Saturday, 24 January 2009

Mariya Says I Live In Paradise

Just before we left the U.K., I got a telephone call informing me that I had won first prize in a poetry competition. My first thought was that it was a hoax, but it was not. (The woman who called was well amused by my suspicious reaction to her good news; once I'd figured out that the phone call was legitimate, I had some apologizing to do.)

Folks, I really did win, and I'm posting the link at the bottom of this post. I've still got the check because I can't bear to cash it. The glory means even more to me than the cash (for the time being), and I'm just as fond of money as the next woman. The poem that won second prize is better than mine and I'm not being humble (though you don't have to agree with me). But I'm not giving back the check.

So, my writing friends, if you're pulling an Emily Dickinson and hoarding some of your poems and stories in some back drawer, by all means get them out there. I sent this poem around and it got multi-rejected. And then one day I sent it out again and it did me proud.

(And thank you, miniWORDS people. I need all the encouragement I can get. And once again, I'm sorry about the Irish Sweepstakes comment.)


Charles Gramlich said...

Congratulations! I'll check it out. Good advice about getting stuff out there, and that's pretty funny about thinking it was a sweepstakes thing. I can imagine reacting the same way.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like both yours and the 2nd place poem. I wouldnt' say it was better than yours. That one is more fantastic in some ways, but yours really connects at a very basic human level. You can feel the humanity in it.

Make a photocopy of that check and then cash it. You'll have the check and use the money too.

Robin said...

I had to read it a couple of times - the sign of a wonderful poem! I love it! It gave me shivers. (The sign of a wonderful poem or a horror movie.)

Anne Spollen said...

That's great! The poem, and first place -- no matter what, first place is always an ego fattener, and writers really need that with all the doubt, rejection and yutz that goes with writing.

So Congrats! Wonderful! Buy yourself something decadent and unjustifiable.


Eryl Shields said...

Congratulations girl! I didn't know you wrote poetry too. And I definitely like your better than the 2nd place one, better rhythm and more interesting images.

Carrie said...

Congrats! Your poem is great, and very you! :-)

AnneB said...

Mary, photocopy the check, frame the photocopy, and then cash the bloomin' thing.
Otherwise, you'll cause the nice Charnwood bookkeeper distress everytime she tries to balance her accounts and make them wonder if they should continue these grants... (so you see, you really owe it to the rest of the writing community to take the money and run quick, before they change their mind).

Oh, and sometimes checks expire after 180 days, so you'd better get moving...

Kim Ayres said...

Wonderful stuff Mary :) And of course yours is better than 2nd place!

Mary Witzl said...

Charles -- Thank you, and I'm glad you too would have thought it was a scam. It made up for all those slick offers I've had to transfer vast amounts of money from foreign bank accounts into my own.

Robin -- I appreciate your kind words. Poetry gives me shivers too, though not my own; it's like eating your own food -- you're too tired of smelling and tasting it to enjoy it.

Anne -- Really, I ought to publish all the stuff I've sent out that has come back unceremoniously rejected. But I figure other writers will know how much that's happened even if I don't share. As for having my ego fattened, you are right: it did happen! Two or three days later, I got another rejection from a British agent, so that helped deflate my fatty ego straight away.

Eryl -- Thank you -- I especially appreciate your praise, as I've read and enjoyed your fine poems.

I don't often write poetry; I come up with the odd piece and then agonize about whether it's good enough to send out. Writing is like a lottery with a little skill involved -- that much I've learned.

Carrie -- Is it me? Really? Now I'm wondering how so!

AnneB -- I'm going to endorse it and send it off to our U.K. bank account next month -- if the pound is still worth anything by the time it is cashed. I'm so behind partly because I'm busy, partly because I'm lazy, and partly because I just hate to lose it... But the thought of it becoming null and void is enough to get me moving!

Kim -- Thank you for telling me that. I love all the words in the 2nd prize -- the images of crushed pine and the wintry feel of it. When I first went to the site I was all excited and couldn't wait to compare my poem with the others. I clicked off with my tail between my legs. So help me, if I'd been the judge, I'd have gone for the other. I now see how subjective the whole judging process it. Thank God.

Charlie said...

I'm late to the party, as usual, but I couldn't find the right hat to match my ensemble.

I didn't know you wrote poetry, and I liked it very much--it is so you, involving another person from another culture.

Would you please autograph your poem on my computer screen?

The Quoibler said...


It's beautiful! I just couldn't stop reading it again and again. WOW! Congratulations!


marshymallow said...

That's really exciting! And I like your poem better - it has more substance.

What are Irish Sweepstakes?

Mary Witzl said...

Charlie -- I have a tough time finding just the right hat too, so I sympathize.

I'm proud that I realize you can't really autograph something on a blog. (Or can you?)

Angelique -- Thank you for saying that!

MM -- Thank you. Once I'd figured out that it wasn't a scam, I got all sloppy and over-the-top grateful and delighted, like I'd won an Oscar or something.

The Irish Sweepstakes are perfectly legitimate, but there are a lot of scams that use the name, I believe. I was positive that someone was scamming me somehow, using the poetry thing as a new angle.

Carole said...

I like yours best also. Congratulations

Mary Witzl said...

Thank you, Carole. I miss your site... (hint)

Barbara Martin said...

Congratulations on winning. I agree with Charles: cash the cheque after photocopying it.

Mary Witzl said...

I will, I will! I may frame it too. Otherwise my in-laws will never believe I really won this.