creative writing challenge




She is warm and beautiful. As the colours change and the trees lose the coverings that came in the Spring the crispness is a promise of something new in the loss.

She is the month of my birth and the birth of my first babe as she watched me become a mother. She has been a month of great sadness and fantastic joy. She defines me in so many ways. She is where I find myself and where I find my strength. It is funny to say that about a month, thirty days in three hundred and sixty five, but they are my favourite thirty. They are the days that I feel most at home with myself and in the world.

I am always happy to say hello to September, and always somewhat reluctant to say goodbye.

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Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. — Tolstoy


The family: Comes with no written, stated or implied guarantee. Oh, but I wish there was. I wish it did. I struggle to say that I think there should be. I am more at ease to say that I am wrong.

I think the best we can do is promise to try and do better. We can promise to love without condition, forgive without grudge and choose to always, always see the best. At least see those for who they are, rather than who we want them to be.

The family: these people who are part of us, who made us, who shape us, who damage us and lift us up. These are the expectations placed upon a unit who have been placed together by luck and  biology. Or some divine plan. For some, the luck was bad, the biology formed funny, the plan was flawed. Or it wasn’t. Maybe it was only meant for a while. Maybe the plan was to teach, to [hopefully] learn, to prepare for the next.

The family: Those who will share something – cells, memories, trials, tragedy, love, meaning, hope, pain – with us forever. Our stories are all different. Certainly our unhappy ones are.

My family: Built on a competition we were never going to win. I don’t know who decided upon the rules, but I remember playing.

My family: Torn apart by anger and immaturity, pride and a change come too soon.

My family: Marked now by loss and gaps of time that bring forgetting and remembering and moving on.

My family: Came with love but without a guarantee of receipt without condition. Came with a best before date, a warning of expiry.

It was me who left. It was me who could not stay. It is me who is now lost. In reality, I am not. In metaphor, there are betters to choose. In reality I am here, existing with my past and my experiences and my future. If you say that I am lost, that you have lost me – like a ship at sea? like a missing sock? like a misplaced object from such a time ago? We are not lost. We are trees. separated by a chasm too wide for our branches to reach. We are books that once shared characters, but whose stories have ended. We are windows that have been forced shut by time and weather and paint in neighbouring houses, without people who have the ability to pry them open again.

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I hate being spoken of like I’ve gone somewhere. Like my disappearance was a surprise without warning. like I’m this spirit of a being that once was.
I wasn’t lost. I’ve pinched myself as evidence that I’m still very much here.

Our path was no longer meant to be travelled together, but my prints disappeared no more than yours did. I didn’t loose you, for I know where you are. It was too much, too heavy, too difficult to keep going along that path we were on.

Now we each have our own and I hope your journey is breathtaking.


100 words exactly!

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airports see more sincere kisses than weddings halls. the walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches

We must stop saying that we hate goodbye. Of course a goodbye is not lovingly embraced. Our culture has attempted to lessen the blow with clichés like a goodbye makes room for a later hello or saying goodbye to something good makes room for something better. They are not nice because they come with loss. That is why change is so feared, so disliked, so distrusted — the loss.

I think the term comes from God be with you….God bye….Goodbye. It was a blessing once. It can be a blessing still. It’s a salutation to send someone or something out into the universe with care. With love. With longing. It is, however, an ending, a parting, a disconnect.

Hearing that ‘I hate goodbyes’ drives me a little nutty. Who likes them? At least when they happen. We may look back on them with deep breaths and relieved sighs, but not in the thick of the first utterance. We must remember that a goodbye is not required. It is not owed – to you or by you. It is a tool, a marker, a note for a moment in time, a glimpse before a turning, a word before none. It is not a goodbye that changes anything. It is what happens after.

I have had goodbyes and I have had great loss without them. They haven’t changed anything. Their absence hasn’t changed anything. They haven’t eased the feelings, nor have the ones spoken brought me any comfort.

I do not hate goodbyes. I do not feel I am owed a goodbye, from anyone, for anything. Their goodbyes are not for me, just as mine are not for them. Like a funeral is not for the one who has passed, the goodbye is for those who are still here.

If you need a word to capture the space before the change, you have it. Embrace it. It’s not the goodbye you hate, it’s what is coming. The change, the silence, the grief, the loss, the unknown.

The goodbye is the blessing.

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CW Challenge : Day 21


for she, who loved this garden
from he, who loved her so
carved out words on a worn out bench
that echo of long ago

the flowers grow without her care
the weeds now share the space
the garden’s changed without her there
the bench reserves her place

he used to come and breathe them in
with memories of then
he made the bench to busy his hands
and to help him remember when

they used to sit, she used to read
he used to touch her hair
she left this world before he did
they knew it wasn’t fair

he built the bench to sit with her
because she loved it so
and when he followed her back home
the garden continued to grow

and the spots they sat stayed empty
and the blooms they tended passed
and the garden missed them when they went
and their time went all too fast

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CW Challenge : Day 20


Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, this friends absent speak. — John Donne

To you (and you and you and you)

I often wonder if you expected it to turn out like this. If you ever thought it would be this bad. I gain comfort for myself in believing that you didn’t. That you couldn’t have.

I wonder if regret found you, if lessons were learned. I wonder if you weigh the untruths you are responsible for. And we are all responsible for something false. I wonder as much about how you feel, as I think about whether it matters. I think it does. I believe it must.

I understand desperation and the fear that holds hands with a loss of control. That makes sense to me. Your choices shatter and confuse me every day. Still.

He has never done the things you accused him of. He has never caused me harm. He hasn’t snuck or smoked or sold or swat or severed. He has supported and shouldered and swore and suffered and somehow survived. It matters so much to him that you know that. It matters less to me because I don’t feel like your opinion on the matter, matters. But he does, and I think sometimes it ruins him. But what happened and what was said wasn’t fair. It caused damage that still drifts and clings and remains in the worst possible moments. And when the wind blows hard enough, things get uprooted again and it gets harder and harder to settle it all back in. It didn’t need to be like this. I wonder if you feel what that feels like.

And it can’t be taken back. How much time has been spent wishing it could be taken back, wishing you could do that for me. Wishing you would do that for me. Wishing the imbalance between how much he cares and how little you do could switch, how I could shift the weight. I understand desperation. The refusal to fix what’s in your power to fix, that’s harder for me to understand. And I wonder what would change if I understood it. Maybe nothing at all. Maybe everything.

There are things in my power and things that will forever escape me.

And so much that will always be left behind. The further ahead we go though, the better I feel about leaving it.

with love, always with love.


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CW Challenge : Day 19


What’s all this love of arguing? No one ever convinces anyone else. — Leo Tolstoy

I have every right to ask, she argued, Just as you have every right to refuse.

And it was as if they bought their words tickets for the carousel and sent them on their way. It was a place they had been. And been again.

I don’t know if an argument really solved anything. This one just convinced them both of their beliefs. Hers, that she was grown, and deserved to ask for what she needed. That it was acceptable to expect a little respect for herself, too. His, that he would not jump through the hoops he perceived were being displayed in front of him. That he was right. That these choices were hers and the consequences were born from her decisions.

She was lost. And he was angry. The words went round and round until they didn’t any longer. Now the carousel sits. They once bought tickets for their words each time the volume got a little too loud. There was a time when that carousel spun. She thought it was pretty. She thought she was smart. But it has been years since the ponies leapt. Currency turned foreign. She stopped wanting to watch the words spin. Maybe she got too old and maybe she stopped needing the stimulation that the ride once provided. She no longer thought it was pretty.

He was still angry. She no longer felt smart.

The argument lost its footing because there was nothing left to say. The ride ended. It didn’t matter because he was right. And still angry. She was right too, and sad. And she was sad until she wasn’t any longer.

And there were no longer words to send in the circle.

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CW Challenge : Day 18



you must be willing to see things as they are, rather than as we hope, wish or expect them to be.

i am racing towards the marker of my thirty-second year. i’m trying to be convinced that it no longer matters. it probably doesn’t. i am a wife of ten years. i drive a five-speed, with the top down whenever i can. i am not as blonde as i once was.

i am pierced ten times over and tattooed a bit as well. i would have many more, but the ink expressions are not loved by my husband, and compromises must be made.

as my three babes join the other babes, growing too fast, and venture to school, i too, will return this fall. learning, to me, is more meaningful later, when you know more about the world and you know more about yourself.

i am a letter writer without a pen pal.

i am a reader without the self control to stop when i should. if you don’t have me by the first chapter though, you’ve likely lost me for good. i am convinced, that’s why i’m told my book suggestions are excellent.

if i were a painting, the background would be orderly and conflicted. there would be pain in the piece. i would hang on the wall, apart from the rest and give very little away. open for your interpretation and unable to respond in any way that would be effective. because it wouldn’t matter.

i don’t moisturize, but i sleep with clean skin. i don’t drink enough water. definitely enough chocolate milk though.

i make promises to myself on saturday that are broken by monday.

i brush my teeth in the shower. that’s because i started to gag when i was pregnant with my first little person. the habit stuck. about habits – i don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, i do bite my nails. i can’t stop.

i have blue eyes and i like my name. september is my favourite month and not because i was born in it.

i become emotionally invested in fictional characters.  i am loyal, but lazy. i am a low-maintenance friend who doesn’t need to be surrounded by others. the general public frightens and frustrates me.

i am a problem solver and creative thinker. i enjoy my job and am grateful for that. i am smart. i do not run from conflict but no longer live for the fight. i am an active scholar of radical acceptance.

i have struggled with sadness. i do not ask for help well (or ever).

i am a parentless child, both by choice and by circumstance. I am an aunt with four nieces and three nephews who i adore from away. i am a big sister who doesn’t understand, who wonders from afar and sends good thoughts into the universe. i am a friend who doesn’t call but is here, for anything, at any time.

i judge rarely and without harshness. i forgive easily.

i wish the passage of time made things better. but, the passage of time just makes things, things.

i worry. too much. about things that don’t matter. about things that do matter but i can’t, or don’t want to change. i worry about doing enough, knowing enough, being enough. i become distracted in my worrying, in my wondering, in my planning. planning for things that may or may not be. wondering about things that are firmly and forever, out of my hands.

i am broken-hearted but here. healing every day. making efforts to connect, to be present and to persevere.

i know more of myself today than i did ten years ago, and will know more ten years from now. and i realize that it’s ok. it’s all ok. it will be ok. and between the time when it’s not to when it is, there is life to be lived and things to be loved and people to share the moments with.

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CW Challenge : Day 17


Never judge a book by its movie — JW Eagan

i read a lot. i read fast. too fast, sometimes. i read and i re-read, but i’m struggling with this one a little bit. the last book I finished was Dad is Fat, by Jim Gaffigan, and right now i’m in the middle of Orange is the New Black. Neither are inspiring poetry.

when the movie trailer gets you
with a best seller as the hook
you have a choice, so make it right
always, always pick the book


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