Sunday, September 12, 2010

Three Minute Challenge

Three hours there, three hours back. I drove to Raleigh yesterday to visit R, take him to lunch and soak in the dearness of him and how the Lord is working in and shaping him. Truly priceless, and I treasured every second.

The drive there was given to out-loud prayer, first and foremost. I love the cloister of communication my car becomes when I am out and about. A long drive is perfect for uninterrupted conversation, pleas and requests, the savoring of thanks.

Then I called my Mom and we gadded about all the happenings in our concentric circles of family, sharing our concerns and joys. Sisters, brothers, children, mamas and papas - we covered them all with a quilt of love and care, shaking our heads over the lines in laughter or the bearing of burdens.

It wasn't until the drive back that I actually turned on the radio. News and events and special pieces were given my attention as the asphalt flew beneath me and the sun began its descent for the day. As I listened, my ears tingled. A true gem was being shared. Have you ever heard of NPR's Three-Minute Fiction Challenge? Well, last night the bell for Round Five was rung. The first and last lines of a short story are given, and it is up to you to fill in the body - which cannot exceed 600 words. Oh. My. Gosh. How fun!!

The first line is: "Some people swore that the house was haunted."
The last line must be: "Nothing was ever the same again after that."

Rather pedantic, but oh well. Mentally, I began considering this proposition. I envisioned pulling out a wooden drawer full of door knobs, digging through them as I looked for my story. Why door knobs? Symbols of openings into closed off rooms, I suppose. It quickly became apparent there would be no time for development, immediacy would be elemental. One or possibly two characters only. Who would they be? Regarding the story itself - Genre? Setting of time and place? And what would precipitate the last line? I dismissed the miraculous as being too abstract and quite honestly, unbelievable, to most of today's audience. The weird or macabre would probably receive a better reception, but my days of foraying into those realms are past.

I think I know where I'm going, or at the very least I at least have an idea. That's the first step. What a brilliant invitation!

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