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"The First Date, My Version Vs His" and "A Special Cake"


Nicole Scobie is a Canadian expat living in Switzerland. She writes extensively, both short stories and on her blog. She is currently finalising her first novel. Her ‘normal’ job is as an Air Traffic Controller, “working the busy skies over central Europe.”

As a member of the Geneva Writers' Group, she heard about the ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards’ and thought she would enter a short piece about how she met her (future) husband while at work in Geneva.


“I’m so glad I did,” she said proudly, after being selected as a finalist in the creative non fiction category in the third edition of WAWA. “I'm so honoured about being named a finalist out of hundreds of entries. Thrilled actually is more like it! It is such a surprise and honour to have been selected as a finalist for this competition. Thank you so much to all the readers and judges.”

To find out more about Nicole and her approach to creative writing, we asked her some questions. Here are her answers -


Q: How did the idea for your story emerge?

A: I think many people like hearing ‘how you met’ stories when they see a happy couple. I wanted to share our story, but it turns out it's more funny than romantic. And maybe this is very relatable to people who can identify with different mindsets.


Q: How many revisions did your story have before you were satisfied and over what period of time?

A: It’s something I wrote quite a while ago (we've been married several years now) but I kept going back and tweaking it a bit. The contest was just what I needed to put a bit of extra work in and get it as perfect as possible.


Q: What was the most difficult challenge for you in writing your story?

A: Walking that thin line between funny/romantic and silly.


Q: Did you have several titles for your story before you decided on the final one - what were the others?

A: Actually, my first title was ‘Our First Date,’ because I had been imagining I would write about how the evening went. It turned out the part about how hard it was just to get to the ‘asking out on a date’ point was the best part.

Final Words - “You have made my DAY! So proud, thanks again I can't express just how excited I am at being a finalist!!

 

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Born in Chicago, Eugene Leutkemeyer’s short fiction has been published in various publications including Sou’wester, Opium Magazine, Commonthought, Del Sol Review, Perversion Magazine, The Ilanot Review, Rhodora Magazine, Shabd Aaweg, and the anthology Stories That Must Be Told. He is the author of two novels, Inside the Mind of Martin Mueller and Penitentiary Tales: a Love Story. He has also written a memoir, ‘The Book of Chuck: A Memorial Compilation of Poetry and Prose.’


Eugene, who was a finalist in the flash fiction category in the third edition of WAWA, has been a martial artist, long distance runner, outlaw, fugitive, husband and father, and sometimes a fool. He was awarded an MFA in Creative writing from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA, in 2015 and now lives in the historic Southern Oregon town of Jacksonville.


I was surprised and flattered and immensely pleased to be recognised by so prestigious an organisation as ‘Ireland Writing Retreat.’ I read the email a second time, and a third time. I went home and sat down and wrote at my work-in-progress with renewed vigor.”

Here are Eugene’s answers to some of our questions -


Q: How did you learn about the Wild Atlantic Writing Awards (WAWA) competition?

A: My alumni organisation posts news about publishing opportunities. WAWA was appealing because of the talent of previous contributors and its international flavor.


Q: How did the idea for your story emerge?

A: The origin of ‘A Special Cake’ is lost in the foggy annals of memory.


Q: How many revisions did your story have before you were satisfied and over what period of time?

A: I probably wrote the first version 25 years ago. Periodically, I would retrieve it, along with a dozen or so also ageing tales, and dust it off, and tweak it, and put it back on the shelf. Recently, I decided to pull them all out, polish them a final time and send them out into the world. They needed homes. So pleased that ‘A Special Cake’ found a home at ‘Ireland Writing Retreat.’


Q: What was the most difficult challenge for you in writing your story?

A: Getting the words right.


Q: Did you have several titles for your story before you decided on the final one?

A: I don’t recall another title but I did change the names of the characters several times.

Final Words:

“I feel hugely honored, given the status of your program and the level of talent of your contributors."

The First Date, My Version Vs His

by Nicole Scobie


Me.

I‘m at work, on a break, aimlessly reading emails.

I notice him. That new guy. Martin, right? He looks ok. Harmless. Nice eyes. Potential.

Should I ask him out? I’m free tonight, my kids are at their dad’s.

I start to sweat. Come on, just strike up a conversation. Say something clever and funny.

Ok say something deep and meaningful.

I have re-read the same sentence 17 times.

Say anything. Seriously.

“Have you seen that movie, Blah blah blah?” (The blah is because I can’t remember which movie it was since I was pretending.)

“Oh,” Martin replies, glancing up at me. “No. I want to, should be good.”

“Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard!” I say, clearly overjoyed at the possibility of soon seeing Blah blah blah.

Martin goes back to looking at his magazine.

I try again.

“Do you know where it’s playing?”

“Uh, nope,” he says, and looks away again.

“Oh, too bad.” Now madness takes hold of me. “Maybe I’ll look it up. I could go see it tonight. My kids are away, so I’m free.”

“Hmmm,” Martin says, obviously not interested.

“Yep, I’m free as the wind. Free as a bird. Free to do whatever I want. It’s great,” I chuckle. (Inner voice: WhatintheworldamIsaying?).

“Huh,” Martin offers, then glances with boredom around the room.

“Kind of don’t feel like going alone though.” (Inner voice: DidIactuallyjustsaythat??)

“Hmmmm,” Martin says, staring at a spot next to my head.

“Wonder if anyone else feels like going?” I look around, not seeing anything, my eyes blinded by temporary insanity.

“Oh,” Martin scans the room. His eyes stop on me. “Would you like to go to the movie together?” Like the thought just occurred to him.

“Sure, why not?” I respond, acting spontaneous and cool and sophisticated and thrilled and casual and nonchalant and bedazzling.

The bedazzling is the best part, right?

Him.

New job posting in Geneva. Cool. Work is fun. Nice to meet new people.

There’s a girl who seems nice. Find out name. Nicole. Find out if single. Yes. Make mental note to ask her out.

Now on break. Reading magazine about cool interesting gadget stuff. Make mental note to buy everything.

Thoughts interrupted by voice asking about the movie Blah blah blah.

Oh, it’s that girl.

Mind goes blank.

Try to think of a way to ask her out.

Nothing.

She keeps talking.

Still trying to think of a way to ask her out.

Nothing.

She is still talking.

Maybe should just take a risk and ask.

If she would just stop talking, I could concentrate.

Ok here goes.

“Would you like to go to the movie together?”

She smiles. Says a lot of things. Pretty sure it’s a yes.

She is quite bedazzling.

Who knows which version is reality? (Mine obviously.) We went for drinks which led to a kiss which led to 14 years and counting of happy marriage. And never did see Blah blah blah.

A Special Cake

by Eugene Luetkemeyer


Today was Brenda’s birthday. Tony took her to Luigi’s for a romantic candle-lit dinner and a little surprise. He’d had a special cake made that said, Happy Birthday, Baby, and brought it to the restaurant and arranged that the waiter would bring it out with twenty-five candles blazing, and all the wait-staff would gather and burst into song.

Brenda would have preferred that Tony was proposing. She was crazy about the guy and knew he was mad about her, too, but he wasn’t mad about matrimony, and avoided the subject like a wary beast avoids bad water.

They had a great table in a cozy corner. Two tables down sat a young couple who, it seemed to Brenda, were head-over-heels for one another and bound for marital bliss. About them was the aura of a special occasion.

Tony and Brenda finished their dinner.

"That was yummy," she said.

"Let’s have dessert," he said.

He nodded to the waiter, who brought a cake and set it before the birthday girl. Tony knew right off something was amiss: a different kind of cake, no candles, no wait staff to gather and burst into song.

Brenda read the writing on the cake. Her lower lip quivered and her eyes got watery. "Oh, yes! "She said. "Yes, I will!"

"You...will? "Tony stammered.

"Yes, of course, darling! This is the best birthday of my life! "

She went to her fiancé and wrapped her arms around him. "Yes!" She said. "Yes, yes, yes!"

Two tables down, the wait-staff gathered and burst into song.

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