Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion

A couple of months ago I went out on an artistic limb. I entered a memoir writing contest. The guidelines were pretty simple -- write the opening paragraph of your own memoir, but limit it to 150 words.

The timing on this was interesting because I'd just recently been pondering a personal memoir. I've thought about it for years, and clearly this blog is memoir driven. But the idea of diving into an entire book is intimidating to say the least. The contest felt like a nudge.

I wrote my paragraph and had my husband and a close friend read it. Caroline was wonderfully helpful. It's so nice to be surrounded by smart, talented people. I submitted the entry, and put it out of my mind.

Women's Memoirs, the blog hosting the contest, contacted me to let me know they had received my entry and to ask how I'd found out about them. Apparently they were inundated with entries, so they broke the winners down into groups -- honorable mentions, bronze, silver, gold, and grand prize winners.

Yesterday I received an email telling me I was a gold winner! 

I am truly excited and proud to have been selected. Today I'm sharing my entry with you all, and I hope you'll have a chance to check out some of the other award winning paragraphs at Women's Memoirs.

I’ve been in the sun too long. As I walk into the barn, I am temporarily blinded. The bright sun followed by the sudden shift to the dark barn causes my retinas to temporarily shut down. She is farther back in the barn. Beckoning me. It is cooler in the barn, but stuffy, making it difficult to breathe. I weave my way to the back of the barn where she is waiting for me. She is smiling. I am still unaware of the dangers in that smile. [...Later I will come to understand her smile is maniacal, not friendly.] I cannot know that what is about to happen will alter my life and perceptions for years to come. I cannot know that I will tuck these events deep into the recesses of my mind for more than 30 years.

(Editor's comments -- Melanie’s opening is impressively chilling.  She skillfully weaves palpable details, such as the dim light and stuffiness in the barn, with the mysterious “she” who beckons the narrator.  She might hold back (delete) the italicized sentence below, and let the reader slowly realize that the smile is maniacal, not friendly, which would add to the suspense.)

Thanks to all of you who have been reading, following, and commenting on my blog for over 5 years. You are my compassionate witnesses.

linking up with 31 Days of Writing


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