Our prompt for May 2019 has been:
Pick two things in your immediate surroundings that have interesting textures. Close your eyes and touch these objects as if you’re encountering them for the first time. Let’s use the feel of their textures as a starting point for creating a character.
Use one of the textures as an inspiration for your character’s prominent traits. Use the other to come up with their greatest desire.
Now, tell us about the character you’ve created. You can describe them, or compose an entry from their journal, or write a story about them. Whatever works best. Be sure to tell us which textures you used.
The most inspired character will win this challenge.
We received some interesting entries, but none as engaging as “Hair” by Oliver Black.
Oliver has written a truly textured, tactile story. We loved how he expressed his character’s entire life through a repeating motif. Well done, Oliver!
This month, we also have an honorable mention! “The Texture of Change” by CE Inkibitz was an interesting exercise in creativity, conjuring some serious drama from the textures of a used teabag and a pair of steel jewelry pliers. Way to go, CE Inkibitz!
We are excited to showcase the winning story:
By Oliver Black
Turning the Styrofoam head to face her, Judy ran her fingers through the wig’s short and sassy hairstyle. She combed its bangs and used short strokes with a stiff bristle hairbrush to rearrange a few errant wisps in the back of the wig. She thought about her once long, soft, blond hair, and could still hear her mother’s voice saying, “You must brush your hair one hundred times a day to keep it healthy and shiny.” It was a ritual Judy followed almost every night of her life, except, she smiled at the recollection, when Mike used to say, “Enough brushing already. Come to bed.”
Judy recalled the feel of Mike’s hair. He had great hair, like black silk threads arranged in thick curls tight against his scalp. All he had to do in the morning was run his fingers through his hair, and every curl fell into its proper place, not a wild cowlick anywhere. Years later, after the unsuccessful chemo treatments for Mike’s metastasized lung cancer, he didn’t lose his hair, it just turned gray. His hairstyle remained the same as always, even after he entered the hospice facility for his final days.
Judy’s wig was a flattering, light-gray color, but the texture felt synthetic and completely dry and lifeless in her hands. Though she hated her need for it, she viewed it as a symbol of her fighting spirit… her refusal to let her illness and her altered appearance deprive her of the ability to continue her active lifestyle. Despite the ravages from her struggle, Judy’s spirits remained up, her attitude positive, and she was more aware of life than ever.
When she started the chemo for her breast cancer, the doctors told her to expect to lose all her hair after her third treatment with the AC+T chemo regimen. They timed it correctly. They also told her there was a good chance her hair would grow back after completing those chemo treatments. Now, almost four months since her last chemo dose, she could see patches of gray fuzz growing in her scalp. Judy brushed her hand over the top and sides of her head to feel the regrowing hair. Despite, or perhaps because of its soft, ultra-fine texture, she took that regrowth as a positive sign that her silent prayers might be answered; that she could become cancer-free, with both her health and her hair fully restored. Only time would tell.