Results: The Nasiona Writing Prompts Tournament #4

We are now accepting submissions for tournament #5: FORGETTING IS WORSE THAN… Submissions must be non-fiction stories about your life. Think micro-memoir. Deadline: March 17th. $5.25 USD. Click here for submission details.⁣⁣⁣ The winner takes home 35% of the $ pot and the runner-up takes home 15% of the $ pot.⁣⁣⁣ Go here to read the results of our previous tournaments.



If I Were Truly Free…

Before the wedding I was a different person, one who tolerated convention. But you rolled a cigarette outside the hall that felt like a tongue dragging up my back. We lay down behind the tables in an empty auditorium. The sound of your voice changed me. The relentless rain outside. For a short while the room belonged only to us. I should have changed my name instead of going back to my family. I should have taken your hand and showed you how to steal cars. We should have burned away into the future I only have in dreams.


Risk List

If I were truly free
I would warrant broken bones
break sweats in 4/4 time
see movies on my own
eat dirt from misplaced dives
tread heavily on ladders
run circles around ignorance
(with verbal acrobatics)
share psychic revelations
throw bare feet over coal
speak up in crowded spaces
paint Breonna on my wall
make calls without rehearsal
acknowledge where I’m from
sing more than stolen chances
(during Happy Birthday song)
zipper merge like I’m supposed to
swim longer than pebbles throw
and tell more than just two people
hey you know that I write poems?


That Boy

I remember that time
that one boy
whose name I’d draw in delicate loops
my first name with his last
on the schoolbooks protected
with brown grocery store paper bag~

That time when I couldn’t wait until after fourth-period
with craned necks we sought one another
in a cavernous hallway
holding hands as we rushed down a staircase packed,
surrounded by delicate clouds of musky teenage boy
and Love’s Baby Soft~

I was raised to believe God saw the things we did
So I imagined He covered his eyes
For my will was free
He gave it to me


The Regeneration

When the spell on my mind is broken, I will dump every pill into the white porcelain and feel satisfied at each little ripple then flush away the evidence of what once was. The neurons firing in elaborate patterns creating pathways never meant to exist would finally cease. The uttermost emotional spaces reaching beyond normality would be gone. The label of Severely Mentally Ill would slide off of my back and pool into the dirt at my feet. I will walk away as it seeps into the earth until not one drop remains.


Locked Inside

If only I’d screamed, “I’m his mama and a mama knows when her child is sick.”

But that voice was locked inside, a tiny Russian doll nesting in the womb of the next and the next and the next bigger doll until the largest was merely a shell of shellac with a painted smile. If the voice were freed, the gloss would splinter, the smile would shatter. Then who would the doll be? What would be her purpose if not to guard against unpleasantries and make others happy?

And if the fissure breached her core, who would save her son?


Courage Salve

Know what’s fucked up? I felt scared in a restroom again.

Know what else is fucked up? I wasn’t even in a bathroom when I was attacked.

I felt brave when I got him arrested; when I stood up to him in court.

Maybe I can channel that courage when I have to go into a restroom, a preventative salve in case of post-trauma trigger.

Know what’s fucked up? Only around 6% of rapists ever spend time in jail.

Know what else is fucked up? My rapist served twenty years but I’m the one that’s never going to be free.

TOP-6: Author Bios

Rupa Wood grew up in London, England with a garden full of rabbits. An immigrant to Canada, a daughter and grand-daughter of political asylum seekers, she is a multi-disciplinary artist exploring the philosophy of commonplace magic. Rupa is a post graduate student at Oxford University studying Creative Writing.

Mark Todd is a teacher and emerging writer from Northern Ireland. He is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast where he first studied contemporary poetry and creative writing. He currently lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota where he is learning to hone the craft of poetry while trying to stay warm.

I’ve been a writer since the third grade, when I was assigned my very first book report on the journalist Linda Ellerbee. I was a reporter for local newspapers on a part-time and freelance basis while raising my two daughters. Prior to having children, I taught middle-school English at an alternative school in Spring, Texas. Today, I reside in Florida, and work with legislators on the state and national level to advocate for healthcare and women’s rights. I’ve recently completed my first novel and am working on my second. I have been previously published in The Feminine Collective.

Sarah Chavera Edwards is a Chicana writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. Her writing focuses on mental health, the Mexican American experience, and random tales of childhood. She is currently writing a memoir of her experiences with mental illness.

I’m a lover of micro-essays, and 100 words may be my sweet spot–my Tiny Love Story that appeared in the NY Times in 2019 was also included in their 2020 anthology. I also love the long form, as in book-length, as in memoir. Mine–“Portrait of a People-Pleaser and the Son Who Paid the Price”–is currently available for representation. “Locked Inside” is a reflection on that story. I live with my husband of thirty-eight years in perpetual quarantine, or so it seems, in upstate New York. More of my story and writing can be found at

Gina Sampaio began acting publicly at age four and keeping a journal at age fourteen. By forty she figured out how to combine those two passions with blogging and storytelling. In spite of never having a really good idea about what to be when she grew up, she’s somehow exactly what she always wanted to be.


 Matches playedWinsLossesWin %Average Vote %# of votes1st Place2nd Place3rd PlacePrize winnings $ in USD
Rupa Wood5501008012/151  $33.60
Mark Todd541808012/15 1 $14.40
Katherine Silke5326046.677/15  1 
Sarah Chavera Edwards32166.6777.787/9    
Karen DeBonis32166.6766.676/9    
Gina Sampaio32166.6766.676/9    
Susan Niz2115066.674/6    
L.C. Konrath2115066.674/6    
Caroline Bühler21150503/6    
Teresa Berkowitz21150503/6    
Casey Mulligan Walsh21150503/6    
Patrice Assiongbon Sowanou2115033.332/6    
Ernest Ragogini101033.331/3    
Louisa Bacio101033.331/3    
Cassandra Seel101033.331/3    
J Grant101000/3    
Gabrielle Grilli101000/3    
Jean Ann Owens101000/3    
Liz DeGregorio101000/3    
Kelly Eden101000/3    
Gina Blitstein101000/3    
Lauren Schenkman101000/3    
David Fuchs101000/3    
Mara Beneway101000/3    


Round 1VotesRound 2VotesRound 3Votes Round-Robin FinalVotes     
       Most wins = crowned tournament winner.      
(Group A)             
J Grant0            
vs.  Rupa Wood2          
 Rupa Wood 3          Round-Robin WinsRound-Robin Losses
  vs.  Rupa Wood2  Rupa Wood2 1st PlaceRupa Wood20
Mara Beneway0        2nd PlaceMark Todd11
vs. Susan Niz1      3rd PlaceKatherine Silke02
Susan Niz3            
    vs.  vs.      
(Group B)             
Ernest Ragogini1            
vs. Patrice Assiongbon Sowanouo          
Patrice Assiongbon Sowanou2            
  vs. Sarah Chavera Edwards1 Mark Todd1     
Sarah Chavera Edwards3            
vs. Sarah Chavera Edwards3          
Gabrielle Grilli0            
(Group C)             
Jean Ann Owenso            
vs. Gina Sampaio3          
Gina Sampaio3            
  vs. Gina Sampaio0 Mark Todd3     
Teresa Berkowitz3            
vs. Teresa Berkowitzo          
Liz DeGregorio0            
    vs.  vs.      
(Group D)             
Mark Todd2            
vs. Mark Todd3          
Louisa Bacio1            
  vs. Mark Todd3 Katherine Silke0     
Kelly Eden0            
vs. Casey Mulligan Walsh0          
Casey Mulligan Walsh3            
(Group E)             
Katherine Silke3            
vs. Katherine Silke2          
Gina Blitstein0            
  vs. Katherine Silke2 Rupa Wood3     
Cassandra Seel1            
vs. Caroline Bühler1          
Caroline Bühler2            
    vs.  vs.      
(Group F)             
Karen DeBonis3            
vs. Karen DeBonis2          
Lauren Schenkmano            
  vs. Karen DeBonis1 Katherine Silke0     
L.C. Konrath3            
vs. L.C. Konrath1          
David Fuchs0            
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