On October 1, the inLinkz list goes up, with calls for submissions for the Write...Edit...Publish (WEP) October challenge. This challenge gives you a choice:
You can write to the CONSTELLATIONS challenge, or
you can write to the HALLOWEEN challenge, or
you can be very clever and combine the two.
to read more about these challenges.
REMEMBER: We accept flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photographs/photo essays, artwork. Written work needs to be 1,000 words or under to help with reading time.
We award 3 places for the best entries: overall WINNER (who receives a $10 Amazon Gift Card), the RUNNER UP and the ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD.
If you are the winner, you are offered an opportunity to write a guest post before the next challenge.
GUEST POST - CONSTELLATIONS
Poet and fiction author Nilanjana Bose was the winner for the August GARDENS challenge, with her amazing poem, Point me to...
Today, we open the WEP site to Nilanjana...
you, Denise and Yolanda and hello all WEP-ers! I am so thrilled to be here
talking about ‘constellations’ which is one of the prompts for October.
night sky has fascinated humans from time immemorial with its magnificence and
vastness. Ancient peoples looked to the
stars as harbingers of seasons and for navigation across featureless lands or
seascapes. They wove them into myth and folklore, faith and spirituality. Constellations are imaginary star patterns
the ancient humans drew connecting clusters of the brighter stars.
earliest written star catalogues go back to around 1200 BCE in
Mesopotamia. Around the same time, an
astronomy system was developed in the Indus Valley Civilisation, though no
written records of it survive. The
alignment of various ancient monuments to stars and planetary bodies tells us
both of the fascination for them, and the sophisticated techniques the builders
employed. Stonehenge in UK and the Giza Pyramids are just two examples where
the skies have influenced buildings on earth; there are many others throughout the
ancient civilisation from the earliest known times has left behind evidence of
the importance of the stars. Heck,
sticks from Africa as old as 37,000 years
indicate they were used to tell the phases of the moon. Even when he couldn’t
write or do any maths, Man (or Woman for all we know, women have an innate
biological connection to the lunar month) was tracking the skies. Someone was keeping records of celestial
events, even in prehistory.
the study of stars was possible only through what was visible to the naked
eye. Mostly plotting the stars and
charting their courses and those of the sun, moon and the planets. A branch of astronomy that is now called
astrometry. How the celestial bodies slotted
into the universe as a whole was constructed through a philosophical
exploration. By the early medieval
period, the ideas from Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, India and Greece had been
pulled together into a geocentric theory which assumed that the Sun revolved
around the Earth.
the medieval period the learning centres shifted from Europe east to Persia,
the Levant, India and further into China. Sophisticated mathematics and
engineering skills, and the setting up of new observatories in the Islamic Empire
led to a manifold growth in knowledge. The
astrolabe was developed in Islamic Spain and introduced to other regions. Scholars
identified and recorded new stars and celestial phenomena, and even today many
terms in astronomy – azimuth, nadir, zenith - have their roots in Arabic and
Persian language. Omar Khayyam, more famously known for his Rubaiyat the world
over, was also an astronomer-mathematician and knew more about the ‘flight’ of
stars than he let on in his poetry –
Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.
Astronomy underwent a sensational sea-change in Renaissance
Europe. Copernicus proposed Heliocentrism, which was expanded and
defended first by Kepler and then by Galileo with his newly invented telescope.
However, this was controversial at the time - the Catholic Church ruled it
heresy. Galileo was forced to recant and died an outcast alone in his home near
Florence. It took more than a century for his views to become widely
accepted. Today he is revered as the ‘father of observational
Predictably, my own top-of-mind reaction to ‘constellations’ is the
memory of poems. Another one is Escape at Bedtime by R.L. Stevenson, published
in 1913. The final stanza –
The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,
And the star of the sailor, and Mars,
These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall
Would be half full of water and stars.
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,
And they soon had me packed into bed;
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
And the stars going round in my head.
Poetry and stars/constellations go together like…chicken tikka masala
and naan. However, constellations and stars pervade not just poetry but all
spheres of art and literature, from Shakespeare to John Green via Van Gogh,
everywhere you look you’ll see a million examples. There are
innumerable things to do with this prompt. The sky is literally the limit.
Constellations can be tweaked to fit into any idea you may have.
Let’s take Romance. Do the constellations work there? Yup,
starlight and serenades, clandestine assignations, candle-lit dinners, I mean,
darkened skies are almost a staple in love-stories.
Adventure? Yup. Think night, think navigation, think Ursa Minor or Crux.
Constellations chart the course of our lives, they are the zodiac, fate, destiny,
karma, repositories of mythology, they peg us to our own place in the vast
scheme of things.
Crime/Mystery? Yes, of course, crime happens right under the noses of
the stars most of the time!
Fantasy and speculative fiction? Yes again. And don’t let’s even start
on Sci-Fi, more than half of which genre is based in inter-planetary/-galactic
settings! There are constellations all around in deep space, no avoiding the
And before I go, I’d just like to mention that constellation need not be
of stars alone. The word has been used as a name for paintings,
music bands and albums, a cruise ship, an abandoned space exploration
programme, books, films and journals. Endless possibilities. So
bloggers, art-makers and story-tellers, let’s get the pencil points of
imagination sharpened and put the prompt to work. Can’t wait to read
the results! Good luck! and see you soon…
Thank you Nilanjana!
Now we haven't
forgotten about HALLOWEEN!
time to scare us silly! Give us your best 'Booooooo!'
you got a scary story, fictional or real?
you got a scary poem?
you got a scary image?
sure we can't get to sleep after reading your entry! Send our
scare-o-metre to the stratosphere!
If you can scare us while writing about CONSTELLATIONS, you're a genius of the first order!
Sign up October 1st
Post October 19 - 21
Now, let's wrap
up with some exciting news!
Most of you would understand that running WEP takes a huge commitment. So that we can continue this vibrant writing community, Yolanda and I have added two more talented writers to our team, Olga Godim
and Nilanjana Bose
. If you don't know Olga and Nilanjana, please visit their blogs and say hi.
Olga has taken to making badges for the challenges and now will be creating the winners' badges also, and any other badges we need.
Nilanjana has been tasked with coming up with suggested challenges for 2017. She workshops them with what I'm calling the Gang of Four, and when we reach agreement, they will be announced around the December challenge.
So we'd appreciate your welcoming Olga and Nila to the WEP team. Their involvement will lead to bigger and better things in the future.
Please help spread the word for our October challenges. Copy and paste the badges onto your blogs. Share via social media. Encourage your writer friends to take part.
the Guest Post by Nilanjana Bose
introduce our October Challenge!
if you'd Tweet one of these: