September Contest Poll

By on Oct 1, 2010 in Contests

Time to vote for the September contest!

The September topic was “Back in the Saddle.”

The first entry is flsh fiction, “My Fear Factor,” by Terry McKee:

Here it comes again, that ever so faint fluttering in my stomach. It sits in one little spot at the bottom on my tummy, tickling me like a mother tickles her small child, except this isn’t fun. This is fear, unabashed, full-fledged, tingling FEAR. I know it all too well, and as much as I try, I can’t seem to escape it.

I try to reason it away but it’s no use. It’s as if this emotion has a mind of its own and stubbornly refuses to believe what I know to be true that my young horse Stryker, who I’ve not ridden in four months, isn’t going to hurt me, at least not intentionally.

It doesn’t help that I shipped him to Florida from New Jersey two days ago, so everything is new to him. New sights, sounds, smells, horses, everything, even me, all of which probably scare the you-know-what out of him. A win-win situation, perfect!

In fact, I’m sitting here writing all of this when I should be off to the barn to ride Stryker but I’m so scared I can’t move, save my fingers along this keyboard. My toes are curled so tight, my feet can’t go flat, so I can’t push away from the desk to get out of the chair and walk to the car.

“I’m only making things worse.” I say resolutely, while my head knows it to be undeniably true, my stomach isn’t buying it. Knots begin to form.

Horses are like a self fulfilling prophecy gone bad. Their acuity of their rider’s mood is second to none. It’s sort of like a ‘if you build it, they will come’ thing. If I’m afraid of it, the horse will definitely do it. Although not scientifically proven, it’s a fact every horse person knows to be true. If I’m afraid Stryker is going to buck me off, and not maliciously mind you, either out of youthful exuberance or because he’s afraid and spooks, chances are very good that he’ll do it.

So fear begets fear begets even more fear, and fear is my nemesis.  I can’t run, I can’t hide and I can’t shake this tightening in my belly. The tickling is more like thumping now. The more I tell myself it’s a mistake or try to ignore it; the vice-grip around my stomach tightens so severely it hurts. I feel like the gastric juices are eating a hole through it.

Taking a lesson from Chicken Little, the only way I know how to get rid of fear is to face it head on. So in response to that age old question: what do you do when a horse bucks you off? Let the instructor get back in the saddle.

The second entry is a poem, “The Ballad of The Once Sir Charles,” by Ron Runeborg, which you can read at this link:

You can vote only once, so please choose carefully! The poll will be open until 6 p.m. on Friday, October 8.

The winner of the June contest will receive a Wild Violet rectangular magnet, publication, and will be eligible to compete as a finalist in the annual short-form contest.




Alyce Wilson is the editor of Wild Violet and in her copious spare time writes humor, non-fiction, fiction and poetry and infrequently keeps an online journal. Her first chapbook, Picturebook of the Martyrs; her e-book/pamphlet, Stay Out of the Bin! An Editor's Tips on Getting Published in Lit Mags ; her book of essays and columns, The Art of Life; her humorous nonfiction ebook, Dedicated Idiocy: How Monty Python Fandom Changed My Life, and her newest poetry collection, Owning the Ghosts, can all be ordered from her Web site, In late 2019, she published a volume of poetry by her third great-grandfather, Reading's Physician Poet: Poems by Dr. James Meredith Mathews, which also contains genealogical information about the Mathews family. She lives with her husband and son in the Philadelphia area and takes far too many photos of her handsome, creative son, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda.