Day 3 of The Experiment is putting up a fight.
I’ve been sitting here for an hour, unable to put words together in a way that makes sense. I’ve started about ten different times, but nothing has really stuck, so I’ve just been staring out the window at the grey Santa Monica afternoon, waiting for inspiration to strike.
As I let my mind wander, I started remembering the very first thing I ever wrote that was recognized publicly–a charming little ditty called My Paper Route, a sweet poem about my daily commitment to delivering the news in our small town of Dixon, IL. Ha–I can’t believe I forgot about that!
Every year in grade school, our teachers required us to write something for submission to the annual Young Authors Conference. I can’t remember all of the details now, but in either 5th or 6th grade, I won. I don’t know if it was just on the school level or beyond that, but I do remember the announcement over the school PA. And I remember going to some school gym somewhere to read my poem and hear other kids’ works and meet real-life adult authors!
So that led me to–where else–Google to start figuring out if there is a Young Authors archive, and if so, who holds the key and is my work of art in there? *Note to anyone born after 1985: back in those days, we hand wrote our entries, so it’s not like I have it saved anywhere–though that does remind me that among the perks of being named a Young Author was receiving a typed copy of our work! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a scanned copy of a mimeograph of mine.
I haven’t found any answers yet, but I did find an email address of an unsuspecting soul who seems to have coordinated the volunteers for the 2011 conference. I know she’s not the right person, but she probably knows who is. I’m going on a hunt. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, it makes me grateful for efforts such as the Young Authors Conference that recognize and nurture early talent (even though it took me twenty-some years to get it).
What about you? What early contests did you participate in or awards and encouragement did you receive that impact you today?
A tip o’ the quill to those teachers, coaches, and believers-in-the-future out there.