Mollie M. (Grade 6) Pens a Short Story, Earns Second in Canada

Congratulations to Mollie M. (Grade 6) who earned second place in the Polar Expressions Writing Contest, which draws entries from thousands of students across Canada. Mollie earned the title with her short story, Mama, which will be published alongside other first and second place entries in an upcoming book.

The Story

It was a Sunday morning when Mama had gone to the town market to fetch us some bread to go with the stew she had been making earlier. She had been gone a couple of hours before we started to worry. Her usual visits to the market only took thirty minutes on average. Papa went to look for her. He came back a while later with her in his arms. Mama ran to the couch and lay down. Her breath was heavy, and I could see she was struggling. She was coughing roughly. She opened her mouth and tried to speak, but her voice was croaky. I could barely understand her.

"Smoke... flames..." She gasped after speaking.

Papa told her to save her energy. I could see she was in pain, I ran to her. Trying desperately to comfort her. Papa was whispering something in a kind of modified English. I held Mama's hand. I watched her chest rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall... I waited for it to rise again. Nothing happened. A sudden consternation filled me. My mouth opened to scream, but Papa put a hand over my mouth. His deep blue eyes filled with worry and sorrow. I stared into them. The stillness and serenity made me realize I mustn't worry. He took his hand off my mouth. I took deep breaths, and released my hand from Mama's. He led me out the open door of our house and took me to the water to watch the schooner in the sunset.

We came back to our house at dark. He scooped Mama's lifeless, but still beautiful body into his arms, and headed slowly to the door humming a sad tune. I followed him out with my head down. I didn't look up until we reached the edge of the dock. Papa stepped up the shallow stairs into our schooner. He walked to the middle of the wooden boat and laid her on the ground. He turned around, and walked out solemnly. He reached for the rope that held our schooner to the dock. He untied it slowly. Papa raised his lantern high, letting the soft yellow glow seep through the glass and mingle with the shadows. I looked up at him. His brow was furrowed, and I saw the tears welling in his eyes. Looking at him like this made me cry, too. I felt my lip starting to quiver involuntarily and a lump formed in my throat. I let a tear escape my eye. I couldn't hold it in. I looked out into the bay where our lonely schooner sat. Elegant and beautiful in the foggy bay.

Meet the Author

What's the reader's digest version of your story?

My story was about a mother some time in the 1600-1700's , who went to the market to get her family some bread. There was a fire in the market, and when the husband brought her back, she died. They put her in their schooner, and let it go, to say goodbye. (Sorry, it's so morbid!)

Writers get inspiration from all sorts of places... what was your inspiration for this story?

I got my inspiration for my story from one of the quick writes that we often do in Societies and Literature. Sometimes Mr. Kennedy will put up a picture for us to draw inspiration from, and once there was an image of a father and child looking over at a schooner in a dark bay. I had a little snip-it of my story in my writing journal, and just took off from there.

Do ever get hit with writer's block? If so, what's your solution?

I do, my solution is to go somewhere where a lot is going on, and there is a lot to look at. Just write about what comes into your head.

Where were you when you found out the news? What was your reaction?

Funny story, actually. One of my classmates came up to me and congratulated me. I, of course, had no idea what she was talking about so I asked her what she was congratulating me on. You could imagine the look on my face when she told me i had won second place in the polar expressions writing contest! Second in my grade in all of Canada!

Do you plan to continue writing?

Of course I plan to continue writing! It is one of my passions and I hope to go into the writing business when i'm older.

What's your favourite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about writing is being able to experiment with different writer's tools and ideas. I also love to create different characters and story-lines.

Any big plans for the summer?

Yes! I am very involved in Girl Guides of Canada, and I have the amazing opportunity to go to a large BC/Canada wide camp that over 35,000 girls will attend!