The holiday season has arrived in full. There are still a few last leftovers from Thanksgiving in the fridge. Santa, Rudolf and lights galore are starting to grace the homes in the neighborhood. December has arrived and with it, some colder temperatures, blustery, rainy days and the deadline for the Emerging Writer contest I sponsor every year. One talented, emerging writer will receive a paid registration fee to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference in February 2015. Travel and all other costs are on the winner, but the ticket in the door is their reward for a well crafted response to the prompt Why I write.
Last year, I ran an entirely electronic submission process and have done so again this year. While this streamlines the judging with the number of entries received, sometimes I miss the analog process where I held each manuscript as I read every response to the prompt and began stacking submissions in the NO, MAYBE, ABSOLUTELY piles as part of the judging process. The kinesthetic connection as I turned the pages made reading each entry a more personal experience. Each author and I were having an intimate conversation about writing.
The deadline now past, time to tackle reading the entries. Each year I’m looking for the one entry that will take my breath away, cause me to break in to a deep belly laugh, or stop reading for a moment from the tears in my eyes. With eight years of reading Why I write… entries, will I read a story that is genuinely original in thought or composition is a question in the back of my mind. Inevitability, there is some coal in the writing I’m about to mine. I’ll find a few diamonds there, I’m sure.