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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: A THUMBNAIL DIPPED IN TAR
By Philippa Geaney
10/27/10


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My writing pad, an eighteen dollar twenty 'leafer', was exactly the touch I needed.
Tasteful, but not ostentatious.
Too bad most of it was already in the bin.


Page after page had fallen victim to a nervous hand that jerked of its own accord making my writing irregular and ill shaped: not at all the impression I wanted to give.
What was going on?

I grabbed a handful of my hair and pulled in affectation. I needed God's attention. Surely He would see my distress in this storm and rescue me.

In the eye of the storm was a cover letter; a few simple paragraphs, required to offset my job application. My dream job.
It should have been a romp in the park—I was a park romper for goodness sake. Curiously, evidence to the contra lay before me.
And the word 'Pretender' circled around and around in my head. When I considered the probability I did not like the outcome.


It was getting late. The pyjamas I wore had turned from artful licence to a feeling of Cinderella after midnight and my stomach growled for breakfast. The little carriage clock sitting on my writing table tinged ten thirty.

One last try Lord?
I turned my gaze back to the Positions Vacant page and in particular to the large box that offered my job to the successful applicant.
Surely that would be me?

Un momento per favour. There was a little complication. Right at the end of the advertisement, following the requisite qualifications—which I possessed—was something suspiciously awful.

It read...Please include a handwritten cover letter.


Why? Why a handwritten letter? Nobody asked for pen and ink communication these days, unless… unless they had an expert in deciphering one's psyche through their handwriting.

Tricky to say the least. Suspicious indeed. Could someone decipher from my letter that I was the type of woman who was happy to sit in her pyjamas until ten o'clock? The extra thirty minutes was irrelevant.

And what of her recalcitrant hand? Could they see sloppy and unfocused? Then there was the eighteen dollar writing paper. Extravagant?

I grimaced. I'd heard that handwriting experts could determine amazing things.


Yet for weeks my spirit had been aware that God was preparing me for something new.
The more time I spent in His presence the more peace I had about the job application.
Until this moment everything had been smooth sailing.


I studied my handwriting objectively. It was of medium sized letter formation and I knew from past experience that it was apt to change under stress.
Today it looked exactly as an Australian poet had once said—like a thumbnail dipped in tar.
I'd let God down and He had abandoned me.
'I give up Lord.' I rested my head on the table.

You should give up. If you send this rubbish the experts will laugh at your audacity. You're weak and unreliable and they'll see that in a moment. Do you want to be a laughing stock? A fool? You'll even lose the job you have already. Give up.

I lifted my head. Those thoughts had the ring of the Evil One. I did not recognise my Shepard's voice.
I bit down hard on my lip and tried to remember what it was the Holy Spirit urged last time something like this happened. It had hinged on the Serpent's own words in the garden… 'did God really say?'

My Bible lay close by. It was time to find out exactly what God really did say.
Then I had to hold on fast; no wavering.
I turned to Jeremiah. Somehow God would get His directions to me if I could just relax and wait. All year if necessary. Forgetting application closing dates and despite mocking voices.
But His voice came quickly, sweetly, leaving the impression of a broad place of peace which I was learning to associate with His Presence.
Therefore thus says the Lord: if you return and give up that mistaken tone of distrust and despair, then I will give you again a settled place of quiet and safety, and you will be my minister… cleanse your heart from the unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God's faithfulness, and you shall be my mouthpiece. (Jer 15:19 Amp)
The storm was over. My pen flew across the page, some letters askew and still perhaps a tad like a thumbnail dipped in tar.
So be it. The letter was finished. Now it was in His hands.


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This article has been read 580 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
This is wonderful! I enjoyed the message and chuckled at the slight paranoia of the MC. The Bible verse is perfect!
Ruth Brown 10/29/10
Loved the title. It drew me in.
What a clever version of the topic. I too enjoyed the dash of paranoia. God never lets us down does he? You are most talented.
Noel Mitaxa 10/29/10
As an Aussie I had wondered about working in the line you've used for your title, but you have done it so much better than I could have - and without Overflowing! (an Aussie in-joke there, folks) I loved your word pictures and your sense of urgency. Very well put together.
Jan Ackerson 11/02/10
I LOVE the voice in this outstanding entry! Love that you told just a tiny, tiny moment--perfect for 750 words. This is very, very good.
Catrina Bradley 11/02/10
Your title drew me to this piece, and I'm glad I read it! Amazingly original, and so heartfelt. I loved every word.
Colin Nielsen 11/04/10
Wow! What an entry! Excellent work. You are truely becomeing a great writer. Congratulations on your placing. It was well deserved.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
Congratulations on your EC!
Lollie Hofer 11/04/10
Congratulations on your recognition for this oustanding story. Well done, indeed.
william price11/04/10
You are a writer without a shadow of a doubt. Very impressive. A unique voice I could read again and again. please stay around :)
Congrats on EC.
God bless.
c clemons11/05/10
Good job.
Nancy Sullivan 11/09/10
Congratulations on your 9th place EC. I really enjoyed your work.
God Bless.
Eliza Evans 07/05/11
I LOVED this! Very skillful writing here. Consistent voice all the way through. Nicely done!