Second Challenge

Well, Rachel has created another challenge for us Campaigners. To see a complete list of the rules, or add your own challenge post, click here. I created the following three pieces to: Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme.

Prompt 2: 

I decided to: Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)

Although I’m not much of a poet, I came up with this:

Chasing a ball, not a care in the world,

The boy in the red jacket squealed with delight.

It’s a game children everywhere play

And those who are children at heart.

Soccer, rugby, football, or just plain catch

It goes by many names,

But the boy in the red jacket

Cares not about such things.

He follows the ball across the bridge,

Unaware of the Ota River’s sparkling clear water

Flowing beneath his feet,

Or the fish finding their next meal,

Or the cry of gulls as they swoop for theirs,

Or the jets streaming high in the sky.

His mother calls to him.

He stops and turns towards her voice,

The ball rolling beyond his reach.

He waves and smiles at her,

Then runs after his errant ball,

Catching it before it rolls off the edge.

He picks up the ball and clutches it tight,

Returning to his waiting mother

Whose open arms welcome him

And lets him know how much she loves

All that he’s done, all he is doing

And all he will ever do.

Little does he know of the horrors to come

From a brilliant ball of light.

For some reason, the breaks between the stanzas are not being shown when I publish this.

I chose to start with this prompt first. You will understand the connection more as you continue to read:

Prompt 1

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

I chose to write a 200-word flash fiction piece in response to the prompt above:

In The Aftermath

The woman squeezes the river water from her long black hair. The man moans as he examines the wound on his leg, drawing his companion’s attention. Without a second’s thought, she rips a section off the hem of her dress and wraps it around the gash, tying it securely.

“Thank-you for pulling me out,” the woman says in Japanese. “Do you know what happened?”

The man shakes his head. “I was on the porch behind my house, admiring my garden.  There was a brilliant white light, a tremendous wind, and the next thing I knew, I found myself in the river trapped beneath the debris of my house.”

“I had just returned to my home from our assigned safe zone after the air raid siren. I, too, saw the blinding white light. I must have blacked out for some time. When I awoke, there was fire everywhere. I ran to the Ota River to escape the flames. What was that light?”

“A weapon, perhaps?”

“I have never heard of such a weapon,” the woman replies.

“I heard rumors that the Americans would retaliate with a great weapon. Perhaps that was it.”

Today is August 6, 1945.

Prompt 4

I decided to write a pitch (in under 100 words) for a novel based on the above picture:

A flash of light ends over ninety thousand lives and changes a multitude more. Although this is a fictional account of three children who survived the initial blast that leveled Hiroshima in 1945, it is based on the many accounts of people who actually survived to tell their tales.

Follow Kaori, Hitomi, and Mayumi as they scrounge through the debris from an atomic disaster. Learn about the illnesses that they acquire from their exposure to radioactive fallout. Their friendship was forged in adversity, but is their will to survive enough to pull them through this disaster?

The motivation for these pieces: Last spring I helped out in a grade 12 English class where they were reading the novel Hiroshima by John Hersey. When I read Prompt 1, I flashed back to that novel and decided to use that period of time for this challenge. Please feel free to comment or critique any of the three pieces. I realize the poem is no masterpiece but if any of you have some suggestions to improve it, I would welcome the input. The same goes for the other pieces.

Now, I’m off to check out the competition! 🙂


37 comments on “Second Challenge

  1. I love the theme you took for the challenge, partly since I love Japanese history and literature and stories set in Japan. It also brought me back to my amazing Japanese History class I took my senior year of university and all the new information I learnt about the bomb. I’d definitely read a book based on your stories.

    • Thanks, Carrie-Anne! The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki cost the Japanese more than lives, health and landscapes. They were highly demoralizing, as well. It is my fervent wish that something like this never happens again.

    • Thanks, Jennifer. I don’t like war either, but the memories of the survivor stories from the book ‘Hiroshima’ stayed with me so much I had to incorporate some of it when the prompts moved me. 🙂

  2. This is the first I’ve read that delved into history. I sat and thought for a long time, realizing the reality of what you wrote in your fantasy. Wow. (#30)

  3. These pieces are very bold and well-written! Its not easy to write about such tragic events, but you’ve given life to topics that would otherwise be lost to time. Nicely done! 🙂

    p.s. Try hitting shift+enter to create single spaces between lines. Then when you hit just the enter button, there will be a space to separate one stanza from the next.

  4. Excellent entry. Your flash fiction was very moving and gave me chills. Events like this one should never be forgotten. Well done.

  5. I wasn’t sure what had happened at the end of the poem until I got about half-way through the next piece and realized the bomb dropping was your unifying theme.. Then I got chills – powerful stuff!

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