the anniversary

Growing up I participated in a lot of public speaking contests — I even won a few.  But, to my knowledge, I’ve never before entered a writing contest.  [I did write for Teenage Christian magazine during college.  And in high school, in place of essays on my AP American History Exam, I turned in poetry.  I wasn’t paid much for the TC articles.  And I didn’t score high enough for college credit in AP.]

Today, though, I entered my first writing contest.  My brother regularly participates and has (unknowingly, perhaps) inspired me to do the same.  The contest is sponsored by A Word with You Press, and the details are here.  What’s so interesting to me about this contest is that any entry must contain 100 words.  Exactly 100 words.  I’m a sucker for a challenge.  [And I wouldn’t mind winning a hundred bucks.]

My entry:

image courtesy of


“What’s the secret?  Tell us.”

All eyes were fixed on the couple holding hands, cake and punch in the background.  They’d married in a simpler time, 1959, when a man needed only his family, his farm, and his faith — in that order (though church-going men claimed another on Sundays).

Now 50 years had passed and the crowd, 14 of them grandchildren, looked on with anticipation.

Clara gazed lovingly at Marlon as he motioned with both hands, one still firmly clutching hers, “The secret to a lasting marriage is this…”

“Surround yourselves with family and friends, hold hands, and eat cake.”

You should head over to A Word with You and enter the contest.  [Especially you, Janie.]



Filed under short stories / essays, writing

26 responses to “the anniversary

  1. I think you’d enjoy Ommatidia , who writes 101-word stories more or less every day. Many of them are very, very good.

  2. I love that! I have always found it challenging to write SHORT stories (and they were usually longer than yours). I took all the classes at Auburn and when I read my stories I have to laugh. Oh me. Sad stuff. But I really like what you have written!

    And I love the name Marlon. ha!

  3. Oh, I just noticed your “especially you” part. ha. I’m horrible at that kind of thing. I really am. I could try, I suppose, for the challenge of it. I am always looking for things to challenge my writing, to force me to do things I’m not used to doing with it…but I don’t think I can write anything as…what is the word…see, I can’t even think of a word! Neat and sensical (which isn’t a word, but I’m using it anyway) as yours.

    Exactly 100 words, huh… hmmmm.

    • it’s not a big time commit. and it is another challenge. give it a shot. and i’d love to read your 100-word story if you do.

      • I gave it a shot and submitted two stories. It WAS fun. I’m not sure mine are any good, but I had a lot of fun with it. I might do a third just for kicks. I will put them on my blog when all the marathon pacing excitement has passed.

        • Oh, and did you see that Thornton Sully (another awesome name) posted your entire e-mail on the website?

        • i’m thinking about writing a second one myself. glad you joined us.

          • I think it is that you are Brian’s brother and now there is some brotherly competition going on.

          • with all due respect, janie, i don’t think that’s it. are you and julie competitive in anything?

          • Ha – have you read the threads under it? And what Thornton said about why he posted it?

            I don’t think she and I are competitive about anything. The age difference is one thing and the fact that we like totally different things. I’m not overly competitive with people as a general rule. Unless they start it. A guy at work started trying to beat me in local races after I took him in the NASA 5k. He never did. Word.

          • just for the record, i’m still waiting on your to start the photo album on your blog titled, “people i’ve beat in races.”

            hey, have they posted either of your stories yet at ‘a word with you?’ or acknowledged receipt of them?

          • Yeah. Thorn responded to my e-mail and was very nice…somewhat odd, but nice. They have not been posted and I doubt they will be. I told you they weren’t any good.

            Ha ha, you may have to wait a good long while for that photo album. It is a hilarious idea, but I’d feel so…arrogant if I did it for real. And I’ve missed so many good ones already!

          • somewhat odd. this is truth. i’m sure they’ll be posted. you’re a great writer. are you still prepared to do some guest posting for me in february?

            it would be arrogant, you’re right. but funny all the same.

          • not humoro(u)s…charming.

  4. I’m going to take the challenge tomorrow. Thanks for posting!

  5. Thank you Brett – I thought the challenge would be fun so I tried it too. If I win, (Ha!) I’ll donate the $100 to your family for your misson work.

    • good entry, tisha. i read it over at ‘a word with you.’ you write really well, and with feeling that i generally cannot convey with words. well done. and i certainly won’t deny you the opportunity to share in our mission work were you to win…

  6. Odd???? Moi??? And Tanzania??? I thought you said Tarzana, which is just up the coast.

    Your brother is better looking and your mom likes him best.

    We are backlogged on entries by about 50 stories, but we will post them all. The quality of the writing is superb, though a bit odd. Nice, but odd.

    • i suppose janie and i have been caught talking about someone behind his back. never would’ve thought to find thornton sully here on my blog… he’s like a big star.

      a big odd star. but a nice one, mind you.

      and mom doesn’t like him best anymore. not after his latest new year’s incident, complete with a public essay for all the world to read.

  7. The globe being circular, it is virtually impossible to talk behind someone’s back. Hey you guys should check out the map of visitors we just put up. You can pass the cursor over each beacon and the city and country of origin is identified–South Korea, New Zealand, Mongolia, Costa Rica, Canada, Philippines? And I used to think your Tarzana was exotic! What an age to live in, and to think your stories are read all over the world, quite literally. Just a few more days to enter the contest, if you have not yet made your quota of three.


    • thanks, thorn. i checked the map out earlier today — you guys really do have visitors from all over. i’m afraid i won’t get in my quota of three stories, though. one’s going to have to be good enough for me…

  8. Brett,
    Well, I tried my best. Sorry I wasn’t able to pull it off.
    I will pray for your mission work. 🙂

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