Write a poem or story about the birthday present you were going to send the Writer’s Cramp, but . . . (What happened to the present, why couldn’t you send it, and what was it going to be?)
“Okay, we’ve been issued a challenge by The Writer’s Cramp. What kind of gift can a sexagenarian scribbler like I am give?” Sitting down in my office in front of the laptop, I wondered out loud what I could send them. All around me were sleeping, washing, or generally uninterested cats. “You’re a big help,” I complained, staring at the blank screen in front of me.
“Meow?” This soft suggestion came from Minna the Monster, a tabby cat who came to live with me right after the September 11 tragedy. She always had good ideas to share with me, and she had come up with another winner.
“A poem, you say?” I pondered this for a few minutes. “I did say in my resolution letter I would try to write poetry, didn’t I?” While looking into my wise cat’s eyes, the initial lines of the first poem I’d ever attempted came to me.
How hard it was for me to stay within your 1,000 word rule.
In 2006, I started using your contest as a useful writing tool.
I wrote of aliens and Klingons and tourists breaking wind,
Of children and animals and people who had sinned.
“Not too many,” I shamefully said after checking out the few stories I’d written for the contest that year. Minna stretched out a long paw and softly patted my computer. “Jeepers, you’ve turned into such a nag,” but after saying this to her, I pulled up some more portfolio entries. After a few minutes of rereading some of them, I continued my poem.
During 2007, I relived my first romantic May Day kiss
And tried a colorful story, not a winner or even a near miss.
I wrote about gossip, of Lincoln’s nose and a California quake.
I ended the year with a winning story that kept my readers awake.
“I think Writer’s Cramp's reason for being is to encourage writers to improve their skills.” I looked over at Minna when saying this. It didn’t surprise me to see an irritated look on her furry face. “Yes, Minna, I know 20 days have already passed, and I’ve only entered the contest twice. I promise to do better, okay? I just need to finish the poem.”
Now it’s 2008, and this poem might have Shaara wincing or laughing.
Hey, give me a break. You try writing next to a cat who is loudly barfing.
This is the end of my poem, since I don’t dare continue on.
Writer’s Cramp deserves better than this. Maybe Minna was wrong!
The look on my cat's face hadn’t been at my feeble attempt at poetry. At least I hope not, and that the slimy fur ball she just hawked up wasn’t her way of critiquing my poem.
Maybe I’d better not send this poem as a Writer’s Cramp birthday gift. What a terrible image I have of the hosts following my cat’s example after reading it. If I read the prompt correctly, however, I do need to explain a tad more about what happened to my present of a poem and why I’m not sending it.
Sad to say, how it ended probably would gross out today’s contest host or anyone else forced to read the 12 lines of poetry. A gift of words might be acceptable, but Minna the Monster’s upchucked fur ball isn’t my idea of a birthday present’s wrapping paper.
I’ll try to think of something better for the Cramp’s seventh birthday, and I promise to ignore any of Minna’s suggestions.
Microsoft Word count = 577
"The Writer's Cramp
daily contest entry for 01/21/08