LETTER NO #1

Yesterday , I received the first letter which is part of the new hand~written letter adventure , that I'm undertaking with a fellow blogger .

Writing Challenges

When I opened it , I was faced with the following writing challenges , accompanied by 2 pictures . The aim of this venture is to complete the writing challenges before reading the actual letter … so that is what I'm going to do …

PICTURE NO. 1 ~ a delightful Chinese girl of between 5 to 10 years old with a beaming smile standing in front of a fenced-up section of a themed – park ; behind the fence stand two large Disney Bugs-bunny characters … describe the picture from the POV of these people : (a) the girl's mother ; (b) the girl's teacher ; (c) the girl's aunt who has recently had a miscarriage .

PICTURE NO. 2 ~ a picture of a classic model Mercedes-Benz SSKL Mille Miglia 1931 , resplendent in silver with red trimmings . If you had this car , where would you drive it to ? Describe your journey and your destination and peoples' reaction to the car .

Response

Picture no. 1(a) ~ Li Ming . My daughter .

 That's my darling , Li Ming , my youngest daughter , pretty as a picture postcard and the light of my world . I often look at this picture which reminds me of the brevity and innocence of youth . Her six year old face portrays sheer joy , as if she has not a care in the world . She knows nothing of the reality and hardship of the adult world . There is a radiance in her beaming smile , her little body tilted forward in mischief , head raised toward the camera , right hand on her hip , and her left hand raised in the two-fingered display of the peace symbol . She stands in front of a brown fence . Behind the fence , the two Disney characters towering above seem to echo her light and playful mood as they gaze ahead , arms outstretched , facial expressions frozen in that characteristic , permanent , animated , open-mouthed stare into nothingness … and yet in marked contrast to her warm and loveable demeanour .

Picture no. 1(b) ~ Li Ming . Tribute to a student .

The picture always reminded her teacher of Li Ming's enquiring mind , lurking behind the enchanting smile and childish giggles , waiting for the right moment to pounce on some unsuspecting victim ….. The class was out that day on an excursion to the famous theme park . Mrs Smith , the English teacher , was amused and fascinated by the endless string of questions . At the tender age of six years , this model learner possessed an unquenchable thirst for knowledge . Mrs Smith , why does Bugs-bunny have long ears ? Why aren't they short ? Mrs Smith , why is the fence painted brown ? Don't you think that blue or orange would look prettier ? Mrs Smith , why does Bugs-bunny have a crown on top of his head ? Does that make him a king bunny ? Mrs Smith … why ? Mrs Smith … when ? Mrs Smith … how ? The teacher's heart swelled with pride as she studied the picture and wondered , not for the first time , what would become of that brilliant mind behind that endearing facial expression …

Picture no. 1(c) ~ Li Ming . Symbol of hope …

The framed picture , taken at the themed-park , had a special place on her aunt's shelf . She dusted it every morning and returned it to the exact spot . The picture symbolised all that she longed for and could not have , a child . A happy-go-lucky and fun-loving child , filled with an unlimited capacity for laughter and a zest for life that would rival any child .That was the stuff that her neice was made of .  Li Ming's smile was the smile she would never get to witness ; her giggles were the sounds of happiness she would never get to hear ; her obvious delight was the expression she would never see on the face of her child … She felt a pang of regret mixed with pain at the thought of her loss .

Picture no. 2 ~ The car .

Behind the wheel of the classic Mercedes-Benz SSKL vintage model , I adjusted my sunglasses against the glare of the midday sun which seemed to compete with the silver glint , a  reflection of the gleaming bonnet . I prepared to negotiate the narrow , winding five kilometre stretch , that snaked its way through the mountain . This sometimes steep and twisting road climbed at a slight angle , a gradual and yet effortless motion , the exquisite vehicle seeming to glide forward , its huge front wheels moving , onwards and upwards . I drove in silence , at first , enjoying the solitude and the light breeze that blew in from the nearby ocean . I inhaled the scent of fresh , sea air and savoured the hint of pine that seemed to linger , almost imperceptible . There was no turning back . It was surreal , to say the least , this classic and extraordinary creature was propelling me forward to a little-known destination . I had visited the little town only once before , with my father , as a ten year old girl . I struggled to remember something , any little detail , a picture … a face … a feeling … but to no avail . My memory was blank . It was as if I had never been to the place before . 

The sight of an exquisite , vintage car making its way through the cobbled streets of the town was not an everyday occurrence . If I had wanted to announce my arrival , I couldn't have chosen a better way to do so . People stared openly . A group of teenage boys whistled and clapped their appreciation , in awe of the timeless and beautiful specimen . I smiled . In their position , I would have done the same . A momentary regret settled on me , at having made the decision to journey to this unfamiliar place , using this particular vehicle . It drew all sorts of unnecessary attention to my arrival , exactly the kind of attention I had tried to avoid my entire life . It was simple and complicated at the same time . I had too many acquaintances who possessed the outward trappings of success without the inward trappings to match . The common refrain amongst many of the wealthy was : I've worked and slaved and knocked myself out – for what ? Has it been worth it ? Somewhere , at the back of my mind , I had a glimmer of hope that the journey would provide part of the answer to this burning question ….

Thank you to Damyanti for these wonderful challenges. And now that I've completed the writing challenges … I'm off to read the accompanying letter , together with a steaming cup of delicious coffee and some shortbread biscuits … can't think of a better way to end my evening ….. *sigh of satisfaction*

No Comments

  1. Slhelly on August 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Your challenge was so formal.

    • mish on August 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Well , look at it in this way … there will be more letters and with each new letter there will be a new/different set of writing challenges … πŸ™‚

  2. booguloo on August 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I loved the write.  My heart sank when the car came into the "picture" until you mentioned you were enjoying the solitude.

    • mish on August 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you . Remember that the envelope contained 2 different writing challenges and the car was the second picture/challenge … it was fun and pushed me to “think out of the box” !

  3. Victoria on August 3, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Wonderful ideas for a challenge. You go, girl!

    • mish on August 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement my dear !

  4. Jes on August 4, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    What a fun challenge! Great writing up there.

    • mish on August 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks Jes … yes this adventure is aimed at unleashing writing creativity and trying to find new ways to inspire that elusive writing muse … πŸ™‚

  5. Blaga on August 5, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Ok, now I got it what you mean about the hand written letters. Well, I already have an idea what to send you, I'd love to. I need now your address πŸ™‚ Thanks for the comments at my blog.

    • mish on August 5, 2011 at 9:09 am

      I’m so happy that you’ve decided to come on board Blaga ! Will e-mail you later !

  6. Damyanti on August 7, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Wow, Misha…I had totally missed this post…Congrats, dear lady, you totally exceeded my expectations on the challenges! Love that you're such a sport! πŸ™‚

    • mish on August 7, 2011 at 8:23 am

      Thank you for the kind words Damyanti … and thanks to YOU for providing these amazing challenges … πŸ™‚

  7. […] My new-found source of inspiration is the hand-written letter programme that I have decided to participate in. It involves exchanging hand-written letters with a β€œpen-pal”. This is something I thoroughly enjoyed during my teen years. The pen-pal includes writing challenges in the letter, which have to be completed before the recipient reads the actual letter. I discovered this through another blogger friend who attended a writing workshop based on unleashing creativity through the art of the hand-written letter. This is still a fairly new venture but it seems promising. I suppose it depends on whether you are the type of writer who prefers to write by hand. I have 2 different posts on this programme: http://writer-in-transit.co.za/hand-written/ and http://writer-in-transit.co.za/letter-1/ […]

  8. JamieDedes on August 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I'm still not clear on how the challenge works. I'll may email you for clarification.

    • mish on August 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      Please do so , and I’ll fill you in on the details …

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