You guys: I GOT HONORABLE MENTION in this writing contest! #12 out of thousands of submittals! WOW!
In October 2021, I entered the 250-word Microfiction Challenge sponsored by New York City Midnight. It was a fantastically fun experience--thousands entered--and get this: I got honorable mention! Just found out today (Dec 16)!
I was selected as #12 out of thousands of entries. I'm thrilled, proud, and inspired to continue writing more! I definitely didn't think I'd even get this far. This is the end for me, for this challenge. I didn't win any money, and I don't "move on to the next bracket."
BUT this was a game-changer for this writer, reminding me that I am a good writer and that I should KEEP GOING and continue writing down my life, sharing my stories, baring my creative soul. ;)
I was assigned the category of drama (how perfect; too bad there wasn't a category called melodrama b/c I'd be all over that). I had to use the phrase/action of "circling a date on a calendar" at least once. It could only be 250 words. I was given the prompt at 8 pm and had until midnight to write it and submit it. Top prize was $6,500! They award prizes to the top 10. I got #12. Oh, well.
BIG VICTORY for this writer. I am on cloud nine!
And now, here's the story I wrote that, in my world, "won." See my endnote after the story. I don't want to tell you until after you read the story (but you'll probably figure it out anyway).
Alternative Title: Still, Born
(I couldn't decide so I went with "Labor Day"!)
Like, HONESTLY? Nora thought, souring at the memory as she circled the date on the calendar.
THAT had to be the day she delivered her stillborn son? She let fly a few cuss words. Capped the marker and tossed it on the table.
Memories came tumbling at her like they always did. Fast. Unforgiving.
Years of infertility then SHAZAM the IVF works then SHAZAM her water breaks too early and it lands her in the freaking mother-baby ward for a week listening to the happy coos of new families while she lays there sobbing, begging the universe to save her baby then SHAZAM baby comes too soon and too small, still as the water on a windless lake.
But still, he was born. That is worthy of remembering.
In the cruel
first light of Labor Day, she and Mike held little Chris, already gone, as they
said hello and good-bye in a single breath. Then, they had to sit there while
that cocksucker of an Irish-brogue-talking priest “counseled” them: “This is
God’s will; He never meant for your baby to live.”
Nora thinks of Chris every day. Her son Malcolm knows he has a big brother.
Those 2 would have made quite the pair.
Every year, on this pathetically ironic day, they honor Chris. They circle the date, celebrate his life.
And she silently tries to forget, even while she desperately wants to remember. It’s so confusing.
“LABOR Day,” she sputtered. “Right.”
ENDNOTE: Yes, although this is crafted as "fiction" this story IS about me. Nora is me [named myself after my great-grandmother who I'm currently writing some creative nonfiction about]. Mike is my husband Jeff [named after the real Nora's husband, Michael Durkin, who I'm also writing a book about]. Chris is my stillborn child, Christopher, forever in my heart. And Malcolm is of course my amazing son Matthew.