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WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round One / Bout 13

 We continue with the last nine bouts that make up the initial round of the WRiTE CLUB play-offs.  The submissions will be posted here and two other blogs.  Here are the links to the blogs where the other bouts can be found.

DL Hammons @ Cruising Altitude 2.0
Julie Dao @ Silver Lining
Your task is simple…read the submission from each WRiTER below carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  If you haven’t already done so in the preliminary rounds, offer some critique if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote (after signing up on this Linky List) so blog/tweet/facebook/text/smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.  You will have until noon on Sunday (Nov. 4th) to vote.  . 

Good luck to both WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring.....?I Am Not Shakespeare.

I should have cried but I didn’t. I think I was more concerned with what my father was going to do once he got home and realized my mother had not only left him, but also forgot to take me with. That night my father walked through the door unaware that a colossal change had happened. He walked right by the kitchen, to his room. I silently counted, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four…. I’d almost made it to the fourth Mississippi before he realized most of my mother’s clothing was missing.

“What the hell is going on Julie? Where are all your dresses?" He was going to figure it out soon enough. When he didn’t get any response he thundered down the steps, stopping short of the kitchen. His eyes bore into me like I’d just committed a crime, and in a way, I felt like I had. In my mind, I didn’t fight hard enough to keep my mother there.

“Where’s your mother at?”

“I don’t know.” I shrugged as convincingly as I could and shoved another scoop of Spaghetti O’s into my mouth.

“What do you mean you don’t know? Did she go to the grocery store?” I didn’t know where she was half the time as it was, and it was true this time, I really didn’t know where she was.

“No, I don’t think she’s at the grocery store. She had her red dress in a suitcase and said she had to go somewhere for a bit.” The minute he put together that she was in possession of both her favorite red dress and the suitcase it must have hit him what was going on. His face turned the color of the sauce in my bowl, a muddled, reddish color and he started to shake. His eyes looked like they were going to pop out of his head. This was what I’d been waiting for, the aftermath.

“I knew she would do something like this to me one day. I tried to give her everything she ever wanted and it still wasn’t good enough. Then she decides to just leave you here. What the hell am I supposed to do with you now?” His fury was palpable and his disgust was evident, he didn’t want me either. He seemed more upset that she’d left me there for him to take care of than her actual leaving. I avoided meeting his eyes because then he would see the tears that were finally starting to build. The sound of his boots, heavy and loud on the vinyl floor, stomped back and forth from the kitchen to the living room, back to the kitchen and then he stormed out the back door, started up his truck and again I heard the metal garage door closing and I released the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding.


And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Dinah Annella.

Kat leaned her head against the bus window and watched the lights along the edge of the highway flash by like strobes: dark, then light, then dark again.

How was it possible that her father was dead? It didn’t feel real, even after all the scares and false alarms. The bus hit some rough pavement and her head bumped hard against the glass. She slipped her hand between her temple and the window and closed her eyes. She missed him so much, right here in her stomach and her throat.

She remembered going downstairs to talk to her father one night when she was around fourteen, after she’d finished her homework. Her brother had gone into the Army, and the evenings upstairs with her mother were so quiet. Her father was working in his rubber apron, softly humming to himself.

He looked up and smiled when he heard the door open. “Hey, honey.”

“Can I come in?”


She sat on a high stool over by the desk where he did his state paperwork. She looked at the partially filled-out form in front of her. “Margaret Blackmun.”

“Yes. I was just wondering if she was a Maggie or a Peggy,” he said as he coiled up a long plastic tube and hung it on a hook on the wall.

“Peggy when she was little,” Kat decided. “Marge when she was grown up.”

“I hope she was the Peg o’ someone’s heart. I hope she was happy and loved.” He gazed for a moment at the woman’s still face. “I like to think that what I do is love, Kat. You know, this is the last kindness anyone will do for her. It’s an honor, really. I hope someone takes good care of me when it’s my turn.”

Kat left the stool and walked over to the table where her father was gently washing Margaret’s arms and hands. She looked at the face above the sheet, pinked up and a little puffy now with dad’s chemicals in her veins. “She looks so old.

“Yes, well, she was 87. But to me, she looks young, too. I can see the little girl she was, the teenager, the young mother. It’s all there.” He smoothed her thin white hair. “Peggy.”

“I can’t imagine ever being that old, dad,” Kat said.

“None of us can.” He washed Margaret’s face, then reached for the thread and curved needle to close up her mouth. Kat couldn’t stand to watch this part--she could almost feel the stitches in her own lips--so she went back upstairs, letting her father finish with the prepping and dressing. The next morning the hairdresser and beautician came by to get Margaret ready for the open casket, and later that afternoon, Kat watched out her window as the few old friends still alive came by to look and touch one last time, to say goodbye and to tell her children and grandchildren what she meant to them.


Don’t forget to visit the other two sites and vote for your favorite in those bouts as well!  Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!



  1. Two strong pieces again but I'm going with Dinah. The emotional tension and tenderness was palpable.

  2. Suzanne is right. These are two strong pieces, and it's hard to choose between them. In the end, I think Dinah's piece tugs at my heart more. There's real emotion in it.

    The first piece tries to do this too, and I love the line: "I think I was more concerned with what my father was going to do once he got home and realized my mother had not only left him, but also forgot to take me with." It pulls at the heart. But some of the later paragraphs go on a bit long without striking the perfect chord that Dinah's does. It just needs some tweaking and cutting to get there, though.

  3. I like each of these equally, but since I write about death on my blog, I'm going to give my vote to Dinah.
    Good luck to both!

  4. I like both of these pieces -- they each do well at developing drama and emotional impact, they both have interesting main characters I can care about, and they both leave me wanting to read more.

    But since I have to choose, I'm going with Dinah today. It does suffer in that it's all an immediate flashback, but I still seem to connect with it a little more than with the first one. It's probably just a personal preference -- both entries are very good.

  5. Both were good entries. I'm voting for I Am Not Shakespeare.

  6. My vote goes to I Am Not Shakespeare.

  7. Dinah. I connected more with the piece and it's written so beautifully.

  8. Shakespeare left me more more curious.

  9. Dinah. Love the line about peg of someone's heart.

  10. This one looks close.
    My vote is for Dinah Annella.

  11. I vote for I Am Not Shakespeare today

  12. Dinah Annella, no question. The writing is stronger and I care more about the relationship between the characters in this piece.

  13. Tough choice. #2

    (DL - my apologies with not being able to keep up with the voting - these last couple of weeks have been very chaotic. Even though I didn't enter a piece, I love this contest & wish I could vote on every bout, but it's not possible right now. I'll do my best!)

  14. My vote is for Shakespeare.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. I'm voting for I am not Shakespeare :)

  17. These two are both amazing but I'm voting for I Am Not Shakespeare

  18. These are both really good, and somewhat similiar, so this is hard. I'm voting for Shakespeare, simply because that piece is more present and in the moment and the drama is more tangible. They're both very nicely done though. Good luck guys!

  19. I Am Not Shakespeare was more gripping emotionally. However, the comma splice needs to be fixed: "His fury was palpable and his disgust was evident, he didn’t want me either."

  20. Both pieces caused a couple of tears to push their way over my lids. I enjoyed Dinah's heartfelt return to a memory with her father, the beautiful relationship between father and daughter shown through their interaction. It is for this reason I am voting for Dinah.

    I am not Shakespeare reached out to that part of me that understands that feeling of abandonment but didn't quite snatch at it. There seemed a bit of a disconnect for me. I can't say it was the writing. This is one time subjectivity is really making the final call.

  21. This was a super tough choice for me. They are both well executed. I hate to do this, really I do, but I keep typing a name and then changing to the other. I see from scrolling down that this is a tight race, and I just can't tip the scales one way or the other when I'm this undecided. So, I abstain. Sorry.

  22. Both are excellent and I wish I could vote for both of them, but... I have to vote for Dinah.




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