I am participating in the 2020 Fall Writing Frenzy contest with my 200 word, short story entry ‘Part of a Whole’ below.
What is Fall Writing Frenzy? It is a contest put together by Kaitlyn Sanchez, with the help of Lydia Lukidis, and the goal is to challenge writers to write something different. Plus it will connect contest winners with established literary professionals. If selected, a generous donor will critique a work of choice.
This is very exciting as I currently have five unpublished manuscripts that are ready to send out. For those that have not heard, my 2020 goal is become the first ever Libyan American children’s published author. Have someone who is a literary professional read my work and correct my path would be a dream come true.
The main rule of the contest is to check out photos promote and pick one to write about. It can be “a poem, a story, a mood piece, whatever comes to mind. Happy, scary, beautiful, grotesque, whatever suits your fancy for any kidlit age: board book through young adult.” I was very excited to see the selection included a new diversity category this year.
I chose image #12. The warmth of this beautiful woman’s smile as she lit the candles for Diwali reminded me of my own taita, Arabic for grandmother. It was my BIG job to help pick out the family khamsa from the souk and I remember gathering in our living room to light it for Mawlid al Nabi. This photo inspired me to step outside my culture, as all of my previous writings have been about experiences and adventures of Arab children.
And here is my 200 word short story “Part of a Whole” by Koloud Tarapolsi
I placed the candles, just as she showed me. All in a straight line. I counted them again because counting made me feel better. “Things are calmer when they were part of a whole,” the memory whispered. “Ek, do, teen.” The numbers sounded natural. “Dasa, gyāraha, bāraha.” As if waiting to fly free. Soon I found myself singing them, like I had learned in the room with well-worn carpets, “aṭṭhāraha, unnisa, bīsa.” There were others, but my hands were not like hers, magical fingers that stretched to hold more. I came back for the ones that were ready, their wicks all pointed upwards. Their silver bases had been polished to gleam days ago, pulled out of their boxes from the spare room. The room that used to be hers, the carpets now rolled up in a corner. She kept the candle holders in her room because “they would be scared if they are in a closet with things that didn’t count like them.” The family would roll their kajal eyes but it was our secret that we used to stay up at night and make them part of a whole. A perfect matched set.
Please stop by A Crafty Arab on Facebook or Twitter to let me know what you think of my short story.