It's week #2 of the WRiTE CLUB play-off rounds – which I promised would come at a rapid fire pace -- and we have four more bouts scheduled. I must say I'm a little disappointed with the participation we've seen so far. Last year we averaged 31 votes per bout in the playoffs, and this year we are averaging 27. Yes, it is early, so the numbers could rebound, but it is also up to all of you to help make that happen. Please help out in any way you can to ensure that the work from these wonderful writers is seen by as many readers as possible.
Last week I posted five bouts (Mon-Fri) and this week are the last four (Mon-Thur). The voting for all nine bouts will remain open until noon on Sunday, August 31st. Your task remains simple…read the submission from each WRiTER carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most. If you haven’t already done so in the previous rounds, offer some critique if you have time. Anyone reading this can vote, so blog, Tweet, Facebook, text, or smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun. Vote on as many bouts as you can get around to. Whether that is one bout, or all nine, how much you participate is up to you.
Here’s something else to keep in mind for this round...every vote counts. That’s because the contestant who doesn't win their bout but garners the most votes amongst all of the other losers, will become a wildcard winner and still advance to round 2.
The winners will be posted late in the afternoon on August 31 and then round 2 will kick off the following Monday, September 1st, with all new 500 word submissions from the nine advancing contestants.
Good luck to all of the WRiTER’s!
In this corner welcome back to the ring.....A. Bard
Title: When You Are Gone
I will be as Penelope,
Waiting with the patience of the universe.
Embroidering a veil and pulling out the stitches
So that there is always something
To occupy my hands.
I will sit by the fire and whisper
Prayers and memories and hopes.
For the guests who try to sweeten your departure,
I will offer feasts and more feasts.
It matters not that I taste only ashes.
Penelope had the patience of the universe,
But I have only the patience of a woman.
And one day
I will have no more left.
I will take a ship to water.
Change my gold sandals for boots,
Silk robes for a cloak of wool.
I will take a dagger,
Hide it behind my innocence
And conceal poison in the red of my lips.
I will read the constellations
Through the mist of a siren's song.
I have been slipping in between Scylla and Charybdis
My whole life, so one more time
Won't be difficult at all.
I will be a sailor until the sea grants me passage.
When my boat kisses the shores of another land,
I will step in the sand and burn sandalwood,
Calling luck to my side.
I will travel the land that has taken you,
Be there men with heads of dogs
Or women with wings of steel.
Stories old men tell won't scare me away.
If I must turn into nobody
To pass the watchful eye of the Cyclops,
I will leave my name at his doorstep.
Circe's eyes have no power over mine,
Even if her draughts taste like peaches and honey.
I will search the stables of the witch
And cry over souls lost to pleasure.
My smile will open doors closed to men
And my dagger will open doors closed to women.
I will ask heroes to teach me
The ways to talk to the gods
And burn offerings in the temples
Of Poseidon, who cradles your ship,
Of Aphrodite, who forged our bond,
Of Hermes, who aides in my trickery,
Of Athena, who blesses my mind,
Of Artemis, who guides my hand.
I will leave no temple untouched,
So you will never have to count your blessings.
But though gods may be fickle,
I will stand with the strength of Heracles.
I proclaim my loyalty into the four winds
And keep it on my banner.
May you know I seek you always.
I will walk until I reach the edge of the world,
Where waters fall into the abyss.
And by the white rock,
I will descend into the dark
That tastes like asphodels.
Below, I will cry your name
Until my voice is dry and my words are echoes.
Yet the answer to my prayers
Will leave me hollow.
I will turn away from the river Lethe
And taste from the waters of the Styx,
When I see your shadow
And the shadow that walks next to it.
For I will wait as Penelope,
But your way was never backTo Ithaca.
And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Imladris
Liam hadn't slept. By the light of a single candle, he sat at his desk penning a note to his apprentice regarding matters that might require attention after Liam was gone.
You'll find a letter of recommendation in my top desk drawer. I have full confidence that you'll be able to continue with one of the other masters...
He rolled the pen between his fingers, trying to imagine just what else Egan might need to know, a process he was finding difficult due to his uncertainty about how long he'd be gone. Sielan lore held that Zareth had returned from the mountain after a time. In all his years of studying the passages, Liam had never realized just how vague that sounded. What kind of time were they talking about? A day? A year?
If you find me gone for a significant period of time, please divide the gemstones in my armoire between yourself and whomever you deem worthy. But please, do not forget Clara, who brings our breakfast each day. And Chelsea, the tailor, who has always done me special favors. I have tipped both of them handsomely for years and get the feeling they rely upon it.
His heart lurched in his chest at the thought of gemstones, remembering a very key detail he could hardly believe he'd forgotten.
Whatever you do, Egan, do not touch the aetherstones! Handle them with tongs and place them in a secure container. For reasons that we've spoken about, I have never told the council of their existence.
He rubbed his forehead, contemplating the next part. What should be done with the stones? They'd be quite a boon to Sielu in general, but he felt dubious about the manner in which they might be used.
It is my will that they be donated to Matron Ansonette, to be used only for the purpose of empathic healing. I believe this would be the best, and safest, application for the aetherstones. But you must stress to her that they are not to be treated as baubles by initiates and the like. The aetherstones should only ever be used by those who have experience navigating the aether...
The sound of the clock in his bedroom interrupted any further musings. Five-of-morn. Satisfied that he'd covered everything of importance that might occur in his absence, he went to his bedroom and began his morning routine.
He washed and dressed, pulled his wild hair back and secured it away from his face. He tucked the note to Egan into his pocket.
He smoothed the faded blanket on the bed, stepped into his old, worn boots and went to rouse his apprentice for their morning sparring session. Though he was eager to proceed with the plan he'd laid out, he had to admit that the sleepless night hadn't done him any favors. He needed the exercise today even more than usual. He needed to center himself.