7/30 Weekly creativity contest winner & new prompt
This time our weekly creativity contest really went to the dogs! Well, and the cats, too. Our winner is Cathy Jennings, with a beautiful image of three of her cats. Congratulations, Cathy! Your $10 amazon.com gift certificate will arrive momentarily.
Lisa Worthington-Brown writes: “Here is my submission for ‘Beauty.’ This is a ‘literal’ one for me as my dog’s name is Beauty. This is a piece I made from a photograph of her at a local coffee shop.” Love it, Lisa! And welcome to Creative Construction.
From Cathy Coley:
Beauty has always been a powerful concept to me. I’ve been involved in the arts, all of them, since I was a very young thing. Something about my dreaminess in finding the most beautiful shells to collect, astounding sunsets to watch, the soul stirring of church hymns, the magnificence of a daddy long leg walking along a stick, finding my father’s collegiate anthology containing Robert Frost marked me in pursuit of beauty for my whole life. Even watching my mother get dolled up for a night out with soup can rollers in her hair while she applied her deep red lips and pressed a tissue to them before a night out was a source of endless fascination.
When I was nine years old, our ten-year-old Shetland sheepdog, champion-bred, who was previously assumed to be barren, rolled her fatness over one day, and we discovered she wasn’t just fat, she was pregnant and due any day. Years before, my parents had tried to breed her. Then one night, in her dog’s life twilight, my mother and next door neighbor, Mrs. Maxwell, who had grown up on a farm in the Midwest and was a nurse, so knew about these things, sat doula to Duchess’s long labor before Mrs. Maxwell declared, “we need to get her to the vet.” One canine caesarian section resulted in five black-and-white mutts, just in time for Halloween. One was solid black. I immediately named her Black Beauty. As the puppies grew toward Christmas, my mother kept warning me, we can’t keep any, we have to give them all away. Slowly, the little black one gained some brown detailing along her legs and snout, a white mark grew on her chest, and her name was shortened to Beauty.
Of course, we all adored all the puppies, but I saw a special sweetness in her disposition early on. I came home from school a few days before Christmas break, and my mother had taken the puppies to the pound. The house was so quiet without them. She and I, and mama dog, too, were sad and worried that they all wouldn’t find homes, and would be put to sleep. So close to Christmas, adoption was inevitable, and my mother made them promise to let us know if any weren’t adopted. The last day before break, I came home to find Beauty back in our home. My mother couldn’t stand to not keep her. That was the best Christmas yet. When we opened presents, she played in the ribbons, and Duchess kept corralling her dutifully.
Beauty lived a long life with our family. She had puppies of her own the following year, and we gave them all to friends or acquaintances, except one male we named Butch. They were nearly inseparable and from us, too. They walked us to school, ran us through the neighborhood and woods. They meddled in the neighborhood stickball games which happened in the dead-end in front of our house. Beauty ran the bases with the batters, and Butch chased the ball. Touch football in the backyard turned funny when someone said, “hut-hut-hike!” For some reason, the generally sweet-tempered, playful Beauty went doggie psycho on whoever said it, and wanted the ball for her own. When I was in a more contemplative mood, which was often, and climbed up to the top of the maple in the yard, they sat at the bottom, waiting for me to come down.
As she got older, she stopped two doors down on the walk to school, or when my younger brother and I were bopping around the neighborhood. That’s where Mrs. Holcomb, with her houseful of cats, would feed table scraps to our dog. We had a houseful of cats, too, but that’s another story. Beauty knew she had a good free meal every time she showed up. My parents took to calling her Butterball.
Eventually, I went away to college, then only saw the old dogs when I was home on breaks. A year after college, living in Boston, I got a call from my mother, “Beauty’s gone.” I will tell you, the only times I heard my mother cry were when the dogs died. She did not weep openly about her parents, or sisters, just the dogs. And then she boo-hooed. However, having pursued beauty all my life, I found a strange sweetness in the death of Beauty. She was one beautiful dog.
From Kelly Warren: TWO haiku/photo pairings!
Growing up so fast
They’re treasures beyond measure
Reaching for the stars
2) “If you look closely towards the middle right side, you’ll see a little ellipse of cloud poking out with a halo of green and pink around it. We were riding in the golf cart when I saw this, and I made my DH stop the cart. He couldn’t see it! I was so happy when it actually came through on film.”
An angel’s halo lights the sky
Hands reach down to touch you
Like magic from above
From me (Miranda):
Beauty waits, clear and
patient, within silver threads
of the everyday
This week’s prompt: “Vacation”
Use the prompt however you like. All media are welcome. Please e-mail your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5. The winning entry receives a $10 gift certificate to amazon.com. Writers should include their submission directly in the body text of their e-mail. Visual artists and photographers should attach an image of their work as a jpeg. Enter as often as you like; multiple submissions for a single prompt are welcome. There is no limit to how many times you can win the weekly contest, either. (You do not have to be a contributor to this blog in order to enter. All are invited to participate.) Remember, the point here is to stimulate your output, not to create a masterpiece. Keep the bar low and see what happens. Dusting off work you created previously is OK too. For more info, read the original contest blog post.