Enlighten me: WOW 555 Contest Winner and New Prompt

WOW 555 Writing Challenge on Write on WendyI have exciting news for you! Eat Sleep Write is going to be mentioning our winning stories now too! Another great way to get your work in front of more eyes and maybe entice some new friends to join our little game. We had another great crop of entries this week, though our 500 word guideline is getting stretched a bit thin sometimes. Before we get to that, thanks to this week’s writers for submitting:


In truth, we had a tie in the voting this week which is always exciting. In making the choice between which story won and which lost, the answer was bright and clear. The guidelines for the contest (and they are guidelines rather than hard rules) suggest 500 word entries so the story that was closest to that guideline won. Congratulations to Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea) for his winning entry Dear Charlie!

If you want your chance at the winner’s circle, join us in our game! The prompt is down below, but first,

Here is our featured winning entry:

Dear Charlie

Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)

Dear Charlie,

I hope this letter finds you well. Hell, I hope it finds you at all. I suppose I could have called you up. Aunt Cecile tries to keep track of her sundry nieces and nephews. She probably has your number….she always did, eh?

I would have called her but the standard Cecile sermon is a heavy, if familiar, price to pay. I mean, she’s sweet about it and all but she doesn’t let up. It’s sort of like being stuffed in a huge bag of sugar…Ant Cecile, I hope you get it. We gotta keep our sense of humour just in case they drop the big one.

Anyway, last week I was passing through Portland and decided to take a side trip to visit my old pal, Mae, who is living in Salem these days. You remember Mae, I hope? She and I spent a couple of years together in the late sixties. Short, curvy, a bit of an overbite but a great gal, always raring to go.

Mae’s got a small acreage outside the city limits, grows things, chickens, kumquats, maybe some funny herbs…for sure some funny herbs…hope the FBI isn’t reading this even though they have other things to keep them busy these days…terrorism and such.

Mae is between lovers (so she says) so she welcomed me in for old time’s sake.

The first morning I’m there, she pulls out a two week old copy of the Seattle Times.

I’m thinking, “you live in Oregon, you crazy old woman, What`s with a Seattle paper?” She pointed out a small article near the rear of the paper.

The heading was “Who was THIS James Dean?”

Apparently some old bugger who had died a natural death recently in a Seattle SRO named the Tacoma Arms had been calling himself James Dean for as long as anyone could remember. You’ll like this. One of his friends told a reporter, “Yeah, we knew he wasn’t the real James Dean but sometimes, you know, he almost convinced me. The fact that he got by on odd jobs pretty much proved he was bs-ing.”

I remember that October morning, Charlie, like it happened yesterday. I was eight, you were six and the old man packed his suitcase, snuck us out of our basement suite while mom was sleeping, and dragged us along to Thompson Park.

He sat us down on a park bench, worked up a head of steam, paced like a rabid dog and then said, “Boys, sometimes things hit you right between the eyes. James Dean, the actor…same age as me. He’s dead. I’m dead too. I been a father since I was sixteen and I can’t do it no more. It’s not me. I’m tired of being dead.”

And then he took off. Left us to make our way home and tell mom…I can’t recall what I said but she locked herself in the bedroom for almost two days.

I don’t know if Seattle James Dean is him, Charlie. I’ll mosey up that way and check it out.

Keep smiling, eh. I know I will.



Contest Prompt

Summer Solstice has come so we are officially in the hot season. I thought about making prompts such as summer fun or pool party, but decided to go in a different direction. The word that came to mind for me this week was enlightenment. For this week, let’s work on stories that reveal a secret or you could choose instead for your characters to have an aha moment. Or you could choose the opposite – somebody becomes royally confused or hatches a giant secret. You’re the author, you choose.

Writing prompt by Wendy Strain
photo credit: i saw. i felt… via photopin (license)

You know the guidelines, 500 words within the next 5 days, the call for entries will come out Thursday evening and you have until 5 pm Friday to submit your links or stories to the comments. Again, if you’re concerned you’ll forget, just sign up for the reminder email list. Messages go out each Monday morning with the prompt and each Friday morning with a simple reminder to submit your story.

2 thoughts on “Enlighten me: WOW 555 Contest Winner and New Prompt

  1. I thought this poem is aptrrpoiape for this memorable day which I hope could inspire you as it has for me At times when my spirit needs a break, and my eye catches a lonely seagull, my inner being reaches out to find silence and peace. (Munda)Gift Of The Seagullby MundaA lonely seagull flies the windsMajestic soaring gliding wingsA single screech sounds from the skyCome fly with me come here and flyMy spirit floats to be a partI feel the beating of its heartMy soul, one with this bird of seaNow knows the meaning to fly freeI feel the winds caress my soulAnd soar the streams without a goalMy being trembles of delightA treasure I received tonightThe seagull’s flight of soaring highThe gift of what it means to fly

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