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Congratulations to The Honest Storytelling Challenge Insight Category Winner, DC Diamondopolous!

By Angela Pang

Image Credit, Jenny Liu Zhang

The Honest Storytelling Challenge challenges participants to reflect on and analyze their relationship with honesty, along with reflecting on and analyzing the reflections and analyses that came from that process. With enough rounds, one may be lucky enough to hit a helpful insight or two to share with the world.

One piece managed to hit the jackpot, filled with enough insight to have the rest of us reflecting and analyzing it long after our eyes are done reading. The subject it broaches is a difficult, sensitive one to talk about that lands too close to home in a good way, but the author managed to guide this reader through the jigsaw puzzles of a traumatic experience so that by the end of it, you’re able to look at the completed picture of home with fresh eyes, no longer so distressfully puzzled.

We congratulate DC Diamondopolous on her story titled 1962: It’s Always the Girl’s Fault – winner of the Insight category!

How do people assign blame? How about fault? Or responsibility?

Now, how should they, and why is the answer to this question not the same as the other?

These are questions that philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists (and many more) have been trying to understand for centuries, and 1962: It’s Always the Girl’s Fault demonstrates the very unjust and human suffering that results from confusing, inconsistent, or cruel answers to those questions.

Written in a way that grips the reader from the start with terrifying imagery, the plot unravels little by little, giving a sense of déjà vu to this reader by paralleling past national social issues with the context of current events unfolding in the United States, until the story dunks you into the intense, uncertain, and mixed emotions of the protagonist at the climax. If some people in power would have their way, this horror is realistically the expected climax of all other climaxes (in all meanings of the word). The past may no longer exist, but 1962: It’s Always the Girl’s Fault reminds us of how it was not so long ago; its memory stays with us long after, because the body keeps the score even when it can barely keep itself or its autonomy alive due to the shift in Zeitgeist.

Hours after reading it, there are still more thoughts that come to my mind because of this story. A part of me that was previously unaware of its own loneliness finally felt understood by the end of 1962: It’s Always the Girl’s Fault, and the compassionate outside view helped me clearly see that it was not Donna’s fault, and thus allocating all the fault to myself during a related situation did not make sense. The insight I gained from 1962: It’s Always the Girl’s Fault genuinely helped me process my own trauma that I had trouble resolving on my own, and I expected that resolution even less than Donna expected her dilemma.

Here’s a look at some of the judges’ comments about its winning qualities:

  • “I think this is a well-told story about when it's valid to conceal the truth. It's a very unusual angle to take and tells you a story that isn't superficial, so I do think this is a good contender for the insight nomination.”

  • “I loved this and thought it was FANTASTIC.”

  • “Hard, real, and a story we often only see in more sterile terms. Touches upon the things we don't get to talk about openly, and gives a nice sense of time/zeitgeist; what has changed and what has not.”

  • “super moving. the writing was great!”

  • “Heart wrenching. I really felt like I was part of this intense and tragic story. Our history is something we need to keep an eye on. This was a really well written story.”

  • “It was brutal to read and a poignant reflection on how little we've progressed regarding women's reproductive rights since the 1960s.”

Thoughts from DC Diamondopolous: For a while, I was through writing flash fiction until the success of my book Captured Up Close: 20th Century Short-Short Stories made it to #11 on Amazon's Short Historical Fiction List. Then, Roe was overturned by the United States Supreme Court. I was so outraged by the cruelty of the six judges that voted after almost fifty years, to take away a woman’s right to her own body, that I sat down and wrote “1962: It’s Always the Girl’s Fault.”

It’s always been my opinion that some men hate women. They hate the fact that women can give life, something they can’t. So they have to control women, especially their bodies. Yes, some women agree with them and cite religious reasons, which have no place in our government.

This story has generated a lot of hoopla. It won 1st Place in a Texas journal, yet they chose to have the runner-up read it on Zoom. I understand the fear some journals have when monitored by politicians. But it’s my belief we must stand up to the bullies who want women to go back to being barefoot and pregnant.

Here’s a teaser from 1962: It’s Always the Girl’s Fault:

But when her eyes met Wendy’s and she saw fear in her sister’s face, she switched from victim to comforting older sister.

“I’m sorry,” Donna said, sitting beside her, “that I dragged you into this.”

Wendy grasped her hand.

Donna felt her warmth, smelled the floral fragrance of Prell shampoo.

“It’s our secret,” Wendy said.

Read it here ! Afterwards, check out the whole collection of submissions and tell us which story is the winner for you in our Forum.

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