There are many things I’d do when I win the Lotto one day. Buying a Maserati is first on my list and going to a sleep clinic coming in at a close second. I’d probably buy out my shares of my marriage and give my kids away for free. But since I’ll be like super rich I’ll probably have to pay someone to take K3 in, because you know, people just want money for everything these days. Chances that I’ll ever get to do any of those are slim to none because I don’t play the lotto. Not because I’d rather use that money wisely but because it’s a gamble and I don’t gamble. Unless of course it’s entering competitions without having to throw some cash into a bottomless pit never to be seen or heard of again.
Last week I entered the Kuier/LAPA short story competition. Rather late but still in time to meet the deadline on 31 March 2015. Thank goodness I made it because with my luck everything that can go wrong usually does. Like most writers, I’m never really satisfied with my work and I didn’t submit the piece I originally wrote. My flu induced state of delirium prompted me to write a rather grim story.
The story was completely uncharacteristic of my usual upbeat writing style and it just served to confirm that I should never write when I feel like death personified. Should I win though, I vote for flu 24/7/365. The synopsis of my story: “It’s about a woman who’s been through hardships in her marriage and is blinded by her love for her only child, a son who is also a drug addict, and how she breaks free.” Getting it all on paper in less than 1k words took some doing and I hope my story doesn’t get lost in translation. I’m quite looking forward to sharing my story with everyone but at this stage I don’t think it’s allowed.
The hubster read it right before I submitted and he was impressed on two counts. Firstly, I wrote it in Afrikaans (my second language) and secondly, it tells a story of a life we know nothing of yet it has a ‘realness’ to it. His opinion counts (and means a great deal to me) but it also doesn’t count. I’m his wife so he’s bound to be biased. Sometimes I wonder if he really does like what I write or if he’s blinded by love. Then again he’s not much of a reader so I don’t have any real competition for him to compare my work with. I can live with that too.
Entering the competition was a giant leap for me. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. Although it may not seem nearly intimidating like an Idols audition to me it feels like it. How many expert eyes will see it think “What a load of crap”. All I know is that I want to get my stories out there so my next course of action is to write a few short stories and submit it to Kuier magazine (which will mean lots and lots of Afrikaans from now on) and possibly to Mine magazine. People actually get paid for it so why can’t I be ‘people’?
What made my day on Wednesday was the contact person at LAPA, who I submitted my story to, extended the courtesy of confirming receipt of my email entry. This woman actually took the time to reply to my email, which must have been one amongst thousands, and it made me feel so special and like a winner already. I’m sure all email applicants got the same courtesy and it may be nothing to write home about but it was awesome all the same. In this crazy world we live in where words like ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’ seems to have fizzled out it’s great knowing that the person on the other end of an email addy is not a robot. I quite like being acknowledged.
And just like that it’s Tuesday again. No competitions to enter this week but a week of literary abandon nonetheless. Still trying to figure out how I’ll be able to do it with the kids around seeing that it’s school holidays but hey a few words a day is better than a blank page.