Look! A Challenge!

We’ve come to the end of, what was for me, another challenging week. I’m tired–“too pooped to pop” as my dad used to say–and I’m looking forward to going away for the weekend and spending time with family.

This morning I was met by yet another challenge–a fun one this time. Memoirist Laura Dennis,  author of Adopted Reality, invited me to take part in The Look Challenge for writers.

The premise is simple: find a passage in your manuscript or book that contains the word “look”, post it on your blog, and tag five other blogging writers to do the same. Seems like  great way to introduce readers to other writers to me so I’m all in.

Excerpt from Two Hearts: (enter to win a copy now at Goodreads!)

Once in a while I see her: a ghost of a girl with long, blond, stringy hair–my younger self. Sometimes she is sitting under a street light with a book, and I can tell by the look of concentration on her face and the way she sits perfectly still that she is being transported by the book to another place, perhaps another time. I wish I could read a book and be transported to another world, but my mad mind can’t stay quiet long enough to read.

Other times I see her in the distance; I usually hear her before I see her. She wears a plastic loop around her ankle, and attached to the loop is a long plastic rope with a bell-shaped object on the end. It’s the toy Aunt Edie bought me many years ago. She jumps and skips, moving her feet so the bell on the end of the rope circles around her, and with her other foot, she lightly jumps over it when it comes by. She is nimble. Her long, slender legs know exactly what to do. Up and down the street she goes–skip, hop, skip, hop, skip, hop.

Most times she doesn’t realize I am there, that I stand watching her skip. Other times she looks in my direction and our eyes look, and in that moment the fire in my belly is quenched and I feel whole. It only lasts for an instant before she breaks our gaze, turns around, and skips back up the street.

Sometimes I’m tempted to call out to her, to ask her to stop, but I hold back. What would I say to her? What do I have to offer her that would entice her to stay awhile longer? My desire for her to stay is selfish, motivated by my desperation to find peace of mind, wholeness, and relief from the torment that keeps me from sleep. I cannot care for my child self.

And now, I extend the challenge to these fine five writers and invite you to check them out if you’re not familiar with them already.

Lynne Spreen, author of Dakota Blues

Christine Grote, author of Dancing in Heaven: A Sister’s Memoir

Madeline Sharples, author of Leaving the Hall Light On

Jan Fishler, author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself

Grace Peterson, whose piece Poison Promises will appear in the soon-to-be-released anthology by Seal Press called Beyond Belief


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. Hi Linda, What a beautiful piece of writing. As I read it I “saw” just briefly my own little self and felt a visceral surge of emotion. I simply MUST read your memoir. I think I’ll move it to the top of my stack.

    Thank you for the shout out. I appreciate it more than I can say. Having fellow writer friends is a precious gift. I’ll check out your other recommendations too.

    I hope you have a very relaxing weekend. Safe travels.

  2. Thank you Grace! I’m looking forward to reading your piece in Beyond Belief. Happy weekend to you too.

  3. Linda, what a beautiful piece. The details make her come alive.

    Thanks for inviting me to the Look Challenge and tagging me on your blog. Now I hope you get a rest and have a wonderful time over the weekend with your family.


  4. Linda,

    As always, your writing transports me to the scene taking place, the story you’re sharing with me. This excerpt does just that! I can see that little girl under a streetlight reading — scrambling likely to read the last paragraph or page. What a lovely challenge!

  5. I’m in (Can’t promise 5 authors, I’ll have to think about that.)

    I’m also away from my computer and book this weekend, so I will have to look for ‘look’ next week.

    Thanks for thinking of me. I enjoyed reading your memoir very much.

  6. Linda,

    Great excerpt. Oh … what we adoptees wish we could have told our child-selves. The more I learn about other adoptees’ experiences, the more I realize how much I should have been told. And the list of caring, supporting things I would love to tell my young self grows longer.

    Have a restful weekend!

  7. Dear Linda, the excerpt from your memoir is truly evocative. You paint so well with words that brought the images sharply and clearly into my mind and consciousness. Thank you for sharing your talent and your longings with us.

    I still have your book on my night table and it will get read, but the stack is so high! The cover of your memoir is quite lovely. Are you the child pictured there? By that, I mean is that a photograph of you? Peace.

    1. Hi Dee, I understand all too well what it’s like having a stack of “to read” books on the nightstand! The photograph on the cover of the book is no one I know–it’s a stock photo. I feel it captures the essence of my story and I love the cover!

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