Sometimes the good news far outweighs the bad.
The bad news: I lost a writing contest.
The good news: It is the first writing contest I have ever entered and lost. I am in some damn good company, and a fair amount of it too because more than 850 people from nearly every state and 13 countries entered the Erma Bombeck Writing competition where there are only four winners and a few honorable mentions in each of the four categories. I will happily enter again. I’m okay earning the loser title. As cliché as it often sounds, for me, in this instance, it was an honor to enter.
This process also follows a mantra I often recite. Go BIG or Go HOME.
I think I will. Go home, that is. You see, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop which honors the wonderful humorist is held in her hometown, which is my hometown. Attending this workshop was one of the best things I did for myself in 2012 and I am happy to return to Dayton, Ohio, next month for my second conference. Entering the writing completion is not a condition on attendance. I didn’t enter my first year of attendance. Winning the competition would have waved my conference fee and paid for some of my travel back home, but truly, the honor of having my name associated with one of my writing hero’s would have been my prize. Maybe next time.
A hearty congratulations to all the winners and losers.
Here is my losing entry. Honestly, I’m not a bit sad. I’m so happy I finally took the plunge and entered a writing contest. Maybe this will push you to do something you’ve never done and you’ll have pride in whatever the outcome. I hope my story might bring you a giggle.
Self-Portrait in Modesty?
“Think of something you use every day,” my daughter’s preschool teacher recanted, stifling a chuckle.
I strolled into the day care center to pick up my toddler girls. Strolled? It was more like an Olympic sprint. I was always one of the last parents to scoop up my kiddos before the whistle in my head would go off like when Fred Flintstone punched the rock clock. Yabba- Dabba- Doo! Whew, I made it!
The teacher met me at the door. I nervously glanced at my watch. She assured me I wasn’t late, in fact, she hoped I had a few minutes for an ‘Emily story.’
I always had a few minutes for stories about my girls. What a relief! I didn’t owe next week’s paycheck for being late to pick them up. It wasn’t yet that bewitching time on the clock when they start charging a dollar a minute – that can set you back a good pair of shoes. Like Sex in the City good pair.
“I have to show you her self-portrait!” she exclaimed.
“Can’t wait,” I answered while following her back to the bunny room.
It all seemed so innocent. The bunny room housed the three and four-year-olds.
The teacher set the scene, telling me how she asked the kids to draw pictures of themselves from the shoulders up, using white paper and crayons.
Her grin widened as she shared how Emily had put her crayons down first.
Saying her drawing was really quite good, with just the right amount of flair and detail.
She used a yellow crayon for her hair, blue for her eyes, red for her cheeks and lips, and a flesh-colored one for the outline of her face and her ears.
Then she realized why she finished earlier than anyone else. She told Emily her picture was lovely, but it lacked something.
“Nope, I am done. I like it!” Emily replied matter-of-factly.
The teacher assured her she needed something more to make it a true self-portrait.
I looked at the picture and said, “Oh, her nose. She forgot to draw her nose, ha.”
The teacher admitted the answer my four-year-old gave made her blush.
Back to that moment where the teacher reminded her she was missing something she used every day.
Heavy sigh, “But I don’t know how to draw a vagina!” Emily answered loud enough for the entire class to take notice.
There you have it. At age four, I clearly needed to teach Emily how to draw her important girly parts. There may not be enough flesh-colored crayons in the box for that kind of accuracy.