Today marks the first day in Rachael Harrie’s platform building campaign!

Here is challenge #1:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, β€œThe door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count. If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count)

So basically it’s the writer’s version of Top Chef‘s Quickfire Challenge, and since tomorrow is the first day of school here, my head has been filled with the pictures we’ve taken of our kids every year on the first day. Β It kind of turned into my theme as I wrote my challenge piece.

Here’s my poem:



The door swung open,
pushed wide by eager, chubby fingers.

They tumbled out, carrying backpacks
and smiles pressed into rounded cheeks.

Her hand rested briefly on their soft heads,
before lifting into a wave, sand falling away from her fingers.

She watched them go, the sun flickering white and gold through the trees as they disappeared around the corner.
With a deep breath, she filled her lungs with their lingering laughter and milky whispers.

She blinked.

When her eyes opened, she saw them walking back,
a longer stride, arms swinging more purposeful like the hands on a clock.

She looked up at them, the lights in her eyes reflecting on their angles,
until she saw the glimmer of what was before.
Then the door swung shut.

53 thoughts on “First Campaign Challenge: The Door Swung Open

    1. Kelly Mcclymer

      You’ll cry, of course. But it will be a good kind of tears. I’ve seen mine all off to college (at least once each πŸ™‚ and now I’m getting ready to see my daughter married (!?!). At some point the cycle starts again with grandbabies (I hope).

  1. Anonymous

    ohhhh! i just sent my oldest to kindergarten and my youngest to preschool for their very first days of school. so sad! i can’t imagine the college years. ugh! wonderful poem. i’m writing my challenge piece tonight! who knows what i’ll come up with! christy

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Hi Christy- Sorry for the tech issues! Thanks for stopping by and reading πŸ™‚ I’m going to go check to see if you’ve posted yours now! πŸ™‚

  2. Melodie

    Oh! *sniffs* Great entry. Must go dust off my kids’ baby albums and cry a little while in the corner…don’t mind me…

  3. TL Conway

    Coleen, this was beautiful! The picture at the end helped pull it all together as well. Thank you for sharing your poem!

  4. Lola Sharp

    First, hello fellow Campaigner! *waves* I’m your newest follower. πŸ™‚

    Second, and more important, I really loved this take on the flash challenge. I love that you did it in verse and I LOVE that you went with the back-to-school sentiment. Very sweet and well done. (love the milky whispers <3) And timely.

    Yeah, I cried my eyes out on my daughter's first day of kindergarten. And again on her first day of high school (last year). She just started back to school, her sophomore year, middle of last week. While I wasn't sad (actually, kinda happy because it's been so damn hot here it's made me eager for cooler, autumnal weather. And, yanno, back to school means autumn in my head. Plus, I can get back to my normal routine now.) BUT, I am keenly aware that in 3 years she'll be off to college. That makes my heart squeeze. I predict major tears.

    You have a lovely blog.

  5. Anonymous

    Aww, that was sweet and all poetical. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    I’m a fellow campaigner in your MG/YA group. See you down the campaign trail!

  6. Raelyn Barclay

    Love this! There are so few poems in the challenge, each one is special. This one definitely tugs on the ol’ heartstrings! All four of my wee beasties headed off to school this year and we took our ritual pictures too.

  7. Susanna Hill

    Coleen – this is beautiful! I’m so glad you commented on my blog so I found you and got to read this! I’m trying to get through them all, but I’ve obviously missed some. I also didn’t realize we were in the same group. Looking forward to getting to know you through the campaign πŸ™‚

  8. Kathy Collier-Mehl

    A truly wonderful emotional journey we as mothers all share at one time or another. Wonderfully written. I drew on the memories of kindergarten, middle-school, high school, college and leaving home for good. I cried for each child and now am working on dealing with the empty-nest syndrome. Hehehe. It didn’t take long, and I am loving my freedom, but I love when they come home, we hug, and we meet again.

    Thanks for creating the scene of memories in my mind. I loved it.
    I’m a follower now. Check my site out too. This is so much fun. I love meeting all of you for the first time, and may we forge great friendships and lasting memories together as authors and writers.

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