I subscribe to Writer’s Digest. I love it; it’s one of my vices because it is kind of expensive. But one of the things that I love to do is to enter all of their writing prompt competitions. Needless to say, I haven’t won any of them, but it’s a nice way to get the brain going when it’s parked in neutral.

The prompt this month is:

In 25 words or fewer, wirte an opening sentence – just one – to a story, incorporating the following words: lucky charm, and calamity.

Okay, I admit. I kind of know what calamity means, but I decided to look it up to get the EXACT definition.

According to www.m-w.com:

Definition of CALAMITY

: a state of deep distress or misery caused by major misfortune or loss
: a disastrous event marked by great loss and lasting distress and suffering <calamities of nature> <an economic calamity>

Examples of CALAMITY

    floods, earthquakes, and other calamities He predicted calamity for the economy. Twenty two years passed. Twenty-two years of excellent health and the boundless self-assurance that flows from being fit—twenty-two years spared the adversary that is illness and the calamity that waits in the wings. —Phillip Roth, Everyman, 2006
    Below that was a definition of Calamity Jane:

Calamity Jane , byname of Martha Jane Burke, née Martha Jane Cannary  (born May 1, 1852?, near Princeton, Mo.?, U.S.—died Aug. 1, 1903, Terry, near Deadwood, S.D.), legendary American frontierswoman whose name was often linked with that of Wild Bill Hickok. The facts of her life are confused by her own inventions and by the successive stories and legends that accumulated in later years.

She allegedly moved westward on a wagon train when still quite young—her mother dying en route and her father dying in Salt Lake City, Utah, leaving her on her own at an early age. During the following several years she wandered about the West, working as cook, dance-hall girl, camp follower, and bawd and doing whatever necessary to earn a living. In the spring of 1876 she ended up in Deadwood, South Dakota, site of new gold strikes, and became a bullwhacker, hauling goods and machinery to the outlying camps. It was probably there that she first met Hickok and knew him only briefly (he was shot dead in a saloon soon after). Other, disputed stories put their meeting years earlier and even vouch a marriage (September 1, 1870) and a child (Jean Hickok McCormick, born September 25, 1873, and allegedly given up for adoption). By the late 1870s Calamity Jane had captured the imagination of several magazine-feature writers who covered the colourful early days of Deadwood.

In 1891 she married Clinton (Charley) Burke, a hack driver, after living with him for seven years. Beginning in 1895 she toured with Wild West shows throughout the Midwest. In 1901 she appeared at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, but was fired for her erratic behaviour and alcoholism. She returned to Deadwood and poverty. She was buried there beside Hickok.

So with all this information, I came up with these sentences:

1. Deadwood wasn’t exactly how Calamity Jane had pictured it – full of backbreaking work and ignorant people – and all she wanted to do was return to her hotel room and wrap her hand around a bottle (her only lucky charm).

2. The lucky charm Cherri always wore (an heirloom St. Christopher medallion) rested between the bandages that were now the only remainder of what used to be her breasts and settled into the calamity that now invaded her emotions.

3. Oh my Gawd, Kayleigh whispered as she observed her ex-boyfriend, Robbie “Lucky Charm” Stephens, lean in to make out with his new girl friend, whose outfit could only be described as a calamity – acid-washed jeans, a holey tank top and a Michael Jackson style leather jacket (complete with metal studs).

I’m interested to see what you guys come up with. Comment me back and let me know. I promise not to use yours in the competition (unless it’s REALLY good.) Or you could go to:

yourstorycontest@fwmedia.com and enter it yourself!