This week, there are seventeen players. There are two topics: "The Worst Thing That I Ever Ate" and "Price to Play."
The field is small and the difference between the top and the bottom is even smaller. So I decided that this week, I could talk a little bit about all the writers left. Everyone left is so good that it's just hard to pick some to highlight.
agirlnamedluna wrote a story that at first reads like creepy, dark, "The Most Dangerous Game"-esque survival drama, until you realize that it's all made up of therealljidol references. I think that even if you don't get the references, you'll enjoy this at face value, but it is completely turned on its head and is actually quite humorous once you realize whom she's talking about. Read it here.
alephz wrote a non-fiction piece about life as a gamer and the self-awareness of living as a stereotype. It's full of biting humor and down-to-earth observations of ordinary life. Read it here.
alexpgp wrote an autobiographical piece about playing against a Chess Grandmaster and the insights and lessons that this man shared with him in his youth. I really enjoyed it as it's not the first time he's written about chess, and it's been neat to learn about how his relationship with the game has changed over the course of his life. Read it here.
beautyofgrey wrote a piece that blends autobiography with hard facts and observations on the human condition that has a really eloquent and poetic flow to it. Read it here.
cacophonesque wrote about food and her experience forcing herself to stop being a picky eater, and also about her struggle with dermatillomania and dermatophagia. It's frank, open, and I think very brave stuff to be talking to strangers about. Read it here.
fourzoas wrote about her family's history as it relates to bread, and how being diagnosed as a diabetic changed her relationship with food. She does a neat job of relating her own personal experiences to her father's and to a longer tradition of family history and how that family history shaped the way she relates to food. Read it here.
gratefuladdict wrote a story about a recovering addict becoming a wife and mother. It's sharp and truthful and left me with a knot in my stomach. Read it here.
intrepia wrote her own retelling of Hansel and Gretel from Hansel's point of view. It's well-conceived in how Hansel responds to the witch's treatment versus what Gretel sees from the other side. Read it here.
java_fiend wrote a story about campers driven to extremes for the sake of survival. The thing I like about this story is that it also functions as a character study and in-depth look at the relationship between the two characters and how it breaks down over time. Read it here.
mstrobel wrote about learning how to ice skate, and the thrill of trying to do something even if you fail the first time. I really liked this because it contrasted with a mind-set that many people, including myself, all too often fall into: the idea that if we aren't good at something, we might as well give up. Read it here.
notbatman wrote about his allergy to pine nuts. He has an easy, straightforward style to his writing and even writing about a near-death experience seems almost cheerful when it comes from him. Read it here.
rattsu wrote about the history of Mad Cow Disease, its origins, and how breeding science changed in the Industrial Age. She is keeply perceptive and writes really chilling yet educational posts about scientific ethics in the modern age. Read it here.
rivermirage wrote a story about the transition from hobbyist homesteading to the very real difficulty of maintaining a farm in the modern age-- with a surprise twist ending! Read it here
strryeyedgrrl wrote an open letter to the Universe, in a sort of winding, stream-of-consciousness style that really lets us get into her head. Read it here.
talon wrote a story about a new soul given the choice of what kind of life it would like to live. He does an exceptional job of choosing the right voice for his fiction, and of nodding to various inspirations in the text of his stories. Read it here.
theafaye wrote about her grandmother's hobby of crashing funerals...to criticize the food. It's clever, quirky, and thoroughly amusing. Read it here.
And of course, I wrote a story that I'm really proud of, my modern retelling of a popular myth, with pop culture references. It's one of my favorites that I've done as part of LJ Idol.
Below the cut, as always, is the poll. I'd really appreciate it if you'd consider ticking off the box to vote for me, especially since this week, the voting is the closest it's ever been. cacophonesque is currently in last place, and while I usually don't do this, she's one of my best friends, so I would love it if you could toss a vote her way, too. And do read all the lovely entries and vote for everything you like. There is seriously not a single one that is without some kind of merit, and I've gotten to know and like all the contestants who are still in the game very much.
The poll closes at 9PM EST on Thursday.