The judging is complete, the winners have been chosen, and all that remains is to announce who won what…and then get busy on our next writing contest.
The Contest called for the best "lead" you've ever written. It could be from fiction or nonfiction, with the only stipulation being the 150-word length.
The entries made for some interesting reading. Our favorite and the winner of the $250 Grand Prize came from a South Carolina native named Tom Reeves, whose entry read thusly:
You never know when he'll show up. You'll hear the old man croaking away, mangling chords on his guitar, sometimes in front of the bakery, sometimes down the block. He's sort of banged up looking, slouched over his old guitar with his begging cup down by his case. He can't see or sing or play, but I love that old man and the racket he makes. It's hard to understand him except for the occasional 'Jesus," but once I thought I heard something like this:
"I put my sorrow
in a box with Jesus
of my suffering. Maybe"
I've got a friend says the old man has been around since she could remember. He'd be in front of a Roses store, which is long gone. But not him…he's like an old stump. I give him a dollar every time I can, which ain't often.
Mr. Reeves holds a MFA from Penn State and spends most of his time painting, with some time off to write to "keep the batteries charged."
Next in line is Diane Rhoades, a former waitress and vagabond in the Long Island area. Dianne, winner of the $100 First Prize, once wrote a very popular children's' book on gardening (Garden Crafts for Kids: 50 Great Reasons to Get Your Hands Dirty) and, during her table-waiting days, once served Mrs. John Steinbeck.
Her entry was inspired by a college-hunting trip with her daughter, Casey. Here's what she had to say:
Women do not sit on unfamiliar toilet seats unless they feel safe and "at home." We don't. I never sit down in movie theatres or shopping malls. So when I did not hesitate to sit right down when my daughter and I were visiting Guilford College, I knew this was a good sign. And when the melon balls at the brunch were all ripe, I was clear that people here were paying attention. We walked by a plaque that noted the campus as the home of the Underground Railroad. The big picture and the minutiae matched.
Second prize ($50) went to Susan Meyer from Indiana for her very amusing lead about her Uncle Jack, "the tallest man in radio."
Third prizes ($25 each) went to:
- Stella Richardson from Washington state
- Kristy Flick from Missouri
- Heidi Haaland from Minnesota
- Dale Netherton from Iowa
- Paula Adams from Michigan
- Gail Morris from D'Abadie, Trinidad
- Aida Burruel Federico from Arizona
- Susan Griffin from Texas
Congratulations to all our winners! Your prize checks should arrive shortly. Be sure to check out our next contest.