This contest must have been so scary that only FIVE people had the COURAGE TO STEP UP!!! And now, we have asked these final finalists to sweep us away with their bravery…and the first to make a display of chivalry is Michael Stang!!!

The power of speech is well known to us that work with the written word. Just tonight, a family member was telling me that he felt more comfortable with his written word versus his spoken. Many of us writers feel that way too. We can hide behind the Word document. Nobody can see our hands shaking. No one can hear our shallow breathing–assuming the person we’re speaking to hasn’t taken our breath away. Even I’ve been told to stop writing how I felt and just SAY it.

But expressing ourselves with our lips and voices means diving into the water–with no promise that we will surface again. But if it’s worth it, who needs air? So, without further ado, here is Michael Stang’s true story:

Walk the Talk

You can talk just as good as me you little bastard
It’s all an act
I’m on to you
Don’t think I won’t
Get off your knees
Be a man …

The fear of stuttering left me in my mid-fifties. But for a boy of fourteen, it was a different story.

This story.

I was afraid of everything, of life itself. However, there was nothing more fearful than the dreaded telephone.

Glenda said she would call with her decision to go steady with me.

The phone rang.

Trembled sweat boiled my skin.

“Hello,” I said with sublimity.

" it me you're looking for...?"
“…is it me you’re looking for…?”

18 thoughts on “CALLING YOU!!! FIRST FINALIST!!!

  1. Diana Diehl says:

    Ah, Glenda, Glenda.

    Was the utterance from your mouth truly sublime? I love your punchy, punctate style. It draws me forward, and it’s so appropriate to the subject. I can feel the sweat. Nicely done.

    What was her answer?

  2. Miryam says:

    Your story is a treasure!! You brilliantly conveyed a powerful real-life situation with very few words. I was touched by every word. It made me want to reach out and hug this kid.
    Thanks so much Mr. Stang. You are truly an artist.

  3. Diane Cresswell says:

    Okay I have found the time now to read some things from AWWYP. You always astound me with your ability to change on a dime with your writing. And this one is no exception. In your face, humbling truth, bringing feeling forward and then a cliff hanger (no I didn’t hang Cliff up while reading this to him). A tapestry of depths and self acceptance. Perfect Mike, perfect.

  4. Jon Tobias says:

    What I especially like about this story is the emphasis on bravery. The act of asking, Glenda, and then answering the phone. The answer to the main character’s question isn’t important, and I argue that to answer the question takes away from the purpose of the story, which is to show someone being brave. If we are let down with or lifted up with the narrator, we lose sight of the tension that comes with answering the phone. Very effective cliffhanger and beautifully written story.

    • Michael Stang says:

      Jon, you knock me off my feet. Anyone who grew up as a stutterer knows of the cold steel panic behind the ring of the phone. To jump off the cliff (if you can) is a rebirth.
      May you have a wonderful holiday with all the trimmings.

  5. Brian Howard says:

    The powerful winds of love always dry the boiling sweats, pushing us beyond our afflictions…………

    Well done……

  6. Sarah Crysl Akhtar says:


    I found this via a mutual friend.

    I’ve thought for a long time that, in service of a different purpose, you have a unique and what is to me priceless mode of expression–that often gets to the heart and soul of things in a way no one else, in my experience, has equaled. I have wondered what your fiction might be like. Reading this, it seems to me that you always speak from a profound place of truth and feeling, a marriage of instinct and intellect, and I feel honored yet again to share a place of words and imagination with you.

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