I recently put out a call inviting readers to share stories of their own fearful adventures.
Now it’s time to pick a winner!
I loved every single moment of this competition. I was so touched by the honesty and candidness of the entries, and I didn’t want the competition to end. It got me thinking that maybe I should start an ongoing series of guest posts on my blog covering the same theme. Hmm.
To everyone who participated in the competition: thank you. I’m so sorry to leave you all hanging on the results. There were 73 entries in total and I read through them all. That’s about 73,000 words of personal stories on facing fears—a novel of material!
As for picking a winner, I’ve been torn between these…
Two beautiful stories
Confronting the Past: A Story of Two Families – by James Pham of Fly Icarus Fly
One day, after a series of random internet clickery, I started reading this story about a Vietnamese/American guy and his family’s history of fleeing the Vietnam (or American) war. As I’m reading, I’m thinking: This is one of the best blog posts I’ve read in a while. Then I reach the end of the piece and I see my book cover… Huh?! I was totally confused. I read on and saw that the piece was part of the Fearful Adventure competition. WOW! I was so blown away to discover that this engaging, emotional story had been written for the competition.
“Even if I wanted to forget my childhood connection to this country, I can’t. It’s everywhere I turn, even now, almost 40 years later.
It’s in my childhood home that I drive past, strangers now living in it, squatters who had their pick of homes abandoned by the fortunate / desperate. I wonder whether it looks anything like the neat, cheerful home in my baby photos, filled with toys and books?
It’s in the missing tip of the right forefinger of the security guard who scans my parking pass, an all too common sign among men of a certain age who voluntarily amputated their trigger finger to avoid a soldier’s life.”
The Shadow of My Fear – by Steph from 20 Years Hence
Another standout piece was this heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring story about one woman’s long battle with depression and anxiety. I was struck by the level of courage required to produce this piece, first in pushing on through the experience and facing her fear over several years, and then in writing about it on her blog. I was pulled into her story immediately through her writing:
“I wish I could tell you about the day I woke up and realized that I was no longer in control of my own life. The writer in me wants to tell you that story in the same way you would encounter it in a novel, with me huddled in my bed as a clap of thunder rattled the windows, followed by a lightning bolt arcing through the sky—and me—as the realization struck that fear was now my mistress.
But life is so rarely like books; it lacks their efficiency and clarity, and that is not how I came to know that fear ruled me. No, my fear came at me like Carl Sandburg’s fog, on little cat feet, swiftly yet slyly, and by the time I realized it had me in its grasp, I was already fully caught.“
More notable entries:
Sarah jumped out of a plane in order to write a new story for herself. Her skydiving video made me cry a little bit!
My Honest to God Fear by Brian of Wandering Sasquatch
I was touched by Brian’s honesty in confessing that what he fears most is being honest with himself—perhaps something that a lot of us can relate to.
Getting Off the Hamster Wheel by Sarah Steenland
This was the first entry in Sarah’s brand new blog, and what a delightful read it is! Sarah tells of her scary journey from hamster wheel to grandiose adventure through a series of quirky sketches.
The 50 Year Old Vagina and Other Baby Fears by Kim from A Brave Life
The title says it all. I was so thrilled to discover this irreverent and offbeat blog, written by an unexpectedly hilarious grief counsellor.
Fearful Adventures in Becoming Unlost by Therese from The Unlost
Therese invents an armless grey blob to depict Fear. Through her illustrations, she shows how life is about being comfortable in the company of fear, rather than trying to eradicate it.
This is just a small selection of the many great entries. For a full list of the entries, click here.
Ahhhh! I hate having to pick a single winner, but here goes…
The winner is…
The Shadow of My Fear by Steph from 20 Years Hence!
This piece is the winner because of the writing and the courage it took to tell the story. I know so many other people who have been/are in/may one day be in this situation. In being generous and courageous enough to tell her story, Steph will no doubt have an impact on anyone who takes the time to read about her journey. I urge you to check out her piece and share it with anyone else who might benefit from the read. Follow Steph on Twitter and Facebook.
A huge congrats to Steph, who has won a round-trip ticket to anywhere worth up to $1,000!
One more thing…
If you entered the competition, you are entitled to receive a paperback copy of Love with a Chance of Drowning as well as a signed postcard from me. Please fill out this form so I can arrange to have those items delivered to you. Thanks for playing along!
Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.