Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The final challenge in the readergirlz contest asked writers to study an existing place and see in it something new—to see in a forest nook, for example, a living room, or a in a series of shop windows a shelf crowded with books. Our winner is Charlotte from Australia, who saw in this image not just the fence and the trees beyond but, in her words, an escape route:
I tilted my head; squinting. As always the curtains were parted just wide enough for me to glimpse the world behind, but not so far that the place beyond was in clear sight. The little shafts of light that managed to break into my side were drawing me closer, tempting me in. Then a hand switched off the light and shadows appeared. I tried desperately to see all by twisting my head and leaning in as far as I could. My check brushed the curtain; green and gold velvet rubbed the wrong way. They was not going to let me in any further. I signed, with disappointment clearly written on my face. The shadows lengthened but still I did not move. This was my favorite place to come and every time I tried to look past the veil into the hidden world. Although nothing new had presented itself to me in a long time the curtains and all their mysteries were my only hope. One day, maybe I would be able to push aside the shadows and pass beneath the leaves.
Our second place winner is Carly Husick, who took a familiar chair—"a chair where I would always go to cry or read"—and made of it a flower petal:
The Crying Chair
A velvet flower petal; soft, rosy, pink.
Warm to brush your cheek against.
Curving upward, arms dragging in to envelope you
Palest pink, pooling darker as tears fall
The salty water, washing away memories of biting words,
A waterfall churning into a river
Like quick sand pulling you in, forming to you
The yellow rays, like a miniature sun, warming cream pages
A story unfolding before your eyes
Sloping walls meet banister, framing the pale pink
Held up by a crooked leg, its fate undeserved
In a moment of purest anger
Congratulations to Charlotte and to Carly. To Charlotte I'll now be sending a copy of The Heart is Not a Size. I invite both—and all of you—to attend the readergirlz chat scheduled for tomorrow evening (see the note in the margins). You can ask me anything you want. I will see if I have the words (and wit) to answer.