Howdy! Welcome to the results for Vol 2-9; glad you’re here!
REMINDER: the application deadline to judge for the 2nd quarter (Apr – Jun) is this Saturday, February 15; details here. Join the fun!
I want to say how much I appreciate all you long-timers coming back and keeping this writing community so vibrant and awesome. Many of you on today’s dais have won and/or placed many times in the past. It’s also a great thrill to see how many new writers we’ve had joining us these past weeks. Thank you! AND as a final note–I didn’t see anyone attempt to translate this week’s challenge word, che’ron. Here’s a major hint: Jeff Hollar, care to take a stab at it in the comments?
Judge M. T. Decker says: Wow, you all definitely made me work for this one! I looked at the picture and drew a total blank, and yet you all were able to draw so many tales of victory, defeat and everything in between. You made me laugh, you made me cry and you made me think and for that you ALL deserve acknowledgement.
Image Ronin, “The Chosen” – Thankfully I had my sushi and sashimi earlier this week – haunting.
SJ O’Hart – “The Spirit of the Games.” Your title was totally misleading, and yet very telling once you got to the end. Bravo!
Erin McCabe – The description of Mitch’s victory dance is priceless. “constipated chicken and anaphylactic octopus…” is easy to imagine even while I was laughing at the wording.
Margaret Locke –“Endurance” – That knowing smile at the end is precious.
I wish I could comment on all of your stories, but I’d be here all day and you’re not here to listen to me wax poetic.. and so… the results…
Catherine Connolly, “Gladiator.” This story takes the prompt and turns it into a very personal struggle that resonates with very human challenges and obstacles. Its haunting simplicity kept drawing me back to it even after I’d read it. That sort of pull is hard to resist and makes it memorable.
Ben Miller (winner Round 44), “The Symbol of Civilization.” This story talks about rebirth and recreation, but on another level it talks about the fallibility of man, that even when we recreate something… we don’t always get it right. Like “Gladiator,” it has a very human quality to it that draws the reader in. The humor in the ending kept me smiling for quite a while.
Jeffrey Hollar (winner Round 21), “Vindication.” This story takes a rather dark twist, where logic and determination meet a broken psyche. Again, this story was haunting but in a chilling sort of way. It displays all the attributes required of a competitor: determination, focus, patience and practice and puts them to a less than altruistic plan that left me with chills.
SECOND RUNNER UP
Alissa Leonard (winner Round 25), “How Champions Are Made.” Through clever use of dialog, the author sets the stage for the Olympics of the future: where man has reached the stars and met other alien races. We learn that the competition has expanded into zero-and fluctuating gravity games, and that, alas, cheating is indeed universal. It puts a very human face on the games and tells a much greater story than its 157 words should allow. Bravo!
FIRST RUNNER UP
Marie McKay (winner Round 26), “Only a Matter of Time.” This story takes an inventive view of cheating, and the title resonates throughout the story. “The timing had to be right…” when talking about people cheating gives a warning that it really is “Only a Matter of Time,” but the twist at the end brings that point to the forefront and indeed it is a matter of time. This story has a unique way of explaining the use of… time in cheating, and left me thinking about how timing is everything, in the games and, it would seem… in winning them.
And now: in a Flash! Friday FIRST, we have FOUR TIME
“Fear of Flying”
Betsy is Flash! Friday’s first ever FOUR TIME WINNER (she also won rounds 18, 23, and 35). The language of this story is one of support, achievement and pride. Through reflective narrative the author draws the reader in with its lyrical qualities and clever use of imagery: a “bear cub on skates” giving way to a “butterfly made of spider silk” are both poetic and far more telling that simple words should be. It is this quality that defines the story and then the powerful finale, the humanity and emotion, that even in pride and joy… there is envy. The full range of emotions and frail humanity are framed in a gorgeous tale. Congratulations, Betsy!
AWESOME job, Betsy! In your honor as our first-ever four-time winner, I’m flinging a physical prize your way: a Flash! Friday commemorative poster (those are finally rolling off the press from the Flashversary, hurrah!). Here is your updated winner’s page–and below is the Flash! Friday Year Two ebadge for you to claim. Please watch your inbox for brand new interview questions for Wednesday’s #SixtySeconds feature. And here is your winning story:
Fear of Flying
I picked you up every last time you fell.
Reached under your arms, lifted you to your feet, and gently pressed you to try again.
Sometimes I showed you what to do, how to leave the ice and then land effortlessly, how to make nearly impossible feats look easy. Like dance. Like flying.
You watched, and then you attempted to follow. Your first efforts looked clumsy like you were a bear cub on skates.
But eventually, you got it. And you got the next thing, and the next. After many months you became weightless, a butterfly made of spider silk.
How you flew. Even on the ground you looked like you were flying.
Now, as I watch you enter the stadium, my breath puffing out of me in little clouds, the world gathered to celebrate our work,
My chest contracts into a stabbing, black, hateful desire to see you fail.
It should have been me.