Last month I did something I almost never do – enter a writing contest.
Adele Annesi, a local editor who presented a workshop last Fall that I attended, hosted a blog writing contest in April with her friend Jamie Cat Callan, author of "French Women Don’t Sleep Alone" and "The Writers Toolbox."
The contest was seemingly simple in that Adele and Jamie provided the opening line, "We were drinking champagne and losing our shirts." and contestants were to add 500 words to this line and tell a short story.
So one morning while staring into my coffee cup, I decided it would be a good challenge to push my creativity into the fictional unknown and see what I could come up with.
I hit pen to paper, well actually wireless keyboard and mouse to wordprocessor, and voila – came up with the following entry that actually won!
This was a surprise for me on a couple levels – a) most of my writing for past couple years as been business centric – writing for business web sites, multimedia scripts, and other left brain commercial activities that serve clients and pay bills; b) fictional writing is also something I’m not well versed in as documentary style writing is more my default when writing for myself; c) winning gave me an emotional boost to reconsider my talents and has inspired me to commit to more writing exercises that are just for fun and help me to expand my story telling capabilities.
Okay, I’ve rambled so here is my winning entry as submitted.
Champagne and Strawberries
We were drinking champagne and losing our shirts. Well, technically we were loosening our shirts button by button, but it was obvious to all around us that ultimately the shirts were on their way to becoming untethered to our bodies as we sat pool side in Puerto Vallarta drinking Veuve Clicquot champagne flavored with fresh strawberries.
Once upon a time, Veuve Clicquot was a premium champagne but then they sold out to a big conglomerate. Thus that once famous orange bottle, previously known as the best buy for carefully cultivated bubbly, is now known in the beverage trade as "agent orange" given how said conglomerate buys any-old grapes from any-old vineyard. Regardless, our bubblies were mildly chilled and a delight to sip on that hot afternoon.
Sharon actually liked the idea of losing her shirt as she was sporting a bright orange bikini under her gorgeously simple, white flowing shirt – one with a full column of ten handmade wooden buttons in the front. I had only three buttons on my lime green polo shirt. Obviously my torso could not compete with her perfectly sculpted curves endowed by mother nature and years of working out. But yes, one could say I too liked the idea of shirt losing provided it was mutual.
It was Sharon’s idea to start a game of spin the empty Perrier water bottle while waiting for lunch. The premise started simply enough in that with each successful spin the opposing partner would loosen a button and when all buttons were open, off came the shirt. And yet each button held a mystical power that once loosened, started to reveal the increasing desires of flesh. Powerful desires that began to bubble to the surface akin to the bubbles in our fluted glasses – slowly, gently, freely, twinkling on their rise to the surface.
Luck was on my side that afternoon as Sharon had lost eight of her ten buttons while I still had two of mine. This luck might have had something to do with my right knee propped under the table in such a way that I was able to tilt the table a hair, thereby influencing the bottle spins ever so gently. So even though Sharon had started with a button head start, there we sat even with two buttons each to go when lunch arrived.
We ate our food, laughed with the oceans breezes, toasted our new record deal, then ordered another bottle of agent orange to go. We paid our bill, grabbed the new bottle and headed back to our private bungalow. Once there, we kept our focus for the next 20 minutes and penned our new song, then we lost our shirts and gave into desire.
Okay, the song title is still a work in progress but you get the idea, "We lost our shirts to set our minds free so our bodies could surf souls intoxicated with agent orange."
Essentially it’s a remix of, "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Bikini."