Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CALENDAR (10/20/16)
- TITLE: Charlie D.
By Daniel Rae
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Charlie awoke suddenly from a deep and untimely sleep. A single eye checked the time and date on his open iPad. He uttered a frustrated euphemism and rolled off the couch. It was 2 hours before deadline and he hadn't written a word.
He gulped a few ounces of San Pellegrino letting the effervescence jump-start his brain. An inadvertent glance in the mirror made him catch his breath. Even as his physical attributes waned his writing suffered as well. He was currently averaging 19th place out of a total of 18 entrants, a curiously difficult result.
But such is life in the high-rolling world of 'CHALLENGE' practitioners.
Charlie was perplexed by his inability to sway the judges. He wrote from his heart, a keen desire to show you something that you didn't already know. But he always came up short. No amount of research or spell checking or grammatical instruction, could hoist him off the cold and lonely floor of literary mediocrity.
He thought wistfully about some of his fellow writers. He was frequently in awe at their mastery of the well-crafted word. Francie and Robyn; Judy and Pat; Sylvia and Brenda; Just 6 of the many in Advanced that offered consistently stellar submissions.
Charlie gathered himself and opened the notes app on his tablet, silently praying for Divine inspiration. He had to pause for a moment, wracking his memory for the 'Challenge' word of the week. Oh yes of course! 'CALENDAR' !
He briefly reflected on the golden era when words like 'skulduggery' and 'insouciant' had instantly led to world class prose. The words had seemed to roll off the frontal lobe of his brain and onto the keyboard at his fingertips, an effortless progression.
But CALENDAR was an oblique term. How could he effectively 'nail' the topic when the possibilities were endless !?
Charlie shook his head and rubbed his eyes never looking away from the assignment before him.
He was seriously considering never writing again.
Thursday, Oct. 27 2016 ( 10:30 a.m. EST. )
Charlie awoke from a short and unsatisfactory sleep. He allowed a single eye to focus on his open iPad catching the day and the month and the year.
He intentionally kept himself from being overtly optimistic. He'd experienced first hand the desolation of being bunched together and crassly dumped into the dreaded abyss of 'All other entries in no specific order'. This crushing designation could easily spur an aspiring writer to torch his pen and keyboard.
He checked his email first finding no congratulatory 'happy dance' enthusiasms. Then he logged onto the site, a sense of foreboding crowding his space. The winners names, from the coveted 1st to 3rd followed by the consolation of 'highly commended', didn't include his.
He snapped his iPad shut and lay there facing the ceiling.
He recalled a statement made by his linguistics professor at the college he never attended:
"Never forget that a great story lacking grammatically, is much better than an average story, perfectly written".
Charlie was not the author of this Donald Trump-ish rationalization. At least he'd never admit it.
But despite a continual barrage of deemed failure, he couldn't give up.
Friday, Dec. 16 1824 ( 2:15 p.m. U.T.C. )
A single-room schoolhouse in Camden, London, stood in defiance of the mid-winter chill.
The classroom was erupting with childish rabble. Charlie was awkward and had no desire to partake in the revelry. Rather he sat quietly at his corner desk, writing.
The only entertainment he could afford was his own stories, so he chased his imagination to ensure they were as captivating as possible. His father was in a debtors prison and waited with bated breath for Charlie's latest tales.
"Charlie!" yelled the teacher, tiring of his aversion to curricular instruction.
"Charles!" she yelled slightly louder, pushing him to pay attention.
Exasperated, she walked 15 feet to Charles desk. She leaned in close and whispered sharply into his ear:
"Mr Dickens!!" "Put that pad away and pay attention! You will never amount to a hill of beans in this life by doodling instead of learning".
Charles paused for a moment till the teacher was once again out of reach.
Then he continued to write, more focussed than ever.
*Romans 5: 3-4
3: Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4: and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
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