Sunday, June 24, 2007

Writing Contests

I've been poking around on the web, trying to find some quickie writing contests. I recently placed second with a short story, Couldn't Be Easier, in a contest off the site,
I was grateful for the recognition (and the $75 prize!). But I also appreciated the deadline. Nothing like a deadline for motivation. For an ex-newspaper reporter like me, having these book biz deadlines such a long, L---O---N---G way away makes it seem like they're not real. Very different than showing up at a plane crash or a workplace shooting and having to collect and dictate your story within a couple of hours.
Another competition, from Writers Digest online, offers this month's prompt: Three people in an empty movie theater. It's cold. Go. Good exercise, and $100 for the best short piece off the prompt. No entry fee, either .... You can't win if you don't try, right?
Pro or con on contests?
I say thumbs up. Even if entering takes me away from Mama Rides Shotgun, my second book in progress, contests are a good way to polish skills and think creatively.
Or, maybe they're just avoidance . . .

Friday, June 15, 2007

Kevin's Party

I just finished printing 14 pages from a website. It's a collection of online condolences sent after the death of my younger brother, Kevin. I'm going to bind them to give to our 92-year-old mom.
Nice scrapbook, huh?
The company that sponsors the site, linked from the newspaper's obit pages, calls it a "Guest Book. ''
Kevin, always up for a party, would have loved the term. But to me, this particular party doesn't seem all that festive. I wish I could be uninvited as a guest.
It's been nine months since he died, gone suddenly at age 48 from an apparent heart attack. Is the loss ever going to get easier?
In the meantime, I read over the thoughts and prayers sent by Kevin's "guests.'' The first girl he asked to go steady; people he knew in the bar biz; page after page of friends and acquaintances, all the way from his days in Little League to his Las Vegas junkets.
I only wish he could be at his party. He'd love to see how many guests showed up.

Friday, June 1, 2007


Which do I choose?
Finishing up a chapter of my book, or going with a stressed-out friend for moral support as she discusses surgical options with her doctor?
Of course, I chose the friend.
But what about picking up my mother-in-law from the airport or finishing the chapter?
Spending scarce time with my usually-on-the-road husband or finishing the chapter?
Solving a mini-crisis for my mother or finishing the chapter?
Dealing with yet another detail following my brother's death or finishing the chapter?
Sometimes I feel like it's all too much, these demands. Other times I feel like I'm using them mainly to help me avoid writing.
Which is it? Good girl who can't say no? Or lazy author looking for an excuse?
I'll let you know when I figure out what mine are.