Clearly I don’t brag about myself enough here, because I never told you that I totally won an extremely important and incredibly lucrative writing contest earlier this year. The contest was sponsored by the Gotham Writers’ Workshop here in NYC, and the idea of it was to submit a memoir made up of only six words.
Their example was a famous one by Hemingway that says,
“For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
Ohhhhhhh, it tugs on your heartstrings, doesn’t it? My boyfriend Kamran’s friend Mike told us about the contest and offered up,
“I should have asked her age,”
to which Kamran replied,
“And then I got crabs again,”
and while I thought those were both brilliant, I went a much more serious route and submitted,
“I’ll never know mom’s meatloaf recipe.”
I didn’t actually expect to be chosen, of course, because I thought it was only meaningful to me. This is sort of embarrassing, but I’d been having a deep hankerin’ for meatloaf around that time, and my mom’s was so much better than any I’ve had since, and I’d kill to make it just like she did. But of course she’s been dead eight years now, and of course I can’t remember exactly what she put in it, and of course my dad isn’t any help in the matter. And thinking about the empty hole in my stomach where that meatloaf should be made me think about all the empty holes in me that parts of her should be filling, and so I entered the contest.
Weeks later, I received an e-mail from the Writers’ Workshop that said,
Here’s a writing contest update from the co-editors of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.
Dear Gotham Writers,
Thank you so much for taking the time to enter our Six-Word Memoir Writing Contest. You guys crafted some amazing submissions, and choosing a winner was extremely tough (when we compiled Not Quite What I Was Planning, a least we got to choose 832!)
But, this time around, the winner is….
I’ll never know mom’s meatloaf recipe.
by Kathleen Ett of Brooklyn, NY
The “but, this time around” dashed my hopes, but then I realized that this was a mass e-mail and that the but was intended for everyone BUT me! So evidently the judges got the implicit meaning, even if the explicit words themselves were sorta lame.
And my prize? Well, absolutely nothing. But it looks like I’ll be published in the sequel to the original six-word memoir book, and that’s pret-ty rad. Plus, my name is all up in lights on the results page at the Gotham website. Neat, huh?
The interesting thing is that this was the same week I found out I was going to be in an issue of Time Out New York (and more on that here, for posterity) and that I’d gotten a part in an upcoming Meryl Streep/Amy Adams film. I guess good things really do come in threes.