Story Starter November 2017 – Jean Pierre Schoss

Our November Story Starter showcases artwork by Jean Pierre Schoss  and Brenda Tucker (dogbitesteel).

To enter, write a short piece (100 words maximum) inspired by the art pictured here. It can be any form of writing (poetry, prose, dialogue, haiku, etc.) as long as it is original, in English, and based on the featured artwork. Submit your entry in the comment section below.

There is no restriction of age, location (subject to local laws), or cost associated with entering the contest. You have until midnight on November 30, 2017 to submit your story. Check the full entry rules and format here.

Finalists and winners will be determined by judges selected by the OWC and will be announced Spring 2018.

 We look forward to reading your Story Starters.

About The Artists

dogbitesteel “uses recycled materials, for a number of reasons.” On the website, it states, “First, it is our responsibility to contribute to this world in as many ways as possible. I never see just a steel object. I see the new life waiting to come out of it.”

A graduate of the Ontario College of Art specializing in metal, jewelry, and glass, Schoss has a studio and resides in Uxbridge. For more information, visit

Want to check out past contest entries? Click here.

Feeling inspired? Paste in your 100-word original entry below!

** Please note, there is a delay between comment submission and approval, so please submit an entry one time only. Thank you. **

  • Piper (tanka)

    Notes of salvation
    sweetly rise above the stench
    “Follow”, they whisper
    Naive, they blamed the heavens
    Yet who but He can save thee?

  • “What are you saving that for? Throw it out.”

    “I need it!”

    “You don’t need it, just throw it out!”

    “I can use it.”

    “For what? Just get rid of it! The house is full of junk you never use!”

    “It’s not junk. Preschool can use it; some of it is for the boys’ teachers.”

    “It’s all good stuff that can be used.”

    “It’s garbage. There is nowhere to move in here! Just get rid of it!”

    “I’m not throwing out good stuff! If someone can use it, why should I throw it out?”

    “But it’s everywhere!”

    “It is not!”

  • Standing brave and tall in the morning mist with flower flag bravely aloft while piping the stone men to battle. Hair standing like spikes in fear eyes hollowed from sleepless days and nights but non the less leading the men into whatever fray befell them among the rocky meadow shards.

  • He stood tall in the misty field shattering the sublime quietness of early morning, disturbing nature even though his instrument was small. People tried to thwart his tuneless noise, but to no avail. Then like the biblical figure of old he looked around with a mocking grin and suddenly turned to stone. Now when others pass by they see spikes protruding from his rocky head; one for each offensive tune he played.

  • He had found God amongst the tragedy. As the smoke cleared there he stood, the lonely survivor. Just hours before there were men dying in every direction as they cried out for their mother’s. He was a realist finding no purpose in a higher power. He needed logic and understanding. The sound of screaming steel echoed throughout the field as men plunged their swords into one another. Kneeling he took the bitter chance of death for a moment of supreme prayer. He surrendered. Now alone, the only thing to do was praise the inexplicable with a song of new beginning.

  • turn your words to stone
    clink them against the pavement
    divide them, space here, tempo there
    this isn’t about doctrine, or blowing trumpets
    it’s about gathering
    to walk in the deserts and marshlands
    and places even more dangerous
    where music concerts burst into flame
    it’s about the spikes of wounded wisdom
    and remaining upright under the weighted hope
    that inspires our preservation
    it’s about accepting the strange ideas
    that formulate in the ratio
    of throw-away and recycle

    Jan Wood

  • Only this morning
    I think I thought I summoned
    but a butterfly

  • rally up, the dawn approaches,
    tally up, blue fog encroaches,
    hair hurts and I need a new ‘do,
    it’s time to go, where is our crew?
    they’re on to us, the simple fakes,
    awake, awake before they take,
    no chance to stay or play for keeps
    it’s time to go, let’s leave my peeps …

  • A fife with no drum, but held high is a flower of hope. A small figure in Nature’s care, a symbol for us; persevere with optimism. Behind dark clouds are stars and the sun waiting for us. Can we wait for them? I say yes. What do you say?

  • “Who’s that statue of, Dad?”

    “Your great, great — too many to count — grandmother, Harriet. A quick-thinking rat, she was.

    “The story goes that one day, an evil piper came to Hamelin, and played a tune that lured every rat down to the River Heser.”

    The pup’s eyes bulged.

    “Every rat drowned, except Grandma Harriet. When her last paw touched water, she grabbed a vine on the shore, pulling her, and her unborn pups, back to dry land.”

    “Why is she playing a pipe?”

    “Harriet vowed that if that piper ever showed his face again, she’d change his tune.”

  • Tammy M. O'Doherty November 22, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Through hazy mist
    He stood forlorn
    meek and small
    against the backdrop of the cool fields of Autumn
    Frail arms outstretched
    barely grasping pipe in hand
    Icy fingers holding notes in time while chilled breaths carried the call of winter
    His nimble legs slightly bent
    supporting the frame of eminence
    J. Frost had summoned his warriors to awaken
    Another season lay to die

  • Wendy Barrick Rhead November 23, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Our dad owned around two hundred acres in a geographical area that seemed to grow more rocks than crops. My brothers and I had to check the fields weekly for surfaced stones. We decided to have fun with them, so along the fence we built figures – some were aliens and some represented ancestors from our homeland. We named all the figures we created and fitted them with items that represented them well. Stanley held a book, Robert had a flute, Kathleen held a bowl and Ralph held an old pitchfork. As they became familiar we told them our secrets.

  • “You can hear his whistling at night.”
    I sat amidst the grass and stared at the old, rusted heirloom. I envisioned those stories she’d tell me before the sun set for the day as we huddled in our blankets.
    “He holds himself stiff all day long and stretches out at night.”
    She’d cackle like a witch if I grew scared and hid beneath the comforter. I remembered how her long finger would point to him through the window. “He’s waiting to be heard.”
    A smiled touched my lips as the wind graced the long, green grass.
    I’m listening now, Grandmother.

  • The Pied Piper of the Prairies
    Leading lush grasses
    to fields that await
    exploration of roots.

  • the fog
    us –
    encapsulates the dew and beckons us down.
    but you stand
    above the spectres,
    still firmly immersed in the ground.
    call us forward,
    together onward,
    let us be

  • It was another glorious morning. The green grass at his feet was vibrant in its color, the birds were singing it gave Rupert such joy. Despite being trapped in this steel fixture he didn’t feel cursed. So he couldn’t smell much of anything, but he could feel the sun, the rain, the snow. He was not fond of thunderstorms, hail could sting. He felt in his heart, for he had a heart, that one night, the right star would race across the sky close enough that his wish of being of flesh and running wild and free would come true.

  • Boatswain’s whistle shrills.
    Aye aye, sir. All hands on deck.
    A new day begins.

  • Sometimes
    Rock can provide a sanctuary
    Where words beckon from an unknown beyond
    Reminding us that inspiration lies in a place we never could.

    Their echo is what we need to hear
    Our own repressed voice reverberating
    Reminding us of wisdom long ago acquired, carelessly misplaced.

    A stone can soften a toughened heart
    Creating beauty from harsh reality
    Reminding us all that appears is merely what we choose to see.

  • Gone, yet her words whispered through the wind each time I’d trudge through the field of heather to complete the morning chores. “Trust in yourself. Believe that time is all we have. Hope is the energy that propels us forward and love is the reward we receive for using both wisely.” Without fail, each time the wind caressed the field of flowers, and whistled in my ears, I was reminded of her scent and her words. In them, she would continually return to renew my soul and lift my spirit when my reward was overdue.

  • Cherokee youth with blowgun
    Hunts grouse, groundhogs, rabbits with a propulsive exhale.
    Don’t stand flat-footed when
    White men come to destroy your ways.
    Borrow from your South American brethren.
    Dip the tip in poison.
    Eliminate the problem in

  • Patricia von Holstein-Rathlou November 28, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    My friend was an unusual artist. One of his earliest works, the piper, was unique for the times.He asked me to hold it for him and never asked for it back. He became a famous sculptor, sold much of his work. I just became me. I heard he had lost the love of his life, so he took his own. That day I carried his little piper up from the basement, placed him gently on my front porch. His life had touched my heart. Now in the early morning mist, his little piper keeps him near.

  • Jeanned'Arc Labelle November 30, 2017 at 11:16 am


    Qwi stood tall upon the overturned pot, placed the horn to his lips and sounded the alert. Soon, a heated vibration hovered across the field and tall grasses began to sway, like in a mid-morning breeze.

    “ I won’t be eaten.” Of that he was never sure of. Birds fed within a mist. His call guided ladybugs away from the aphid free houses and connecting paths lead to the proper, moist and warm hibernation site, safe below the frost line. Of that he was sure of.

    “Thank you”, he heard.
    Qwi stopped, slid down, and led millions to safety.

  • ** CONTEST CLOSED.Thanks and good luck to all who entered! To enter our December Story Starters contest, please click this link:

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