Sunday, August 21, 2011

We are sliding into almost the last week of August which seems impossible. July vanished under a blanket of searing heat that blistered the shrubs and grass to ochre shades. Then August shambled in with its normal scorching heat, made tolerable by being ten to fifteen degrees less than July.

Normally, I use Labor Day to switch the house over from the red and blues of summer, but due to the jury summons, surviving intense heat, and a few other factors, I took today to bring out pumpkins and sunflowers, to reach for yellows and oranges of autumn. It seems the seasons fly by anymore.

I have been digging in drawers and closets as I change things in the house. We have a rule here that if we bring in one thing then two things have to go out. Lately, we have been lax in following our own guidelines which has resulted in bursting closets and having things in the house we can’t even find. I watch my older friends and family divest themselves of material possessions and think I should do the same while I am the one able to do it, not leave a mess for my kids to sort or throw on an auction wagon. I think of the many tea cups, tea pots, pretty baubles, and stemmed glasses that I don’t need. None of my children or nieces will appreciate the old farm house sugar bowl stained by many families’ use or the knife rests that decorated many other wives’ table before me. Then again, I love using my things even occasionally and hate to part with them. So I part with a few, stash a few, make changes a little along.

One of the changes this weekend was my tableware. Years ago my Gran gave me a box of pretty flatware for my wedding, but I put it away. Hubby had a nasty habit of using the spoons like shovels and bending them in ice cream. We had received another set of flatware for a wedding gift as well. It was sturdy like a tool but ugly. I never liked it, but it served me well through hubby and sons. This weekend, I put the ugly utensils away and put the pretty spoons in the drawer. (Hubby now knows about an ice cream scoop too!)

I need to go through all my dishes and sort out the chipped and cracked. I need to organize the tea pots and eliminate the ones I don’t ever use (which would be hard because I brew in each one once in a great while). I need to reduce the number of tea cups down to a manageable number. Ah, but all of that will have to be another day!

The new issue of Victoria magazine came this weekend. That meant a sit down for a while to linger over lovely pictures and daydreaming over other homes with lovely dishes. The homes must be larger than mine, have more secret places to stash things. Victoria is one of the very few magazines with an end piece. I always read the last page essay of magazines first.

A few years ago, the changes began slowly but were the forerunners of print media changes. First the end page became a full page photo, maybe with a quote. Then the end page became a collection of bits and pieces, or a few questions for a celebrity, maybe even a puzzle or joke. Oprah, Southern Living, and Victoria are three magazines that still end with a thought-provoking essay or commentary.

Do you read the end of a magazine first? Do you even read magazines anymore?

This writing op seems to have a pricey entry fee, but it might interest some of my readers.

Best Midwest Writing 2012
The postmark deadline for our new writing contest has been extended to Tuesday, November 1, 2011. The 2012 Bright Harvest Prize is open to all writers in the Midwest (or with ties to the Midwest). Award consists of cash prizes and publication in an anthology distributed nationally, including to select agents. One grand prize for Poetry ($250) and one grand prize for Prose ($250). Honorable mentions and notables published along with grand prize winners in anthology; all selected entrants will receive one copy of anthology. Anthology publication date in early 2012.
Entry requirements:

• Cover sheet with name, address, phone, email, category entered and brief bio with statement on entrant's Midwest connection

• Poetry--up to 3 poems per entry, 40-line limit per poem

• Prose--up to 3,000 words; excerpts from longer works accepted, but indicate on cover sheet

• Manuscript double-spaced (single-spaced for poetry is allowed) with single space between punctuation and .3" tabs/indents.

• Entry fee(s) enclosed with manuscript or paid online

Entry fees are $20 per entry for Poetry, $20 per entry for Prose. Entry fees are nonrefundable. No previously published or simultaneous submissions, no email submissions. No limit on submissions, but each entry must have a cover sheet and fee enclosed (or transmitted online via PayPal or Aquarius Press Storefront). Methods of payment accepted: PayPal (to Aquarius Press), our Storefront, or check/money order payable to Aquarius Press ($25 fee on returned checks). No entries will be returned, so do not send originals. Enclose SASE postcard for confirmation of receipt of manuscript; enclose a #10 SASE for notification of winners.

All judges' decisions are final. Judges reserve the right to not select a winner in either or both categories. Works selected for the anthology must be provided in Word or RTF formats via email before publication. Entrants authorize Aquarius Press to use his/her entry in promotional content as needed and to make light edits as necessary for publication. Entrants may withdraw entries from consideration at any point before the contest end date but request must be made in writing.
Winners will be announced in late November 2011.
Postmark deadline is November 1, 2011. Send four (4) copies of entry, along with $20 fee to:
Aquarius Press
PO Box 23096
Detroit, MI 48223
Attn: Bright Harvest Prize

1 comment:

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi Claudia,
Enjoyed your post. I agree, we also have too much stuff. Today I sorted through closets. fall will be here before we know it. Your autumn items are pretty, but I can't wrap my mind around it yet. So my pink floral wreath hangs on the door until October 1st.