See Jan Ackerson’s Best of the Best Winner interview here, and Francy Judge’s 2nd place interview here.

Donna Powers (formerly Franklin) has been around FaithWriters for a full decade, and has entered the FaithWriters Writing Challenge two hundred times. And this year, for the first time, one of her entries has been recognized as one of the Best of the Best. Join interviewer Joanne Sher as she chats with Donna about her love of FaithWriters, where her story ideas come from, and the love of her life – and their amazing story.

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on your third place win! What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen as third place in Best of the Best?

DONNA POWERS: I was both excited and amazed.  I couldn’t believe my “silly little story” had been chosen.

JOANNE: Your winning piece, Mortimer’s Plight, gave us a new and fresh perspective on a familiar tale (or tail?). How did you come up with the idea? Do you remember how it came together?

DONNA: The first thing that came to my mind when I read the word, “stir” was: “Not a creature was stirring…” and no matter which other way I tried to write that week’s topic, that take on the topic kept coming back to my mind.  I began writing that piece in an effort to make the idea “go away” (so I could get back to choosing what I was sure would be a “better” way to approach the topic).  When I finally finished it, I was as surprised as anyone.

donnapowerspicJOANNE:  Sometimes God gets those ideas stuck in our head for a reason, eh? You started entering the FaithWriters Challenge ten years ago (almost exactly! – your first entry was on August 9, 2006 – about a month after MY first entry, by the way). Other than a four-year hiatus, you have been a very regular contributor to it. What keeps you entering? (and, if you wanna share, what caused you to leave? Come back?)

DONNA: I love to write! I can’t properly describe how I feel when the words start to flow, but it’s one of the best feelings I know.  I especially enjoy doing it at FaithWriters, because I get to bless my brothers and sisters in Christ. I got hooked as soon as I began writing for the challenge, and entered every week.

When I left in 2011, I was going through an extremely difficult time in my life.  That crisis took all my mental and spiritual resources, and I had nothing left to give as a writer.  Last year, as God began to heal me and my situation, I realized I needed some sort of creative means of expression, and thought of FaithWriters.  Once I wrote my first entry, I was hooked again!

JOANNE: And we are SO glad to have you back! Do you have a challenge entry of yours that you would call your favorite? One that perhaps flowed effortlessly, or means a lot to you personally?

DONNA: Many of the stories I write are true, or they are retellings of episodes in my life.  Sometimes, it has been therapeutic for me to rewrite an episode in my life the way I wish it had been.

My favorite story is Let Not the Sun Go Down. My brother, Steven, died in 2004.  He had AIDS.  The story is a retelling of the day my mother met my brother’s partner.  My mother felt unable to talk to my brother’s partner, so our family missed an opportunity to learn about the last years of my brother’s life.  I wrote this story to tell the way I wish the story had gone.

JOANNE: That does sound incredibly therapeutic. I am so sorry your story did NOT turn out this way. This story touched me deeply, by the way. Do you consider writing to be a hobby or a potential career for you? Or something else? What do you write besides challenge entries?

DONNA: I think it’s mostly a hobby.  I’d love to make regular money writing (especially as I near retirement age), but so far I haven’t made that happen.

In addition to writing challenge entries, I write plays for my church drama group, and I occasionally write recaps and commentaries about reality shows, for a reality TV website.

I am a nurse, and also often write instructional articles for the members of my health care team.

JOANNE: What is the hardest part of writing for you? How do you overcome it?

DONNA: The hardest part is when I can’t get a “grip” on a topic or writing prompt.  When that happens, I pray.  Then I brainstorm a list of ideas – no matter how wacky they seem.  I then take a few of them and just begin writing, no matter how rough it is.  Eventually, after a few days, either one of those incipient ideas will be able to yield fruit, or God will bring me another idea.

JOANNE: Sounds like a plan we ALL could use. 🙂  What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

DONNA: I met the love of my life 30 years ago.  We were together for 14 years, and then we felt like it was over.  But God knew better.  Two years ago, we began talking to each other again, and two months ago, in May 2016, we remarried.

JOANNE: What an amazing story! I’ll bet that would make a fabulous challenge entry (or longer work) some day. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

DONNA: I am a grateful, forgiven Christian.  I am 62 years old.  I’m happily married.  I have a beautiful daughter, and a wonderful grandson.  I love writing, word games and reading.  I am blessed to be a hospice nurse.

JOANNE: Anything else you’d like to share?

DONNA: God has blessed me in so many ways through giving me a chance to submit my stories to FaithWriters.  I have learned how therapeutic it is for me to write, and how blessing others with my talents is a wonderful blessing to me.  Thank you all so much for your support!

JOANNE: You are very welcome – and thank YOU so much for blessing us with your writing talent, and of course, congratulations again on your BoB prize – and your recent remarriage! I am sure both will be a blessing to you and others over the years.

 

Don’t miss YOUR opportunity to stretch your writing muscles – enter the current FaithWriters Writing Challenge (this week’s topic is Eerie). You could be interviewed here next year!

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