Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hotly Contested

Aaaand I just hit “send.” Done!  I have emailed my entries for this year’s National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest. I entered for my “Everyday Matters” column in the Chestnut Hill Local, as well as for my blog. Winners will be announced in late June, and I will truly be flabbergasted if I am named a winner (or even a semi-semi-finalist). After all, the NSNC’s members include such journalistic luminaries as Dave Barry and Steve Lopez.  I am paddling in the deep end of the writers’ pool wearing kiddie floaties. Glub, glub!

 My track record with competitions in general is not so great (trying to remember when I last won one. Give me a minute. Nah, nothing.) I have bombed the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Competition, the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, even the tongue-in-cheek Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest (this last asks for entrants to deliberately write the worst poems they can imagine—and my poem wasn’t even bad enough!)  But hope springs eternal, and so hope I do, each and every time I fill out the forms and send in my writing. As the lottery commercials say, you have to play to win, right?

I haven’t fared so well with theatre tryouts either over the decades. True, I did get cast in the Northeastern US children’s theatre tour that brought Steve and myself to Philly 35 years ago. But most of the time I was never tall enough, blonde enough, musical enough, or coordinated enough. I never stood out in the crowd of 30 acting/singing/dancing wannabes shuffling off to Buffalo in the studios where the aptly named “cattle call” auditions were held. At one point I made a demo for voice-over work. The result, after a grueling hour in the recording booth, has nabbed me exactly zero gigs. James Earl Jones I am not, apparently.

When Sheridan was a teenager, he won an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award for his
Sher at ASCAP awards May 2001
first string quartet, “Pro and Contra.” We were proud and delighted of course, and traveled to NYC for the presentation.  Sher won several competitions in the early 2000’s, as a matter of fact. He had changed his name (from Alex, the middle name by which he had always been known) to embrace his first name, Sheridan, as his composer name. So when the phone would ring and someone would ask for “Sheridan” we’d know he had won something.  In recent years Sheridan has not been entering competitions, even as he continues to write some really solid music. His self-esteem doesn’t seem to need the extra validation these contests offer.

I wish I were half that secure, but alas I am not.  How in the world can I tell if I am a decent writer if I don’t have some kind of plaque or trophy to show for my efforts? So on I go, paying entrant’s fees and crossing my fingers time and time again.  Surely the odds will eventually be in my favor!  Wergle Flomp 2016, here I come!

1 comment:

  1. I love what you write!! You capture our vulnerability with wit and compassion. You win!!