Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Did Not Win a Case of Beer

One of the contests I found recently in Poets & Writers was the 2012 River Styx Schlafly Beer Micro-Fiction Contest, which offered a cash prize, publication, and one case of Schlafly beer to the first-prize winner. I’m totally in favor of winning free beer, so I entered the contest. (It was also one of those contests where the entry fee gets you a one-year subscription to the journal in question. I tend to prefer those kinds of contests, since you get at least a little something in return, even if you don’t win. And you never know where inspiration is going to come from—it might very well be waiting in the pages of a journal I never would have laid eyes on if it had not been for entering a particular contest.)

I got the results from the contest in the mail today, and, unfortunately, I did not win the prize money, publication, or the case of beer; and while this keeps my streak of never having won a short story contest alive and well, it was different from the normal loss in one way. The letter said that, while the judge had not selected my story as a winner or honorable mention, I was a finalist. It also said that they had received over 300 entries, from which the editors culled 18 finalists. This is the first time that I can recall when I have been informed that I was a finalist. It’s certainly not the same as winning, but it’s a little something.

I only wish I knew which story had made it to finalist status. It was what they called a micro-fiction contest, with a 500 word limit; and each entry fee entitled you to submit up to three 500-word stories. I went ahead and sent three, figuring it was best to get my money’s worth. One was about Mafia and family, one was about a librarian who internally judged a person for checking out a book of Bukowski poems, and one was a cold little thing about what might happen if a little kid promised to put out milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, but then forgot. Jackson had talked about setting out cookies and milk before he went to bed last Christmas Eve, but then didn’t do it. I didn’t mention it the next day, but I did get the idea for the little story from it. I think I liked that one the best, because I had to stretch beyond my comfort zone a little bit to get it right.

Next: A Jackson photo update. Seriously. (Or a review of Napolese—but probably the photos.)

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