This story is by Mary Derksen and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Why did I think I could write a story for a contest? I surely didn’t think through that one. Didn’t even know how to enter. My daughter helped me with that.
O.K. Now I’m in! How do I move along? My daughter only comes once a week. I can’t keep bugging her. I have to work this by myself. Should I withdraw?
I was actually working on my first book. Had I known how time-consuming this contest would be, I would never have entered. Writing a book on our life was hard enough. One chapter at a time, and now I was ready to start the last chapter of our forty-five years in Japan. So I’m stuck with a contest. Really stuck!
Time to go downstairs to the family room and work at my puzzle. My daughter-in-law got me into that. I don’t like puzzles. At least, I didn’t. We started a nostalgic 1000 piece of a house and barn. My family lived on a fruit farm in the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario! There I go again! Can’t seem to get rid of those exclamations! My first review in the contest was: “… too many exclamation marks. What are you trying to do? Wham Bang?” Maybe!
I had just come across an article which I had written recently, but never sent anywhere for publishing. Perfect for the contest, I thought! My husband always reminded me to read the fine print. I had trouble too often by neglecting that bit of wisdom. He died three years ago, and I am not proceeding well without him. This wasn’t supposed to be a finished product for the contest! Oh, well. Here I am! (there I go again, exclamations. Life is too exciting to leave them out!)
This contest is cutting into my book writing. Am I too old? Maybe. How can I write that without an exclamation? I’ve lost quite enough sleep over this already.
Down I go. Really stuck with my puzzle. Only two pieces today. Later I try again. This puzzle is getting to me. Just like my life. One or two events a day, some good and some not so good. Sometimes I’m stuck, like my puzzle. No progress today.
Did you notice? Not a single exclamation mark in my last two paragraphs. And I got some good help today. I was reassured that I was not too old. Can I substitute question marks for exclamations?
Diaries to the rescue! Have kept diaries all my life. Half an hour, and nothing unusual to add to my book. Then, Wham Bang. There it is, just what I needed to continue writing. Telephone call. Another stall.
Down I go. Really stuck with my puzzle. Nothing today. Those left over pieces around the edge don’t belong. I bought this puzzle at a garage sale. Later in the day I try again. This puzzle is getting to me.
I’m in a fog. Ask group F or whoever for help. Gary has mercy on me. That takes care of my exclamations. Finally I go back to the contest entry, and ask Joe for help. He sends help via Ruthanne.
Next morning the puzzle beckons. Fill in one big space. Yippee. Another big one left.
Writing first. Puzzles later. I’ts five months since we started that puzzle, and that first hour or so we didn’t even get the border done. Now it looks possible.
Back to the contest. I managed to find my F group, and read a few stories. Bit by bit my writing and reviews were coming together. I still couldn’t figure out how to post my reviews. Perhaps my computer is to blame. When I’m supposed to post a review, my computer is quite different from the buttons I am told to push. I’m getting my buttons pushed instead.
My computer is HP Windows 7. The company (whoever that is) keeps sending a big block where they want me to click the red x to upgrade to Windows 10. My daughter did that once, and I was so lost that I asked her to put it back to Windows 7. At least I could find my way around a little there.
When I wrote my first email to our grandkids, one grandaughter wrote, “Oma. I never expected to see you on email.” She was so pleased, and so was I. Then I found out how to learn new things on the internet, such as health issues, news, etc.
Facebook was like icing on the cake, until I discovered how time-consuming it could be. Of course, once you are on Facebook, one link leads to another, and before you know it, you have wasted an hour or more.
Good morning. Ah, yes, that’s a better time to think. The puzzle. The puzzle. Last night I tried every piece of the puzzle, frontwards, backwards and upside down. Those more than a dozen left over pieces must belong to another puzzle.
Back to my writing. I still don’t know if I made it through my first week with my story or with reviewing my group’s stories. Can’t find some of my reviews anywhere.
O, dear. I really miss my exclamations. Can I get through this without them? I am trying.
Downstairs my puzzzle beckons me. This piece fits. Then the next. And all of a sudden they all fit. My puzzle is finished, with two pieces missing. My Eureka moment. Can’t wait for the next visit to show Marilyn who got me started with that puzzle.
I already found another 1000 piece puzzle!
Now I’m faced with a choice. Which story shall I post? The Puzzling one was really a spur of the moment thing. It hit me before bedtime, and I was hoping I wouldn’t lose it by next morning.
Any help with choices? Or can we submit two? And when and how do we submit?
O, dear. I am so helplessly stuck again.