A Moment in Stangralah–A Winner divined!


Our contest “Like a Ton of Bricks” has reached it’s weighty conclusion.  Thank you all for participating, and we will announce a new contest very soon.

Mike Stang will now be adored by one and reviled by five.  Better him than me.  He had no idea who wrote what, except for the slight outing of our dear KYLE-but she will get over it, I trust.  I am posting his prerogatives (ouch!).  I will not reveal the names of the authors just yet, to give you a chance to comment.


TO ALL:  This contest was a lot tougher to Judge than the last one simply because you writers have flourished to higher ground.  Better and better happens when the passion flows, there is little doubt.  Yes sir, Professor Langley had to put the cap on the bottle and the thinking hat on his head for this one.  From zombie survival kits to a wretched time traveler, from traffic light epiphanies to a bit of holiday greed, from single-minded parents to nature’s best-held secret, the level of the art increased and never stopped.  I would have to say…quite the crescendo and bravo to you writers who were not put off by clichés at all.  They were pretty funny, but I loved the 100 word (part two) stuff best.

P.S.  If we do not get new blood to the site soon, future contests will be impossible to judge except for throwing a coin.

Alas ye writers, upward and away.  I say, say it with me…”The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” (AWwYP editors note:  just hope those shades are not fifty in number and gray)

And here are the findings…




            In this veiled piece the temponaut reveals his Christmas wish traveling through time in search of decent tickets?—not for himself mind you.  Perhaps he is the muse returned to instill in Hugo the gnawing to write the masterpiece in the first place.  (I am your Christmas muse!)  Then I thought there may be a chance his visit extracts the cake and crumble accepted by poorer folk who ride up on the front green lawns of the well to do that time of year.  But there is bare little holding my weight except the imaginary stretch to get me through to the facts of the ending—and there, again, it is time to mentally askew.  The dates threw me because his visit in the year 1845 is 17 years before the novel was written.  Lights went on as I figured the ghost of Christmas future…but what about the stolen bread?  So, okay.  We got a ghost who is a muse who will end up in the best book ever written, he shows up temporal with demands.  But I still don…Ahhh!  Les Miserables!  Of course: the wretched, the poor ones, the wretched poor ones…the crime… the victims…Valjean—who else could pull this chain?  The man had everything to lose but gained everything in spirit.  The cerebral gymnastics here is far too expanded for a hundred words.  I cannot say this for sure but my guess is this took a lot of work to produce.  One thing I do know, the fantastic’s (and believe me, that is what this story is) took a lot of work to judge.




            Fredrick Austin is believed to have had something to do with the original carnival of the carol.  How many of us could endure such holiday giving.  Apparently our finalist could not and sends everything, everything, everything back EXCEPT the gold rings.  Elaine is not dim-witted; she is sharp enough to see through the holidaze, the birds, the hens, the doves and the goddam swans.  Though all pretty and sweet nothing says endearing like a set of bullion swinging from the fingers.  I think she is fooling herself about compensating for the apartment though.  The rings just look too grand.  Good going!  The story was tight with serious purpose on the comedy level, the reading fast and very entertaining.



            Art Linkletter (remember him) is rolling over in his grave, but then again he has heard it all.  A kid wanting zombie survival kits for the family?  WHAT??  Well, like I said—rolling!  The story is cute with the Santa-mall-busy shoppers-drama- crisis thing going on and a great slice in the life of modern day.  The brother and sister relationship are pictured perfectly.  Having the brother tell the story is a master’s touch.  Do elves even make zombie survival kits?  I have seen some awful scary stuff at the hands of Mattel and watched the un-dead file out of Galoob’s swing shift.  Nothing to do with Santa, by the way.  Oh well, each to their own, and the way you wrote this amusing jingle you do—own it.



            From the ashes of misunderstood under the tree gifts, comes a tale that many a little girl can hug long into the starry night of Christmas: in their perfect beds, sleeping their perfect sleep, silently crying their perfect tears.  Baby doll’s big blue eyes don’t wink when you squeeze her and her real-like flowing hair itches.  Career workforces—and I love this about your story— be they architects, truck drivers, roofers (I have seen them with my own eyes), plumbers and painters, are women.  This story does a great job directing this issue, this is as simple as envisioning what your personal goD looks like.  But then there is a little something special at the end…isn’t there…  ”The things I could build.”  Here we have rhyme and reason.  A springboard!  This is why I love writing, why I stay in the game, to get to know, to find out, what are the things she could build.




            A lofty fancy…is that even a wish…detachments from outcome?  Who here among us wields that kinda juice, or is it facing the barren life, the miles of trials that bring us to our knees embolden.  For many, the holiday season heightens the depressed into a bipolar pendulum swing, sad, unhappy; dejected.  But here in this multifaceted confession, brilliance gives delivery to faith.  Our finalist figures when all is nothing but a maze ahead there is hope in release and goes for it.  The writing of this story is a metaphorical wonder and a tribute to one who is steady at the art.   Unless we are dealing with genius here, I would have to fight off sleep for days to put the final crosses on the T’s.  You are to be commended.



            And then I read of Grandmother’s garden.  That secret place where this child of Christmas turned her back on all the trappings to grieve, to wish for the impossible.  I sensed richness emanated from the vines, nurtured by tears; they came alive to console and protect.  In the end, the vines, and our damaged little human, reached across life and death, and as the caressing blossom emerged I understood completely that her grandmother will always be with her.      The writing has a charm that lines the edges of the page—I could follow that sweetness until I fell off the cliff.  The tale is simply told, and, as we all know, the best of them hide behind uncomplicated, easy stories.  The creativity is thrilling and deserves, even from a packed out room of author’s amazements and selected heights of writing triumphs, to win this contest.  Congratulations.




33 thoughts on “A Moment in Stangralah–A Winner divined!

      • Tlrelf says:

        Exactly. . .So what will our illustrious winner receive as a prize? Whatever will they concoct for our next go-round? Inquiring minds are oh-so-inquiring at this moment.

        What’s that I hear? Santa’s sleigh bells? Oh wait! It’s the sound time-slip machines make when they’re crossing dimensions!

  1. Tlrelf says:

    P.S. All I want for Christmas is more time to write. So, Dear Santa, may I borrow your time-collapsing sleigh? I promise to be good!

  2. KYLE says:

    Winter Jasmine poetic tone encompassed with imagination,
    imagery and crafting of this beautifully written piece, sat with me, as if it
    was always there.

    Kudos to Michael.

     I was dazzled
    by each review he presented. I don’t believe I’ve ever read such articulation
    of every finalist exemplary work as he pulls authentic gems from the authors
    voice and style… that in itself was an experience.

    Thanks to Mr. Sully for giving us prompts that delight,
    surprise and sometimes force me to stretch, and express beyond.
    Now cut to the chase. Who is it??? I think I know!



  3. Mac Eagan says:

    Good choice, Mike.  Your observations are excellent, as well.

    Hey, Thornton, before you post the identities of the authors, how about give everyone a day to post their guesses?  We already know Kyle’s due to the foe paw turn of events, but that still leaves four unidentified.

      • Mac Eagan says:

        I realized after I made that suggestion that we already know Kyle wrote Enter-sections, which only leaves four to figure out.  And we all know we wrote our own, which narrows it down to three.  And when we ‘fess up to our own, that only leaves two for the others that want to guess.
        So I am limiting myself to two guesses:  Winter Jasmine by Barbara Walker and Dear Santa by Sal Buttaci.

        • Tlrelf says:

          Actually, T-Rex wrote “Dear Santa”. I’m honored that you thought Sal wrote it. . .My twisted ending may have been a bit too subtle. . .or not. hehe

          • Mac Eagan says:

            I probably would have picked you for that story if I had not already deduced (incorrectly, unfortunately) that you wrote the time travel piece.  And since you didn’t, I am swapping your name with Sal’s.  It now makes more sense that Sal would have written the time travel one since I believe he suggested time travel as a theme for one of our previous contests, and he has a post elsewhere on this page showing a detailed knowledge of Victor Hugo.

    • Michael Stang says:

      What a time it was to write, eh?  One of these days we must talk and you can educate me about the what-who-and if so concerning this flash.  I tried Sal but I think I got it a__ backwards. 

  4. Tlrelf says:

    Did I tell you all that one of my ancestors wrote “The Night Before Christmas” and then it was ripped off from him and presented as the work of someone else? I just learned of this recently. . .which explains why it was a family tradition to read it on the night before. I had it memorized for decades. . .

  5. Thorn says:

    ok  SO wrote what?  Time for all of you to fess up, with a quick comment about your own story.  BUT, I will say I have been waiting for our current winner to take home the trophy for a long time. Congratulations to:

    • Mac Eagan says:

      What?  No more guessing games?  Well, if you insist.
      I wrote the five rings story.  I gave it a title – “Up to Her Eyeballs” – but evidently the title got posted in the same place Thornton originally put my first-round stories.  The title was, of course, a reference back to the cliche’s that started this whole thing.
      I was driving to work one morning listening to the news and heard a report that in today’s economy, all the gifts given over the twelve-day period would cost $25,000.  I thought about the expense for a while, then wondered “where would you put it all” and the rest, as the cliche’ says, is history.

      • Mac Eagan says:

        What? Wow! My predictions were less reliable than the Mayans!  Fantastic story, Stefanie! (I had picked you for the Shop King story.)
        I would go back to your story and give you specifics of what I liked, but the site seems to have lost its GPS.  I do remember the closing thought of the flower opening and its petals kissing the cheeks of the protagonist.  Beautiful imagery.

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