Friday, October 24, 2008

October's Ghostly Write-Away Winner

Write-Away ContestI want to thank our sponsor, The Company Store, without whom there would be no Fabulous Prize--otherwise known as a $50 gift certificate to their site. If it were me I know I'd be stocking up on Halloween decorations! The weather is getting colder and if blankets and comforters and things to keep you warm are on your list you should check them out.

Thank you also to Stephanie Precourt at Adventures in Babywearing, our guest judge who wasn't afraid to tackle this enormous project even with a beautiful newborn in the house.

And last of all, thank you to our entrants. When I came up with the idea for the Write-Away Contest nearly two years ago these are the kind of submissions I hoped to receive. I know there are a lot of them but if you have time to read through you'll be well rewarded, there are all kinds of ghosts and you'll have to decide for yourself which are the hardest to face. So many brave writers have shared their stories this month.

Your stories are wonderful.

. . . And the Grand Prize winner is:

My Inkstand with Ghosts

Janelle enjoys cooking and baking, photography, reading, and occasionally writing. She says, "My writing depends on a good topic . . . I have a hard time coming up with anything on my own, but I enjoy running with an idea when it comes." I'm so glad that she ran with this month's topic!

Honorable Mentions:

Once upon a Dream with The Golden Locket
Total Mom Haircut with Ghost Story
Octamom with The Yellow Umbrella

Editor's Choice Award (That's me with my two cents):

Navel Gazing at Its Finest with Peace Be with You


Here are a list of the entries in the order they were received:

1. Tales of a Shoebox Princess with A Ghost in the Keyboard
An early Halloween story for you. And like all spooky ghost stories, this one REALLY happened! (OK, it's not all that spooky). Once upon a time, there lived a not-quite-middle-aged woman named Sarina who loved her computer. She liked to type on it, she liked to click with the mouse.

2. Drifting Divergence with No Seriously, the House Was Haunted
I grew up in a haunted house. REALLY. I mean it. Spooky, creepy, weird things happened there the entire time I lived there and beyond. When we first moved in, a man's voice (no men living there at the time) came from behind my Mom in the dark basement and said "Get out." When she turned the light on, no one there.

3. The Great Walls of Baltimore with A Family House
My house is haunted. I don't mean that we have a ghoul who groans and clanks chains, nor am I referring to a mischievous poltergeist. My ghosts are different and they are everywhere. Sometimes when I stand at my front door, I see a newly married couple, bringing home their first furniture purchase together, and wondering if the shiny new couch will fit through the door.

4. Raising Explorers with How to Talk to Dead People
It’s October, which means we will be celebrating a very mysterious holy day within the upcoming weeks. Some ancient people believed that the barrier separating the physical world from the place of spirits will be at it’s thinnest during this time of year.

5. Positive Frenzy with The Forgotten
I was out walking as I did every evening and if I was tired I took a short-cut home through the woods. I lived in a rural area so when darkness falls, is falls quickly and hard. Everything is covered with a blanket of darkness, and you can only see the stars and the moon. One night when taking my short-cut I noticed a big dark structure through a patch of trees heavily draped in moss.

6. Missouri Mama with Freaky Photo Shoot
Saturday morning was off to a stellar beginning. The sun was beaming strongly towards my bedroom window. So brightly, in fact, every effort I gave to block it out was useless. I grabbed my xPhone off of the night table to check my email and see what my peeps were up to on Chirper.

7. School Teacher by Day, Super Hero by Night with Ghosts
Ghosts come in many shapes and forms. There are the ghosts of our pasts, the memories we'd like to forget. There are the ghosts of chance, a missed moment or a risk not taken, that leaves us wondering "What if..."

8. TJ with The Ghost of My Dreams
The places, events and people of my life emerge from my subconscious as the settings, plots and characters of my dreams. In my sleep I pluck from a lifetime of who, what and where like I am trick-or-treating at doors across the world. Then, my mixed assortment of real people, places and scenarios appear in eerie fictional stories, out of time and situational context, as the ghosts of my sleepy-time entertainment.

9. My Inkstand with Ghosts
“Do you believe in ghosts?” It was a random question. I was just about to fall asleep when I heard him ask it in the darkness. I mumbled something to the effect of “Of course not” and rolled over.

10. You Gotta Go There to Get There with Estellville Manor
Do you believe in Ghosts ? A very long time ago, before I was married in 1970, my Grandmother took me on a "back road" ride in the Pinelands of Jersey. A quick right off the AC Express Way was all I remembered.

11. Emzeegee and the Hungry Three with I Wish I Didn't Believe in Ghosts
According to Wikipedia, a ghost is: "...the apparition of a deceased person, frequently similar in appearance to that person, and usually encountered in places she or he frequented, the place of his or her death, or in association with the person's former belongings."

12. Zen Mama Wannabe with Ghosts from My Past
They pop in to haunt me from time to time - never expected, rarely welcome. Sometimes they stay for only a second or two. Just enough time to announce their presence, to remind me of their previous existence. On some occasions they choose to linger, hoping to get enough of my attention to play the “What if” game. What if I had handled it differently, what if I had said this or not said that? Yes, what if?

13. Dunhaven Place with The Ghost of a Mem'ry
The ghosts—they dance, they prance, they sing,
they haunt, they roar, they soar, they ring;

14. Randomosity with Ghosteses, Gobl'em-ups and Other Stuffs to Spook Ya By
I'm sure you've all been asked "Do you believe in ghosts?" I know I have. And my answer is always, Yes. I do believe in ghosts. I'm not nearly afraid of them as I am of dentists, vomiting (yeah, it's weird - don't ask) and politics. But, I digress.

15. Hanging out the Wash with Ghosts of Papua New Guinea
He's a masalai. Her voice lowered, she gestured toward the ragged figure of Kandangyo, loitering a little further down the jungle trail. Masalai? A jungle spirit? I leaned in to hear more from my New Guinean friend, and Purpurme was only too willing to explain how, when Kandangyo was a baby, his mother had left him alone on the beach for a short time, and a masalai, a water spirit, had come and switched places with the spirit of the baby.

16. Total Mom Haircut with Ghost Story
“Her hair grew long and knotty, turning gray and full of burrs. Her nails grew sharp, extending inches from the tips of her fingers. She became emaciated, a skeleton of herself in a long, black dress. La Llorona.”

17. Past Continuous with Framed Ghost
My daughters have grown up with three grandparents. They have their dadu and thamma (my husband’s father and mother) in Kolkata. And then they have their dida (my mother) in Bangalore. If they’ve ever wondered at the lopsidedness of the grand-parental-equation, they’ve never let me know about it. But then, children seem to have their own logic of working out these things.

18. Positively Organic with The Ghosts of Our Minds
The ghosts of our past are often the most powerful to overcome. They tend to gain power with age, perhaps haunting us for a lifetime. Even though I feel I've grown out of this fear of the dark - of something waiting out there for me as I've gotten older, I still leave the hall light on and double check the locks when Mr. O's away.

19. Mean Mommy Musings with A Cherished Visitor
I don't buy into the idea of ghosts being lost between worlds, angry, vengeful, mourning and skulking around dark corners and hallways, whooooooing away. Nor do I believe they are Casper-like, friendly little do-gooder spirits, looking for ways to lend a helping hand to the living. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't believe in ghosts at all. I believe in the Holy Ghost.

20. Divergent Pathways with Ghost . . . In Three Acts . . . Part One, Part Two and Part Three
All three of our houses had ghosts. The first one held ghosts we unknowingly brought there ourselves. The second house had several...One charming and poetic, one tragic, and one very real but borderline hilarious specter. Our third house has the best ghost of all. These are their stories. And ours.

21. Calico with Homer
I live with a ghost named Homer. He's the one who broke the banister. Homer accidentally moved Corrie's Swatch watch from the drawer to the dresser when he wore it to school without asking, because it matched her, uh, his black stripe Benetton pants.

22. Writing My Wrongs with Mothering a Ghost
"Ghosts are a metaphor for memory and remembrance and metaphorically connect our world to the world we cannot know about." - Leslie What
I rolled over and checked the time on my iPhone. No triple identical digits this time. Instead it displayed 6:59 am. I realized it was time to get out of bed and wake the boys but I did not have the energy.

23. Coordinated Chaos with I Love the Ghosts in My Home
Oh how I love the Ghosts in my home. They don't show themselves often, but when they do, my heart stops, I take a quick breath, and my eyes tear up for only a moment as the little Ghosts I am surrounded by flit in and out of view.

24. Not a Significant Source . . . with Phantom Pains
Phantom pain is an awareness of something that was once there, but is no longer a part of you. It could be pain felt in a missing limb, the sensation of movement, or even the feeling of pressure from an organ that has been removed. It hasn't been determined conclusively if phantom pain stems from the brain or from nerve endings that perceive things that are no longer there.

25. Navel Gazing at Its Finest with Peace Be with You
A little over thirteen years ago, my paternal grandfather died. When we got back from that funeral, we got the news that my maternal grandfather had just died. I couldn’t get more time off, so I was at work as my family packed up the car to head back up to Utah for the funeral. In the late afternoon as we were all getting itchy to leave for the weekend, I got a phone call. It was my brother Mark. “Sue, Dad had a stroke.”

26. One Wild and Precious Life with I Buried Her Long Ago
One of us had to go and I found her to be the weaker. I couldn't live with her constant nagging, the bitter complaining. What else could I do but silence her? She'd never have lasted anyway I am sure.

27. My Round File with Ghost of Depression Past
I am still afraid of ghosts. The ethereal presence that haunts me is the possibility of falling back into the abyss. I am surrounded by signs of strength - family, faith, friends, career - but I wonder if inside I am fragile.

28. Fun at the Cook Shack with Bump in the Night
My husband (Justin) sees ghosts in the night. It is a wonder when I am able to fall asleep, and it is a miracle when I stay asleep. In our first months of marriage Justin tried desperately to ensure that I wouldn't insist on separate rooms.

29. Moze Esme with Ghosts of Mozambique
I glance through the doorway of the dimly lit hut, observing her shallow breathing as she sleeps on her floor mat. Her head is covered with crusted sores, hair falling out in patches. A ghost of who she once was.

30. Notes from the Burrow with Voices
The girl sat slumped in a wooden rocker, her arms flung over the sides. She had to sit and wait for the doctor to come to her house to check on her mother. The girl knew her mother was dying. She didn't think about it. She wished it away.

31. Mommy Monsters Inc. with Ghosts of Mothers Past
I recently gave my dining room a face lift, covering the walls in a springy green to complement my grandmother's newly refurbished buffet. The dark wood is now antique white, the brass appointments polished, the heavy wooden shelves replaced with glass and interior lighting. Truth be told, it's a thing of beauty.

32. Life and Times of a Mom Lacking Sleep with Ghosts
It is pouring rain outside, cold and windy...all definite signs of Autumn in Nebraska. Well, that and the constant hum of semi-trucks sailing down the dirt road full of corn. Forget the changing leaves or the brisk morning air...we have trucks full of corn.

33. Octamom with The Yellow Umbrella
It was the yellow umbrella. He could see it bob on the tides of pedestrians, a canary inverted cup, bouncing with the step of its carrier. The rain spotted his fourth floor office window, refracting his view into a multi-faceted mosaic, each drop capturing that dapple of yellow framed by gray sidewalk, gray building walls, gray overcoats.

34. Marybeth Whalen with Ghost in My Garden
I wander through my new backyard, taking stock of the variety of flowers, plants and herbs that were left by the previous owner. I know that the woman who lived here before was quite the gardener-- the evidence is all around me. And yet, there is also evidence of things left undone, overgrown plants spilling over their borders, spindly shoots stretching in wild directions.

35. Blissful Anonymity with Ghosts
I knew you’d come today, it’s been three years. You’ve mourned me for longer than you knew me now. I watch as you make your way up the hill. You’ve cut your hair and it swings sleek and shinning round your chin; no longer the wild mane I loved, that I would twist round my fingers.

36. A Gathering of Days with Ghostly Spirit
Do I believe in ghosts?
That question is not too odd.
For I believe in A ghost,
The Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God.

37. The Lyon's Tale with Rescuing My Ghost-Girl
The dreams returned every few months, several times each year. Without fail. For twenty-one years.

38. The Spices of Life with The Quest for Deliverance
Here I am... waiting for the alarm clock to buzz OFF, but knowing that I will have to take the initiative and lift a weary arm to do it by hand. Oh, if a night seemed to stretch into forever, this was it. Exhausted as I was, I still only decidedly closed my eyes in restlessness for a couple of hours.

39. My Ice Cream Diary with The Haunting of Me
When walking by mirrors I look away. I look away because I know that she is there, waiting for me. The look in her eyes haunting me with their questions, always pleading, "Why? Why?" and the look of pity upon her face that makes my stomach churn.

40. Tami Fox's Thoughts and Views with Ghost Story
As she looked through the mist across the lake, she thought she saw a glimpse of her first love. It was night of the anniversary of the first time she met him. As her thoughts drifted back to that night 50 years ago her granddaughter sat on a nearby swing watching a smile come across her weathered face.

41. Step Mom/Real Mom with Ghosts, Demons, Exorcism and the Catholic Church
The month of October has always held a special place in my heart--my dad's birthday, apple picking, visits to the pumpkin patch, and, most recently, Peanut's birth. It's the crossing point between late summer and early fall, with the weather turning a little colder and the foliage setting the landscape on fire with brilliant bursts of yellow, orange, and red.

42. Once upon a Dream with The Golden Locket
The clock in the dashboard of the shiny new Chevy Silverado glared 11:39 through the darkness of a chilly November night as a young man and his new bride drove through the darkness. The wedding cans still clunked behind them as they headed for their honeymoon spot. Even though it was cold, they looked forward to time alone.

43. * And as an update: Whee! All the Way Home with Ghosts
A fabulous story that she didn't actually enter but which I'm forcing her to include nonetheless.
I was 4 when my family moved into the Arlington house. My daddy had been transferred to the Pentagon, and my parents bought a house in a neighborhood filled with children. My older brothers both found friends quickly. Of course, they were already in school, so that made it easier to find kids to play with.

Sponsored by The Company Store--For bedding and linens and wonderful Halloween decorations.

Technorati tags: Write-Away Contest, contests, blogging, writing

7 comments: said...

I just wanted to say how much I'm enjoying your blog-it's fantastic. I've added you to my Reader so I can keep up on all the fun. I'll also be linking to your adorable pumpkin earring project-it's so cute. Thanks for sharing!

Pencil Writer said...

Loved the 4 stories from your write away contest. What a fun thing to do.

Bobbie in AK said...

I just read Janelle's story. It gave me goosebumps. Congrats!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

This was SO MUCH HARDER than I thought it would be! So hard to choose. They were all so great!


J at said...

Thanks for the funny clip on my blog today. Here's another one for you:

Damselfly said...

I thought Octamom's Yellow Umbrella was great! Good to see she got an honorable mention.

Anonymous said...

Great reading! I agree with you choice of winner - that was fantastic!