And the Winner Is…

Announcing the Winners! is pleased to announce the winners of its third annualSummer Monologue Contest. The contest drew entries from all over the world and has helped connect a greater network of writers. Participants compiled short, 250-word responses to daily prompts. Fiction author Jeffrey F. Barken, memoirist, Ben Tanzer, and poet, Kelsey McMurtrey worked together to judge the submissions. Entries were rated based on their use of language to stylize stream of conscious remarks or to create a compelling scene. The winners have been invited to join the Monologging community and looks forward to hosting the contest again next summer.

The 1st place winner of this round of monologging and a $50 prize is Jessica Meredith. Jessica’s submission, entitled “The Absurdly Cleansed,” offers a bleak view of a deserted laundromat on a rainy evening when the desire to obtain warmth and cleanliness is irresistible..


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The Absurdly Cleansed

Its 2 am, crying rain outside and I finally did it, hit rock bottom, finding myself in a deserted Laundromat in the middle of nowhere. My girl kicked me out of the van, again. This time she didn’t come back for me. Three hours walking through mud and slush, the only sign of life was a flickering bulb outside. Inside the furnace was cranked, welcoming me to hells gate. The gatekeeper was hunched over in a corner, pretending to sleep, murmuring words in demon’s tongue. My soiled clothes were melting into dark brown pools on the sticky floor. In front of me the glass doors to each laundry unit were portals leading to other lost souls tombs. In my pocket I still had six quarters that would pay my passage fair. But, I snapped out of it. Nice warm dry clothes sounded fine. I debated, not a one in sight to see me standing in my birthday suit while I waited, and that would leave me one quarter to make a call to my cousin to come fetch me out of my most recent episode. The hot air had my over-worked breath parched. A vending machine was barely humming in rhythm with drums beating on the metal roof. A blue bottled water button glow the most magnificent light even seen in God’s country. I was heavy with hope and desperation. Prayers flew off cracked lips. My path had been revealed. I just hadn’t been listening.


The following two monologues by Betsy Allee and Kim Nelson placed second and third in the 2014 Summer Monologue contest. Betsy’s monologue, “Solstice,” presents a language lesson focussed on the pronunciation of delicate words–all on the longest day of the year. Kim’s monologue, meanwhile, seeks the scent of candles to calm a mother’s nerves.

Solstice, Silhouette Asunder , Photo by Jeffrey F. Barken

“Solstice, Silhouette, Asunder.” Photo by Jeffrey F. Barken



-By Betsy Allee

“Say, sal stess.” There’s just a hint of a difference.
“It doesn’t matter why it’s said this way.” Aggravating. Doesn’t it derive from a root like sol or solar?
“Say it like salsa, not like soulsa.” It only matters twice a year. No wonder no one says it correctly.
“No, we don’t have chips to go with lunch. One more time…Sal stess.”

Someone should start a pronunciation contest. A speaking bee, instead of a spelling bee. The letters are: C – A – C – O – P – H – O – N -Y Rich irony. Words spinning in sound and definition on a constant journey around the light of understanding. Knowledge may result from witnessing order, but wisdom comes conquering the chaos, and using inference for clarity does not sound like SUB plus T – L – E.  Symbols or cymbals? Without supporting instruments the cacophony endures. Like the sure purpose of primary colors, words must bond and hue to depict the landscape. Even this evidence is not enough to unleash all the senses.

I won’t explain solstice by insisting he form the word on his tongue. His mouth is full of fruit. He doesn’t have to utter to tell me he wants to be released from the impostor of instructional conversation. Proper speech assists cleverness, but the moment is rare and glorious. Letters tick by, and language tells a story, but it is the highest sunlight of the year illuminating eager, youthful cheeks that resounds in perfect harmony.


Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of



-By Kim Nelson

If I light some candles I won’t be able to smell the diapers. Maybe the warm flickering light and the scent of burning Tahitian vanilla will take me away. A little baily’s in my coffee. Nah a little coffee in my bailey’s. If step on another fucking Lego I’m going to run naked and shrieking through the suburbs… Oh God please let them sleep for a whole hour so I can wipe up the spilled milk and take my first shower in 3 days and maybe put on a clean shirt. No fuck the shower. Some things take precedence over cleanliness. I’m heading up to my room and I’m going to drink this by myself with nobody touching me or needing me or demanding something. Maybe I’ll light ten candles- one for each time I resisted the urge to shake a red faced raging 2 year old monster and one for each time a smart ass six year old made me feel dumb. I’ll light these red candles to forget about all the sex I’m not having- don’t even want to have any more because it’s the Sahara Dessert down there anyways. Is that the pitter patter of little feet? Nope, just the dishwasher. I’ll light the lime green one to fill my room with burnt citrus and forget
that I’m lonely. Shit, maybe I’ll just set this place on fire.


Post Photo by Jeffrey F. Barken