Friday, January 08, 2010

The Best Contest Around (con't)


Yup, I'm still pimping Jason Evan's Clarity of Night contest.

Even if you don't choose to enter, please go read the extravaganza of sheer talent, the exhilarating variations on a theme. You'll find entries which are chilling and thrilling, brilliant and brave, funny and sad -- in every possible style and approach.

Jason deserves a world of credit for his generous encouragement by instituting these contests.

Here is my somewhat mediocre entry (and that is not false modesty but a fair assessment.)


The Tower

All night I have stood by this narrow window and stared down at the Thames. No torch-lit barges, no revelry of lute and mandolin and song disturbed its course. The river runs dark as my damask gown, as cold as stone.

All night only moonlight troubled the waters like a sword...

A sword, not the axe. He will allow me that and no more. Such kingly courtesy...

Now dawn has stirred the ravens that strut and swoop about this fortress. I think they must feed on the silent curses of the condemned -- for they are fat and black...

A thousand days. A thousand days to dance and glitter like sunlight on a blade. A thousand days which end this May morning. I finger my necklace, the one he clasped about my neck with his own hands...

A bustle at the door. Footsteps ring slow across the floor. I turn as the Constable approaches. An uncouth man, but kind in his fashion. He jerks a bow and avoids my eyes. I notice his ruff and doublet are splatter-stained with red wine.

I clasp my hands at my waist and wait.

"Majesty," he says. He coughs and looks away.

"M'lady...Mistress Boleyn....'Tis time."



35 comments:

Vesper said...

Bernita, I really like your vignette. I don't see at all why you would consider it somewhat mediocre...
Although the title and the mentioning of the Thames are great hints for what it is about, your elegant writing kept me tense to the very end. Very well done.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Vesper. However, if you read the other entries you will see what I mean!

fairyhedgehog said...

Bernita, I disagree. I think your entry is spare and lyrical and full of feeling. I really like it.

laughingwolf said...

not remotely 'mediocre' bernita, i was there... and that says a lot! brava!

i have yet to read any on jason's blog, but am working on mine...

stacy said...

You say so much in so few words.

Very poignant, and I disagree that it is mediocre, or even somewhat.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like that entry pretty well. Definitely not mediocre.

Bernita said...

Fairy, thank you.Am glad you do.

Thank you, LW. You have until the 13th. I'll be watching for yours.

Thank you, Stacy.
I saw her as a silhouette of all that she was.

Charles, I think it but average in comparison with the others. There are some really superb entries.

raine said...

Mediocre my arse!
I had a feeling about the subject from the beginning, but still sighed with pleasure by the time I reached the end.
VERY good, Bernita! I loved it!

Dave F. said...

Anne of a thousand days, I wouldn't have picked her as looking out at that image. It made me think.

MRMacrum said...

I guess the feeling that what was just written was not up to one's standards is something all writers go through. Even very good writers like you. An excellent flash piece. I really liked the ravens paragraph. Hardly mediocre.

Thank you for stopping by to comment on my entry. Your comment struck me because I never gave the passive tense thing any mind when I wrote it. Considering your comment again, I re-read some of my other writing and it would seem I need to rein in this tendency more even though it did seem to fit this time. Thank you.

Bernita said...

Raine, I'm afraid you're as biased about my stuff as I am about yours.But it's awfully sweet to hear.

That was the title of a movie about her, was it not, Dave? I stole it shamelessly.

Thank you, MRMacrum.
I do think it meshed with the voice/tone of your entry.
I've wondered sometimes if beginner's uncertainty, a timidity in asserting things, might lead one to overuse passive voice, which in turn allows it to become a habit.
Nevertheless, passive voice can be a useful tool and should never be discarded entirely - just used judiciously.
Conversely, totally active writing sometimes seems hyper, frenetic, forced, and just plain tiresome.
I like balance.

Natasha Fondren said...

Awww, wow! Beautiful. I didn't see that coming. It made me read it a second and third time.

Four Dinners said...

Just working my way through all the entries now. Not reached yours yet. Purposely not read it here to stay 'in the spirit' of the thing!

This is the third time I've entered and I made the 40's Club on my second attempt which amazed me!!!! (I think they were just being kind)...;-)

There is an awful lot of talent out there and I need to get back to reading it or I won't keep up!!!

All the best

The 'naughty' 4D....;-)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Natasha.
"It made me read it a second and third time." I hope that is a "good thing."

"I think they were just being kind)...;-)"
Somehow I doubt that was the case.
4D is superior to 3D...even if he is naughty!

Four Dinners said...

Dear Bernita,

I would have mailed you privately but....as there is no mail addy I'll have to do it publicly...oh...WTF???

I have mailed Jason with my apologies and would like to apologise to you as you are undoubtedly a lady and I was aware you were offended.

The entry that offended you...and indeed, I suspect, some others has been removed by Jason.

Jason asked for the competition to be advertised on blogs and I advertised it on mine.

A 'blogmate' of mine sent in an entry that, frankly, bewildered me - and offended others such as yourself.

Although I can't be held responsible for this I never the less feel some responsibility - and indeed confusion.

The gentleman is a highly qualified chap in the field of Physics - much cleverer than me - and I look up to him.

I am completely bewildered why he sent such a thing to Jason - it belittles the entire essence of what it is all about - and he should know better.

Suffice to say he will be getting the 'sharp edge' of my tongue shortly.

I do apologise for a blogmate of mine slightly spoiling what is a marvellous way of allowing those with talent - and, indeed, those with relatively little talent such as I - to express themselves.

I am aware that, in blogland, I am considered a bit of a 'maverick' so perhaps he believed something 'controversial' was in order as I was 'connected' to the competition.

He was mistaken and I will 'set him straight' forthwith.

All the best

(and I reckon you'll make the top 5 easy!)

4D x (embarrassed rather than naughty).....

Scott from Oregon said...

Always, so damn elegant.

Bernita said...

4D, thank you for your explanation.
I was offended. Bigotry always offends me. And your "friend", to put it bluntly, acted like a contemptous and arrogant jerk by submitting that entry.
I am glad to see Jason removed it.
However, since the individual in question is presumably an adult, I don't see how you are in any way responsible for his vulgarity and have no need to apologize.

Very kind of you to make that prediction, wild though it is.
My e-mail addy is in the blog header.

Bernita said...

Scott, you are oficially a Dear Guy.Thank you.

Carla said...

I like that vignette. I wonder if Anne did watch the ravens from her window...

StarvingWriteNow said...

Nice!! I like it!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Carla, SWN.

I suppose a schematic of the Tower and the location of her room(s) would tell us if she might have.

Whirlochre said...

Oooh. Chilling.

I saw this too, but have been besieged by mucus and other business. May still have time to pop something off. Thanks for the reminder.

Bernita said...

Hope you do, Whirl!
You have until 11pm Wednesday - that's four days.

SzélsőFa said...

I enjoyed it as noted on Jason's site. it required attention, but the reward was much more than worth it. never near mediocre.
but you already knew that.
:P
also, I'd like to thank you for all those encouragement and kind words.

Bernita said...

Thank you, SelsoFa for your kind words and encouragement.
Yours was a totally charming parable.

Frank Baron said...

I really don't think you were fishing for compliments but I enjoyed it. I especially liked: "An uncouth man, but kind in his fashion." I've met a couple of people like that. (One of them occasionally lurks in my mirror.)

Bernita said...

I wasn't, Frank.It's nice enough, I suppose...adequate, but pales in comparison to many others over there.
And thank you.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks for your comment on my entry. I enjoyed yours, particularly as I've just read Wolf Hall, you tell some of the same story, but so much more succinctly

Bernita said...

Thank you, Juliet. And thank you for stopping by.
Thoroughly chilling entry. I approve of your affection for sentence fragments.I share it.

sylvia said...

When I saw the Thames I was sure there had to be a reason for the location. Then the ravens and the finally the full explanation: I felt I was taken on a journey. Lovely.

I'm still reading the entries - so many, this year! - but I wanted to tell you I enjoyed yours a lot.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sylvia.
160 some entries at last count!

Steve Malley said...

Your work makes me see I need to lift my game. :)

Bernita said...

Don't be silly, Steve! But thank you.

stacy said...

Bernita, I don't see yours in the index of Clarity of NIght, (but I did find it via a search). Thought I'd let you know.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Stacy. Don't know why you can't find it.
It's #22, in the index as "Bernita."