Grace Bingham Trophy

The title and theme for the annual Grace Bingham Trophy competition at the Scarborough Writers’ Circle was ‘In Your Dreams’, and part of the criteria set was to include the use of creative language. 

How could I resist a chance to indulge in one of my favourite forms of writing? Poetics.

Here is the link (see note below added 8.2.14) to my submitted story… The Six-Sided Box by A Poetic Dreamer (aka Julie Fairweather) … the poetics of which are best read in a breathless manner so you need to invent your own pauses during the reading of these. 

Oh, did I mention that this was the winning story?

 Judge’s comments: ‘Superb! A real attempt to use language creatively, within dreamlike descriptions that take the reader through to the end where the true setting and meaning are revealed in what I found to be a very touching finish. Wonderful work!’

 There is a metaphoric layer to this story that I hope potential readers from the targeted group will appreciate, and respond to in their own individual way.

My Current Status: floating on a cloud enjoying the euphoria whilst clutching the Grace Bingham Trophy.

Sorry folks… the story is currently unavailable to read on here as it is undergoing an edit for submission elsewhere.

God’s Grace

This time last year I experienced a period of unrest and I wasn’t sure if it was related to a mild form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or simply that a special November birthday was almost upon me (I’m not telling!).  It could have been either of these reasons as both lend themselves to melancholy. Same thing now… with the dark mornings due to kick in, I’m overwhelmed with tiredness at having to get up for work when I could easily stay in bed, especially as I’ve felt I need more challenge in my work-based role lately. But then – once more – a birthday is also looming… so here I go again. I feel I haven’t done enough with my life and the older I become the quicker it seems to roll away – a bit like when the end of a toilet roll unravels itself near the end and you have to catch it quick before it hits the floor.

This mood spread itself into my time of worship at church last Sunday and I suppose I was feeling sorry for myself really when I said to the person standing next to me, ‘I hope we don’t finish with sharing the words of the grace. It feels false, like it’s forced upon us, especially as half the people in church don’t even say hello to the other half.’ Needless to say, we did finish with that… but the preacher stumbled on the beginning of it by misplacing a word – twice. So it was third time lucky that we spoke the words in unison. I knew this was no mistake. It was a lesson for me – from God. That may sound strange to those who don’t have a faith but you may understand where I’m coming from if you read on. (It’s about me not remembering that God is with me when I’m in the midst of these negative mood phases, and therefore failing to acknowledge His grace.) Thank goodness that He doesn’t give up on me, and sends angels to rescue and remind me, as he waits for me to ‘catch on’ again.

Angel number one arrived later the same day. I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen for a while who is a fan of my writing. She inspired me to continue with my current work in progress – the devotional book I’ve spoken of in my blog recently after I disclosed to her that I was at a standstill with it. I told her I want to revisit an experiment that has worked for me previously ie, creating prayers from sketches but I’m not good at drawing. I can’t seem focus on listening to God in the meditation method I use for simple sketching (well, I always know what my sketches are meant to be even if no-one else does!). My friend reminded me of my past experience with this in one of her art workshops and how I’d created a painting and subsequent prayer from that by simply letting myself go with a kaleidoscope of colour as I listened to God through music. This connected to a story I’d written the previous night about a kaleidoscope of colour and I felt inspired to use her advice as a way forward with the book. I went off to top up my supply of charcoal, oil paints and linseed to make a start on the blank canvas I’ve been keeping at arm’s length.

The next day angel number two stopped me in the street and we went for a coffee and a catch up – another friend and fan of my writing who, after deep therapeutic discussion about family estrangement and work related apathy (she is a trained counsellor by trade), inspired me further to continue with my devotional book project by saying my writing was a gift from God that I can utilise to inspire others. The off-loading was mutual, I hasten to add. She also had a few demons to exorcise.

The third day brought me angel number threea fellow writer and member of the Writers’ Circle who said she was looking forward to hearing my Kaleidoscope of Colour piece as she delights in my poetics.  

With these three cheerleaders in my corner how can I fail to make progress?

To top it off, I attended a New Wine event this weekend on ‘healing emotional wounds and memories’ (more about this another time) with two members from church. Another example of the grace of God that even with all my negative remarks about sharing the words of the grace in church, He still provided me with angels from that very place. 

And there’s more…

Just when I thought it was all over… my work-role related grace came after I’d been brought to my knees because my computer decided to die and its black screen took my files to its grave. I asked God to forgive me for not being grateful for the job I had, for not thanking Him for the angels He sends to lift me from my myriad of moods, for not thanking Him for providing me with all I need, and for not thanking Him for the gift of each new day of my life. You may not believe it but I swear it’s true – I prayed for fifteen minutes and about an hour later a chance conversation with a work colleague during a phone call connected me to someone who had software to rescue my files. I contacted him immediately and was merely talking on the phone about the problem when the computer screen came to life of its own accord – my files had returned and I was able to drag them onto a pen drive before it completely packed in. Coincidence? Answered prayer? Miracle? I believe it was a grace of God incident.

I’ve decided not to feel that I haven’t done enough with my life because I believe it’s the journey that’s important. Taking time to appreciate those unexpected moments of joy and small acts of random kindness that flow through our lives constantly is what makes it worthwhile. And what more can we ask of that journey but that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us this day and for evermore?

I’ll be sharing the words of this special blessing prayer with gusto in future because grace is a soul-thrilling concept and must be deeply appreciated.