I just signed up for Christi Goddard's 106 Followers Contest. According to the rules, I am to submit a short story, 500 to 1000 words. The deadline is July 4th and anyone can join in, so please go to Christi's website, read the very simple rules and sign up for the contest. If you are motivated by payola, there are gift certificates involved for the winners. So go on. Sign up. You know you want to.
I need this contest. First, I've never written a short story. As a writer I should be able to do that. Yes, I've written stories for writing exercise. But I don't think those count.
Second, I want to write a tribute to one of my favorite earth angels, Kayla, who left us on May 4th at age 13. She was one of the bravest people I have ever known. Kayla visited my office twice a month over a two year period and we grew very close. She learned to trust while I learned to listen. Somewhere along the line, we fell in love.
She was quite the talented little writer. On most visits she would share her latest short story or a poem or novella, complete with illustrations. One time she brought a catalogue she was working on, with fabulous clothes of her own design. It was my gift and privilege to watch Kayla's metamorphosis from scared little girl to confident young teen.
In December of last year I left California, which meant leaving my patients behind. When it came time to say goodbye, Kayla was the strong one. Her mother and I were in tears. When a family friend called to tell me the news, I was struck dumb. I had come to believe Kayla would make it, because Kayla had believed that she would.
I have to be honest and tell you that I haven't grieved this loss. I couldn't. I was worn out from three years of grieving my mother, followed by several months of grieving my beloved California. Grief had held my hand for so long that I couldn't bear to dance with it anymore. So I pushed Grief aside, refusing to acknowledge it by feeling it, or even looking at it. Which means: I haven't called Trish, her mother, because I just couldn't bear it. How do you give solace when you have none for yourself?
But I have not escaped grief. I am held, a hostage to this silence.
So, yes, I will write a short story. For Kayla. For Trish. And for me. And I will make that long overdue phone call. Because my silence honors no one. Certainly not a little girl who was so brave.
So I ask you a question: do you owe yourself or someone else a short story? If so, click on over. Use this as an opportunity to get it out. Join me. Sign up for Christi's contest.