Story Starters Contest – March (MARCH SUBMISSIONS CLOSED)

Story Starter photo by Ian Coristine web

March Story Starters Inspiration Piece (MARCH SUBMISSIONS CLOSED)

 

In its 5th year, the Ontario Writer’s Conference continues to celebrate all art forms. This year we are very excited to include visual arts into the conference with our very first Story Starters contest.

On January 1st, February 1st and March 1st, our website will feature an extraordinary work by a local artist and we invite you to enter a piece of writing inspired by that work.

Need a peek at the rules? Want to seek inspiration among past months’ entrants? Click here to view January’s art, entries and contest rules, and here for February!

It’s easy to enter. Simply post your entry as a comment. Entries will not show up immediately. Our admin approves all comments before they appear on the website.

If you have questions about this contest please send us an email. Thank you and good luck!

 

March’s featured artist: Ian Coristine

Ian Coristine
March’s featured artist is Ian Coristine. Ian Coristine is not your typical photographer, accepting random assignments. Only a single subject motivates him to get behind his camera – The Thousand Islands. His discovery and love affair with that region began during a random flight in 1992. He found an island, literally one in a thousand, with a unique natural harbor, ideal for protecting his plane from marauding storms. During his former career as the Canadian distributor for Challenger ultralight aircraft, Ian learned the craft of air-to-air photography. Living “in the assignment” with his plane offering a privileged view of an extraordinary place, he began shooting it low from above.

Ian Coristine’s sixth book, a memoir, is titled One in a Thousand. Reminiscent of The Olive Farm, A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, it was co-written with Donna Walsh Inglehart (Grindstone, Breaking the Ring). This groundbreaking eBook was produced by Toronto’s McLellan Interactive Publishing. Highly rated in Apple’s iPad App Store, it has been highly praised by many reviewers, including Kirkus Reviews who bill themselves as “The World’s Toughest Book Critics.” It showcases an entirely new form of storytelling, using over 450 images, 11 videos, audio,an interactive map and slideshows with 18 moody instrumental tracks from the award winning band, Great Lake Swimmers.

To find out more about Ian and his work visit www.1000islandsphotoart.com/

 

Story Starter photo by Ian Coristine web

Register for the conference before March 31st.

51 Comments
  • I stumbled upon a familiar place
    Curves and crevices of his face

    Once brimming with stories, laughter and sound
    Now frail and empty, more lost than found

    Then I see light in the strength of his soul
    As my memories and secrets transform him whole

    His best years protected in the palm of my hand
    I give it all back, infusing life into land

    This broken palace, saw happiness and strife
    In the end, I’m just a small part his life

    Back to the beginning, laying down on my bed

    “Are you ready now?” He asked

    “I’m ready,” I said

  • I target the subject
    With a focused lens
    Frame a squared space
    As his thread of time bends

    I could kill his future
    In a single shot
    Fixing him in this moment
    With all that he’s got

    Unable to progress
    And live out his years
    He’ll be locked in silence
    Confined from his fears

    In one swift click
    I shoot him dead
    Giving him eternal
    Life instead

    Frozen in realizing
    His spiritual wealth
    It’s the expression of a man
    Coming back to himself

    An immortal birth
    With no ties to sever
    An old man at peace
    Who lives on forever

  • CELIA

    Wasn’t that where my Celia sat?
    In hot courtyard sun so familiar
    Now ramshackle glint off sad bits of tile
    And the sea-broken sag of a pillar

    Wasn’t that where my Celia sat?
    Across where spared flowers remain
    But what has become of her garden?
    In this heat it will die without rain

    Wasn’t that where my Celia sat?
    Or am I mistaking this place for that?
    I think I have been in this place long ago
    But certainty now has grown so hard to know

    Was that the place where my Celia sat?
    In our house, always vibrant with colour
    I painted her favourites, old world tangerine
    And the blue of the ocean in summer

    That might be the place where my Celia sat
    Walking by, I felt drawn to come in
    Yes, something familiar, I cannot quite grasp
    Like a place where my Celia had been

    Yes, wasn’t that where my Celia sat?
    In the forty-five years we spent here
    “Pablo,” she’d call, only wanting to know
    “Ah, Celia! I love you, my dear!”

  • As the many years have come to pass, the writing is on the wall, I, Pablo was here. Much like my name has seen, I went ahead to live a life full of hopes and dreams. Listening to my name said by all those around the world with whom I’ve met, I now return with my song sung and my wings burned. With whispers from the wall, Pablo has returned.

  • TIME

    My sweet papa had asked me to wait in the car. I watched, mesmerized, as he stood transfixed in a conversstion with God.

    “Cherie,” he had said softly, “Please … bring my Sunday suit and take me back home. I want to go home.”

    Now, standing on the same staircase he had climbed so many times with my chubby little dependent body so proudly and strongly pressed to his chest … he screamed betrayal to me. Tears welled in my eyes as irreverent gulls shrieked and intersected the wake of sacred discourse that was his letter of resignation from my world.

  • In its youth, our town was a fast river
    Full of thunder and chatter
    The current once rushing
    Still thunders in me
    Tender walls shade the rising sun
    Memories guard my vision
    But I will keep going up and around
    To see the ocean play in the light
    Indestructible on their journey
    They do not care
    If people are here
    Life moves along
    I will keep on whistling our happy tune

  • WORN

    After returning the paint can to his assistant, the photographer ran quickly back up to his cameras, two steps at a time. The lighting was perfection and his muse was growing weary. Focusing from his perch atop an old crate on the second floor, he shouted:

    “Ok Senor Corrado, look at me! I am Brigitta waving from the balcony, a vision in tulle!”

    Two months later, Italian Vogue’s feature article paid homage to one of the most respected and innovative fashion designers of the twentieth century …

    1904-1991 – “SHABI CHIQ” FASHION DESIGN ICON, PABLO CORRADO, REACHES NEW HEIGHTS

  • The Return

    “Yes, I will go”
    he had told her,
    and he meant that he would go
    when he could.
    When he was ready.
    When he had time.
    If it was important, or , somehow, required.
    When he wanted to climb
    out of the pit of his anger
    and resentment.
    But the steps had not waited;
    weather and time had splintered the wood,
    and, as he stood in a well of darkness,
    held by the handrail, partially intact,
    he saw, with a shock,
    that the light had broken through there long ago,
    and fresh green saplings blocked the door.

  • HIS-STORY

    Have you ever …
    Seen a glimpse of yourself in a stranger’s face,
    Looked again to connect a familiar place,
    Had a vision your mind wouldn’t let you erase,
    and … wondered at your world?

    Have you ever …
    Walked a road where you knew that the same ground below,
    Bore the weight of a soul from a long time ago,
    Who looked up at the very same stars, still aglow,
    and … wondered at this world?

    Have you ever …
    Seen a tree standing tall in a place left behind,
    And stood still … filled with awe …
    What a wonderful find!

    • Jacqui, you are so prolific! This is my favourite JW piece – so far. 😉 You go girl. M.

  • Dierra Harmony Logan March 10, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Finishing his prayer he slowly makes his way up the stairs, trying to picture what his house looked like. Finally making it to the top he leans against the wall. He remembers what happened the night before. ‘Church service had just ended and he was on his way back home in his pristine white suit. He had just gotten home and the winds were terrible. He slowly made his way down the stairs to keep safe.’ Even at his old age he never realized one thing. Within the blink of an eye everything you have can be gone like that.

  • THE RAVAGING

    No! It cannot be,
    the sea
    in all its beastly might
    roared over us,
    not once but many times,
    shattering the broken.

    Relentless! I held
    a pillar
    battered, bruised, and trapped,
    a prisoner forced to watch
    the hideous surf choose
    to spare my life alone.

    Why? The rubble still
    untouched
    voyeurs to be reminded
    that we master nothing
    as they clasp tightly
    to their vanity and hubris.

    Frivolous! Mortar, tile,
    and wood,
    painted beacon-bright
    for the hurricanes to see;
    now new flora breathes toward the sun,
    renewal mocking placid waters.

    Ache! Of soul and being!
    I remember.
    I remember.

  • GOTCHA!

    The long, vertical, irregular crack was forced to veer right. At that point, an oval sunlit dapple of paint nestled into position. The image of a balloon was inspired. If he looked to his left he could grab on to it, rein it in …

    No! I am the one who instinctively mixes imagination and reality … whose mind wanders in aimless adventure and possibility as a windswept balloon. I am the one who wills him to find his inner child, clown around, fly to far-off lands, begin anew …

    … and the artist has grabbed ME, reined ME in.

  • From the Rubble

    As I stare across the devastation my mind returns
    to my first memories of this place that has been my home all my life.

    The houses in all their glory,
    the peaceful town with the smell of baking bread
    and fresh laundry on the line.

    I feel the emptiness and I realize that
    future generations have been denied the chance
    of ever knowing the true beauty of what once was.

    Things will never again be the same.
    Time moves on and my hope is that from the rubble
    of lost dreams will come the inspiration
    to build a strong tomorrow.

  • Climbing the stairs, I noticed the writing on the wall. This was the place. I paused as I reached the top. No door. Just ruins. Why had I been sent here? Then I heard the word: “Jump”. I looked down. If I jumped I would surely turn my ankle if not break my leg. Then I heard the word again: “Jump”. Thinking God would not steer me wrong, I jumped. As I crashed to the ground, I looked over at some girls who were skipping. “Jump” said the little blond curly haired one to her friend. “Jump”. “Jump higher”. They laughed.

  • The elderly man is against a wall where another also, seeks to assert his presence. His scrawl of graffiti in pure white capital letters mingles with black hollows, cracked surfaces, and mottled orange. The leaning columns, rubble, mark a decrepitude of externals that does not enter the gentleman as he stands perfectly human, hand marking his place and Pablo’s, “HERE”. He looks out from the shadows, into the sunlight and up wearing an immaculate pressed light suit and a quiet comfortable dignity. The disheveled appearance of the structures are refreshed by the splash of greenery and one old man’s vision.

  • This world has had its way with me.
    My journey holds regret.
    My heart, a house without a key,
    Was open … to neglect.

    Oh, I tried to lay the welcome mat,
    To let the sunlight in,
    Create a place to hang my hat,
    The game was mine to win!

    And now, they tell me I was wrong,
    I thought I’d tried my best,
    I never felt like I belonged.
    God put me to the test.

    Today, I plan with new resolve
    To rebuild from within,
    It’s not about what’s mine to hold,
    I found the key … “Come In!”

  • There was no enduring drought, but days of thirst. Weathered bones and skin reveal a badge of years gone by. Stories lie within each crevice and faded rampart now hung low. Fingerprints of time furrow this once pristine cloak that was my shelter. Loving whispers echo within this vacant facade. Behind hallowed windows and creaking jaws are memories untold of that which was once my home. There is no eloquence to time. Only the legacy of mind and more’s the pity no one shall speak of lives gone by when beds of flowers rise and bloom, marking many lives’ tomb.

  • Jean L. Burbidge March 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Empty Glasses

    Faded walls like memories,
    Echoed calls in long dead voices,
    Empty halls of younger love.

    Silent sunlight caresses me,
    Gentle fingers, forgotten love.
    Until now.

    Red wine splashed in crystal glasses,
    Another time another me,
    A fine young man living hope.

    Silent walls are all that’s left
    Love faded before it flowered.
    Memories.

    We meet today in crumbled rooms,
    Our seat a ruined rusty chair,
    At our feet the years of loss.

    Pablo was here, is here again
    To find the past in faded walls
    And perfumed air.

  • ARTISTA

    The light,
    Always blue
    At this time of day
    Sea breezes,
    Through the archway

    How I loved this place

    The courtyard,
    Artista’s paraíso
    Children’s voices
    Gave heart to my samba
    Of brushes and colours

    My canvas drank their joy

    The wrongness,
    Hollow sounds
    Tangled weeds that vanquish
    Roses and gardenia
    Paradise turned bitter

    What has happened here?

    This sacred place,
    An everyday home
    Exchanged for ruins
    At the hands of man
    Or by capricious nature?

    And now that I have eyes
    There is nothing left to see

  • He didn’t know how hard it would be to return to the site. The destruction, despair, the pain. It had been two years since the flood, two years he didn’t return home but now he was back to face the pain. Weeds grew up thorough his house, friends never to be reconnected with and his family gone lost forever to the monstrous wave. But there was hope painted in the wall behind him just three simple words, “Pablo was here”. Yet they meant so much to this man, a sign from his brother, still alive and they would be reunited.

  • “Pablo was here” just three words yet so much raw emotion behind them. Found painted on a wall of a house once engulfed by a monstrous wave. Pablo waits by the words he wrote as a young man, he sits and watches weeds grow up thorough the sidewalk and floorboards. Waiting for her to come back, his beautiful fiancé Ella. Before the sea rose up to claim his Ella they had planned to marry and start a family but before that could happed the sea stole her from him. He will never loose hope of seeing her again.

  • RELEVANCE

    So? Pablo was there! What is that?
    I’d prefer to know where this dude’s at!
    Selfish words on a wall,
    They don’t touch me at all,
    But this “suit” on a step – knocks me flat!

  • CELIA, TAKE TWO

    Isn’t that where my Celia sat?
    In hot courtyard sun so familiar
    Now ramshackle glint off sad bits of tile
    And the sea-broken sag of a pillar

    Isn’t that where my Celia sat?
    Walking by, I felt drawn to come in
    Or am I remembering some other place
    Where I’m sure that my Celia has been

    Is that the garden where Celia sat?
    In this house always vibrant with colour
    I painted her favourites, old world tangerine
    And the blue of the ocean in summer

    Yes, I can see where my Celia sat
    In rose-scented air
    Under wide-brimmed straw hat…

  • There is no better sustaining ache than that which resides in regret.
    This was the home we’d promised would be forever, but the emptiness now was identical to what it was then
    Unrecognizable were the walls which once held the warmth of our home – the turret we built for our little Emma, battered beyond repair
    The windows where I’d taught her to wish upon stars laid broken, scattered throughout the yard causing the accident to flash through my mind – reminding me where she laid now
    Surviving on borrowed moments from your child is a burden no one ought to carry.

  • The undergrowth overwhelmed our once limitless yard,
    Reminding me of the many sticky summer evenings we’d spent chasing fireflies.
    “Reservations aside,” my Father would encourage with one of his characteristic saccharine smiles…I, youngest, always tried more fiercely than the others,
    Often needing to be toted back home by one of my big brothers.
    If perfection did exist I knew this was the closest I’d ever come to it –
    Memories wafted through me while holographic scenes played endlessly across my eyes,
    I’d come back to the beginning, just in time for the end.

  • EPIPHANY

    I had a dream.
    The Dream had me,
    A pawn of surreality.

    Abandoned house,
    Words on a wall,
    A place … I feared to place at all.

    My soul,
    Caged
    in an old man’s shell,
    Endured
    a cruel, frustrated
    Hell.

    No sound
    to push between his lips
    No way to move
    beneath his hips
    And, through his eyes,
    I saw a crowd …
    of Faces
    Taunting from a cloud.

    They beckoned.
    He reached out his hand.

    They Laughed.

    T’was more than I could stand.

    I woke
    to Pablo’s tear-stained face.

    I’d passed him by
    in Selfish Haste.

    We kissed … Embraced.

  • It’s ironic, that
    A building once home
    Now resembles my person
    And back here I roam

    You see, at one time
    This was all fixed
    And my mind too
    Not so emotionally mixed

    Like these stairs
    I struggle to climb
    All of my memories
    I struggle to find

    They say when someone dies
    Happy memories comfort you
    But us who can’t remember
    What are we to do?

    How does one’s world
    Become so broken
    And where are those words
    I want so badly to be spoken

    What has happened
    To the life I knew
    Can I have it back
    And if so, what do I do?

    Parts of who I am
    Slowly fall like the ruin
    Only I can’t rebuild
    I’m only human

    TEAR THE BUILDING DOWN
    IT WILL SURELY CRUMBLE
    But me? I’m just an old man
    Who likes to mumble

    What you fail to see,
    Is we are structures the same
    And we all started out with
    Some type of frame

    At any given time
    Our framework can fall
    That is when all of us
    Must answer the call

    Don’t bring me here to remember
    Bring me here, for you to learn
    That when the time is right
    It too may be your turn

    So please look at me
    As a treasured antique
    Remember my mind
    When it was at its’ peak

    Just hold my hand
    Help me to rest
    And always speak of me
    When I was my best

    Morgan Belle x

  • It’s ironic that
    A building once home
    Now resembles my person
    And back here I roam

    You see, at one time
    This was all fixed
    And my mind too
    Not so emotionally mixed

    Like these stairs
    I struggle to climb
    All of my memories
    I struggle to find

    They say when someone dies
    Happy memories comfort you
    But us who can’t remember
    What are we to do?

    How does one’s world
    Become so broken
    And where are those words
    I want so badly to be spoken

    What has happened
    To the life I knew
    Can I have it back
    And if so, what do I do?

    Parts of who I am
    Slowly fall like the ruin
    But I can’t rebuild
    I’m only human

    TEAR THE BUILDING DOWN
    IT WILL SURELY CRUMBLE
    But me? I’m just an old man
    Who likes to mumble

    What you fail to see
    Is we are structures the same
    And we all started out with
    Some type of frame

    At any given time
    Our framework can fall
    That is when all of us
    Must answer the call

    Don’t bring me here to remember
    Bring me here for you to learn
    That when the time is right
    It too may be your turn

    So please look at me
    As a treasured antique
    Remember my mind
    When it was at its’ peak

    Just hold my hand
    Help me to rest
    And always speak of me
    When I was my best

    Morgan Belle x

  • I returned, hoping to capture
    just even a glimmer of what was;
    the comforts of my heart,
    the life behind those walls.
    For a brief moment I hear your laughter,
    a bittersweet solace for a man barely holding on.
    Life has beaten me, my dear Rosa,
    for the choices I deemed more worthy than you.
    It’s a truth that haunts me with each breath I take.
    I welcome death, longing to be with you, my love.
    Oh…how I would do it differently…
    a lesson, much too late learned.

    Rose Logan

  • I watched, silently, as he climbed
    Tenderly placing his hand under mine
    I traced the lines etched in his face
    Craving the ability to once more embrace
    His eyes so swollen with memories and tears
    I suddenly wished I might reverse the years
    To before the wind and tempest came,
    Submerging our existence amidst its rain
    Sent by above, fate had played out
    Even as I drowned this I did not doubt
    I would wait for him til the end of days
    In the house we built by hand to raise
    The son that would’ve been born that very May

  • Mrs. Ramesh Sharma March 26, 2013 at 8:45 am

    This is not my name on the walls of my home,
    This is my soul, locked in a treasure box,
    All name and fame attained, sound and music of busy life,
    Could not erase the memories of peace, harmony, love and reconciliations enjoyed here.
    This was the root of all my stories and glories, my subconscious mind always yearned to be here.
    This treasure box of memories always haunted me,
    Here I am relaxed today, with opened treasure box.
    I met my soul, my god,
    As I believe, god is around us,
    In the form of love and loving memories.

  • Mrs. Ramesh Sharma March 26, 2013 at 8:48 am

    These are not just my ancestral home’s walls,
    With my name still engraved and clearly visible.
    These are the shells, wherein I left the memories,
    Of unfathomed unconditional love of my parents,
    My siblings and my childhood pals.
    This love, I cherished all my life.
    No stories and glories, riches and diamonds,
    And the life full of hustle and bustle I gained,
    Could match or profane the purity
    Of crystal-clear water like loving memories.
    Absence of which left a cloud of pain, today I met them all personified,
    When I opened the doors, I felt I met my soul.

  • Really good. Very visual, I started to picture it in my head. Look forward to reading more from you.

  • I was here, some sixty years ago as a man of nineteen. I walked these steps, bringing relief to those that ventured these courtyards as patrons of this once magnificent establishment, and in turn, living their enjoyment with them.
    But those days are gone now. Here I stand, sixty years later, a mere shadow of what I once was, and like this grand old lady who was ravaged by Mother Nature’s fury, I have been ravaged by the storms of time, leaving behind this frail, old shell. Now I stand here with my old friend and still, she offers her fractured walls in support as we stare into the mid day’s sun, companions of old, ready to meet our final sunset; together.

  • Entropy

    Splendour hangs akimbo:
    Stripped rough, faded, falling.
    Revealing the disarray latent,
    Hidden yet potent,
    Beneath the glory.

    Those days.
    The music.
    Our brilliant, clever friends.

    The handmade frames, the polished woodwork:
    Rotting, shredded, hanging
    As my fine summer linen suit
    Hangs on my aging frame.
    Peel back the elegance, peel back the years
    Of laughter, beauty, power,
    Reveal this wreckage.
    I know this veneer, this body cannot hold back decay;
    Everything eventually returns
    To earth.

    Shredded, too, memory, the body.
    I cling to this rail, in the shade,
    With what remains of the body, the music,
    The shards.

  • As the setting sun frames this poor, once vibrant town, a man appears from the shadow. He is not just any man. He is Pablo’s brother.

    Like Pablo, he wanted to leave his mark. However, graffiti did not become his badge of authority. A different path was carved beyond these impoverished walls. Few had imagined the steps he was to take.

    Most are gone now, but have yet to escape. A man stands alone before his past where no one knows his name.

  • What lies beyond this opening, here in this man made abyss? What phantom lurks within the shadows, hunting me as a cat does its prey, thirsty for the soul locked within this aging body? I know you’re out there, waiting for me, as you did my loving wife Lissa. As you did this “Pablo”, whose meager scrawlings are all that remain of that poor, tortured soul.
    Do you see me,stand here in the sunlight? I’m not afraid. You have taken my reason for life, so no, I do not fear death. Here I am; here I am.

  • I stumbled upon a familiar place
    Curves and crevices of his face

    Once brimming with stories, laughter and sound
    Now frail and empty, more lost than found

    Then I see light in the strength of his soul
    My memories and secrets transform him whole

    His best years protected in the palm of my hand
    I give it all back, infusing life into land

    This broken palace, saw happiness and strife
    In the end, I’m just a small part of his life

    Back to the beginning, laying down on my bed

    “Are you ready now?” He asked

    “I’m ready,” I said

  • The shutters have broken, the floorboards have splinters, and I don’t see my home. I’ve passed time in other places, always comparing them to my memory of this. I did not return out of fear that I had romanticized my time here. Now I see that it has grown as I have, instead of waiting for me to return. Though the walls did not breathe, and the windows did not see, it was no more immortal than I. It was equally subjected to change, and as I look from my weathered hands to the weathered floorboards, I frown.

  • Pablo was here, but now he’s long gone. He tried, he tried to make his mark. He wanted us to remember him. I can touch where he once scrawled his plea for me to remember, but I do not feel the spirit of the stranger that once stood where I do now.

    One day, when I’m long gone like Pablo, no one will remember this place as it was. I cannot bring myself to join Pablo in trying to make the future remember me. This is not my home anymore, and I am not the person who once lived here.

  • SUBMISSIONS TO THE MARCH CONTEST ARE CLOSED as of 11:59pm on March 31st. Thank you for all submissions and best of luck to all entrants!

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