Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Passing the Pen

I apologize—"Passing the Pen" is a bad metaphor. Not many write with pens anymore. Now that my handwriting has gotten unreadable, I rarely do. But “Passing the Word Processor” just doesn’t do it. . . .

Last Thursday evening, Lake Writers held the awards ceremony for the winners of our 2008 Student Writing Contest. We had a great turnout. The two first place winners read their stories aloud, and everyone could see (hear?) why these two won. Read about it over on Marion’s blog, On the Blackwater.

The literary arts get short shrift at many schools. After all, the idea of a fiction team battling it out with a rival school is kind of ludicrous (“Number 6 comes in hitting hard, but that last mixed metaphor will cost him big! Can number 32’s description save the game or will all the excess adjectives be his undoing? And did you catch that split infinitive? Sometimes a player can get away with that, but not this time. . . .”)

Yeah, there’s the PTA Reflections Contest and something called Young Authors, but that’s about it. Oh, sometimes students get sucked into the International Library of Poetry and think their “Editor’s Choice/Semi-finalist” awards are real, but someone eventually sets them straight. So, if young writers can have another legitimate contest to enter, so much the better.

This year, entrants were limited to two counties (Bedford and Franklin) and to a setting (within 50 miles of Smith Mountain Lake). Since the Smith Mountain Arts Council provides the prize money, it was appropriate that we showcase the lake area. Those of us who judged were amazed at the variety of stories the kids wrote.

Anyhow, it did us writers of, ahem, a certain age good to read what the young folks are producing. That we could help them in some small way was icing on the cake. (Arrrggghh! Bad cliché!)



Blogger CountryDew said...

Our library has sponsored a poetry contest for a good while. I think it is good thing to get kids involved in writing and thinking and works of fancy. School is so rote that it's hard to be creative in that atmosphere anymore, I think.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Amy Hanek said...

I am so glad you all did this! I hope to urge Emma into this next year. She will be taking an advanced writing course at the middle school.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Amy Tate said...

Becky I agree. I'm pleased to say that Faith Christian emphasizes the arts. Ben came home with a reading list for the summer - he will be tested on it when he returns in the fall. They also hold a fiction contest within each grade - Ben won this year. I'm just a little proud! lol

4:54 PM  
Blogger Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

I had ideas of encouraging Kelly to enter next year too but hey, what about Pittsylvania County? We could WALK to the lake. We're closer to the actual lake than many people but Kelly can't enter because we're in Pittsylvania County? Please look into not excluding us next time Becky.

6:05 AM  

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