r|A|i|N

United States of America

"ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which i will not put."

Message to Readers

if you finished in first or second place, please let me know in the comments which pieces you would like reviewed. thank you.

#raincontest - winners announced

September 22, 2019

FREE WRITING

13
the deadline for my contest was two days ago, and i figured i wouldn't leave you in suspense any longer.  listed below is my chosen top three, and a paragraph describing why i selected each placer.  some of the paragraphs are longer than others, and that doesn't say anything about the quality of the piece - i merely had more to say about some pieces than others.  i included an honorable mention, whose sole purpose is recognition; it won't receive any prizes.  judging was incredibly difficult; i received 20 entries, and each was beautiful and impressive in its own way.  i wish that i could give each one the recognition it deserves, but i have the feeling i'd start loosing sleep if i tried to write any more reviews.  to honor some of the entries that didn't place, i included a list of some of my very favorite quotes.  and even if your entry made neither list, it doesn't mean i didn't love it.  i honestly loved them all.

now, without further ado:

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honorable mention
nebupirof by _blue
I was devastated. My mom bought me that bag, those folders, all those materials for school - she bought that ibuprofen for me because she knew how clumsy I was and how much pain it could cause me sometimes.
i loved _blue's "nebupirof" for a variety of reasons.  the piece is an inventive mix between story and diary entry, the former drawing a compelling plotline to the narrative; the latter employing a desperate, shaken tone, effective in conveying this story.  this makes it haunting, breathless, a frantic attempt to be understood.  the piece is riddled with italics, cleverly placed visual cues.  the dramatic and desolate tone builds to a confused, jumbled climax as breaths are held and readers shake their seats.  the ending feels almost too sudden, with the quick introduction of therapy and the final reminder of consequence - all is settled with the rapidity of real life.  the prompt was taken full advantage of here, in the title and throughout the story.  ibuprofen stands for solution and for danger, an ongoing habit that surges into a raging addiction.  when i first read "nebupirof", i was undecided about it - i thought that it was poignant but overdramatic, an overdone excess of character self-pity.  i realized slowly as i reread, however, that the narrative ​needs to be overdramatic, that _blue's choice in vocabulary and format is a masterful ploy used to convey the true desperation of the narrator.  the story is now settled in my mind as heart-wrenching and expert, a grindingly touching narrative as well as a keen explanation of mindset.

third place
My kind of Story by astrobhe
two boys run for their lives. one of them is bleeding- 
one of them is always bleeding. 
he doubles over in the back seat  
of the car and watches 
the handgun slide around in the leather
passenger side.

i was deeply impressed with this entry by astrobhe, which is an example of masterful storytelling - it remains both easy to read and complex in its concepts.  staging its story in "scenes" to better convey ideas and plot, "My kind of Story" utilizes repetition and an almost song-like format, with the verses circulating into a chorus at both beginning and end.  the piece also uses a classic poetic advantage: line breaking.  each phrase stands on its own, some dropping faster than others into the next line.  this piece is made most unique, though, by its interactive qualities - it feels very much like a simple lecture or discussion.  for this, classic examples are brought in in a conversational manner: the princess and the dragon, two boys committing crime.  each is given justice, rounding fairly into its chorus.  this poem closes successfully, bringing in a thought-provoking ending.  astrobhe's piece is well-written and interesting in every respect.

second place
Broken Wheels by Juliana
Her hand instinctively reached for the glossy, callous granite that bore his title, and almost just as instinctively, she began to weep. She wept not because he was gone but because she was left behind.
"Broken Wheels" is perhaps the most complex entry i received.  i finished it feeling a little unsure of what i had just read - the writing is confusing, comical, and bittersweet all at once - at once both cryptic and heartwarming.  i wasn't sure what to make of it at first.  i spent a long time searching for the prompt, which is hard to locate - Juliana told me in the comments that the two symbols were reading and combs, but both are incorporated subtly, and they don't serve much importance to the plot.  the more that i read "Broken Wheels," however, the more i marveled at it.  most obviously, the writing is beautiful - each word is expertly placed to create a certain effect; the tone isn't excessive, but sweetly charming.  the setting is perfect: a routine church sermon.  the narrative, for the most part, follows the mind of a girl sitting in its pews, as she first makes humorous observations about the scene and then diverts her attention to her sick father.  the descriptions there are beautiful: "She anticipated his darting eyes, but his eyes did not dart and his hands did not shake and his feet did not shift. No, on his face was a blank stare—rusted wheels that would not turn."  the subtleties there are what make these ideas so effective - for example, the reference to "rusted wheels," a phrase that composes the title .  this use of subtlety is also at play with the mysterious "reading and combs" use of the prompt.  i don't think that the piece was edited, as there are several typos and careless errors, but i decided to loosen my restrictions on grammar to allow this piece into second.  "Broken Wheels" is a quietly beautiful entry, which i gain something new from every time.

first place
pomegranate seeds. by Anha
Adam, Adam, don’t listen to her, 
all women are liars, you grieve. 
Adam, Adam, don’t get lost in her eyes; 
the Eve of the end, the darkest Eve.

for me, "pomegranate seeds" was the clear contest winner from the start.  it was one of the first entries i received, and i loved it right from when i began reading it.  it describes, in under one thousand words, the downfall of humanity, the complexity of sin, and the role of adam and eve, all while drawing inspiration from the lyrics of a pre-existing song.  it's the writing that's stunning here - little phrases like "sin-stained lips" and "off-white of apple flesh" that add extra layers to the piece.  this poem is shrewd and clever, the metaphor of "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" slowly unravelling, adding new meanings and ideas.  so many philosophies are present here: suggestions such as "the doctor is not to be feared" and "how could you blame the Devil for such human natures?".  in this fashion the poem tumbles into its climax, a chant-like rhythm that both rhymes and plays, repeating and repeating with breathless desperation until nothing is left.  it surpassed every other entry for its keen tactfulness and its complicated beauty.  "pomegranate seeds" is an expertly handled piece of idealism which both inspires and haunts.  there is nothing more fitting for first place.

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favorite quotes

She's thought of lovingly ripping them away herself, much like she did when she was a kid, hoping that the tooth fairy would feed into her greed. She only fed her crooked teeth, and years of iron rusting inside her mouth. So she doesn't. 
-"Blinding Smile" by MarSan

The buildings to my back are identical molds of the same residential house, with perfectly trimmed lawns, perfectly painted mailboxes, and perfectly operating families on the inside. I could walk a mile in either direction and not be able to tell if I'd moved.
-"sidewalk" by Ursa

"I'll be talking about erasers because today marks the day I've decided to stop using them."
-"Show and Tell" by Maryam Q

I can't do anything straight any more... thinking, walking, falling -
-"arthritis" by The Bubbling Pen

Every nerve came alive as blood trickled down, its warmth the only thing I've ever felt.
-"roses are cliches that make love easy" by Dmoral13

Oftentimes, I sight the smallest of fractures in the bright smiles of those around me.
"Joy." by BurningMidnightOil

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here are all of the entries i received, in the order i got them.  a huge thank you to everyone who entered!  be sure to check these out; they're all worth reading.

My kind of Story by astrobhbe
pomegranate seeds. by Anha
Books by CrowSF
sidewalk by Ursa
nebupirof by _blue
Another "toy" by and-peggy
Shaded Glass by New York_dreamer
The Empty Chalace by ♛DaBolo♛
STOP by ajamwal
arthritis by The Bubbling Pen
Joy. by BurningMidnightOil
not an ordinary story by Julius Caesar
Blinding smile by MarSan
Pillow by K.L.Rose
Goodbye by V-Rose
Sunlight by jeily
A Study in Pipes - A Sherlock Holmes Pastiche by SherlockRIz
It starts with a notebook by Rachel Bryan
roses are cliches that make love easy by Dmoral13
Show and Tell by Maryam Q
Broken Wheels by Juliana

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if you finished in first or second place, please let me know in the comments which pieces you would like reviewed.  thank you.

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  • September 22, 2019 - 3:04pm (Now Viewing)

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6 Comments
  • Anha

    september highlights have gone live!
    https://writetheworld.com/groups/1/shared/126762/version/252617


    4 months ago
  • Anha

    woah! thank you for first place!! i'm so glad astrobhbe placed third, her themes in that piece are truly incredible. if you could review my entry for the human connections essay "assimilation; a tragedy in six parts" (https://writetheworld.com/groups/1/shared/127614/version/245432), and my revised version of "she was born of an olive tree" (https://writetheworld.com/groups/1/shared/98227/version/248902) that would be wonderful. congratulations again to my fellow winners!!


    5 months ago
  • Maryam Q

    Congratulations to the winners!! And thanks r|A|i|N for hosting this awesome contest!


    5 months ago
  • Juliana

    Wow, thank you so much! I’ve never placed in a writing contest, so this is really exciting for me. I would love a review on any of my book pieces, but you can decide which one. They’re all titled Chapter (blank). Congrats to all the other winners!


    5 months ago
  • and-peggy

    Congrats, everyone!!!


    5 months ago
  • weirdo

    i’m really mad about the fact that i didn’t enter. stupid writers block.
    congrats to all the winners! i’ll be sure to read all the winning pieces


    5 months ago