Monday, August 19, 2013

Trifecta: Week Ninety-One

Welcome back, Trifectans!  A big thanks to all of you who dared to break out of your comfort zone this weekend and write something sunshiny and bright for us.  Isn't it nice to have a chance to miss the flesh-eating bacteria and spidery dungeons?  The weekend challenge was community judged, and the winners will be announced informally in the comments below and given their proper due in our next post.

Now on to our winners from the previous community-judged challenge.  Coming in first place in our grasp challenge is Brian from PinionPost who gave us For All Of Us.  Brian's writing, always crisp and  well crafted, has seemed even more delicious than usual lately, and we're so pleased to see you guys agree.

The water splashes—cold, sharp fingers to wake me—and I roll. 
“Vstat’, yevrey,” the guard bites: Get up, Jew. I squint at the past-white sun flaring through the bars. The smell—pelmeni, I think—brings me to my feet and I sway, hoping. But of course it is not for me: A man has opened his cart on the street, selling meat pies. My porridge sits cold in the corner of my cell. 
“Ne peremeschayte vozdushnuyu,” the guard says. He opens his mouth, grabs his throat and rolls his eyes to the whites. Don’t choke
They still do not let me sleep, but the beatings are coming less and less. Abakumov tells me this is because Stalin has fallen ill. The others say he may even be dead. Let it be true.
I stumble to the corner and lift the bowl. The porridge leaches what looks like rust from the spoon, but I am hungry, so I eat. The guard bares his teeth at me, a savage smile. 
More than the beatings, the starvation, the humiliation, it is these guards that wound me. With their ignorance. With their stupid hatred. That they might come to know me does not occur to them. That they might question me, rather than torture me in silence, and at leastattempt to ascertain my innocence or guilt, they cannot grasp. I am bezrodniv kosmopolit, a man without a place, and they hate me for it. I am the symbol of their struggle—and every hurt they have ever felt, every injustice done to them by life or God or country, they see in my face. And they hate me for it. 
What is this ache I feel? It burns in my gut and blackens my heart. I would tear open my chest to get it out. It is a terrible sadness. 
“Pochemu ty plachesh’?” the guard asks. Why are you crying? His question is earnest. 
“Dlya vsekh nas,” I say. For all of us.
Second place goes to Apoplectic Apostrophes who gave us Distant Thunder.  We said the piece was Harry Potter meets The Wizard of Oz meets The Road.  You guys used words like brilliant and exquisite.  Read it if you haven't already.

Third place was a three-way tie, which is fitting.  Bjorn gave us His Latest Muse, an unapologetic look at the life of a traveling musician.  His discussion about influencing the muse is really well conceived.  Draug also came in third with Grasping Some Feels.  She should win an award just for managing to use the expression, "Smite me."  Fantastic writing, as usual.  Also sharing the third spot is Ye Pirate with Stolen Moments.  This one is smoking hot and beautifully written.  It also reminds us that we have our annual erotica challenge coming up in November.  It's never to early to start preparing for that one.

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to everyone who took the time to vote.

Remember to have a look at our applications page and give a think as to whether you'd be interested in joining the Trifecta editorial team.  It's possible that we could split the position and divide the workload, if that's more appealing.  Either way, if you're thinking it might be a good fit for you, drop us an email.

On now to our one-word prompt.  Your word this week is:

BRAND (noun)
1a : a charred piece of wood
  b : firebrand
  c : something (as lightning) that resembles a firebrand
2: sword
3a (1) : a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership 
     (2) : a printed mark made for similar purposes : trademark
  b (1) : a mark put on criminals with a hot iron 

     (2) : a mark of disgrace : stigma <the brand of poverty>
4a : a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer : make
  b : a characteristic or distinctive kind <a lively brand of theater>
  c : brand name
5: a tool used to produce a brand

Please note that we are asking for the noun, not the verb.

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words. 
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post. 
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response. 
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer. 
  • If your post doesn't meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz. 
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.
derekGavey / Foter / CC BY


  1. Hello again, Trifectans! Here are your chosen winners from this weekend’s Trifextra challenge!

    First Place: TrudgingThroughFog and Draug

    Second Place: Ivy (Mommy Dourest) and Bjorn

    Third Place: Valerie (The Word Pirate)

    Many congratulations in order for our winners, as well as for everyone who linked up! You all do so well every time; it’s really something to see! (And read!) Have fun with this week’s prompt!

  2., I love all of you. [(Even the Trifecta editors who got my piece's title wrong.) (I called it Safeguard...)] You guys seriously put me into fits every time you think I'm worthy enough to be counted among the elite winners of the top three.

    1. Congrats on the great job. one question, I thought you were one of the editors of this page.

    2. She is an assistant editor. She doesn't do the write-ups, and she's not told the prompts beforehand. She can't win the challenges that the editors judge, but she's up for grabs for the community judged prompts.

  3. Congratulations to all wonderful winners!

  4. Woo - congrats all on the great pieces this weekend!

  5. Ah thank you for all the votes- Poetry is so fun to write.. and for those that didn't see it, I used a form that was inspired by old poetry such as Beowulf... :-)

    And many congratulations to all worthy winners... great stuff there

    1. Congrats, Bjorn. Your love of poetry and use of various poetic forms, inspires me to spread my poetic wings. Thanks.

    2. AH... so fun to stretch my wings trying to do all forms of poems.

  6. Congrats to the winners! Especially the two who got my votes. :)

  7. Congrats to all the winners! There were some very moving pieces this weekend.

  8. Congrats to the winners!! this prompt is cool one.

  9. Congratulations to all of the talented, richly deserving winners for the weekend. Thank you, as always, to everyone who left comments for me.I received more comments for the Santa story than anything I've ever posted on Trifecta! Ironically enough, the second highest number of comments came as a result of the Sesame Street story about Big Bird learning that Mr. Hooper had died. Don't know what the numbers say about me or, for that matter, about all of you but, those be da numbers. :)

  10. It was a great prompt this weekend: inspiring photo/video and being made to write happy! Did us all a world of good, I'd say. :))

    Congratulations to the writers in the winners' circle!!

  11. Dumbass question possibly initiated by the consumption of wine.

    (See Lisa's note about my remarks that "I know what I need to do, but I'm too drunk to do it", and my observations that I get toasted on a thimble.)

    I'm having trouble (and yes, this is after I've posted my piece: essentially, the more I think about it, the faster my head spins) figuring out this whole "noun not verb" thing.

    If you brand someone, that's a verb. But it's also contained in definition three - the one about the hot iron and attesting to ownership.

    What is my head failing to wrap around here? How much less wine should I drink before asking these questions. (Note - I had one and a half glasses over the course of two hours. I have a throbbing headache and complete confusion. Zero. Alcohol. Tolerance.)

    1. You're killing me.

      Okay, so if I brand a cow, brand's a verb. If I put a brand on a cow, brand's a noun and put is a verb. The act of holding the poor thing down and burning it (or however it's actually done) is the verb. The pretty scar that's left afterwards is the noun. We want the noun.

      Trudging did this much better than I did. But let me know after you sober up if either one of us is making sense.

    2. Good morning! More sober, still confused. Which definition does brand the verb fall under? It seems like brand the verb is still definition three in this case.

    3. Use the words "to or will" or "the" to determine which is correct. They're a quick and easy way to determine noun vs. verb in pretty much every situation.

      If something going TO be marked or WILL be marked, then it's a verb.

      If you're speaking of THE mark, then it's a noun.

    4. Got it. Finally. Merriam-Webster sucks. The real answer, and the reason that I was baffled, is that Webster has a second definition for 'brand' the transitive verb. Since none of the above definitions except the third has anything whatsoever to do with branding. I have adjusted my entry accordingly.

    5. Fuck. Trying to do this while getting kids ready for school. Take 3. Since none of the above definitions except the third has anything whatsoever to do with branding, my brain couldn't quite figure out that there might be a second entry for the word in webster as used as a verb. (uh, Jessie, isn't there always? Does Webster ever let the noun and verb share a definition? IMHO it should be put together unless it is the same word with a different derivation. And possibly meaning. Hence why they suck.) Anyway, I have adjusted my entry accordingly.

    6. i think i drank something too, cos my post got bit confused as well

    7. I think we should just go with however Draug uses the word. However Draug uses the word is usually the right way.

  12. Let me take a stab. All variations of the third definition start with "a mark" - the noun. The verb comes in when it describes how the mark was made, but in each case the definition is talking about the thing, not the action of making the thing. Does that make sense?

    Incidentally, the phrase "toasted on a thimble" made me giggle. :)

  13. Congratulations to the winners...happy to see that I voted well. There were so many great entires for an inspiring prompt!

  14. What a nice surprise to see my name on the winners list. Thank you! And congrats to the all the winners! I thoroughly enjoyed reading the light, happy entries over the weekend. There were so many fantastic pieces.

    I'm just thrilled to belong to such a talented community of writers. You challenge and inspire me weekly. :)

  15. Disregard the extra "the" in the third sentence. I haven't had my coffee yet. :)

  16. A big thank you from me too! I was floored to see my name in the winner's circle as well-there were so many stellar entries that voting was anything but easy-so thank you again!

  17. Congratulations everyone! I'm sorry I missed the voting, but my stupid modem crapped out on me and has been patchy ever since. The new one arrives this afternoon. Can't believe how desperate I become without access to the Internet...

    And I am loving brand as the word choice. Can't wait to start reading!

  18. I just wanted to say that one of my Trifextra posts was picked to be Freshly Pressed on WordPress today, in case anyone's interested. Here's the link to check it out, and here's the Twitter link too:

    (You might have to scroll down a little bit to see it).

    Never expected this in a million years.

    1. That's awesome news! Congratulations!! I don't know why you wouldn't expect it--you're amazing.

  19. Hi everyone. Still offline, so can't do much reading. Back soon. I am not in the running, as I used the verb. Sometimes the writing takes over.
    Am liking vacation, but missing you all!