Memoir Writing Contest Celebrates Summer’s Bountiful Gardens

by Matilda Butler on July 2, 2010

Book Business PaperclipPost #46 – Women’s Memoirs, Book Business – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

There’s a Memoir Writing Contest in this Story, Just Keep Reading

“Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” When the Gershwins wrote this song for Porgy and Bess, they clearly weren’t thinking of the gardener. Soil preparation, planting, watering, weeding, picking, canning or freezing, and cooking for summer meals is all part of the package that makes summer’s abundance part-chore/part-joy.

Last week, my partner and I picked 50 pounds of cherries. Our neighbor stopped by and we drove a couple of blocks to his uncle’s home. The professional pickers had already been through the 300 trees and we became gleaners, easily filling our large buckets from just a few trees. We favor Bings but sampled the Vans and Rainiers. You know the rule: one for the bucket, one for the mouth.

We had so much fun that it was hard to stop after any particular handful. We keep saying, “Just a few more.” Once we were home, we realized the easy part was over. Suddenly, we were faced with buckets and buckets of cherries. I have an olive pitter that works quite well with cherries. So after washing and sorting the first bucket, I began pitting. We fill cookie sheets with these lush, sweet cherries, freeze them, and put them in gallon plastic bags for the freezer. Of course, the wrist can only take so much. So other cherries were cooked, put through a food mill to remove the pits, and then slowly cooked down, the sweet scent filling our home, until we had cherry conserve a day later.

Fifty pounds and deeply-stained purple fingers later, we had taken care of our 2010 abundance of Santa Clara county cherries.

What does all this have to do with a memoir writing contest?

Kendra and I announced our July memoir writing contest a couple of weeks ago. We thought we’d step away from KitchenScraps, brief memoir vignettes combined with recipes and photos, and begin a new series TableScraps, stories of pets in our lives with photos. This TableScraps writing contest is open until July 31. For details see Contest.

But as my heirloom tomatoes began to flower, as I gathered the last of the asparagus from my garden, and as I began to remember my father’s vegetable gardens, I just couldn’t resist a second contest.

Share your favorite memoir vignette, recipe, and photos of summer fruits and vegetables you and or your family have grown. Was the recipe developed out of necessity? After all, how many zucchini can you really use. I have three fig trees and have turned part of the bounty into fig vinaigrette for holiday gifts just because we can’t possibly eat all those figs. Our grandmothers canned the summer produce to use all year. Did she pass on this skill or have you turned to the freezer, as I have, as a fast way to preserve fruits and vegetables?

Memoir writing combined with recipes and photos capture our family stories about the abundance of summer. We invite you to send me [ matilda at womensmemoirs dot com ] your 1000 word personal or family story, photographs, plus a recipe or instructions for preserving summer’s fruits and vegetables.

We look forward to your contest entries. Just send them via email. If you have questions, I’ll be glad to answer them.

Two Contests, Two Prizes

Memoir Writing - Mindfulness SoapKitchenScraps Summer Abundance Contest: We’ll publish the winning entries and the first place winner will receive a bar of our special Mindfulness Soap, made just for Women’s Memoirs by two women who use only organic materials. Click here to read their story of making soap just like their grandmothers did.

ddd-cover-smallTableScraps Family Pet Stories Contest: We’ll publish the winning entries for this contest and the first place winner will receive a copy of Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet: Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog’s Health. Dog Dish Diet, winner of four national book awards, is the first publication from our imprint, Riparian Press.

NOTE: Remember to craft your vignette as a story with a beginning, a middle, and an ending.



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