entry omitted to protect the anonymity of this author for this week's challenge), was very long. After three “thank yous,” I was really tired of typing (name of challenge entry omitted to protect the anonymity of this author for this week's challenge). So, I decided to cheat. I copied the opening paragraph from the “thank you” I sent to Graham and moved on to the next comment. The one from Ellen.

Ellen said several nice things about my piece, but then dropped the red ink hammer on me. It seems I had incorrectly used the word “shrunk” where I should have used “shrank”. Ellen let me know that “shrunk” need to be preceded by either “has” or “had”. I thanked Ellen for this piece of important information profusely.

Then I dashed off a nasty note to Disney to let them know their mega hit movie franchise should have been named Honey, I Has Shrunk the Kids.

Next up was Verna. She was nice enough to give me two pieces of red ink to obsess over. I had put a hyphen in “nondescript” - apparently not necessary – and I used the wrong slang word for the word “hen.” Wait a minute. There were no hens in my story. Hold on a second, I need to send Verna a new note.

Okay, back. I also let Verna know that I had seen another entry that also used a hyphen in “nondedscript.” I'll bet she's still looking for that one.


After Verna, I had two more comments that were blessedly devoid of “red ink” from Judith and Lynn. It was when I was about to hit “send” on the note to Lynn that I noticed something peculiar. Her message was a little shorter than the others, with the entire text fitting on my private messenger screen (all of the rest required scrolling to read the whole note).

There it was – at the top of the message being sent to Lynn:

“Dear Graham.”

Dear God.

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This article has been read 357 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/22/14

I thought this was brilliant, funny...and had me laughing so much, I nearly choked. My eyes now look like a raccoon from the smeared mascara!!

Fantastic! This will definitely win...how could it not?

I loved it!

Oh, and by the way. I was glad to see CD in there as one of the "easy versions" and happy that you "copied and pasted."

FYI...It was not a big deal and I wouldn't have mentioned it because I wanted to protect the anonymity of the writer of this week's challenge. But the note copied and pasted to me began with: Dear Lynn...

Facepalm : )

God bless~
Graham Insley05/22/14
I must be honest and admit that I read this totally the wrong way at first and reacted badly - FACEPALM!

But read the right way it is a brilliant, funny satire that makes just as much fun, if not more, of the writer as it does of the rest of us.

I bow in humble admiration of your bravery and writing skills.

Ellen Carr 05/23/14
I really enjoyed your, very funny, challenge-related, challenge entry! I am honored to have been featured in it. And, guess what - no red ink! (But I would have put some if you used 'shrunk' again without a 'had', 'have' or 'has'.) Well done.
Lisa Johnson05/24/14
Very funny approach to the topic. Sounds like something I would do.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/25/14
Stepping in here bravely to say I was an English teacher for 37 years, and I rarely use red ink- -only when I think am author has exceptional talent. How in the world did I miss "Shrank"? I love how you used it incorrectly to make a point. This was a delightful piece of sarcasm--so fun to read.
Judith Gayle Smith05/26/14
Most delightful! Brilliance and satire equating to pure satisfaction.

Remind me to pep up my comments so I receive more than "honorable mention" in your wonderful stories!
Sara Harricharan 05/28/14
What a fun piece! I loved the humor and tone, especially the way you tackled the natural progression of thought from receiving comments, to writing TY notes and then to processing the actual "red ink". Very fun!

Red Ink: I can't help but point out the "grit out teeth" as needing to be "our" instead of "out".

This piece really brightened up a dreary day for me, thanks for sharing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/29/14
This is a hoot. I love how you are able to laugh at yourself. My first instinct was to see if I commented on it last week, but I made myself finish reading before I checked. It's funny how the red ink fades and is more like a soft pink over time. With that said, em dashes like this--should be the length of the letter M (to differentiate en dashes) and shouldn't have spaces on either side. Hopefully, my red ink will fade to pink and you won't need to dash off to write to Disney about how to use an em dash. Great take on the topic. I would hazard a guess that we all feel that way about red ink once in awhile. I'm just glad I was on vacation last week and didn't have time to read or comment on too many stories. :-)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/29/14
Now that I looked back, I did comment on your piece and gave you red ink--one of which was about an em dash! I hope my ink didn't crush you too much. Hugs :-)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/29/14
Congratulations on ranking 17 overall!
lynn gipson 06/01/14
I missed this one last week, and I sincerely love it! Being a novice at writing I have no red ink, but am still giggling at Dear Graham, Dear God.

Great writing here!
Lindsey Ruby09/23/14
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Good one!