As most writers know, there is a lull in writing when nothing comes from the brain to the fingers. Some call it "writer's block." I call it, "being tired". I had about lost the incentive to stick with my family story writing for posterity. Posterity in my family means a "possible look into that green book Mother left for us." Most writers, as most parents know, when children become adults they aren't the least interested in what you're doing. You can say, "Look at this picture I painted." They'll glance and say, "Uh huh." When I tell them I'm collecting stories about my life I hear, "Uh, huh."
I've spent the last few months collecting facts and stories about the Newkirk clan, the ancestors of my husband. A tough job that began as a Christmas gift to my three adult children. One morning reading through my mail, I spied a writing contest to be held by the Alabama Writers Conclave and I entered the creative nonfiction section. Creative nonfiction is the act of building a story around facts. I had been writing two stories many times over (the editing process) working to get the words just right. Finally, I felt I was ready for story #1 to go to the contest. It is about the creation of the Preventorium for children located at Magee MS in the 1930s and 1940s(closed in early 1960) I was a patient there because I was undernourished. Looking at old pictures we kids all had the same knotty knees and skinny frames. None of us had TB, as adult patients had at the Sanatorium located nearby. It is an interesting story, one I didn't mention for many years. Still today, few people I mention the story to have ever known the excellent job the Mississippi State Health Dept did for us kids.The story will appear later in the emagazine ,AlaLit, magazine of the Writers Conclave.
When I received notice I had won one of four prizes in my category, I told my family ( who for once sat up at attention and stayed alert until Sat night the 12 of July.) The family told me to text what place as soon as I could. I did manage to their delight.
The announcement surprised me and gave me hope that I could keep plugging away. When my name was called I halfway raised from my seat (I was on the front row with other winners) and raised my arms as if to say "Praise the Lord!" I won $100. I've been writing for 20 years. However, I've had other stories published in the Quarterly of the Gulf Coast Writers group.
I have been collecting family stories of my relatives and ancestors. What a job. I have a list of projects to complete before dying, and I wonder if I can make it through the points.
In the last week I've reworked a short story to enter and another creative nonfiction I hope will make it to the Honorable Mention. I only know how to write true stories, so the fiction may be a bit silly.
I apologize to my few readers for my absence. Below you see my sister and I celebrating after the win.