complaints about the intocicating effects of the contest always gives me something to wine about.


By this time tomorrow I will have posted the last* of what turned out to be semi-finalists, rather than finalists.  Something about the best laid men and plans about mice.  The advertised plan was to have three finalists, based on the voting of everyone who entered the contest, but as there were multiple entries with the same vote tally, His Moiness  created a category of semi-finalists. I will therefore, rather than protracting this any longer, George W (verb meaning I am the decider/ will decide) which of these three I will forward to Pulitzer Prize winner, friend, and social activist Jonathan Freedman, who will determine whose name will appear on the $500 check and engraved on the trophy, which has been fashioned from the plaque that compelled me to launch this public conversation, disguised as a contest.  Should you need a reminder:

Please feel free to email me your thoughts about which entries  most moved you, either with their authenticity, ability to inspire, artistic expression, or any combination of these three.

In the past, my choices have been influenced by the creative bribery of the contestants, who know how much I love coffee (Sumatran), Merlot, and the generic pleasures of the flesh.  Also chocolate (I’m such a girl). Julie Mark Cohen once sent me a pair of very warm, cozy, and expensive socks (which I still have), knowing how cold Moscow can get.  What she must have heard over the skype call we made was that I really enjoy good, warm, tight socks.

But this time, if you want to influence my choice, post compelling reasons in support of your favorite story, providing me a bit of cover when I must disappoint three deserving writers in favor of three deserving writers.

As many of you have pointed out, I left no comments after any of the stories. I was not being lazy, but fair.  It’s your party–A Word with You Press was just the venue.  There will be tectonic changes with the next contest, and we’ll be sending you a questionnaire soon, at the suggestion of co-founder Derek Thompson, to help you shape the future of the sight to best serve your needs.

Tomorrow I post story number six from Laura Elizabeth.






(Did I mention Sumatran?)




*disclaimer.  Shawna Smart apparently did not receive word that she was a finalist and as such did not submit an entry.  Should I receive something from her tomorrow, I will post that as well.

22 thoughts on “Laissez-faire

  1. Sarah Crysl Akhtar says:

    Back to the contest: “Begin as you mean to get on” is an old-fashioned but useful admonition, and I think Katy and Riley have proved its value. Their first entries and their final ones show consistency of talent and strength of voice.

    This can’t be taught; there is always refinement of one’s gifts but there needs to be stuff of substance to work on in the first place, and I’d say it would be an honor to be beaten out by either or both of them.

  2. Miryam says:

    Hey T…. I bribe you only with continued support and love. Of course, you know you always have a “room at the inn” when you make it to Jerusalem (win or lose). I make a delicious Israeli breakfast with an oven pancake drizzled with real maple syrup & fresh fruit….Oh,,,,, and the fresh ground expresso coffee is B’s speciality!! There will be no lacking of excellent Israeli wine and an array of delectable cheeses and Golan honey (which is amazing to the taste buds!).

    • Katy Keim says:

      Thorn, I tried to get you some fancy Israeli wine like Miryam, but the officers carded me. What I can offer you: I make amazing hot, gooey cinnamon rolls, or, if you prefer, German chocolate cake with fudge frosting…also, melt-in-your mouth chocolate chip cookies…

  3. Miryam says:

    Mazel Tov to the winner of this contest and to all the amazing participants…
    Thanks Mr. Thornton Sully, for your patience and sincere desire to propel your students into the best they can be.
    I am better for being a part of this playground of talent.
    Peggy Dobbs would be proud (after sending us to our rooms a few times).

  4. Darrell Keim says:

    I thank you both for your kind encouragement of Katy’s writing. She has been a very excited participant of this contest. It has inspired her greatly.

  5. Katy Keim says:

    In addition to what I told you in my email, Thorn, the believe that Sarah is also an excellent candidate for one of the three slots. Her writing (especially her previous entry, in my opinion) has showed true skills and advanced technique (at least by my 7th grade standards).

    • Sarah Crysl Akhtar says:

      Katy, I’ve been glad to encounter you and your writing through this medium, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some of your recipes too. Me–my cranberry-ginger shortbread is a knockout. But I like to pack as much punch in shorter-form endeavors as can be creditably managed…

      • Katy says:

        Sarah, you wouldn’t believe the enormous amount of help that you’ve given me throughout this contest. Your feedback/constructive criticism has done nothing but improve my writing skills. It would be an honor to share my recipes with you.

        • Sarah Crysl Akhtar says:

          You’ve got my email via the group notification of semi-finalist status. If your parents approve of your being in correspondence with me, send me that recipe for German chocolate cake…

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