Start writing!
24th April 2015

Our guest judge this week is Sarah Weldon, a British explorer, neuropsychologist, science communicator, and Diver Medic Technician. Next year she’s undertaking a solo row around Great Britain, where she will explore what it means to be a British islander, comparing and contrasting the seafaring life, ship-building, and landscape of Britain in the 21st Century with the life of the Viking ancestors between 793 AD and 1066 AD. Given this, she seemed well-placed to read your excellent entries on the subject of ‘Lost At Sea’ and choose her favourites. 

Here are her comments, and it seems that this week we have our first winner by default as the writer of the ‘buttons’ story didn’t do their marking so wasn’t eligible to win. 

Sarah said of this featured entry: ‘My favourite story was the one about the buttons. I loved the originality of the story in that it played on alternative understandings of the phrase 'lost at sea'. The story pulled you in, so that you had to read the next line because you wanted to know what happened next. Images were painted in your mind as you read it:’


‘MY GIRLFRIEND bought me a button.
"What's this for?" I said.
"So I can push it," she said.’


Sarah’s nominated winner of ‘Lost At Sea’ was: ‘The one about the grandmother: I've recently been visiting towns and museums across Britain and one of the things that has struck me recently is just how far and wide war affects towns and communities, especially small ones, and when you have brothers lost from the same family. I've also come across news items of young people vandalising the monuments and I wonder whether they have lost the connection with what the monuments are about and why they were built or so important. The impact of war, especially World Wars I and II left holes in the communities and threads across the generations. We have all lost relatives or ancestors, or are living with people in our families who had lives massively impacted because of the war. What I loved most about this story was how it took a regular person and explored the effects of war on the person's life. The story took me to a place, where one person's grandmother represented thousands of grandmothers, that we could all relate to. The power of the story was in the not-telling of it, that the grandmother never spoke about her brother. It was very well-written:’


‘"Ah yes- my big brother-Arthur George. Joined the navy at 18 years old- but then, in 1942, we heard the news- we heard the news that- that he was: Lost At Sea."
She would leave a space between each of those last three words, and in the spaces you could feel that, somehow, her brother lived on.’


Sarah’s final featured entry was: ‘The story of the couple on the boat. Again, I liked how the story played on the different meanings of 'lost at sea'. Often it is the journeys we go on, outside of our daily life, that bring the people we travel with alive in ways we have never seen them before. Holidays are a time to stop, live in the moment, and to reflect on life. This story really captured the feeling of being away, reflecting, and planning anew. It made the reader feel like they understood the couple, and what it is like to find that the person you fell in love with is somehow different:’


‘You shout from the prow of the boat,
‘I’m king of the world’,
my love for you drops
like a missed baton,…’


Thanks Sarah for your choices and we all wish that you will be successful, and not lost, at sea. 


My Notes