[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night can prevent us from bringing the voting results to you….nor prevent me from wanting to correct the US Postal Service motto every time I hear it. “Neither” means not one or the other of two things, guys, although I admit “none of rain nor sleet nor gloom of night” isn’t nearly as catchy.

Did I lose you up there in the gloom of night? Hang on, There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Two lights, actually, like the two votes every week during our November writing competition. First, there’s the good old crowd favorite! Yay! If you scroll down and see your name in first place on one of our grids, grab your crowd fave badge! The next two in line? Grab your top three badges!

The other vote this month is the staff vote. Our editors are elbows-deep in spreadsheets, rubrics and other important-sounding voting tools, picking out the best of the best for the November writing competition. After all, it’s not every day that we hand out $200 and a bunch of truffles (although don’t you wish we could).

If you’d like to review the supergrid of the 65 entries that have made it to the next editor voting round, please click here for all the entries still eligible for the contest prizes that will be awarded December 7.

Down below you’ll see each staff voter’s favorite three posts on that grid (in no particular order) and a quick note about something she found particularly memorable in one of those posts. Check out the top three picks, grab your staff pick badge if you see your name, and take a minute to check out what we think of our favorite posts this week.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Yeah write #187 weekly writing challenge staff picks: non-fiction

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a soldier’s life by jacqueline

lest we forget by asha

a big plastic storage crate labeled “grief” by meredith

Like Meredith, I have a basement full of stuff that once belonged to loved ones who’ve passed away so it’s possible this is why her essay resonated with me so deeply, but I don’t think so. Rather, I think it’s in her strong descriptions of the things she kept like the beaded glass, the seven chairs and the hi-fi cabinet. Or maybe it’s the photograph I can see so clearly that it made me teary thinking about her grandmother’s well-manicured hands holding it. Mostly though, I think it’s the last line: “Soaking, I’m certain that I’m grieving all wrong.” That final sentence packs a punch as it simultaneously questions and affirms the entire grieving process. This piece tells us so much about three generations, and it does so quite eloquently.
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lest we forget by asha

a big plastic storage crate labeled “grief” by meredith

coming back to the road by joan

Joan’s personal essay reminded me of my early days of blogging while writing for an online audience: the uncertainty of whether anyone is listening combined with the certainty that we have something worthwhile to read. In her essay, I was immediately transported to 2006 when there were exactly three people reading my words and, with confidence, no matter how wavering, I managed to build a following and genuine friendships. This is exactly what I wish for Joan as she is finding her way with her relatively new writing space. Reading Joan’s version of the struggle between man and self made me feel very optimistic about writers with small audiences.
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cosa nostra by snapper

mnemonic possessions by clare

a big plastic storage crate labeled “grief” by meredith

In a week where literally fractions of a point separated my top picks (and the rest of my top ten, if I’m being honest), Clare’s post was an unexpected and personal reminder of why we write – and whose stories are we telling when we do, anyway? She captured the disorientation of storytelling in a post that was lonely, terrifying, and somehow still a reminder of the interconnectedness of memory.
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Yeah write #187 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction challenge

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beautiful beyond understanding by theinnerzone

mentor by the silverleaf journal

the farmer’s wife and the crow by jenny

Poetry is subtle, words conveying twice the meaning in half the space, which is what makes it such a rewarding medium with which to work. Silverleaf’s poem “Mentor” serves as the perfect example of why poetry can sometimes say much more than longer prose. In this short poem, she explores all the complexities of an imbalanced relationship with deftness and tight phrasing. The speaker’s yearning for validation from the subject ebbs and flows along, gradually building until we can see how someone can become almost deity-like in their power.
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beautiful beyond understanding by theinnerzone

the farmer’s wife and the crow by jenny

parental rights by shannon

Theinnerzone’s stunning prose in this week’s fiction|poetry challenge is like a sip of Grand Marnier—sweet, fragrant, heady. Against the backdrop of a city street, the narrator is trying to recapture his appreciation for the less-than-perfect beauty of life. Theinnerzone’s word choices seem carefully picked from a higher place, turned into swoon-worthy phrases:  angels in white who walk “in the margins of his vision, calling his name” are juxtaposed with “the white arctic of his bed.”  Her narrator’s mental fragility is not a character flaw—it is a deeply human, humbling state. Although I was not sure whether he was in the midst of a nervous breakdown, or possibly emerging from one, I found myself transported into this tiny, private moment with abundant grace. 
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beautiful beyond understanding by theinnerzone

mentor by the silverleaf journal

parental rights by shannon

Shannon’s story really took hold of me this week starting with that first line. I could taste the cigarette smoke and feel my leg bopping along with hers and I had no clue what to expect next. Why was she so antsy? Was the skirt really that bad? I had to force myself to slow down as I wanted to race through her words to figure everything out. Shannon does a wonderful job setting up the scene and leading you to the end where it turns out it wasn’t at all what you expected. I’m a sucker for a good twist. Well done, Shannon. This was a great piece of work!
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Yeah write #187 weekly writing challenge staff picks: microstories challenge

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motherhood part II by kymm

not just a job by sanch

between breaths by splendid empress

Sanch’s poem is simple, elegant and passionate. The short lines give the rhyme scheme a laid back feel, and the way she varies the rhythm and rhyme patterns lends it a lightheartedness without resorting to sing-song. As an answer to the ultimate question, it really hit home for me. We do the things we do for the love of them, not for any tangible reward — or at least, that’s how it should be.
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making a deal at the edge of the night by j. edward benoit

not just a job by sanch

motherhood part II by kymm

I really enjoyed J. Edward Benoit’s take on the prompt and how so much was written between the lines, even the answer to the question. He uses his 42 words wisely, by showing and not telling. From the dialog, we infer that these two men have a history together. The gun indicates that Jacko has crossed Tubbs in some major way. The question comes up, unspoken, after the the last line ‘”I’m listening,” Tubbs said.’ We are left inside of Jacko’s head and it’s clear that Jacko’s life is “what’s in it for me?” if he explains himself to Tubbs’ satisfaction.
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between breaths by splendid empress

sideshow by tmw hickman

1939: life liberty and the pursuit of arrogance by melanie

Listen! I struggled to see the answers in this week’s microstories. Empress caught my attention with her first word. I knew to whom she was talking and about what: one lover convincing another that “what’s in it” is a grand romance. The charm of the piece is in the final, playful line in which the narrator regrets what’s not in it for her: the moon.
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A quick note about our favorites:

Jacqueline of Jacqsgirlsdolls ran away with the nonfiction crowd fave this week (I know two votes doesn’t seem like a runaway, but when everyone only gets three, it’s a bigger margin than you think). She’s been entering challenges here for more than a year now, occasionally stumbling, but always persevering. All that effort pays off, and this week it earned her a well-deserved crowd favorite badge for her crisp yet evocative post A Soldier’s Life. Congratulations, Jacqueline, and wear that badge with pride!  Or put it on your blog. Whatever.

Joan of roundtheworld also deserves special mention. “I was expecting another love letter,” she wrote after finding out her post had advanced to the voting grid this week. After missing a place on the grid a few times she could easily have given up. Instead, she took the feedback to heart, worked hard on the areas that needed improvement, and this week she was rewarded with a coveted editors’ pick for writing about… keeping on writing. Reread Coming Back to the Road for a touching reminder of what keeps us going when we feel like walking away. Congratulations again, Joan.

Congratulations to the rest of this week’s winners! If you earned the highest number of votes in either challenge, you are this week’s crowd favorite. If you came in second or third, you get top row honors along with the crowd fave. Grab your winner’s badge from our sidebar!

Looking for your badge? Now that all our writers are under one roof, we’re sharing our badges as well as our drinks. That’s right: fiction|poetry, nonfiction and microstories have the same badges. It doesn’t clutter up our sidebar, and they’ll still look pretty on yours!

Everybody: before you go, please take some time to leave your favorites a little love in the comments.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Weekend moonshine grid opens today at 6 p.m. eastern US time

When the dark closes in, it’s time for some moonshine. That’s right, at 6 p.m. today, even if it’s not dark where you are, Natalie throws open the doors to our well-lit weekend bar and you’re all welcome to pull up a stool. Come in, bring a friend, try the hot buttered rum. Just don’t let that commercial post follow you through the door, Natalie will smack its nose with a rolled-up newspaper and send it back out into the sleet.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Yeah write #187 challenge results

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