A few days ago communities all over North America made a big deal of pulling groundhogs out of their burrows to get a weather prediction. It’s one of humankind’s silliest rituals, if you ask me. All this science and technology and satellites and forecasting models, and we put more stock in Punxsutawney Phil or Wiarton Willie than in our local weatherman. What I find interesting, though, is how much we’re willing to read into one small mammal’s shadow, and how easily we suspend our disbelief. Phil’s shadow told us that we’re going to have six more weeks of winter. (Sorry, you northeasterners.) Willie had better news for Ontario: you folks are looking forward to an early spring.
Everybody’s got their own story lurking somewhere in the shadows. Whether it’s spooky, sinister, mysterious or just plain shady, we want to know what yours is.
Answer the ultimate question in exactly 42 words: what’s that in the shadows?
The question requires three things for a good answer: 1) a thing (physical or metaphorical); 2) at least one shadow (again, this can be real or metaphorical); and 3) the thing must be in the shadow(s). Please note that the verb tense of the answer must match the verb tense of the question. We aren’t looking for something in the past. What is in the shadows right now? A few other reminders:
PROOFREAD. Nothing is easier, and nothing will get you bumped from the voting grid faster than typos, spelling or punctuation mistakes, or grammatical errors. You’ve only got 42 words; mistakes stick out.
Keep in mind that your post has to make sense if your reader doesn’t know the question. Don’t use the question as your title or anywhere else in your piece. And remember, any words surrounding your gargleblaster — explanations, references, footnotes, shout-outs, etc. — will be counted against your 42-word limit. Check out our submission guidelines if you have questions.
The top 42 entries will be open for voting on Thursday
You may enter only one gargleblaster microstory. Submissions are moderated. All entries will show up on our submissions grid, and up to 42 entries will be moved to the voting grid, which opens on Thursday. Everybody: read, comment, vote!
If you don’t make the voting grid, don’t despair – you’ll get a detailed love letter from our wonderful submissions editor, Rowan G., letting you know what needed improvement. Email us or head over to our pages on Facebook and Twitter with any questions.
Winners will be announced on Friday
Look for Friday’s combined winners’ post to see the crowd favorites and editors’ picks from across all of our challenge grids.
What else is happening around here?
We’ve got the nonfiction grid opening on Mondays, the speakeasy for fiction and poetry on Tuesdays, the gargleblaster micro challenge on Wednesdays, and the come-one, come-all moonshine grid for the weekends. We’ve also got a great hangout space over at the coffeehouse. Make sure you subscribe to our weekly e-mail blast so you don’t miss out.