By Christine Susany, 2011 Contest Chair
For those of you who are in my age range, (preferably undisclosed, although quite distinguishable) you may remember the lyrics to this song. If you are not in this age group just Google the title and you will be able to read them – if not sing them – for yourself. Meanwhile, anyone who knows me well also knows that I like to mix things up from time to time. For me, the tried and true soon becomes the boring and blue if we don’t bother to experiment with new ideas. Thus, no one should be surprised when I say, “There’ll be some changes made.”
Last year, as the Junior Jotters Chairperson, I revamped the curriculum I originated way back in 2005. Junior Jotters has become our most successful and respected community outreach program. Changing it up a bit was a risk, but a risk well-taken, and by all accounts, a definite SUCCESS.
This year I agreed to serve as the Chairperson for the EPWL Annual Contest. I served as the Contest Chair a few years back, and after a thorough review of the past two years’ records, I decided to once again mix things up a bit. To that end, I have eliminated some categories and combined others. The full list of Contest Categories is included with this article. If any member has questions or concerns about the requirements for any category, I will be happy to meet and discuss the distinctive characteristics the judges will be evaluating.
Speaking of judges, I have likewise decided to mix things up a bit. Although I have no real complaint with our previous judges, I just think that new judges will bring new perspectives to our writing. So far, I have obtained commitments from two judges with outstanding qualifications to judge the Children’s/YA fiction category and the Southwest/Travel nonfiction category. This is exciting because last year, as in previous years, a number of these submissions were placed into and judged according to similar but different categories. Because I have never been in favor of lumping and dumping entries into whatever category a contest chairperson may determine is most appropriate, I applaud Mike Grunsten’s approach of asking entrants to select alternate categories for their submissions. That option shall remain.
Finally, in an effort to create interest and enthusiasm I am issuing monthly contest challenges by way of a “Quote of the Month.” January’s challenge was “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but rather by the number of moments that take our breath away.” February’s challenge is a Spanish Proverb: The door to the human heart can only be opened from the inside. CHALLENGE: Write a poem, essay, or story about your interpretation of this adage. I hope this stirs your imagination and gets you thinking and writing. Good Luck! /cs