Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Won the Oregon Quarterly Essay Contest

I won the Oregon Quarterly Northwest Perspectives essay contest.

I had to write that twice because I still can’t quite believe it.

Yesterday I received a very unusual phone call, especially in these days of ubiquitous electronic conversation.

“This is my favorite phone call of the year,” said the magazine’s editor. “You won the essay contest.”

In response, I said nothing. I was too shocked.

I’ve entered this annual literary contest maybe seven times and never even been a finalist. And I won! Hot damn.

My essay is titled “The Friday’s Trilogy” and it’s an excerpt from my book, Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir, to be released this summer. It’s about one of the worst periods of my life, when I bottomed out in Portland 16 years ago.

Here’s what judge Debra Gwartney of Pacific University’s MFA program said:

"(I chose) The Friday's Trilogy, which I found to be fresh, alive, exciting and bold writing. I had some trouble following the first few sentences, but once I was in, I was in. A compelling piece of writing, heartbreaking and redemptive. Hard to pull off without being sappy, and yet she does."

“I’ll come back to earth soon,” I said to Guy Maynard at the end of our conversation.

“Well, don’t come back down too soon,” he said. “Moments like these are too few in our world.”

There will be a public reading of winning essays on the University of Oregon campus, May 4, 7 p.m.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Things I Learned This Week

Listening to Lady Gaga with the kids is super fun until you drop the little one off at preschool one day and she belts out to her teacher: “Let’s have some fun, this beat is sick. I want to take a ride on your disco stick.”

If you are feeling beaten down by grown-up life, a super upbeat movie about the rise of an underdog teen pop star is just the ticket. Especially if you get to drink two grown-up glasses of wine beforehand. (I LOVE YOU JUSTIN BIEBER!!! EEEEeeeeeee!!!!!!!)

Taking small, temporary mental vacations throughout the parenting day is fine, but becoming so spaced out that you hit your child in the head with the car door will only escalate your problems.

March and Spring don’t necessarily have anything to do with one another.

If your child poops on the booth seat in a restaurant, you will feel obliged to leave an extra-large tip.

While juvenile, it is actually quite satisfying to correctly guess the answer to the trivia question printed on the cheese stick.* (Take what you can get—it’s the simple pleasures, you know?)

*Q: What city is the largest in the world by area? A: Greater Los Angeles