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Moleskine's Grand Challenge


By Melanie RosePublished 3 years ago 8 min read

I stared at the last question on the test, searching my head for the answer.

If I get this right, I will move on to the next round of Moleskine's Grand Challenge!

Moleskine, a company that creates elegant, classy products such as notebooks, bags, accessories, planners, and smart products, is holding a contest that is laid out in three rounds. The first round is a digital test that can be taken at any Moleskine retailer. If you get one question wrong, you are out, but you move onto the next round if you pass the test with a 100%.

The winner will get $20,000. The second prize is $5000, and the third prize is $1000. Some runner-up prizes will be given as well, but I have my eye set on that $20,000.

This last year has been rough. My hours at work were cut in half, and I had to take on so many different odd jobs to make ends meet for my two kids and me. I could use some relief.

I reread the question…

In 2012, what company did Moleskine partner with to produce a digital-friendly notebook with specifically designed pages and stickers for smartphone syncing?

All the questions have been related to the history of Moleskine and its products. I have been studying day and night ever since I heard about the contest and I have learned so much about them.

Moleskine is a remarkably interesting company with locations across the world. They support education through their own Moleskine Foundation, which is committed to providing youth with unconventional educational tools and experiences that help foster critical thinking, creative doing, and life-long learning. They also host creativity retreats: immersive group travel experiences intended to spark inspiration, creativity, and self-expression. That is something I would love to do someday!

I took a deep breath before I filled in my final answer.


My screen exploded with balloons, and the machine printed out a ticket to take up to the cashier to receive instruction on the second round of the contest.

I leaped out of my chair and practically ran up to the register. I was one step closer to that $20,000 and finally some sense of security for me and my kids.

As a single mother, it's hard to keep a brave face in front of them sometimes. When things get tight, and you are working endlessly to make things work, and they just don't, it's hard not to break down in front of them.

Even though I am pretty sure my fourteen-year-old son has an idea of what I go through. On the other hand, my nine-year-old daughter just smiles and laughs without a care in the world. I absolutely love that about her!

When I reached the front of the line, I held out my winning receipt with pride and waited to see what came next.

The cashier handed me a small black notebook and told me everything I needed was inside. I thanked her and hurried to my car to see what the next round was about.

I pulled off the elastic band that was holding the notebook together and turned to the first page.

I turned to the next page to reveal what the five pillars were.

This was going to take some serious thought and preparation. I closed the notebook and put it away in my bag. The whole ride home, I thought about each pillar and how I can show I demonstrate it in my life.

When I got home, my daughter was sitting at the kitchen table drawing a picture.

"Mommy!" She shouted when she saw me.

"Hi honey, what are you drawing?" I asked her.

"I can't tell you until it's finished." She replied with a smile so bright that it could make anyone happy even on their worst day.

"Okay, baby, where is your brother?" I asked her as I pulled out some pasta to make dinner.

"He is in his room." She chimed back.

I put a pot of water on the stove and went to check on him.

I tapped on the door, and I peeked my head in to see what he was up to.

I smiled when I saw he was sitting at his desk doing his homework.

"Hey, mom." He said without looking up.

"Hey, son. How was your day?" I asked as I looked over his shoulder to see what he was working on.

"Good." He replied. "Just working on my Physics homework."

"Fun!" I laughed. "I am going to get dinner started."

I patted him on the shoulder as I left the room. He is such a good kid. They both are. I don't know how I got so lucky!

After dinner was eaten, homework was checked, and baths were taken, I finally had a few minutes to myself to look over this notebook and figure out what I wanted to put together for this second round.

I read the pillars over and over again until I was tired. This contest was too important, so I decided to sleep on it before I dove in headfirst.

The next morning I woke up before dawn to get the kids out the door to school and myself to work. It wasn't until late that evening that I had any time to sit down and work on the notebook. I opened up the page with the pillars and reread the first one.

I loved the way they worded its meaning. It gave the word excellence new meaning to me. I like to paint and draw in my very little spare time, so I pulled out my portfolio and looked through each work of art I had created over the years. About halfway through, I spotted the perfect one I wanted to use to display my meaning of Moleskine's pillar of Excellence.

When I was finished, I turned back to the notebook to reread the second pillar.

This one was easy for me. I was constantly filling my brain with knowledge. I looked around my room at the walls covered from floor to ceiling with bookcases filled with books on just about every subject. I loved to read and open up my mind to new things constantly!

The next pillar was Care.

I sat back in my chair and thought about this one for a minute. I knew I cared most about my kids. They are the most amazing thing I have ever done with my life, but I struggled to express that accurately. They are literally my heart and soul. I wanted to make sure I did them justice.

I started to look through all of our old pictures and began to gather a collage of all the things we have done together over the years.

After that, I needed a break from this project today. Besides, it was well past midnight.

The fourth pillar was going to a hard one for me. I was passionate about so many things. I wasn't sure how to pick just one.

The rest of the night, I tossed around idea after idea, trying to find the right one that would demonstrate this pillar effectively.

The next morning when I woke up, it was like the answer had been whispered into my ear overnight.

After I got the kids off to school, I had some time before I had to be at work so I sat down to fill in the last two pillars.

The last and final pillar was Resourcefulness.

Most single mothers have being resourceful down to an art form. I knew I could display this one perfectly!

After I filled in the last pillar in the notebook, I sat back and admired what I had accomplished. These pillars really got me thinking about my life and how full and precious it really is. Despite all the hours of work and hardships along the way, I have managed to create a beautiful life for my kids and me. I had a lot to be proud of.

As much as I want that $20,000 to provide for my kids, what I learned through this journey was just as important, and I didn't have to win that. It was already given to me in the process.

The next day I took the notebook and packed it up in a box to ship to the Moleskine headquarters. That is where they will choose three winners and display their work online. Then for the last round, they open up a poll for the public to vote on their favorite one, and when the timer runs out, whoever has the most votes wins that $20,000.

All I had to do now was wait until the 17th to see if I would move on to the next round.

On the morning of the 17th, I checked Moleskine's website every hour on the hour to see if they had posted the winners. It wasn't until almost 3 o'clock that it finally was up.

I sat frozen in front of my computer at work when I saw my notebook displayed on Moleskine's website.

As confident as I was in what I had sent in, I was still in shock that I made it to the final round and that no matter what, I would still win a cash prize for my efforts! I wanted to jump up and scream, but I was still at work, so I had to keep myself composed for a little while longer.

When I was done for the day, I raced home to share my news with the kids. They were so excited and began to tell all their friends to vote for my notebook to win.

The next seven days felt endless as I watched the timer on the voting count down and the votes for each of the notebooks go up and down.

The votes were so close on all three. It was hard to tell who would win. I knew it would come down to the last second.

On the final day of voting, I was so anxious. The countdown would end at 7 PM, and the numbers were still so close. After dinner, the kids and I pulled out the laptop and camped out in the living room with some popcorn to watch the final count down.

In the last half an hour of the voting, my notebook was just a few votes away from being in first place. I could feel my insides ache with anticipation. Right before 7 o'clock, I closed my eyes because I didn't want to see the timer running out.

The next thing I knew, my kids were jumping up and down, screaming at the top of their lungs. My eyes popped open, and I saw my notebook won by just 2 votes! It was unbelievable!

The tears began to flow down my cheeks, and both of my kids wrapped their arms around me.

"You did it, mom!" My son said, beaming with pride. He knew what winning this contest would mean for us.

"Good job Mommy! Yours really was the best!" My daughter said with certainty.

"Thank you, babies! I love you both! Let's go get some ice cream to celebrate!" I replied, wiping the tears from my eyes.

"YAHH!!!!" they both yelled and ran to put on their shoes.

Later that evening, as I lay in my bed, I let my body finally relax and enjoy the relief that this money would bring. I spent so many sleepless nights worrying about so many things, and this prize will help us more than anyone will ever know!


About the Creator

Melanie Rose

Writing can free your soul. At least it does for me. I am an artist and a mother first, but writing gives me an outlet to let my brain wander and create stories to expand my artwork in a whole new way! Follow me @melanierosecreates

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