Most weeks I enter a story or a poem or an article of some kind into the Faithwriters website weekly challenge. It doesn't cost anything to enter. There are no prizes in terms of money to win. It is simply an opportunity to practice writing to a topic, with a specific word limit and a deadline. Members of Faithwriters generally comment on the piece and a number of volunteers each week judge which entries have made the top ten.
It is fun, although sometimes you take it too much to heart if few people seem to be reading or commenting on your work. You are also inclined sometimes. particularly when you think you have written an especially good piece if it doesn't rate in the top ten, or the top 40 that get posted up later on in the week.
This week the topic was "Christmas Baking (not recipes)". I have to admit that even thinking about anything to do with Christmas, yet alone writing about it, is not my cup of tea. I suppose as a professional writer you don't always get the chance to choose the topic you are commissioned to write about. You just have to lay aside your inbuilt prejudice and do the best job you can.
I wrote a poem. This was last week, the night before we went on holiday. The deadline might have been a week away, but by Friday might I would be in Italy. So I took a couple of hours to see if I could put something half decent together and submit it before I left.
I loved it, as I love most of what I write! I was aware that I was stretching the rules a bit. The topic did say "no recipes" but I figured that mine was not a proper cooking recipe so it didn't count.
Imagine my delight to find that not only did it get into the top ten, but it hit the number one spot! I am well chuffed!
A Christmas Recipe
Begin with a night, so silent and still
Across the expanse a million stars spill
Cast into the heavens a star really bright
That fair draws the eye, with radiant light
Stir in a stable, a mother with child
A manger to lay him with hay freshly piled
A father to watch them, a smile on his face
Amazed to be part of God's glorious grace
Fold into the mixture a trio of kings
Complete with their camels and valuable things
Empty the gold, frankincense, myrrh
Hearts full of worship and gently stir
A pinch of shepherds, and handful of sheep
On a Bethlehem hillside sharp and steep
Blend in a choir with a heavenly tune
In the warm silver glow of a cold winter moon
Generously spread a dollop of joy
Lashings of laughter for a Saviour boy
Sprinkle with wishes for peace on the earth
Liberally douse with a belly of mirth
Cook in a prophecy, a secret foretold
Wrapped in a promise, spoken of old
Simmer and watch tepid hearts start to glow
Bear witness as mustard seed faith starts to grow
Dole out a portion to each hungry soul
That fills hollow hearts and makes all men whole
A dish to remember as each year goes by
The taste in our tongues no money can buy
(c) Melanie Kerr 2008