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.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Winning and Losing

Last Saturday, my Lake Writer/Valley Writer buddy Betsy Ashton and I journeyed to Wytheville for the annual Wytheville Chautauqua Literary Festival, where I placed second in the short story category; she placed third in the essay category.

There we were joined by fellow Lake Writer Bruce Rae who placed second in the essay category. It never hurts to win a bit of money.

On Monday, the winners in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest were announced, and I—who’d won the Vile Pun division in 2008—didn’t even place. Indeed, there were no winners from Virginia at all.

Here’s the grand prize winner, written by David McKenzie of Federal Way, WA:

Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the "Ellie May," a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests.

The winning entry had a nautical theme, as did this losing one I submitted:

I’d momentarily considered rekindling my romance with Hobart but that ship had not only sailed long ago, it had gone down soon after leaving the harbor and now lay belly up in the breakers, looking like a soon-to-be-beached whale whose rotting remains would drive away tourists, so I decided not to return his calls and just get another restraining order like the last time.

I thought that my pun-packed entry with numerous literary allusions to the poetry of Thomas Gray was bad enough to place, but (Alas!) it was not:

Asked by his wife why he had not completed his poem, Thomas Gray replied, “It’s a long story, but on my way to pay the tax collector what we owed on the spring and surrounding property, I took a shortcut over Mount Odin, but as I began the descent of Odin, I passed a cemetery whereupon I stopped to read the epitaph on Mrs. Clerke and then commenced sneezing, for I suffered an allergy within a country churchyard, so my lack of progress of poesy is owed to adversity.”

I figured this entry of mine wouldn’t be bad enough for a “Vile Pun,” and I was right:

Amelia decided to accept the job teaching creative writing to prisoners after she had carefully considered the cons and prose.

But I had hopes (Dashed!) for this:

Always jealous of her brother and his business accomplishments, Jessica found it difficult to be sweet to him when her Fabulous Fudge business fizzled while his Gourmet Goober business succeeded, and she could hardly suppress her peanuts envy.

Ah, well. Win some, lose some.



Blogger Amy Tate said...

Hey, you could always submit your run-on sentence to the R.T. I'm sure they would be happy to publish it!
Seriously, a big congratulations to you! I'm proud to know ya!

4:39 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

Congrats on the short story contest!

5:02 PM  

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