The Spirit of Home Challenge

New Recruits

Author's Note:

"I wrote this from the viewpoint of a Chief Engineer's talk to the new recruits on an airship. Since the airship is the crew's home, it seemed natural that its guardian spirit would be a gremlin. I don't assume the Chief Engineer, or any of the officers, are exclusively male, and I hope the reader doesn't either."

New Recruits

by Katilou Curry


All right, grunts! Listen up!

For most of you, this is your first trip on an airship. I don't care why you're here as long as you do your work. Everyone on the Arctic Tern has shoveled coal, even Cap'n Reese. No one wants to hear your bellyachin', especially me.

You! You there in the fancy pants! Get your ass away from the rail! If you lean out any further you'll fall and rip the membrane. Then we'll end up at least one day more in port, which will come out of your hide, if you survive the fall!

Sweet Selling Season

Sweet Selling Season

by Jill Albright (read by the author)

The old house was surrounded by an evil fence that, although peeling and faded, still gave the impression of sharp, once white teeth. Emily didn’t want to lift the latch on the gate and enter. Beyond just the teeth of the fence, the large dark house seemed as a mouth that would consume her entirely.

House Spirits

House Spirits

by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin


Once upon a time…

…There lived, in an old slightly lopsided Dutch canal house, a Bear and a Cat. They were very much in love with each other, which prevented them from devouring one another&emdash;which can be a problem when attempting to live under one roof, lopsided or not&emdash;although it did not stop either of them from hogging the covers.

Bear and Cat had no other wishes than to live together forever (or thereabout) in peace but they were cursed by a jealous demon by the name of Dayjob, who contrived to separate them. So the poor lovers were soon condemned to go away for various length of time, he to pursue gravitational waves and she to collect space telescopes.

Curiosity Got the Best of Me

Curiosity Got The Best Of Me

by Jill Albright

Vivian had ‘become low’, as her mother called it.

During the school year she taught and during the summer she worked in a dress shop. She’d felt for a while now as if everything was slowing down. But then again, she thought, maybe everything else was speeding up and she was slowing down.

Her Uncle Miles suggested that perhaps she should spend a couple of weeks of vacation at his old cabin. Vivian wasn’t exactly a nature person, but she was bored and she had a couple of books that she wanted to read. The cabin would be the perfect place to do that.

In late July, she packed her tea kettle and books, three new summer outfits (40% employee discount!) a bathing suit (80% off on clearance!) and drove toward the mountains.

An Exciting Development!

This month's guest artists have added a special suprise for contributors to The Spirit of Home Challenge. In addition to the regular giveaway, Valya and Madeline will select from the creative responses to the challenge and publish a few of them in a special House Spirits Gallery section within the hardcover limited edition of Sticks and Bones: Home Is Where the Hearth Is.

The Spirit of the Secrets-Closet

The Spirit of the Secrets-Closet

"The Spirit of the Secrets Closet"

Digital painting created in Photoshop by the artist on behalf of Mr. Billy Bones.

Billy's Note: "I asked Mr. Lincoln to draw a picture of the secrets-closet house spirit. Here it is. He drew it on his laptop using Photoshop. She likes cocoa almost as much as I do."

© 2011 by Christopher Lincoln

Return to the Challenge Page

Valya Dudycz Lupescu and Madeline C. Matz Inspire – The Spirit of Home

THIS CHALLENGE IS NOW CLOSED. Your generous donations this round helped us raise $100 for Great Lakes Bengal Rescue. Winners to be announced soon. Watch this space, and many thanks as always to our contributors for their continued support.

For this challenge, we invite you to respond to Valya’s words and Madeline’s art by getting to know a house spirit. It can be the spirit of your current or childhood home, a friend’s beloved residence, or a dwelling in your favorite film or novel. Draw a picture. Make a doll or poppet. Write a poem. Create a monologue. Transcribe the house spirit’s preferred recipe or offering. Photograph his or her favorite corner of the home. Share their stories.

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