Juni’s story, Drop Zone, won second prize in the Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life last year and was published in our anthology Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life. We’re pleased to bring you a reading of Juni’s story today.
We asked Juni to share with us a bit about her story and her writing journey. This is what she sent us:
Backstory to Drop Zone
I wrote Drop Zone because I wanted to share a short encouraging story that is also a reminder to self. This story encourages me personally on two levels.
First, it reminds me that I am enough. I am only one person but God loves me as much as he loves any other person. And he will do whatever he can to get my attention and show me who he is. He shows me he wants to be in my life every day and we can talk to each other all the time.
Second, it reminds me that when we serve God and share God with others through words or actions, it is never in vain. We may think it has no impact and that it’s a waste of time and effort because we don’t see anything happen on the outside. But who knows what seed is being planted or watered or is growing in someone’s heart?
Having been on both sides of one being served and one serving, I can appreciate both sides and see how they work together. As a youth leader, I could become discouraged thinking that working with teens each week wasn’t making a difference. But Gabby’s words encouraged me that it mattered. It mattered in my life when Gabby ran Drop Zone every week, so, I would keep going because it might matter in someone else’s life.
In terms of how I wrote the story, I wanted to capture these two sides, so, that’s why the story is split into two episodes. I also wanted to focus on dialogue because it was a conversation with Gabby that gave me this insight about the one being worth it. I then chose a conversation with Gabby from the earlier episode where her words also gave me an insight that God is real and personal. I wanted to highlight that what she did matters. It wasn’t big, flashy, weird, or wacky, but it was simple, casual, normal, and relatable. It made a difference.
What writing means to me
For a long time, my dream has been to be a writer/author. I’ve doubted this dream many times but writing is something I can’t shake. Throughout my life, I’ve had other hobbies and passions that have come and gone, but I’ve always gone back to writing. God has spoken to me about it on numerous occasions telling me I was made to write. The most recent time I doubted this was last year. I asked God to show me if I should keep the writing dream alive or if I should give it up. Not long after, I found out that one of my stories I entered in the Stories of Life competition had won a monetary prize. I felt God speak to me through this. He told me not to neglect writing and that he had still called me to be a writer.
The reason I doubted writing was because I felt guilty that my dream wasn’t to do something ‘better’ with my life. Teaching, nursing, feeding the poor…something that you could see was making a difference in the world and making people’s lives better. Through studying creative writing at Tabor (a course I heard about through the Stories of Life competition), I finally learnt the value of writing. I mean, I always knew it, from being a lifelong book-reader and seeing how writing made a difference in my life, but hearing it from a Christian perspective showed me that writing is one of many ways we can show God to the world and glorify him. And writing can make people’s lives better by offering encouragement, inspiration, comfort, wisdom, and so much more.
I hope the words I write bring God’s light and love to people and that they bring glory to God.
Last year, Olivia Harman’s story, John Jenner, was published in our 2019 Stories of Life anthology.
Olivia’s quest to find her great-great-great grandfather led her to the pauper’s corner of the Cornelian Bay cemetery in Hobart, Tasmania, but it’s not his final resting place in the photo above that she sent us. Nonetheless, the historian and traveler in her found it fit to try to remember and honour a certain John Jenner. Who was he? Read Olivia’s story in Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life.
Last Thursday, 1079 Life radio host, Aiden Grant, spoke to Stories of Life competition judge, David Rawlings, about how to get started on your story and what judges are looking for.
There you go. The next three months sorted: write your story in May, get feedback in June and submit it in July.
Thanks Aiden, for making that public commitment to writing a story. By the way, all our judges receive stories as anonymous entries, so David will not know he’s reading Aiden’s story until after judging is complete. Now, this is especially for Aiden: a writing video on Getting Started by Dr James Cooper. Go Aiden!
It’s a powerful story about fistfights in the far corner of the playground under the gum trees. Alan reads his own story for us, making it all the more poignant, bringing us back in time to when he was a young boy, when he and his sister were marked out as being different.
Enjoyed Alan’s story? For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies.
Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology? We hope so. Accepting submissions till 31 July.
What does reading out loud have to do with story writing? Pete Court will explain why it’s a great way to help with final editing, along with other great tips to help you present your story in the best possible way.
Watching these videos and doing the associated exercises will help you to write your story of faith and testimony. Now you can either submit it, or hang on to that draft if you’ll like personalised feedback for our editors. Information on how to submit drafts online still to come.
Will your story be on our 2020 Stories of Life anthology? We hope so. Whether you submit it now or later, please make sure you send in your story by 31 July. Faith is precious, especially in dark times. Don’t waste the light.
Last November, Joanne Prenzler Smith recorded her story, In a Manger, at the 1079 LifeFM studios in Adelaide. Her story about a real baby, her baby, used in a nativity play won first prize in the Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life category.
Corrin Townsend has long held a passion for teaching English. For 35 years she has been sharing her love of reading and writing with the students of Concordia College, Cornerstone College and now Unity College in Murray Bridge. Some of her recent favourite reads include Jane Harper’s The Dry, Force of Nature and The Lost Man, and Chris Hammer’s Scrublands and Silver. Corrin is married to Christopher. They live in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, and have three adult children.