My Weekly Writing Challenge

It’s that time of the week again – time to get your creative brain working for my weekly challenge. I’ve gone all Christmasy for this one. Enjoy!

Option one: Choose as many words as you can from the following list and write a twenty-word story:

  • Crackers
  • Mary
  • Party
  • Stockings
  • Celebrate
  • Star
  • Donkey
  • Santa
  • Gold
  • Frosty
  • Mistletoe
  • Nativity
  • Friends
  • Believe

Option two: Write a story/poem, centred around any of the following Christmas themes :

  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Hope

For option one last week, your words were:

  • Bibliopole
  • Scarlet
  • Breatharian
  • Nancy
  • Blimey
  • Constellate
  • Uncouth
  • Moped
  • Bauble
  • Angel
  • Degust
  • Needy
  • Tinsel
  • Chocolate
  • Elves

The results have had me laughing all week:

Jo Lambert says she’s becoming addicted to these challenges. I love her story:

Scarlet needy elves gorge on chocolate and constellate round Nancy Angel wearing tinsel and baubles and riding a moped. Blimey!

Adam Dixon hoped his story would raise a smile. It certainly does!:

“Blimey!” groaned Scarlet, the uncouth angel. “Tinsel? Elves? Chocolate?! What happened to constellate breatharians helping the needy? I hate Christmas…”

Helen Gaen has excelled herself once again, using all fifteen prompts in her story. Fantastic:

Uncouth breatharian bibliopole Nancy felt disgust: needy scarlet elves dressed constellate trees with baubles, tinsel, and chocolate-moped angels… Blimey!

Petra Rovere always says she’s just attempting one and then writes an excellent story:

“Blimey!” said Nancy to Scarlet playing with bauble elves, slowly degust an angel shaped chocolate. “I’m reconsidering my breatharian beliefs!”

Les Moriarty sent in two to make you chuckle:

The angel scoffed the chocolate bauble. Blimey, said Nancy, going scarlet with the elves, how uncouth, so very needy.

The angels formed a constellate around the elves, who were scarlet through breatharian. Nancy watched wearing red tinsel.

Option two was to write a story/poem, centred around any of the following emotions :

  • Misery
  • Madness
  • Mortification

Keith Channing is back with some wonderful limericks, using all three prompts. You’re in for a treat:

I’ve always been told that my sadness
Resulted from other folks’ badness
But I have since learned
Of unhappiness earned
Through what must be electoral madness

Being told I’m a miserable sinner
Doesn’t help me to feel like a winner
My soul I have bared,
My misery shared
And now I am ready for dinner

A new sense of mortification
Is spreading across a whole nation
Because of a man
Who believes that he can
Solve all problems with fortification

***

index

 

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22 Responses to My Weekly Writing Challenge

  1. Hi Esther, here’s my offering for this week: Mary watches friends celebrate, pull gold crackers, hang stockings and kiss under mistletoe while Santa star gazes under frosty skies.

    Love Jo xx

  2. Glynis Smy says:

    Here’s my first offering, Esther! Crackers, the Nativity donkey, wore stockings to celebrate with friends, Mary, and Santa. He was the star in frosty gold. 🙂

  3. Hopelessly gazing at the words, she wanted to hope inspiration for a mistletoe story would appear before the party started….(hope to return with story to unwrap later. What a great jingle of an idea!)

  4. TanGental says:

    Ah, um, I’ve just finished a story, prompted by a friend on the theme of hope and peace which will go live on Christmas day which is probably a day too late for this challenge anyway. Hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t do a second one!

  5. Helen Jones says:

    Hi Esther – love the Christmassy theme this week. Here’s my contribution:

    ‘You can’t put stockings on a donkey!’
    ‘Who says? It’s my Nativity.’
    ‘You’re crackers, Mary.’
    ‘I believe I’m the star.’

    Hope you have a lovely Christmas! xx

  6. Hello Mrs Esther. How are you. Christmas is nearing. Preparations are on full swing I guess. Hope the best for all. I wish to offer this story I wrote quite some time ago. It is on the Christmas theme. Happy reading. ( A bit lengthy, sorry!)

    MEMORIES FOREVER

    “Hurry up! Looks like it’s going to pour heavily” cried Isabelle, Anne’s elder sister. The children were running to and fro, happy as usual, to come to their grandmother’s place, a small village called Salzburg. Sam and Danny, Isabelle and Anne’s husband respectively, were having hard times handling the children and carrying the luggage as well. They managed to reach the place a week before Christmas, to spare them enough time to put the place tidy.

    Standing at the gate, Anne was contemplating the house where she spent her childhood. It was a two-storey house with a huge alley bordered by trees and flowers. They were paved with earthen colored bricks and trees on its sides offered nice shade. Anne closed her eyes and was lost in times already gone by. However her flashback broke when she felt drops of water on her cheeks.

    Years have elapsed since nobody lived in that house. But Isabelle and Anne had made it a must to visit the place each year so that the memories of their childhood remain alive. Each year they would celebrate Christmas together. They had planned for something special for that Christmas too.

    Isabelle ands Anne were the only children of Mr and Mrs Smith. Their mother was kind of a very calm personality. Being a housewife she took great care in handling her household and her family. That frail-looking lady was indeed someone with moral strength and perseverance, always standing to support her husband with the responsibilities. Mr Smith was a self-employed man. He ran a workshop at the backyard of the house and was very famous for the expertise he would show in his work piece, be it metal or wood work. Mr Smith had always been kind of a hard personality but simultaneously a devoted husband and father, always standing like a shield to protect his family from hard times. Isabelle and Anne had grown up developing strong characters under guidance of their father. According to him his daughters should be able to face and overcome any difficult situations they might encounter in their daily life. He would always take pride to inculcate in them the values to develop strong attitudes towards life but at the same time, he would always keep the maternal and feminine touch of his daughters.

    Isabelle and Anne have always shared very deep and strong bond. Isabelle was more attentive in shouldering household responsibilities, being the elder child of the family. While Anne was more helpful in heavier tasks and in doing errands for her mother. Mr Smith had always worked hard to provide for his family and he had left no stone unturned in his effort to educate his daughters. He always believed that they should become self-dependent in life.

    When Isabelle and Anne got married, Mr and Mrs Smith were left alone. But the two sisters had always made it a must to visit their parent whenever they could spare time from their work schedule. But those happy moments did not last long and were lost when Mr and Mrs Smith passed away.

    After a thorough cleaning of the house they all sat by the furnace with the children around them. Sam and Danny were busy in the kitchen preparing nice cups of coffee they would enjoy in the company of their wives. Both of them were deep in their hearts very proud to have Isabelle and Anne as life partners.

    “Here you are sweetheart” and Sam and Danny, both handed the cups of coffee to their beloved wives.

    “Thanks dear. Come sit.” Isabelle and Anne were also very lucky to have such understanding husbands. They would always offer helping hands with the household tasks as well as sharing the responsibilities in the upbringing of the children.

    It was the only period of the year when they would have the opportunity to meet one another. The joy was even greater for the children as most of the time they would share their little experiences through the phone. And the moments they would spend together would be the talk of the year through. So they would do every effort to make the moments memorable.

    “Have you people thought about anything special this Christmas?” Sam always showed keen interest for the end of year celebration. He would offer complete participation to make the atmosphere more festive.

    “Isabelle and I were thinking of doing something different this year” Sam continued.

    “And what’s that?” Anne asked eagerly.

    “Well” replied Isabelle enthusiastically, “we thought perhaps we can organize a Christmas party together with the people of the neighborhood.”

    “Not a bad idea!” Danny agreed. “You two sisters, you know the people over here. Do you think they will participate?”

    “Of course they’ll do!” Anne was very happy. “We have grown up here. We were very used to the elderlies of the village and we have played together with the other children too. And as far as I remember, never had a celebration like we are thinking been organized before.”

    “So let’s go and meet them tomorrow.” Sam said. “We’ll see what they think about it. Let’s go and sleep for now.”

    The next day announced a busy schedule for all of them. Despite the feeling of fatigue, they were all up very early. A good shower followed by a light breakfast was preferred to begin the day.

    “I think we should go and meet Uncle Harry first”

    Uncle Harry was the eldest person of the locality. And he had a large family too.

    “I am sure he will be very happy to see us and will appreciate our idea too. He may even give other interesting ideas as well. It’s rather a long time we did not see him.”

    “Yes, I think you are right”. Isabelle had always appreciated the fatherly aspect of the old man. His house was not very far. Both sisters, accompanied by their husbands and children, headed towards the place.

    On their way, the children as well as their parents were overwhelmed to have the opportunity to see such splendid views of the village. A beautiful lake could also be found by the side of Uncle Harry’s house, with ducks of various color shades that rendered the lake even more spectacular. And at the other angle, a children garden was built by the village council. Surrounded by trees with nicely carved wooden benches to sit on, the garden seemed to be a heavenly place. The playground was also well trimmed and well maintained. It had most of the games children would enjoy, for example the see-saw, the slide, the swing….and others as well.

    Old Uncle Harry was sitting in his porch, reading his newspaper and sipping his cup of hot tea while enjoying the cool breeze of the early morning. He was so engrossed he did not hear the foot steps approaching him. He was suddenly startled by Anne’s greetings.

    “Good morning Uncle Harry.”

    The old man raised his eyebrows, his old eyes staring to recognize the faces in front of him.

    “Oh! Anne! It’s you my child! You too Isabelle! Oh my god! What a pleasant surprise you give me. Looks like ages since I saw you both.”

    Anne introduced all of them to Uncle Harry thinking he might find it difficult to recognize them.

    “Sit sit!”Uncle Harry said. “And you little ones, come closer to me.” And he would take great delight in cuddling them.

    “You will have something?” he asked generously.

    “No Uncle Harry. Thank you very much. We just had breakfast.”

    “How come you remember me after so long? Are you here for Christmas at your father’s place?

    “We have come for Christmas. Each year we would celebrate it at father’s place. But we thought of doing something different this year. We could organize a big Christmas party together with the neighbors around. Everybody over here can participate like one big family”. What Isabelle said brought a huge smile on the lips of Uncle Harry. His old wrinkled eyes brightened.

    “Oh my child, what a nice thought. It’s indeed a great idea.

    “Thanks a lot Uncle Harry” Sam and Isabelle felt encouraged. Their idea was taken so positively by the good old man. “We may meet some of the people over here for an overall feedback.”

    “Yes my son. You go and meet them. Meanwhile I’ll make a call to the in charge of the village council. I am rather well acquainted with him. He will surely offer help. . You remember John and Daniel I believe?”

    “Yes of course. We played together as kids. We would always called John ‘big brother’ and Daniel; we had nicknamed him ‘fatso’. He was very fat indeed in childhood. Is he still the same?” Uncle Harry could not hold his laughter. He remembered that Daniel would return home angry whenever he was called like that and John would tease him again and again.

    “No no! Not at all! He has changed a lot. He is father of two adorable girls. John has a son. His wife is expecting again after ten years. And by God’s grace all is well.”

    “Ok then Uncle Harry. We’ll move now. We are really delighted to meet you.”

    “Yes. You people go. We’ve lots of things to do.”

    “See you later Uncle Harry.”

    During the day, they went to meet the different families of the locality. And they were soon recognized and welcomed wherever they went. They shared deep conversations about the good old times. Their idea was appreciated unanimously by the people of the locality. Some even suggested other arrangements to make the celebrations even more grandiose. Both sisters and husbands were very much encouraged and satisfied with the positive response of the villagers.

    By evening, Sam and Isabelle dropped in again at Uncle Harry’s place for a review of the plan. They had already made a list of they items they would need. When they reach his place, Uncle Harry was discussing the plan with his sons and daughters-in-law. The children were listening as well and they were all the more excited. John and Daniel were surprised to see Isabelle and Sam.

    “Isabelle! It’s so long we met. How are you?

    “Me? On top of the world! A darling husband with darling kids, a self-satisfying career; work, family……like we say every thing that adds spice to life.”

    “And how’s Anne? Is she married too?

    “Yes. She is here too with her husband, Danny. She too has kids and as adorable. A stressful life with much responsibility but all is being managed smoothly by God’s grace. Anne stayed at home to prepare for dinner. Danny stayed too to help her with the kids as well. They are tired running around with us since morning. But they are so excited for the party that they are like ever-ready for any help.

    “So it’s your idea, the great Christmas celebration. Nice one I must say.” John said.

    “I have already contacted the in- charge of the Village Council. He suggested the children’s garden as location and I agreed. It’ll be a more appropriate place being in the vicinity, with good space and lighting, convenient to all. The Village Council will arrange for some of the main items. Say like tables, chairs and some decorative materials as well. I have asked for a big Christmas tree. Provision for music will also be made. Perhaps we may need some more decorative materials.”

    “Don’t worry Uncle Harry. We’ll take the rest from the villagers. And we still have some at home. We can use that too. For dinner the villagers have proposed to bring and share whatever they will prepare at home.”

    It’s a good idea. Uncle Harry’s eyes were moist as if he was visualizing the event.

    “God knows whether I’ll be with you for next Christmas. At least we are together for now. Even for a few moments I’ll get to see all my children together.” And he patted Isabelle and Sam’s back. John and Daniel also hugged them as they were leaving.

    “Together we’ll make the day memorable.”

    For dinner, they all sat to eat together talked about how to proceed further. They were left with only four days before Christmas and there were so muck work to be done. They remembered Uncle Harry’s mention about decorative materials and went to the storehouse on the second floor. Each year after Christmas they would keep the items in the sore well arranged to be used next year. Isabelle and Anne were also used in setting parties. They had several times organized the birthday parties for their kids. And they would always use the techniques of their mother and everything would get on smoothly.

    All the people of the locality had joined together in the preparations of the party. The Village Council had supplied all the items promised. Days went by. By the eve of Christmas the garden was set. On the eve a huge Christmas was placed at the entrance of the garden all the more nicely decorated. Isabelle and Anne were overwhelmed to see the arrangements. It was more than expected.

    “But sis, I still think something is missing.” Anne said.

    “What? Everything is so perfectly done. What are you thinking about?” Isabelle asked.

    “Don’t you feel we should have a Santaclaus for tomorrow? He may distribute gifts to the children. Wouldn’t it be great?

    “You always get the right idea at the right time!” Isabelle had to agree to this.

    “As usual” said Anne tapping her shoulder and both sisters burst into laughter.

    “But who’ll do that?” Anne was trying hard to select somebody in her thought.

    “I’ll tell you. He’ll be the perfect one and should be the one too. Uncle Harry! What do you think?”

    “He’ll suit best. Good old Uncle Harry as good old Santa Claus”.

    Isabelle thought of asking him about it but Anne found it better to surprise him. The children also were very excited about the idea of receiving their gifts from Santa Claus. Sam and Danny had kept all the gifts out of their sight. And they had surprises for their beloved wives as well.

    The next day the bell of the church rang to welcome the day that had brought so much joy to the villagers. Isabelle and Anne, together with their husbands and children got ready to attend the morning mass. The whole locality was gathered at the church from the youngest to the eldest being. But despite his age, Uncle Harry was the first person to be there. He had always showed great interest to offer whatever help he can in any church work. And most of the time they would let him light the candles. The church was beautifully decorated by the volunteers of the locality. The fragrance of fresh roses spreading everywhere enhanced the peaceful atmosphere and everybody was lost in the canticles of the priest.

    After prayer, everybody shared Christmas greetings and good wishes. The evening party was the topic of discussion on the lips of almost every body. The children were eagerly sharing among themselves what preparations they have been making since they were told about it.

    Every thing was set by evening. And by eighteen hours people started to come. They chose fancy dresses to give a different look and the children were even more funny-looking. Nice music was going on. The smell of delicious dishes was teasing the sense of each and every one. It was a maximum participation of everyone to make the fete a success.

    Uncle Harry was getting ready when Isabelle and Anne went to meet him.

    “Good evening Uncle Harry.” Both sisters greeted him.

    “Ah! Good evening my children. You are all ready. I am a bit slow. What to do, I am old now’ and they all laughed together.

    “We have brought something for you Uncle Harry and you will have to wear it this evening. This is for you” and they handed to him the outfit of Santaclaus. The old man was altogether surprised.

    ‘Oh! This is for me? You want me to become Santaclaus”. In the meantime, John and Daniel together with their family came to join the two sisters.

    “This will be the final touch for the party’ John said

    The villagers were gathered at the garden place. Unanimous applauses went on loudly as the good old Santaclaus made his entry. The children came running and clinged to him. His smooth and gentle touch was so much comforting to the children and the young ones were very happy playing with his long white beard. His wrinkled eyes were wet and his heart filled with emotions he thought were lost somewhere.

    The villagers were happily enjoying themselves. Everything was going just too well when suddenly Daniel’s wife came running. With panted breaths, she told John that his wife was having abdominal pain.

    “ She told me she was not feeling well and wanted to take some rest. She asked me not to tell you in case you will panicked” Daniel’s wife continued to narrate what happened and John’s heart was pounding.

    “She went to lie down in her room. She is not well and we should take her to the hospital.”

    John felt his world was falling apart. “Oh God! Please not again.” John had the fear of his life. His wife had already had two miscarriages. And both times they had endured devastating pain.

    “There is still two months’ time for her delivery. If anything untoward happen this time she will not be able to bear it.” John was horrified.

    Isabelle and Anne came running with their husbands when they heard about the incident.

    “We should not lose time. Let’s take her to the hospital” said Isabelle and all rushed to Uncle Harry’s house. Sam and Danny helped to get her into the car. Uncle Harry sat on the stairs crying and praying to God for the well being of his children. He wanted to accompany them to the hospital but stayed to take care of the young ones.

    On the way to hospital, John was holding his wife in his arms. He had no words on his lips and just held her tight. She was immediately taken under the charge of the health personnel once they reached the hospital. John was standing helplessly in front of the labor ward. Isabelle and Anne were lost at words.

    When the doctor came out of the labor room, John felt completely broken on hearing that his wife was already losing the amniotic fluid and that they had to do the delivery.

    John wanted to go away. But he mustered great courage for his wife’s sake. She needed him most at that time. The doctor reassured them all again and went to proceed with the delivery. John was going through life-taking moments outside. There was nothing he could do apart from waiting for the impending bad news.

    When the door of the labor ward opened the second time, John turned his face away, holding his breath and eyes tightly closed. With his arms crossed on his chest, he stood there shivering. He heard the nurse speaking to him.

    “Stretch your arms forward Sir, and open your eyes.” But he did not hear the words. Someone did what the nurse had asked and then he felt something soft wriggling in his arms. When he opened his eyes he saw two tiny stars twinkling. It was unbelievable. The baby was looking at him with its little, angel-like eyes wide- open. All his fears had vanished. The softness of the baby on his skin kindled feelings no one could have explained. He just held it tight in his arms, kissed it gently on the cheek and ran to meet his wife. The doctor was still attending to his patient.

    “Congratulations Sir. Your wife gave birth to a boy. And don’t worry, everything is alright.” The doctor told John that even the delivery had been two months earlier, the baby was strong enough. There had been some respiratory problem in the beginning but the baby managed to strive. His wife was a bit weak due to heavy bleeding, but the doctor reassured she would gradually pick up. However both mother and baby had to be kept under observation for the next forty-eight hours before they could be allowed home. It was a precious baby and its good health needed to be ensured.

    “It does not matter how many days they need to stay doctor. All what I pray for is their wellbeing. That’s my priority. It’s the most wonderful gift I could ever have in my life.” He said while holding his wife hands. John was still crying but it was a tear of joy and gratitude to the lord.

    Uncle Harry was still sitting on the stairs and praying when the car’s horn was heard. His legs trembled as he stood up and he nearly stumbled while he quickly walked to the door.

    “What happened son?” asked the old man as his voice shivered. But John was too moved and could hardly gather his words. Anne tiptoed towards the old man and whispered in his ears, “your little guest is already here. A little boy!”

    The old eyes grew wide open and staring at everybody, he said,

    “Daniel, is it true? You saw the baby? Is he well?”

    “It’s true father” replied Daniel while holding the old man in his arms. “He is two months premature but the doctor said he is doing well. They will observe him for a few days before he is discharged. The old man lifted his hands to the lord in gratitude.

    “Oh Christ! You protected the peace and wellbeing of my family. Thank you a million times.” the old lips smiling while tears ran down his cheeks.

    In the garden outside the villagers were waiting anxiously. One of them, who had come to know about the event, had informed the others too. It was already past midnight when they had all returned from the hospital. The villagers were very happy too when they heard about the baby’s arrival and they congratulated Uncle Harry’s family.

    The celebration resumed zealously. They all dined together. The children were offered their gifts by old Santaclaus. And they all sang and dance together till the early hours of the morning. Everybody was satisfied as it said “all’s well that ends well.”

    Isabelle and Anne slept till late the next day. Sam and Danny also were exhausted. The children were however a bit sad that they had to stay alone for sometime during the Christmas party. But Isabelle and Anne explained to them that it was more important to be with someone in difficult times than in moments of joy. It is always harder to cry in someone’s pain than to smile in someone’s happiness. The happiness they got from what they did with the help of their life-partners meant more than all the energy used up in preparing the party. They would always follow the values taught to them by their parents so that the next generation learnt and imbibed the same.

    The next day, while setting off for their own place, the two families wished each other many good things for the coming New Year. They felt sad but simultaneously impatient for their next visit for some other great times together. Isabelle and Anne knew that for them, those moments shared would be their memories forever.

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