Winner in the 13 to 17 age category and 1st runner up/2nd placed overall – Wadadli Pen Challenge 2016
Author’s comment: “First of all I LOVE to write and I want to spend the rest of my life writing. I discovered a penchant for writing (and using big words) at the age of ten years old, much to the disapproval of my mother (I was writing too maturely for my age). I have succumbed to writer’s block so many times because of insecurities that it’s a wonder I continue writing at all. I really hope you find something worthy in my writing.”
Judge’s comment (positives only*): “Although the story wasn’t uniquely Caribbean, I found the subject matter powerful and interesting and uncommon in the writings of this age group. …overall an enjoyable read and my number one pick.”
Note: *While only the positives are being shared with the public, in keeping with the development goals of Wadadli Pen, all long listed entries are returned to the author with the judge’s note – both positives and negatives – for revision. Congrats to Alyssa, who took the opportunity to edit the story. Finally, I did some minor proofing before posting. Alyssa, your worthiness goes without saying no matter what this or any other competition says. Keep working on your craft; keep valuing your voice and your art. – JCH
Here now is Faded Glory by Alyssa Charles, 17, student at the Antigua State College:
She was beautiful, with bright brown eyes staring up at the world in wonder. Her little hands and feet emphasizing just how fragile she was, and it broke my heart. I knew that this day would come, where I would leave her in the care of someone else; someone who was better qualified than I was; someone who wanted a child and couldn’t have one of their own. I was giving someone what they desired most and yet I felt like I would combust. I was giving away the child that I endured such hardship for.
I could remember the day like it was yesterday. After spending five hours stretching my brain to its capacity in order to receive a ‘sound education’ – words courtesy of my mother – I had felt exhausted. I never wanted to go to that club meeting but something called to me, and there I found myself. Among the masses was a shy little creature completely averse to being talkative and being myself, it was a wonder that he first noticed me. A terribly cliché situation came to mind as I found myself staring at his face. He was no born Antiguan but one could tell that he was bred here. The soft colour of his skin was contrasting with the voice spewing from his lips and in that moment I believed with all my naiveté that this was the man of my dreams; the man who would sweep me off my feet. But things had a way of coming back to bite you and I would forever learn that karma lived up to her name.
We would spend time together, this dream man of mine, and in that time we were elusive of my mother. Secret rendezvous after school, buying ice cream and talking about ourselves turned into something else; things were progressing beyond meager friendship. One day, I’d found myself enveloped in his arms. Whispers of love flooded my ears and my heart grew wings, taking flight. I had experienced love for the first time and I wanted to keep it forever. I wished that his touch would always be with me; his presence to guide, but the saying was true, “Be careful what you wish for” and disaster ensued.
When he deserted me, I kept my love under my breast; the love that rose in my chest like a tide of mercury every morning. I let it listen to my heartbeats, share the food I ate, comfort me when all had forsaken me. She entered this world, where I had bargained her away, taking a piece of me. As I stared into her bright brown eyes I thought of one thing, “If this is what my naiveté caused then I would gladly do it again, if only to have you and keep you.”
Love played a part in my faded glory, giving me meaning only to be ripped away and leaving me with a gaping hole in my chest.
For winning her age category and placing second overall, Alyssa received:
Certificates sponsored by the Best of Books
EC$300 (courtesy Juneth Webson)
EC$240 (courtesy Dr. Hazra Medica)
Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay (courtesy Papillotte Press)
Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez, Glorious By Bernice McFadden, Turn Thanks and Controlling the Silver by Lorna Goodison (courtesy Pamela Arthurton of Carib World Travel )
Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse, Writer’s Digest magazine (JCH)
Vampire diaries board game – The Best of Books
Thanks to all partners and patrons for making the Wadadli Pen 2016 Challenge possible. Here at Wadadli Pen, we encourage you to support the businesses and individuals who support the arts.
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