Some people take the "as long as it's not me" approach, but fail, IMO, to fully realize, that one day it's going to be them. There is only going to be one person walking away without being eliminated, and as the numbers continue to dwindle, the greater the chance becomes that it is going to be you.
This time around we are saying goodbye to:
genesisdesire - Insert swearing here.
Just my opinion, but you cut out that last aside/paragraph - ending the entry with "The team left me with a busted knee, and little else, but the knowledge that sometimes it's worth nearly destroying yourself when people believe you can't." and you are still in this thing. Like you said, you have proven that you CAN do this, that you are quite good at it. I don't even know why that paragraph was there! Sorry, that's going to bug me for a while. . .
You had an uphill battle in that there were several sports/running entries and any time someone goes for "what is obvious" it's actually more of a risk than people who are all "I'm taking a risk!!!"
You cited the reaction to your fiction a couple weeks ago as a turning point for you, but I think it was the Reprobate entry. It may not have gotten the attention and comments, but I think it really showed you stepping up and realizing the bits and pieces that had been there all along. ("One Touch" was so close to being that, IMO, but I think you over thought it and threw in elements that didn't need to be there.)
majesticzaichik - From your comments I know that this isn't a surprise. You are wrong though about it being "the lowest vote total ever". Sorry. :) It's an interesting goal though. I guess if you are going out anyway, might as well go out with a record! For someone who thought they were doomed after the Week 3 entry, I'd say going out in Week 11 is pretty darn good. I think you may have been in danger, until Week 5 with your "Bearing False Witness" entry. Yeah, it was on the long side, but I think it gave people a real sense of what you are capable of doing. Something that it doesn't always seem like *you* are all that aware of at times. You find a line or two and can really twist things and come up with your own unique vision. I would have to see you continue to play with that and broaden it out into more of your work and focus a bit more on where you want things to go. You've shown that you can do it.
I also finished the goodbyes for the people from last week. I am *so* sorry that it has taken this long. My sincere apologies.
_mysticalelf - If you've got to go, there are worse ways to go than "smut"! :)
You've been a lot of fun to have around and I'm glad that you are planning on staying!
I think the part that really stands out for me about "you", is that at one point I actually forgot who you were! Not "who is this mysticelf" (heh, which has happened during a season before with contestants!) but rather who you "actually" were!
The entry that I'd like most to point out to people, if they missed it, is "One Touch". From what I've overheard around the virtual water cooler, you picked up a lot of buzz from your Open Topic entry, and a lot of new readers. I think going back to that entry in particular will be a "That's the same person???" moment. :)
alisandre - When I saw that you had posted, I swore. I actually swore at my computer.
Which seems like a weird and inappropriate response.
But I saw that you had posted an excerpt from your novel, and I knew how reusing material, without anything new added, was going to go over.
Until that moment, I had you down as taking a bye and, based on your entries over the past couple of weeks I had imagined you lasting for quite some time. Seriously - anyone who has missed her entries, go back and read them, especially Bearing False Witness.
I think it's an example of someone who just never quite found the following she deserves. Unfortunately, that happens. Heck, read the excerpt. I want to read more to see where it was going.
apisanthrop - One of the first of the Tribal Leaders. Which means you came into this with a target on your back as someone who could have gone home in that very first poll. You turned that around and ended up in the Top Half of Idol. Not bad at all.
I would also like to point out that I think you did a pretty top rate job of setting up your tribe. Again, that's not something that people, other than me, really can see because they don't fully get into the mechanics. But I know that early on you stood out to me, because I could see what came off as a careful thought process.
I think it was that you got a bit lost in the shuffle in those first couple of days, but I know that once people found you they became fans.
chalkolitlover - Well I couldn't go back and reread your stuff, or suggest it to other people because by the time I ended up writing these you had locked. So I have to go completely with the impressions that I had in memory. Well, that and your Home Game entry, which I thought really highlights your strength. The journal is called "What's Simple is True" and I think you managed to sum up what is very, very right with your writing. Too many people go for the "I'm going to make this sound impressive" or trying to be overly clever. Let's face it, there are people who like that sort of thing. For my money though, the true strength of really good writing is the simple emotion at it's core. You strip away all the dodads and tricks, and just tell a good story. You have that nature ability to just tell a story. It's raw and unfocused at times, but that's not always a bad thing.
gildedage - Probably the "second biggest shock" for me. I wasn't planning on writing this for awhile, but when I saw your Open Topic entry I thought that it was the one time when it might be close. I enjoyed it, but I figured it might be a hard sell under the circumstances. I always got the sense that there was so much more going on under the surface, that what we were seeing in your entries was really just the tip of something far greater. I think we saw that with the Open Topic, as odd as that might seem, that you were very much on your own page, and banging that different drummer on the back of the head in the process.
jenandbronze - I'm glad to have the chance to be writing this one. Wait, that sounds wrong doesn't it? After all, I only write these after someone is eliminated. . . Oh well, I'm just glad that I get to say something to you. This wasn't your week. We both know it. BUT, and here comes to the part I wanted to say - you know how when introducing the Gatekeepers I said that one of my favorite contestants of all time was the_dark_snack? One of the reasons for that is that she was the first one that I really saw, back in Season 2, take advantage of the opportunity of writing week after week to truly stretch herself as a writer and a person. I think she really set the standard for that sort of thing.
Why am I mentioning that? Because you remind me *a lot* of her.
That first entry I read from you seems like forever ago. It was OK, but rough. You grew a bit over the course of the season until you were eliminated. You came back this time with this new energy and determination and have gone from someone who was "pretty good" to someone who can definitely hold her own. Your gift has found a way to translate the language barrier into something quite special and I can't wait to see the next stage of your development.
liret - There was a raw energy in how you talked about the buildings in Haiti. I think it showed signs of life in what turned out to be a fairly popular topic during Open Topic, signs of what you can do. No offense to any of the others, all of them are people that I really liked, you were the biggest shock to me. Not that the entry ended up where it did, but just in general. I'm a fan of your writing. I think you're fantastic in general and highly urge everyone reading this to go back and read your other posts. Any of them really. There is just such life in your words, such a presence. There were signs of it in this last one, because I knew what I was looking for, having looked forward to your posts week after week, but I just don't think that it ended up connecting. Which is a damn shame.
mermaidkween - How meta can you get? "I'm in a car writing about being in car". :P Maybe you should have been on a boat!!! Then you would have at least had a theme song!
If I loved you after the post elimination period last season, you know I certainly still do now. :) Not that I expect that it will save me from a kicking should we ever meet face to face.
I hope that I don't have to tell people to read some of your other stuff. Hopefully they are already doing it. Congratulations on the new gig! Keep us updated!
negativeneve - When I read your comment about " knew I was going to go out soon and I'm glad I got to go out on something like this" things made so much more sense to me about your post. You felt that clock ticking and wanted to make sure you were going to be saying something important, rather than an entry on "My socks smell bad"... How's THAT for your next writing challenge? ;)
I know that I had the chance to say a few words about your stuff when I discussed your Free topic over the Christmas break. I think your actual writing has shown a measured improvement even during the (relatively) short time that I've "known" you and your attitude, in general, is one that I wish more people "out there" were able to possess. If you have a chance to talk to "future you" again, find out if you were able to mass produce it for profit? I hope so.
teenagewitch - It seems strange to me that this was your first season, just because it seems like you've always been around. (it helps that you had a presence last season)
Your One Touch entry was absolutely heart warming. I am so happy for you that you found each other. It's something that so many people look for their entire lives. The love of your family and life come through in every word you write. It's wonderful to see and a treat to read.
worldofcharlie - As a writer, you are a very nice guy.
That's what some detractors had to say during your first season. Obviously your detractors needed to work on their detracting skills. ;)
You were rough back then - but you want to know what? I think the Home Game entry you just wrote (and some of the other material from this season) shows just how very far you have come since then. It has been *really* satisfying to watch your progress over the seasons. It really is like night and day to look back over some of that older stuff. Which is how it should be.
Now people respect you for continuing to develop as a writer *and* being a nice guy. Guess who is getting the last laugh? ;)
Thank you to all of you for coming out this season. I really hope to see you in the Home Game thread, and the Green Room!