Tag Archive | writing contest

My Essay is Being Considered at Creative Nonfiction!

CNFindexThis morning, I made some oatmeal and some jasmine tea, and played around on the internet some. Then I got an email from Creative Nonfiction, an awesome magazine that comes out 4 times a year and often features a theme for the issue. The theme I submitted to? “MIstakes.”

At first it looked like the typical email. Thank you for submitting your work to us. We received over 800 submissions, you get the point. I only have one piece of writing that’s still out there, waiting for a response, and when I saw this email and read the first few lines, I thought, here it is, another email rejection letter. I almost expected it. The piece I submitted to this particular contest was experimental, with an unusual structure. And I hadn’t had a ton of time to write it.

But then I kept reading. And the email said that about 10% of the original submissions for the contest were still being considered, and mine was among them!

OMG! WOW! Wait, what?!

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My Essay “Seeing and Not Seeing” Won Third Place!

wwlogo-200Holy crap!!!

This spring I submitted several pieces of writing to a handful of contests and had almost forgotten about it. But last night I got an email that my essay “Seeing and Not Seeing” won third place in the Willamette Writers Kay Snow Writing Contest for non-fiction!

You can read a description of the essay at the Personal Essay and Memoir page.

I’ve also posted a few excerpts, Reading Eyes and Faces, Albino and My Face, which are part of the longer essay which you can read anytime.

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Violets are Blue: A Complete Short Story

violet_becomes_youI awake from a dream and look around me. I’m in my backyard. Sunset has come and gone. The sky is getting darker as each new moment passes. I yawn and stretch my arms, and surprisingly I don’t feel at all tired. I don’t know how long ago I fell asleep. It feels it could have been hours. I feel refreshed as I never have before.

I reach beside me and pick a violet. They are my favorite type of flower. Maybe I feel some likeness to the flower. They aren’t blue as the saying goes, but a beautiful shade of purple. I, too, feel I am often misjudged. I’m seen to all as a plain and simple girl, which isn’t even close to the truth. I put the flower to my nose and sniff it. Violets don’t really smell like much, but I smell it anyway. Instantly I’m overwhelmed with a wave of exhaustion. I lay my head down on the grass, holding the violet close to my heart. Soon I am asleep.

The dream continues. Or it returns. I do not know which, but I know the dream is not new.

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I wrote this story as a junior in high school, and it won first place in my school’s short story contest that year. It was partly inspired by the cover of Alice in Chains’ Dirt CD.

Check out the Samples Page, as well as Published and Early Work, to read more of my writing!

~Emilia J

A Good Read: An Essay

519546I have tried many times to explain who I am, at all different points in my life. I have used up pages and pages trying to convey all the different and conflicting attributes of my personality. I have used my interests, my reactions to situations, the way I think, what I believe in, some significant experiences, my aspirations, my fears, and my deepest innermost emotions to try to define what makes me who I am and separates me from the rest of the world. I have tried to find what makes me an individual, unique in my own way. Each time I have tried I always have come away feeling that I am too complex to explain, or maybe that I am no different from anyone else.

Then, over the course of eighth and ninth grade I read the six-part series by Christopher Pike called The Last Vampire series. They sound like books that are just simple thrillers for young readers, and for someone at a younger age, that is really all they are. However, I read the series earlier this year at a much deeper level and was amazed at what I found. There is really significant material within the lines of the books.

After the first reading, I finished the last book feeling different, but I could not easily put my finger on the reason why. I felt a sense of tranquility that I was unaccustomed to.

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Island Orcastrations

sucia-island-ewing-cove-view-orcas-island-mt-constitutionTo get to Orcas Island in Northwest Washington, you have to take a ferry. Many of the 4,000 year-round residents come from the fringes of society—hippies, ex-hippies who settled down and had “indigo children,” drug addicts, recovering addicts, organic gurus who live off the grid and prepare for Peak Oil, retirees, healers, felons, millionaires, artists, and other assorted misfits and runaways. In 57 square miles there’s not one record store or regular concert venue, but music on Orcas permeates the atmosphere and is as soft around the edges as its characters.

At solstice parades, local ceremonies and the Farmer’s Market, performers range from saxophonists and a cappella groups to a World Fusion band called Orcatraz. In summer, there’s “Music in the Park” every Sunday night and “Brown Bag Concerts” on the green every Wednesday at noon. Both feature feel-good fare. There’s always reggae at the Oddfellows Hall, where local dances and holiday festivities happen. And now, for the second winter in a row, the island is having its own Orcas Idol contest.

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A Star is Born: A Complete Short Story

A Star is Born

A Star is Born

Sryall had once been a beautiful land, adorned with blooming trees offering many leaves. Serene waters were plenty. The sky above was a tranquil blue by day and a quiet navy blanket by night. Birds sang and animals frolicked in the grass. Humans lived, loved and laughed, generally enjoying the beauties and pleasures that life offered. The Sun rose high, not each day, but frequently, giving many great joy. The moon and stars gave comfort at night. Death was a sad event, for which were shed many tears, but it was often at the time of birth, to carry on the Eternal Cycle.

Life was simple then. People were free to express themselves how they wished. It was a period of great creativity. Much art, music, dance and writing were accomplished throughout the land. Imagination was encouraged. Dreams were seen as the gateway to unlocking the mysteries of the soul, something they truly believed to exist.

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Decided to do something a little different here.

I can’t post too much current material (a lot of times, writing posted on a blog is considered “previously published,” which disqualifies it for lots of places I might want to submit my writing pieces to) that I’m sending out (sporadically) and trying to get published. But I want to keep giving a writing sample every Friday.

So, what I’m doing is pulling up some of my early work and posting it here. Even though it’s mostly terrible and makes me cringe (like in a whole body shuddering, totally embarrassed cringe sort of way) to read it. I wrote a LOT while in high school, sometimes without deadlines or prompts. They were prolific years and there’s lots to mine. I feel like (hope?) my writing is really different now. A lot of the old stuff is sorta sci-fi-ish and not at all the kind of stuff I write now, but in the interest of posting something on a consistent basis, I’m going to embarrass myself publicly.

I wrote this one during my senior year of high school,  and it won first place in my school’s short story contest that year. Fun fact: Winning the short story contest, as well as an essay contest, was how I paid for some prom-related expenses.

Check out other (incl. some more current) Samples, as well as Published and Older Works for more writing samples.

~Emilia J

Floored by Rejections (in a Good Writerly Way)

pnwarejectionsindex

Here’s another old post from my old blog. Still importing, and lots more posts from the vault still to come.

I take it as a distinctly good sign that the rejections I receive as a writer are getting more and more flattering. It’s just got to be good.

A few months ago I entered three things into the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) contest. I didn’t place in any of the three categories, but did receive two critiques on each piece, which offered some suggestions and things to think about, as well as some positive feedback.

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