What a weekend it was for our 19th annual fall event. So many terrific writers in the house. So many great stories shared, both on the page and in person. Friends were made, drinks were had, and work got done. Thank you to our dutiful workshop leaders and advance submission readers, special guest speakers Ash Bishop (Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc.), Ramona Emerison (Shutter) and Janis Thomas (Finding Grace), and particularly Linda & Rick Ochocki for keeping things running smooth. Wes and I could not be more grateful. Biggest thanks, as always, to all the conferees who place their trust in the SCWC.
SCWC*LA/Irvine19 Award Recipients
We’re awaiting consensus from the staff on this year’s awards and hope to announce soon. Meanwhile, each 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 one-word topic announced Friday night. The topic for LA19 was “Crickets.” Here’s the winning entry…
OUTSTANDING TOPIC STORY
Of Mckinleyville, CA
In the dead of night when the fog is thickest, the crickets hold their sabbath.
Out from the crags they creep and crawl and multiply like rabbits
A croaking din arises then, vibrating in the grass
While from above their Monarch gazes, eyes like beads of glass.
She rises on her brittle legs, inviting them to listen,
Before reciting verse by verse this pressing cricket mission.
“I thank you all for gathering for this monthly communion,
For tis high time we formalized our cricket constitution.
My faithful friends, the worst has come, the enemy grows stronger,
I fear without a call to arms we can’t hold out much longer
The flies have risen up the ranks, our supremacy to shatter
Reaching even the highest rungs of the entomological ladder.”
“But Queen,” one lowly cricket cried, “Why must we go to war?
Can we not share the sprawling grass upon the forest floor?”
The Queen squinted her compound eyes, her mandible agape
She was unused to insolence in any form or shape.
“I pray, who let this pacifist invade our mighty pack?”
Then thorax rearing in the air she shouted, “Pack attack!”
The panicked cricket tried in vain to bound away from the danger
But what’s one microscopic voice amongst two dozen strangers?
They fell upon him like one being, plucking limb from limb
And by the time they’d finished up there was naught left of him.
“That is what happens to dissenters. No, it isn’t pretty.
But let that be a lesson served. Now, crickets, who is with me?”
Next up, our 37th annual winter event takes place in San Diego Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 17-19, 2023. Discounted Full Conference registration is now open. Check out all the latest here.
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC/SWS