A Writing Challenge: The Woman on the Mountaintop
Credit Is Due to Annart
I was blown away, recently, by a writing challenge that was issued by my friend Ann. You can find that challenge by following this link, or simply clicking on the article that I have added to the right of this page.
Ann simply shared a painting with us and asked us to tell a story based on the painting, and the response was something special. Talented writers took the challenge and rose to the occasion, weaving tales that were first-rate. So I’m stealing Ann’s idea and issuing a similar challenge to my writer friends.
The photo you see is one I took several years back of my wife, Bev, standing on top of Pinnacle Peak in the Cascade Mountains. It is one of my favorite pictures of Bev because it perfectly captures her spirit and love of nature. I invite you to take part in the challenge and see what wondrous story or poem you can create based on this picture.
Let me give you my own interpretation, based on the personality of the woman I love.
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The Woman on the Mountaintop
Her energy spreads forth across the great divide, to the valleys, the forests, the mountains and beyond, becoming one with them, melding with them, finding peace in them. Instinctively she understands that we are all one, all a part of this grand circle of life, so as she looks out over the vista, she is in essence looking into her soul.
How can it not be so? Dust to dust, or so the good book says, and we know it to be true. We fill our bodily vessel with life, and when it ends, our vessel returns from which it came, and so it goes, seven-point-two billion vessels of life, all returning, all being born again in another form, all perpetuating the life cycle.
She hears the cry of the hawk, she sees the gentleness of the fawn, and she feels the clouds as that hawk flies, and the ground as that fawn walks, for we all share the senses, and we all experience the same input, our personal receptors categorizing, labeling, and enjoying. Animal or man, man or animal, we are living creatures walking this same planet, and the woman understands the sanctity of those creatures, for she is one of them.
Empathy in Person
She cries at the death of a baby quail, and cries when one is born. She will not kill a living being. Spiders are safe with her as she gently removes them from her home and places them lovingly outside, murmuring to them to have a good life.
She reaches out to those in need, as she did to me seven years ago, as her supply of empathy and compassion is seemingly limitless. This is a woman who calms those who are storm-tossed, and this is a woman who believes that, by giving, we always receive more. Ask anyone who knows her, about her nature, and they will say the same thing: she is gentleness personified.
And I am a better person for knowing her.
And When the Day Is Done
She leaves the mountaintop on a physical level and follows the trail to the flatlands, but the mountaintop will remain with her for the years that follow. When her days have finally ended, and she is but a memory to those who knew her, she will always be seen upon that mountaintop, arms stretched wide, welcoming life and all it offers, and giving the same. And those who knew her will smile, and remember her smile, and know that life is easier lived now because she walked through their lives and touched them.
And the challenge is answered
- The Woman On The Mountaintop
I have been climbing mountains all my life. Up from a lonely, frightening childhood that had a soundtrack of screams and blows, a theme of "You Can't" that has followed me to this day. Down into a valley of sadness and despair that
And Now It Is Your Turn
Poets? Creative writers? Do you accept the challenge? If so, the title of your essay/story/poem will be “The Woman on the Mountaintop.”
Remember, please, that this is a writing exercise. In the spirit of Ann’s challenge, this is an opportunity to spread your wings and fly with creativity. Try out some new similes and metaphors. Paint pictures with your words, and toss out the inclination to use clichés and coin new phrases uniquely yours.
We will never become the writers we were meant to be if we do not do these things, so now is your chance to test-drive a new phrase or creative approach. Don’t be afraid. There are no judges here. You are with your peers, all eager to learn from each other, so give us something dazzling to learn, please.
And finally, thank you, Ann, for the great idea. Of course, I expect Ann to take part in this challenge. Fair is fair, right?
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”
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