Author Topic: A Picture paints a thousand words  (Read 5009 times)

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Offline Krippers

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A Picture paints a thousand words
« on: June 04, 2013, 11:19:31 AM »
You, however, have only 500:

What's his story?
 


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Offline Alex

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 08:20:12 PM »
My name is William, and it's my day off from school today. I wear the only clothes I own and wait for Nelson to come and we will play football on the road. My sister and mother are washing again even on a Sunday, they first have to carry the water from the stream about 20 minutes away from our shack.

I will be a doctor someday.

Until then I will  study and play football.  I am allowed one hour to play on today then back to  my studies. I have a book. My teacher lent it to me . She says I have promise. It is about the body and I have already learned all the names of the bones. I must be careful not to break my fibia or tibia, or my radius or ulna as my bones are not strong. I have had malaria and I nearly died when I was very little.

My sister Stella is older than me and she has beautiful eyes and is strong and will soon move away. She will go to the city to make her fortune. She didn't get to go to school, Mum couldn't afford it. They have been earning money from washing other peoples' clothes for years and I will repay her when I become a doctor. I don't know what she will do in the city, but she wants to travel and get away from here.

Benjamin comes to see her often. He waits for her to finish her work and then they go off together holding hands. He is a nice man. Occasionally he helps them to carry the water and sometimes he stays for a meal of maize. We can't afford anything else but sometimes he brings us some fruit. Her eyes shine when she is talking about him. Mum likes him too.

I am going to make them so proud of me. I will be able  to make enough money to buy them a house with a garden where they can grown all of the food that they need.  I will help other people and I will start a hospital near to here so Mum won't have to walk so many miles if she needs it again. It will take a long time I know. But I know they are depending on me.

I won't be able to go to college unless I work and I don't know yet what I can do to earn enough to buy my books and education. Stella said “ Do not worry”  as  she will be able to send money from the City. She was talking to a man in a big black car a few days ago. He had a cigar and  and a big gold chain. She looked surprised when  he said that he would help her to find somewhere  to live in the city. I don't think she liked him much. But she doesn't know anyone else there yet.

492

Offline Simon

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 09:06:35 PM »
My name is William, and

I won't quote the whole thing because people can read it just above my post, but...

 :clap: (in the absence of a standing ovation smiley). That's what I probably would have written if I had sufficient literary talent.

Nice touch that it leaves the reader wondering what job Stella (with the beautiful eyes) will be doing in the city, which doesn't require any education. I think I have an idea what's written between those lines...

 :clap: (in case nobody else has joined the standing ovation yet)
We are all in this together, but some of us are more in it than others (with apologies to George Orwell)

Offline Alex

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 09:48:36 PM »
Oh thank you Simon! I am very touched! x

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 11:45:19 PM »
Nice Alex, definitely painted a picture :)

My offering takes but one sentence and nine words:

"They say I am one of the lucky ones".


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Offline carole bent

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 06:35:46 AM »
A great photo and a great idea.

Maybe he is wondering what Coltan is , as he heard his mother talking about it and that the world seems to want so much of it from his country.
Or maybe he is thinking what he and his best friend will learn at school today, she is chinese and came to Africa with her parents and many others who are making it their home. She  already speaks four languages , talks about trading with him in Africa when they are older ....but she still can't play football as well as him. Or maybe he is wondering whats for lunch.

Offline jennyb

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 01:02:21 PM »
maybe he is saying...

I am looking at my home and the people I know, love and like. I want this to be a better place for us all and I want to know how I can help to make this happen.

Although I am not a grown up, I have lots of ideas on how to set up football teams and I can see over the roof tops just the place for the football games to happen and for us all to have our food and drinks afterwards.

When I am grown up and I am educated I will be able to do more to help the others who also want this to be a better place. Then perhaps, children will want to stay here and work and have fun and families rather than move far, far away.

Right now , I am looking for someone to hold my hand to make this happen.. and I can just see them in the distance.   

It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

Offline I Could Do That

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 02:47:51 PM »
Quote
My name is William.....
The rest of the story by Alex is accurate for so many.

That they can yet remain optimistic is so humbling.

My experience, of meeting people in developing countries, is that very often they are extremely uplifted at the slightest gesture of being treated as a human.

Hand a free pen to a small child and ten other children will appear from nowhere.

At the sight of a western european those lucky enough to have access to some sort of camera want to be photographed with the "white man"
Others are happy enough that you take their photo and show it to them.

So to make Williams' story to the full 500 words and to prepare for any "sequel"
I suggest adding the additional 8 words....

"Today a person took a photograph of me"
Proud to be gone

Offline Alex

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 03:38:53 PM »
I really like that ICDT.

 I did have a friend called William who couldn't look me in the eye at first  when I worked with him in London as he had been taught not to look at white people as equals. I changed that . He lived on his own in a small bedsit and the Church had sponsored him to be here and helped him find somewhere to live. As you probably have worked out- I'm not a fan of religion but this was it working well in practice.

 All his family had been slaughtered by Amin and he had seen it.

He was from a  relatively powerful almost royal branch of a  large tribe and had been educated to some extent . He worked very hard with us and was very reliable and so kind and, as you say, genuinely grateful for anything we ever did which was nice.  He had a beaming smile and one day he told us that he was leaving to go to a college to learn about agriculture so he could educate  the people he had left behind.  We were a small team but had a whip round and in his last day we presented him with a fishing rod ( something he had expressed an interest in).

I have never to this day seen anyone so profoundly moved and happy and speechless.

It was sad to say goodbye, but I kept in touch and sent him a Christmas card on the off-chance he was still there.  He called one day and I was very sorry to hear that he no longer was at college as they had all been elitist hooray henries and made him unwelcome and feel ashamed of his background. ( I felt more ashamed.) He was still working in London as a clerk but had met a lovely girl and had a baby.

I don't know what happened after that, all the promise of a happy ever after ending frustrated in so many ways, but I do hope he is well and contented even if he wasn't able to withstand the emotional trauma of the entitled landed gentry.

( I deviated-, but wanted you to know that story too- because it was true). 

Offline Krippers

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2013, 08:31:50 AM »
I'm loving the responses here. I wasn't sure what sort of reaction this would have but it's very good.

Geoff, expand please "One of the lucky ones" has a history to it.

Alex, well done, you started this exceptionally well, thank you.
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Offline Weebleman

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2013, 09:22:43 PM »
What's his story?
 





I'm not sure whether the writers board is closed, or by invitation or not, so I'll post my submission on the off chance.

When I saw the photo the thing that took my eye was the presence of the battered old TV aerials amongst the slum conditions, and the absolute power of TV. So I got to wondering how TV would have been introduced into this environment and somehow ended up writing a farce :)

I'm sure the word count will disqualify it as an acceptable entry; and its likely to be quite tangential to Krippers' original intentions, but hey! if it raises a smile then that's great.

NOTE All characters and events in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.





THE GREAT GRAIN ROBBERY  (or Grain Theft Auto!)
=========================

My name is Broderick. I live with my parents and two brothers in a remote village situated deep in a valley that strangers seldom visit. Some people believe I was named after a famous American actor, but this is not true. I was named Broderick after the missionary who arrived in our village on the day I was born: but more about that later.

Compared with some villages we are very lucky. Most of our houses, although basic, have tin roofs that keep us well sheltered from the rain. A natural spring, that rarely runs dry, trickles out of the hillside not far from my house and provides us with delicious clean water to drink, as it follows its meandering path to the stream in the valley bottom.
The stream grows into a flowing river during the rainy season, irrigating the land alongside it. This fertile land is cultivated by most of the villagers, including my parents. Although we grow mainly maize, the land is fertile enough to support a variety of other vegetable crops so that, most years, we produce enough to eat and sell any surplus in the village market.

A narrow road, which is little more than a stony track in places, connects our village to a small town some forty miles away and beyond that by another hundred miles and more stands the big city. However, the wild animals that inhabit the bush between here and the town make it a very dangerous road to walk down and very few of those who have set off on foot to journey to the town have ever reached their destination.
Despite our remoteness we are not totally isolated, as once a week a truck crawls its way from the town to deliver goods to our tiny shop and market. It also brings fuel for the generator that supplies some of our houses with just enough electricity to power an electric light. However, the fuel unfortunately runs out between visits and I usually have to work at my studies by the flickering light of a single candle.

For its return journey the truck is loaded with produce from our market, together with a variety of tribal art and trinkets that are handcrafted by the older women in their ‘Institute’ hut, which are sent to the city and sold to tourists.



For as long as I can remember, the weekly arrival of the truck from the town has been accompanied by an excited escort of village children who dance alongside its seemingly giant wheels for the final few yards of its journey; and its arrival yesterday, when the truck pulled in just after noon, was no different.
The unusual aspect of yesterday’s arrival was that when the truck’s engine eventually stuttered to a silence a young teenage boy, of about my age, leapt out from amongst the various goods and supplies in the back of the wagon. With a battered suitcase by his side, and clutching several books in his hand, he stood for several minutes looking totally bemused; so I decided to befriend him and offer him help if he needed it.

It transpired that the young traveller’s name was ‘Terence’ and he lived on the other side of the town. He was sent to the village by his parents to look after his aging grandmother who, by coincidence, lives just two doors from me and I know her well.
I picked up Terence’s suitcase, which by its weight obviously contained very little, and showed him to his grandmother’s house.
On the way, we talked a lot about school and I could tell by the books he carried that he was a keen student and I think we instantly knew we’d get along. It is strange how children lose the ability to make friends so easily when they grow to be men. We exchanged how we both wanted to educate ourselves as best we can and one day move to the big city to work: although neither of us really had any idea what a city was really like.
I explained to Terence that our school was way over the other side of the village and it was a long walk, so we agreed that I’d meet him in the morning and we’d walk together, and I would introduce him to some of my friends on the way.
When we eventually reached his grandmother’s house, she came out to greet him very warmly and we then went our separate ways.

Terence was already waiting for me when I called for him at 7:30 this morning. He was smartly dressed in his best clothes and had washed away the grime of the previous day’s journey. His grandmother waved him goodbye as we picked up our books and started along the track around the back of my house.

After a few minutes, Terence told me that last night his grandmother couldn’t stop talking about a great grain robbery that had recently taken place in the village, and how she had lost her reserve store of maize. He asked me what had happened, and so I told him the following tale (which is indeed the object of this story!)……



….The tale of the great grain robbery begins some 13 years ago when a missionary called Broderick first arrived in the village. He mysteriously appeared amongst a group of village elders, who had congregated to discuss important village matters, in the shade of the giant banyan tree that grows beside the market. We call the area “The Public Realm.” He introduced himself as a ‘missionary from outer space’ and, while listening to their conversations, he explained how he could transform our village into a more vibrant place to live – a place that would attract people from other villages to trade in our marketplace and make our village wealthy.

Nobody knew from where the missionary came, or the means by which he arrived in the village. My oldest brother, Bob, swore that just minutes before the visitor’s appearance there was a strange orb, flashing blue and yellow, dancing around the sky making unimaginable patterns; and that this was surely the transport of the missionary’s arrival, having journeyed from a distant planet to administer to our needs.
Many villagers ridiculed Bob’s theory; and I agree it lost some credibility when, sometime later, it was revealed that the visitor’s initial introduction had been misheard by the elders, and that he had in fact introduced himself as a ‘visionary from another place’ rather than a ‘missionary from outer space’ as was at first thought. So in truth our visitor was somewhat less ethereal than was originally imagined.

Regrettably, by the time the fallibility of our visitor had been unveiled, which was some years after his arrival, he had already cast a spell over the village elders, who by then succumbed to his often-nonsensical edicts without challenge. Blinded by his rhetoric, over the following years they had failed to see that our village, instead of prospering, had deteriorated around them: and the once thriving market, instead of inviting all around to visit, was now almost as barren as the land it stood on following its banishment to the outskirts of the village.

Being a visionary, Broderick found those with supposed mystical powers inescapably intriguing. One such magician, appropriately named ‘Tricki’ and a previous conspirator with our visionary, arrived unexpectedly in the village one morning. He alighted from the cab of the truck from the town, and although the means of his arrival was clearly more earthly than that of the visionary Broderick some years earlier, his appearance was in some ways no less spectacular. He was dressed immaculately in a silver coloured waist-coated suit that shone almost as much as his shoes. His silver tie was knotted neatly within the buttoned collar of his dazzling white shirt and to top it all off he wore a pair of spotlessly clean, mirrored sunglasses with the largest imaginable lenses. His silver appearance, which was contrasted only by the thick gold rings that adorned every finger and a gold tooth that glistened through his permanent smile, left no doubt that Tricki could be mistaken for anything other than an extreme magician.

The purpose of Tricki’s visit was to proffer a scheme to visionary Broderick whereby he would install a magic wand on the roof tops of all the houses, that would then allow villagers to see moving pictures on a magic box, which he called a ‘television.’ He had never conjured this particular illusion before but he was confident that his powers would make it possible to perform with ease.

Furthermore, he said that once the wands were installed they would be ‘free’ for everyone to use – as long as the village collected four hundred sacks of grain (one from every household) as remuneration for his illusionary prowess.

Never having seen ‘television’ before, the villagers were at first sceptical and could not conceive how any wand placed on their roof could attract such magical chicanery. Then an elder named Barry, one of the few who had actually been to the big city, said that he had seen such a device during his travels and confirmed that the magic was not only possible but would bring the villagers great pleasure. So, armed with their now ‘informed’ knowledge, the elders overcame their original scepticism and agreed to give way to Tricki’s proposed wizardry.

Barry’s interjection had saved the day for Tricki and was well received by visionary Broderick; and in exchange for his unstinting support the visionary rewarded him by assigning him the task of overseeing Tricki’s mystical machinations and supervising the grain collection from every household.

The village was soon abuzz with excitement as the conjuror’s assistant visited each house in turn and placed a spiky metal wand-like stick on each roof top, pointing skywards towards the big city many miles away -- where the source of the moving pictures apparently lay.
Unfortunately, many months later, when the task of installing the wands was completed and the first television in the village was switched on, the excitement quickly soured to disappointment as the magic box merely hissed loudly and showed patterned lines of white dots rolling up and down its screen.

Whether it was due to inexperience or over-enthusiasm we shall never know, but it seemed that Tricki’s wizardry had let him down badly. He had failed to account for the fact that his special magic, carrying the moving pictures nesting in the big city, only travelled in straight lines and was unable to penetrate the valley walls and surrounding hillsides.

Tricki, the magician, was not dispirited though. His confident grin remained firmly fixed as he exclaimed to Barry and visionary Broderick that he needed to call on even more powerful magic to fix the problem; which he would do if the villagers could find just another fifty sacks of grain.

Visionary Broderick talked again to the assembled elders and convinced them that, as they had already handed over four hundred sacks of grain that they couldn’t afford to lose, lessons had been learned and the proposed further investment was indeed the only way forward. With their usual deference, the elders agreed with the visionary and put into action a further grain collection.

With all the grain finally collected, Barry called for Tricki to meet him under the great banyan tree to explain the new magic he would perform. Tricki duly turned up in the truck from the town but, in what was an unusual circumstance, he appeared to be driving, and alone.

A gang of villagers unloaded the truck as usual, while Tricki, Barry and visionary Broderick sat under the banyan tree discussing the available magical options that would restore their standing on the village. It was then that Tricki, for the first time, caught sight of the four hundred and fifty bulging sacks of grain stacked high against the back of the banyan tree, and began inwardly to question his powers.

He suggested to the visionary that one very special, but difficult, trick that would extricate them from their current predicament required a particular conjuror’s prop known as a ‘repeater’; which if placed on top of the tallest hill would redirect the magical moving pictures down into the valley for everyone to see. He explained that although the required prop was very expensive, he knew another magician who would sell him one cheaply provided he paid for it in advance.
So, Barry and Tricki thrashed out a deal that would enable Tricki to gain access to the required repeater. This resulted in Barry allowing Tricki to load the four hundred and fifty bulging sacks of grain onto the truck from the town so that he could pay for the special conjuring prop he so desperately needed -- both to complete his trick and save their combined faces.

Inspired by unfettered greed and the final realisation that his magical gifts had left him, Tricki loaded the truck quicker than it ever had been loaded before. He then started the engine and drove off with unparalleled haste, kicking up a dust storm in his wake. When the dust finally settled, it was evident that Tricki had left with such speed that two of the sacks had fallen off the back of the truck and were lying by the roadside. However; these were quickly rescued, one each by Barry and the visionary Broderick.

No one knows what happened to Tricki the magician, or the bulging sacks of grain. The truck from the town was found abandoned in the city two weeks after it left the village but the grain had disappeared, as had Tricki……



My tale of the great grain robbery ended conveniently at this point, just as we reached the school. Terence smiled and nodded in understanding. He then looked long and enquiringly at the school, and after a minute or so asked why it had so many tall pointed roofs, and built so close to the spring.

I told him that was another story, to be told on the way home……   :bottom:
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 10:29:26 PM by Weebleman »

Offline Des Moffatt

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2013, 08:22:57 AM »
Congratulations Weebleman.
That was the best read in months. Now for the history of the totem stones?

Offline Krippers

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2013, 01:14:22 PM »
Quote from: weebleman
When I saw the photo the thing that took my eye was the presence of the battered old TV aerials amongst the slum conditions, and the absolute power of TV. So I got to wondering how TV would have been introduced into this environment and somehow ended up writing a farce

I'm sure the word count will disqualify it as an acceptable entry; and its likely to be quite tangential to Krippers' original intentions, but hey! if it raises a smile then that's great.

Hi Weebleman, a fantastic story, well done, yes the word count does push the entry outside of the objective. I have, however, been deliberately obscure about my intentions. The closing date is 17th Jun.
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Offline Weebleman

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2013, 02:51:16 PM »
Hi Weebleman, a fantastic story, well done, yes the word count does push the entry outside of the objective. I have, however, been deliberately obscure about my intentions. The closing date is 17th Jun.

Many thanks for your (and Des') comments. I hope you get a few more entries before the closing date. It was the first story writing I've attempted for over fifty years and it was quite enjoyable really.

Offline Krippers

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2013, 03:49:37 PM »

Many thanks for your (and Des') comments. I hope you get a few more entries before the closing date. It was the first story writing I've attempted for over fifty years and it was quite enjoyable really.

Then you have found one of my objectives :) I'm truly so very glad to hear you enjoyed it.
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Offline Outoftowner

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A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2013, 05:38:55 PM »
The last fiction that Weeble wrote was a letter, supposedly from his Mum, explaining  to his PT Teacher, why he couldn't do cross-country running in December.
What's it all about?

Offline Alex

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2013, 07:50:37 PM »
Brilliant Weebleman- really enjoyed reading it. It took me a while to "get it".   Very very good.

Offline Weebleman

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2013, 08:41:33 PM »
The last fiction that Weeble wrote was a letter, supposedly from his Mum, explaining  to his PT Teacher, why he couldn't do cross-country running in December.

Ah! yes, I remember it well. That was the morning I got a clip around both ears and learned the true meaning of the word "menstruating."   :bottom:

Offline Krippers

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Thank you all
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2013, 05:10:45 PM »
Well done to everyone who engaged at whatever level with this thread. I will now make my intentions clearer.

I wanted to try something, just to see, just to know. Now I've seen, and now I know, there's talent here, skill and suchlike. So, because I feel it right within myself to promote creativity, I will say well done to all.

Everything I read was good, and I was truly happy to see people enjoying the experience. I would like to also say that I didn't mention that I would consider making this a regular event if there were enough interest, I think there is.

I would also like to declare one entry as the winner, I will withhold the criteria for judging so as not to influence creativity. I will say though that I can't judge entries outside of the specified criteria, no matter how good they are (and it WAS really good weebleman).

It is fair to say that there is a clear winner here in my mind and I'm pleased to announce that the winner of the first TS - Creative Writing contest, (even if you didn't know it was) is Alex, for his entry "My name is William"  :clap:

Wait, there's more, Alex if you would like to IM me your email I will be happy to furnish you with a small prize of a £5 Amazon voucher or, if you prefer I can donate £5 to a charity of your choosing.

Well done all, be ready for the next one.
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Offline Muggins

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2013, 06:23:16 PM »
Well I'll be blowed, if I had known there was a prize I'd have made an effort! 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Krippers

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2013, 07:57:14 PM »
Quote from: Krippers who should jolly well checkthe flipping profiles before he posts
t is fair to say that there is a clear winner here in my mind and I'm pleased to announce that the winner of the first TS - Creative Writing contest, (even if you didn't know it was) is Alex, for his entry "My name is William"   

HER entry, so sorry!
 :embarassed:
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Offline Alex

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2013, 06:05:07 PM »
Thank you very much indeed Krippers, I am highly chuffed and suitably  encouraged to have another go.

Offline scrappy

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2013, 06:09:55 PM »
Any chance further topics could be clearly labelled as competitions, in order to bring in more entries for competition lovers?
Paddle faster - I hear banjos!

Offline Krippers

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Re: A Picture paints a thousand words
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2013, 10:41:45 AM »
Any chance further topics could be clearly labelled as competitions, in order to bring in more entries for competition lovers?

yes all future ones I will state as being competitions, I wanted to see what the level of interest was prior to showing my hand as it were.

This is a personal investment for me for no other reason than the promotion of creativity, if I see scope to take it further then I will be open about it, right now, it's some fun and a fiver :D
In a world bereft of hope, lost to immeasurable inhumanity,   entrenched in commercial exploitation, devoid of hope, where's my underpants?