There are gifts assigned to notable anniversaries. For a 30th it’s “pearl,” traditionally. Being mildly superstitious, having always heard that “pearls bring tears,” we elected to eschew any pearl motif at this past weekend’s celebration as there are often too many tears in one’s life. Not a bad call for a couple of reasons: 1) Yes, tears were shed—tears of joy; those of gratitude resulting from that epiphanous moment when one conferee learned how to remedy a broken book that too many at other events told her they were not interested in, couldn’t really specify why, and made no effort to attempt to help fix. 2) Because our 30th San Diego event became all about cheers.
Cheers to the outstanding manuscript pages that came through SD30. Cheers to the dedicated writers who came to learn how to be the best writers they could be. Cheers to the usual fantastic SCWC staff of learned, empirically qualified, passionate advocates who believe that aiming for excellence and settling only for exceptional is a noble pursuit.
And cheers to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, for no other reason than what will likely become public later. Unfortunately.
Anyhow, a giant panda bear hug to all the SD30 staff–authors, editors, agents and others–who showed up to support our vast writing community; those who endeavor to recognize talent, embrace potential and extend the personal relationships and valuable connects beyond the end of any given conference weekend. Happy 30th and cheers to you all!
Now on to the awards…
SCWC*SD 30 Award Recipients:
by Clay Savage of Santa Monica, CA
by Michael R. Shevock of Portsmouth, NH
by Jeremy Snow of, Brentwood, TN
Angels Over Moscow
by Juliette Engel of Tacoma Park, MD
by Lora Sigler of San Pedro, CA
And each conference the SCWC holds a contest in which all writers are invited to participate. The rules are simple: Write a piece in any form you wish of no more than 250 words based on the topic announced Friday night. The topic for SD30 was “Cane/Cain/Kane.” Here’s this year’s winning entry…
OUTSTANDING TOPIC STORY
of Chandler, AZ
THE MESTEÉ KNEW HOW to damage a man without affecting his ability to harvest sugarcane. The man lying on Mbewe’s earthen floor would never harvest again. His back had been flayed to the bone. The mesteé had been drunk and careless.
Mbewe crouched nearby. “What do you want me to do?”
The man whispered, his face pressed into the dir. “Let me die.”
Mbewe poked the man’s raw wounds. “You don’t need my help for that.”
“Let me die,” the man repeated. “But first give me revenge.”
Mbewe nodded, satisfied. Revenge was a good reason to come to an obeah-man.
To summon a loa, one needs earth, fire, air, water. And blood, of course. Mbewe retrieved a large jar of rum. Sugarcane, grown in earth, the molasses mixed with water, then distilled by fire and air. Rum sufficed for all four magic elements. Mbewe scratched protective symbols on the floor. He spoke sacred words. He poured rum onto the man’s back, to mix with his blood.
The loa appeared. Mbewe grabbed it and shoved it into the man’s body.
It did not go.
Too late. The man was dead.
Mbewe frantically looked about. A freed loa was a terrible thing. He grabbed the first thing that came to hand—the rum bottle—and thrust the loa into it.
loa dissolve into the rum.
He smiled. He would give the bottle to the mesteé tonight.
Revenge would be served after all.
Congratulations to all the award winners!
Discounted pre-registration for September’s LA14 (in Irvine) opens March 1. Register for the Full Conference by April 1 and save $100 off Full Conference.
Dates for SD31 are Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 17-20, 2017. Pre-registration opens August 1, 2016. The conference will again be held at our longtime home, the Crowne Plaza Hanalei, San Diego. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and join the lively discussion on our SCWC Facebook community wall. Now go forth and write hard.
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC