Greetings, Earthlings!

You really stepped up your game this week. Your responses were some of the most creative and thoughtful we’ve seen so far. We are constantly blown away by your enthusiasm and willingness to jump in feet first!

Now that the gargleblaster is over for the week, why don’t you take a few minutes to check out this week’s challenge grid (for personal essays and traditional blog anecdotes) and the speakeasy (for fiction)? Read, comment, get to know the community. And if the mood strikes you, submit your own post: the challenge grid and speakeasy are open until 10:00 PM Eastern on Wednesday.

Crowd favorite

This week’s crowd favorite manages to seamlessly weave three children’s tales together into a story that is as layered as it is lovely. Genna’s poem is thoughtfully, intentionally crafted, and a great example of how you can pack a novel’s worth of meaning into seven short lines.

I’m late! I’m late! Her insides screamed,

as she kissed white rabbits hoping for white knights.

But the glass slipper never fit;

fairy godmother never appeared.

So she walks the plank toward midnight,

a punctual crocodile waiting beneath.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

Great choice, Earthlings – you definitely know a good bit of writing when you see one. Genna, go ahead and grab your badge. Congratulations!

Editor’s pick

Rachna (theinnerzone) from The Pigments of Life walks away with this week’s editor’s pick with Cipher. In this story, grief and love are inextricably intertwined.

“Come here pretty girl.”

“Have lots of work.” I scoop from my lover’s war-scarred face and missing hand.

“You smell magnificent.”

“Of pigs, chicken, dirt.”

“Hush, just love.” He whispers surrounded by his shortcomings.

And my universe slows around a familiar heartache.

The stark dialog gives us ample opportunity to read between the lines, and there’s a lot to read. Congratulations, Rachna. You won us over.

Top row seven*

We believe in rewarding hard work around here, and so go ahead, top row seven, grab your top row badges! Genna, Erica, saroful, Cynthia, Architar, Kir and Suzanne – this means you!

* I realize that your browser may not display the grid in neat rows of seven, but mine does. Therefore, the Top Row 7.

Hitchhiker!

We must be doing something right around here: this week we had five hitchhikers! We love that you’re willing to ride along even when you don’t make the grid. As you know, every now and then one of our hitchhikers makes a particularly strong impression, and we like to reward their efforts with a special badge.

If you’ve ever read Jo-Anne’s poetry, you know she’s no stranger to elegant turns of phrase. Her poem Nuance is no exception: it is full of subtle imagery and quiet intensity. It made us want to lean in close to listen.

We chiseled out this space for refuge.

Time responded, inhaled, held its breath.

“Cover us, hold back the world,

Compel the crowd to leave.

We’ll complete ourselves with nuance,

Share secrets we’ve hidden deep,

On tiny vellum notes tucked inside our pockets.”

Congrats, Jo-Anne! You’ve won a super-special hitchhiker’s badge! Help yourself – it’s right there in the sidebar.

Miss the gargleblaster? Try some moonshine

We know you won’t all make the grid every week, but don’t panic! The moonshine grid opens on Friday and we’d love to see you there.


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