Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thank You All!

The "Midnight Road" Short Fiction Contest is now closed to submissions.

You have made it a wonderful success! We have a record number of participants and a record number of visitors. Tuesday alone, your writing has generated 2,340 hits from 583 unique visitors. You all deserve a round of applause!

And it's not over. Winners will be announced the evening of Friday, June 30th.

But in the meantime, I have a little surprise for you. I've decided to add another winning category: The Readers Choice Award.

Here are the rules:

1) Voting is open to any writer who participated in the contest.

2) By email (please use the same email address that you used to send your story), send me your top five choices for favorite entry. Please number them 1 through 5. I will award 5 points for your first choice, 4 points for your second, 3 points for your third, and so on. The entry with the most points will be declared the winner.

3) You cannot vote for your own entry.

4) Voting ends at 11:00 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, June 29th (Eastern time, United States).

What do you win, you ask? The prize for The Readers Choice Award will be a signed 8 x 10 print of the contest photo commemorating your recognition by your fellow writers.

Now, one last thing before I leave you to your voting. I would never ask you to do something I'm not prepared to do myself! Here is my own walk along the Midnight Road:


by Jason Evans

Country roads never end. Until they do.

Sebastian learned that. Driving for two weeks. Driving since he left. The moon crawled through great holes in the sky, and the road rolled on.

He blinked and rubbed. Three thirty in the morning. His ankle ached against the gas pedal.

He eased back.

The roar of wind in his windows softened as he rumbled onto the edge of fields. The car stopped, and he breathed the silence. Outside, the ground under his shoes felt good.

He walked and lit a cigarette, although he never smoked. He just grabbed a pack in the gas station. Strange, but he liked the billowing warmth right then.

Closing his eyes, he wrapped himself in moist air and listened to the night whispers. For a long time, he leaned against the pole, and moonlight sliced him with the shadows of wires.

Then, in the distance, the sound of a truck. Headlights winked behind a hill and grew. Sebastian dropped the cigarette and grated it in gravel.

He started the car and waited. Light flooded the interior, blinded him, then whipped off into the darkness. A voice from the pickup shouted, but Sebastian didn't care.

As his eyesight returned, he saw the skies unraveling. Starlight sprinkled from the beginning of time.

He rolled the steering wheel and began moving again.

Country roads never end. Until they do.


JLB said...

I'm so glad you decided to share one of your own! I love the atmosphere in this piece!

Terri said...

Wonderfully descriptive writing as always, Jason. I'm very disappointed to have missed the deadline but these things happen. I look forward to reading all the entries at my leisure when my internet gets connected in my new home.

Scott said...

Loved the way you described the pole and wires indirectly. Lyrical, as is your custom.

You have quite a job in front of you now. Get some coffee and No-Doze. Thanks for sponsoring this contest Jason. You might have to get some office space and employees.

Flood said...

I enjoyed the subtleness of this, Jason.

Thanks for a phenomenal contest and a great chance to meet new writers.

k l gilbert said...

Jason, this story left me feeling peaceful. I admire your writing style so very much. You weave words into tapestries where the voice is always natural. I get the feeling that you are driven by passion and self-expression, like all good writers.

I have enjoyed the contest immensely. I am just blown away by all the formidable talent here. Thank you for your dedication to showcase writers.

Writing Blind said...

I love that you used the same lines for the beginning and the end. I'm a big fan of repeating images like that.

Thanks for having this contest. The stories were all awesome, including yours, and I enjoyed discovering all sorts of new writers.

bekbek said...

This is filled with a... comforting weariness, I think. A truly short story, that small break on a long journey, just gathering the strength to keep going. Beautiful.

I hope this is not a depiction of how you will feel, working on the judging of your contest! Thank you for holding it --you've inspired me to try some more fiction writing.

Sue said...

"Country roads never end. Until they do." Having grown up in the country, travelled many country roads... that line has many shades of meaning to it, such resonance.

As I mentioned over at my blog yesterday, I don't envy your task of choosing the winners. And now that I've had to choose my top five for the Readers' Choice Awards, I appreciate even more just how difficult that task it is.

Best of luck to everyone! And thank you Jason for hosting this contest.

anne frasier said...

jason, you are so gutsy!

i just have to smile over this undertaking.

loved your story too.

and bek used a word i've often used to describe this blog: comforting. it's a world we fall into where we feel safe. mix that with a touch of melancholy and it's the perfect place.

cesarcarlos said...

I loved the description here, for example:

"...he leaned against the pole, and moonlight sliced him with the shadows of wires."

Really nice.

Congratulations both for the entry and for the contest. Thanks for encouraging authors to participate and produce such great work.

All the best!

Lisa said...

As someone who has driven in the wee hours of the morning, I can relate to the weariness of the driver, yet still sense the peace he feels. Great use of verbs to create wonderful imagery. Many kudos for a wonderful contest.

Anonymous said...

Jib, thank you! Atmosphere is one of my most beloved elements in a story.

Terri, I completely understand. Have no fear, there will be more contests! And thank you for the compliment.

Scott, office space and some employees.... You're not kidding, my friend! I'm happy that lyrical quality shines through on my piece. You know, it's kind of my thing. ;)

Flood, it has been a roaring success. Much appreciated! And I love that your daughter got involved!!

KLB, yes, the talent has been wonderful! And thank you for your kind words about my writing. I do try to create tapestries of words. It's so rewarding when the effect works for readers.

Writing Blind, one of the best things about this contest is all the new faces. We have a strong writing community out there. I hope we continue to stick together!

Bebek, yes, that is the core feeling I was trying to convey. You've put it perfectly. As for me, this contest put me through the paces, but I'm holding up fine!

Anonymous said...

Sue, thanks for letting me know that my piece rang true for you. I love exploring the impact of atmosphere on characters. And you're right. Judging is very tough.

Anne, you have such a wonderful way of describing what I'm trying to do here at The Clarity of Night. I want you to know how much I appreciate your words. Knowing that this little world is a place where you and others find meaning is a gift to me beyond words.

Cesarcarlos, thanks for the feedback! I really enjoyed this contest. It was privilege to do.

Lisa, thank you! You always want to have that sense of reality in writing. I'm glad it achieved that for you.

sandra seamans said...

Hi Jason, You have such a wonderful sense of the world and so easily draw that picture to share with us. I love this piece. It brings back a lot of memories of back roads I've traveled. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for the contest. I don't envy you trying to pick a winner.

mermaid said...

Vision never ends, until it does, just as stories never end until the reader's world has momentarily shifted by the plate tectonic island of words.

Melissa Marsh said...

Darn. Didn't get to enter again. The weekend was just too busy. But I'm very excited to see all of the participants! It's definitely a success!

anna said...

This is my first time visiting here. I was wondering what kind of a person would involve himself to such a huge degree with writers of all ability. After reading your short story, which I enjoyed hugely btw, and your responses to the people who posted to it, I can tell you are a hum dinger lollapalloosa of a great guy.
What a fun place and what talented people post here.

emeraldcite said...

Very nice work, Jason!

Jeff said...

Great imagery as usual, Jason. I've been in Sebastian's shoes.
Nice job. :)

Amra Pajalic said...

Love the book-ending of the first and last sentence. It's a great sentence too.

I'm trying to compile my list of 5 to vote for and it's going to be hard. There are so many great stories.

Kelly Parra said...

You did another great job on the contest, Jason! And a really great entry! =D

jamie ford said...

I agree. A standing ovation to Jason for hosting another great contest. And finding time to enter as well!

Anonymous said...

Sandra, the compliment is much appreciated! In most things I write I want to evoke a feeling, a sense of place.

Mermaid, what an amazing way of describing how we lose ourselves in stories!

Melissa, I missed you again, but life does take precedence. I've got your number in August (next contest), though!

Anna, thank you! I'm humbled. :) And I have the perfect place for you to get a little background on me. Flood did a wonderful interview of me a couple weeks back. Check it out HERE.

Emeraldcite, thanks, my friend!

Jeff, hopefully it healed you when you needed it.

Amra, thanks! I love the power of repetition. I have to stop myself from getting carried away with it, though. ;)

Kelly, thanks! I think we all had a great time.

Jamie, :D And thank you for being a part of it!

Bhaswati said...

How wonderful. Yes, there's a sense of serenity and even hope about this piece, despite the weariness of the traveler. And of course, the images--they come alive through your excellent execution. Thanks for sharing this.

The contest has been a super hit. Huge congrats to you. And good luck with the task you now have at hand.

beadinggalinMS said...

I just want to say I have really enjoyed reading everyones entry.

Jason luved yours too. :)

word verification hates me LOL
Let me try this again since they put bigger and bolder letters.

Bernita said...

"The moon crawled..."
"Moonlight sliced him..."
The reality of his movements and reactions - such as the aching ankles, the need for stillness.
Outstanding, Jason.

Fran Piper said...

"The moon crawled through great holes in the sky..." This phrase just sandbagged me and dragged me into the story.

Thanks for the story and the contest both, Jason.


Anonymous said...

Bhaswati, weariness with hope.... Yes! That's a perfect description.

Beady, glad you enjoyed the entries. :) There were so many wonderful ideas.

Bernita, thanks so much! Just like we discussed today, it's so important to hear what worked. :)

Fran, I fought hard to keep that line in, even when it just didn't want to fit the pacing. Glad I did. ;)