Judges not impressed by weird walk home

One evening in June 1986, I picked up the newspaper and learned that a popular columnist, Mr. J, would be on vacation for three weeks in July. The Powers That Be invited readers to submit stories to a Columnist for a Day contest. The contest judges would then choose twelve guest columnists to fill Mr. J’s slot.

I had taken several writing classes at the University of Arizona, so I figured I had a fair chance at getting published. However, I couldn’t decide what to write. The newspaper probably would be swamped with submissions. Would the judges read every entry? I had to choose the right topic and the right title—things that would make my story stand out from, most likely, hundreds of others.

I wanted to keep it nice, so anything controversial was out. Finally, I opted to write about my scary (to me) walk home one summer night during the 60s, when I was in my late teens.

I had walked to a friend’s house early that evening; she was supposed to drive me home around 9 p.m. However, her sister hadn’t returned with the car. By 11:30 p.m., I was half asleep, and I wanted to go home. My parents went to bed early. I didn’t want to call them, so I decided to walk the mile or so to our house.

We lived in one of those small towns where nothing ever happens. But I still felt a little skittish walking home alone. According to the local rumor mill, someone had recently spotted a prowler roaming around neighborhood yards after dark. If the prowler really existed, I hoped I wouldn’t run into him. (And, as it turned out, I didn’t.)

I put off writing the story until a week before the due date. I wrote the first draft, revised it, revised it again, and typed the final version. I titled it “A Walk on the Weird Side.” I was fairly certain that the title would get the judges’ attention and entice them to read the entire entry. I mailed it at the last minute and waited for a phone call from the newspaper.

I didn’t get one. Not that year.

(to be continued)

Advertisements

About WestWordArizona

Writer, editor, originally from Berkshire County, Massachusetts, now living in North San Diego County, California.
This entry was posted in Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Judges not impressed by weird walk home

  1. It sounds like an interesting story. I hope that the to be continued includes that the judges picked it the next year.

  2. Yes, a year later, they did choose my entry as one of the winners. That was the first essay/article I had published. I originally titled it, “Confessions of a Household Failure,” but the Powers That Be changed it to “Cleaning Up Her Act Has Been an Untidy Task.” I guess putting some form of the word “confess” in a title really perks up people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s