On May 1st this year I set myself a challenge to write a hundred word post every day for one hundred days, 100 posts, 100 days, each 100 words. I do set myself little writing challenges from time to time, but this one was for a purpose. Last year an incredible man, Thomas Moore, known as Captain Tom decided to set himself a challenge, to walk one hundred lengths of his garden in the days leading up to his 100th birthday in an effort to raise £1000 for NHS (National Health Service) charities. It was a tough but modest challenge for an elderly man who had recently been in poor health, but his efforts became known and gained support locally and then nationally and then internationally and he raised a stupendous sum, more than £32,000,000!!!
His money-raising efforts were extraordinary, but what was more extraordinary was the example he set which gave many others the idea and maybe the courage to set themselves their own personal challenges. This year, on April 30th, what would have been his 101st birthday, the Captain Tom Foundation started a challenge for people to challenge themselves to do a hundred things to raise money – bake a hundred cakes to sell, be sponsored to do a hundred things, write a hundred letters – all sorts of different and marvellous ideas.
In many ways Captain Tom reminded me of my own dad, who served during the war, who was a strong and determined person, who faced many challenges, some unknown to others outside the family, and was uncomplaining, positive and courageous. I admired Captain Tom, of course, but I think I felt involved in his challenge – and now his Foundation’s challenge, because it resonated with my thoughts, feelings and memories of my dad. So, I set myself a challenge. It took me a while to think about it and decide what to do, but eventually I realised what would be within my capabilities, but at the same time would need perseverance and effort.
My challenge was to write a post of exactly 100 hundred words, every day for 100 days. I would start on May 1st, the day after Tom’s 101st birthday, and finish on August 8th, just ten days before what would have been my dad’s 102nd birthday. I had no pre-conceived ideas of what I would write, each 100 words would be whatever I could conjure up – something which made sense, and was, in its century of words, complete. Would it be difficult? Would I finish? Would I run out of things to write or be repetitive? We were going away for a few days – would I find time or remember to write while I was away?
I started on May 1st, and this was what I wrote:
I must go back to the river, but would I ever be able to recapture it, the soft sweet-rank smell, the textured feel of the water, the weed through my fingers? I could never slip from boat to water and swim or let the flow carry me, and float and gaze at the Cambridge blue sky drifting by and the particular green of the willow against the clouds.
I must go back to the river, not because I might recapture the past, maybe I can do that anyway, but just because I would like to go back to the river.
It was harder than I thought, and when I’d written it and shared it here I really wondered how I would be able to do ninety-nine more. But of course I did. I wrote about all sorts of things – things I had done that day, things I remembered from my past, random stuff, everyday stuff, food, TV programmes, all sorts of things, and yesterday I wrote my last one about balance and fittingly – although I’ve only just thought of this, I mentioned my Dad.
I have not asked for any sponsorship or donations but I am going to donate to the foundation – £100 of course, and then I’m going to publish my 100 little 100 word stories, and anything I make from that I’ll donate too!
Will I be able to stop writing my 100s? I’m not sure… It has become rather addictive!