WEEK 6. WINNERS
Thank you for all your wonderful submissions. We had the largest number of entries from younger writers to date and the standard was very high. Here are the winners for week 6 of our competition:
CATEGORY 1: Previously Published Writers:
Poem, Mother by Gordon Ferris
Mother ironed everything in sight
socks, shirts, jackets, trousers
school ties, tea cloths, floor cloths,
they all got thrown into the pile.
Beds were stripped early in the morning
left blowing on the wind
than replaced on our beds.
Once she washed and dried coal bags to return them to the coalman,
He smiled, said there was no need for that.
All habits picked up from her hard, unsmiling mother.
Mother soaked up the pain for her children
to make them feel good about themselves
She looked at the fly on the ceiling
wondered if it was her father taking the shape of the insect
To lovingly watch over her from a higher place
She often thought her past had come back to haunt her
in all odd manner of imagined ways.
Sometimes I imagine i sense her presence.
and smell her distinct perfume
those times I’m so sure Shes there
Sometimes I see her in the corner of my eye
and I get the scent of her cigarette smoke
And don’t be surprised when I turn
that I’m on my own.
I sometimes don't eat my greens
And cut the crusts of my toast
In her honour.
CATEGORY 2: Unpublished writers
Our winner is Mairead Ni Ghráinne with a short story,
Food centered around the red roses, like nine planets proudly orbiting their sun. The red roses were pivotal in creating the ideal aesthetic for such a special day. Birds sang in unison all around while a gentle breeze billowed through the branches above.
The tablecloth was white like snow. It had not a crinkle nor a crease and it perfectly fit the picnic table in her back garden. Foods of all kinds lined the table. There was chorizo in a red wine sauce, homemade seafood pasta, cheesy garlic bread, mozzarella cheese, cheddar, camembert, white wine, strawberries dipped in white chocolate and heart shaped milk chocolates laid out in tiny bowls.
The cutlery had been scrubbed and shined to perfection. Spoons, knives, and forks had been laid out for two people alongside napkins that had been folded to form two graceful swans. The sun danced on her skin as she rearranged the roses in their pink vase and breathed in the stunning scents of the table.
Sensing someone behind her, she turned around and saw him. She greeted him with a smile and gestured for him to sit down beside her. They sat down at the table together. He threw an arm around her and planted a kiss on her cheek. Her cheeks grew redder when he produced a rose from the vase and held it in front of her face, both smiling for a second before their mouths softened into firm lines. They sampled the dishes in front of them; a mouthful here and a mouthful there, pausing at intervals to laugh and gaze into each other’s eyes.
When all the white wine had been drank, another man spoke from the lounge chair placed two feet in front of them.
‘Got it’ said the man, lowering his large camera, ‘That’s it. I got a few nice shots. I think we’re done here’
The people at the picnic table nodded.
She rose from the table and went inside. The two men waited at the picnic table, chomping down the remainder of the chocolate strawberries. She returned with two white envelopes, both of which contained cash. She handed each man an envelope and bid goodbye to the two kind strangers.
A photograph from that day was uploaded to her social media accounts with the caption #valentinesday. Hours later, she looked at her phone’s notifications. Her heart hammered in her chest as she looked at the numbers. 316 likes. 15 comments offering their ‘congratulations’. 5 comments wishing her a ‘happy valentine’s day’. 0 comments from acquaintances arranging blind dates for her. 0 comments from nosy Aunts worrying about her ticking body clock. 0 comments from her Mom asking why she never uploaded pictures of her with her ‘boyfriend’.
Slowly, she exhaled, and allowed a warm hue to wrap around her body. She put her phone aside and went to bed. She sighed into sleep, grateful to be safe, and free from watchful eyes until the next major holiday.
It was the best Valentine’s day ever.
CATEGORY 3: Young writers
Short story How I Became A Stickman by Daniel Murphy (10yrs)
How I Became A Stickman
"Tickets please," said the security guard. "Let's go!" I said, "This is going to be the best birthday of my life!" "Calm down Alex," my mum said, "We're just going on a little trip through space," "I know but it's going to be so cool! I've never been to space before and it's my 10th birthday, this is AMAZING!!" I exclaimed.
The security guards opened the barrier and we stepped onto Galaxite (The name of the Space Bus) and we started moving. The bus looked like a double-decker, but just purple. The best thing was we got our own private bus. I squirmed in my seat from excitement.
Everything looked amazing. We approached Jupiter and the bus started getting a little too close for my liking. The driver said not to worry, and we would be fine. Suddenly, the window beside me shattered. I was sucked out and I felt my whole body turn to ice and I blacked out.
White. That was all I could see. I stood. A thought came to my mind. I'm in heaven. I felt hungry and very cold, so I started to doubt that I was dead. Then a stickman just walked up to me. An actual animated 2-D stickman walked up to me and said "What the!!! Oh my God! Are you real? An actual human! How did you get here? Did you fall off Galaxite? Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my-," He didn't finish his sentence because he fainted. Confused, I started walking around in circles and started asking myself what just happened.
A few minutes later, another stickman ran up to me and said "Sorry about him. Jerry can get a bit excited. So how did you get here?" "I-I think I'm in shock," I responded. The stickman nodded. "And, where am I?" I asked, "Looney Tooney," he responded, "Yes, the name is bad. I know. This is Looney Tooney, the cartoon planet, where all the characters you know from Disney, Marvel, and all animated cartoons live. This is only one of the planets in MAD space. The others are Tick Tok, Rainbow Rock, Milky Way Movies and Space HQ. Any questions? And oh yeah. You can draw characters here as well." The Stickman said, "You've gone mad, haven't you?" I said slowly. The Stickman didn't laugh or smile. “Um,” “Sorry. What’s your name?” I asked. The Stickman his name was Stud. I started to understand why the planet was called Looney Tooney.
Stud and I started walking. I told him my name was Alex Cleary and I lived in London, in England, and I was an only child. After what seemed like days, we reached the town. It was all white with black outlines, but I started to see some 3-D people with colour. "People around here don't like humans, so to keep you safe, we need to turn you into a cartoon. You can choose. 2-D or 3-D. But don't worry. You can switch between human and drawing" Stud said, I was shocked. I took out an old copper coin from my pocket and I flipped it. It landed on its side. "Both," I said.
Stud said that that we needed to go to The Looney Tooney Planet Drawers Research Laboratory Creation Area in Space HQ to turn me into a stickman and a 3-D animation. My legs were killing me. My Fitbit said I had done 30.46km “Ok. We need to get to the mayor fast," Stud said.
The mayor was 2-D, small and a genuinely nice guy. He gave us a special ticket that allowed us to go to Space HQ and get inside The Looney Tooney Planet Drawers Research Laboratory Creation Area. The mayor told Stud and I that he had grown up on Rainbow Rock and he could teleport, so he could teleport us to Space HQ. "3… 2… 1…" he said tensely, and we teleported. The moment we started to teleport, I felt nauseous. But when I looked up, well… let's just say the building was magnificent. It looked like the Avengers home base, only ten times better. I probably only saw a small part of it, and it looked like a sphere from where I was standing. We entered the huge, steel front doors and looked around. We met our surgeon, Dr Sorrows, who eventually agreed to perform two surgeries on me. I was quite scared. Before the surgery, I had a few questions. "Can I turn back to a human whenever I want or do have to do something? Press a button? Or what?" Dr Sorrows said that I had to count to ten in my head to turn back to human and I had to count back from ten in my head to turn into Stickman, and I had to count in tens from ten to a hundred to turn into Animation. She also said I could have this superpower for 100 years. Wow! Dr Sorrows had a huge obsession with the number 10. I lied down on the bed and I immediately fell asleep.
I didn't dream. After what felt like only a few seconds I woke up. AS A STICKMAN! "Do you feel okay?" Stud asked, "Better than ever," I responded grinning. Everybody smiled and brought me to a spaceship so I could travel back to earth. "Remember," the mayor warned me, "Don't let them see you as a stickman," I nodded. In the spaceship, I started practicing turning from Stickman to Animation. Animation to Stickman. Switching from Animation to Stickman was a little bit like teleporting. It felt quite nauseous.
About an hour later I landed on my front doorstep as an animated guy. I counted to around 10 and I walked through the front door. "Hey!" I shouted at my parents. They both turned around and their mouths fell open. I looked at my animated self. "Ah Shoot!" was all I could say before they screamed.
Congratulations to the winners of our Week 6 Creative Writing competition. You will be receiving a €50 One4all voucher and a book voucher from our partner, Books on the Green, Sandymount.
Week 7 of our Creative Writing competition is now open. Please see details for our competition here.