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It was a fine day in Scrineland when Jennia tickled ‘mouse’s fancy with the idea of the “First Ever Scrine Directed Writing Challenge” which requires entrants to write a sentence of exactly 200 words, not including the headline—other quickly-fleshed-out rules included the decision that hyphenated words count as a single-word, the way MSWord counts ‘em, “a” counts as a word when used separately, spelling errors do not subtract from the word count, (tho they are frowned upon by all but Jo, who finds them rather manly), grammar and correct use of punctuation are expected to fall within reasonable norms, however minor misuse of semicolons may be overlooked based upon how the judges (not yet drafted) feel about the overall quality of the sentence; extra credit is given for use of unusual words, and drunken, Hemmingwayesqe multi-page sentences that make you groan when you turn to yet-another page that goes on and on without a paragraph break are okay, but only if written while verifiably drunk and, if at all possible, submitted either from Key West or written on the back of two plane tickets from Portland, OR to Key West drawn in name of our handsome host, Keith.
TAGS: 200 Word Challenge
It is the relentless fine weather in California that permeates one’s psyche, the beautiful, paradisical warm days, one after another like an endless string of shining oysters stretching to the sandy beach’s horizon, each with a pearl; there are those times within memory when we found ourselves complaining because the breeze was a bit too stiff, or the rain clouds too low and thick, though they moved fast over the sky as if in apology for the necessity of the exercise; but in truth, one cannot blame one’s bad humor or mood swings on anything except oneself, for example, or bad parking, late sleeping, slovenly housewives or lazy children; which only goes to show that while there is much inside that can be found culpable, it’s so much easier to blame death or taxes or Republicans for the natural suffering that takes place in life, particularly when too many people occupy far too little space, or when one adheres to an outdated version of what was promised on that long-ago postcard with the coconut palm and the little hut and the orange groves stretching out over the earth fragrant and optimistic, and when one shows up to collect, finds only the blighted area just south of the Ontario airport where nothing ever grows and nothing ever will.
Near the end of his life, Donald would sometimes tell people the story of the time he was staring into a bowl of cold tomato soup and he realized that he had become an expert on emptiness, and that it was clear from that moment on that he would spend the remainder of his days perfecting this particularly lonely, but profound expertise; sometimes, near the end of his story, he would say that the soup was nothing more than a visual device he’d come up with to help the listener to understand what had become of him, that it was nothing more than an attempt to draw them nearer the edge of his empty world, giving them a chance to see as well as hear back into time, to that exact moment of self-realization, because as he described it, “there is nothing quite as lonely as a bowl of cold tomato soup, staring back at you,” but then at other times, he was quite adamant that the bowl of soup had been, in fact, very real, and that he was only now, near the end of his days, coming to realize how much time he’d lost, thinking about the soup.
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