Women’s Memoir Contest — Holidays are Coming

by Matilda Butler on August 22, 2010

catnav-news-active-3Post #37 – Women’s Memoirs, News – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

New Memoir Writing Contest

Kendra and I have been talking about a new memoir writing contest. We couldn’t decide on the focus and so left the decision for another day. The next morning Kendra took her usual early morning bike ride. While she was out, she noticed a few leaves beginning to turn brown and red and yellow, which caused her thoughts to wander to Halloween, her favorite holiday. By the time she was back home, she had our next contest topic figured out.

She called and said, “Hey Matilda. Let’s have a KitchenScraps Holidays Contest.” To give you time to write and edit your story, to find that old recipe card or scrap of paper with a favorite recipe, and to retrieve a few photos from our shoeboxes of pictures, we’re starting the contest now but giving you until October 31 to submit. You can send us your story, recipe, and photos at any time, but no later than Halloween.

You can write about your favorite holiday. We won’t even restrict you to ones occurring in the fall. Maybe your birthday is your favorite holiday. Fine, we’ll even include birthdays. Here’s what we’re looking for:

1. A memoir vignette that is a story. By that we mean it has a beginning, a middle (or turning point), and an ending. You might think of this as a story with events and consequences. It definitely isn’t a “this happened and then this happened and then this happened.”

2. A recipe. This might be a treasured family recipe or it might be your recipe or it might be a recipe that one of your children always liked. It just needs to be a recipe related to the story although the recipe doesn’t have to be the focus of the story.

3. Several photographs. We’d like jpg versions of your photos. Hopefully you will find a few family pictures that let us share in that holiday with you. If you have a photo of the prepared recipe that would also be wonderful. By giving you two months, maybe you’ll be inspired and decide to make the recipe and take photos. It would be fun to see the cooking in progress as well as the finished dish.

There are no strict rules. We like stories that are in the 1000-1500 word length. However, a great story that is shorter will also be fine. Photographs? We’d like several of you and/or your family and/or the featured recipe, but if you don’t have a picture of the completed recipe that’s all right. Well, I guess we do have one strict rule. We need a recipe.

A well-written story sharing a holiday (or birthday) experience is the point of this contest.

Do you have friends who write? Please share the contest information with those in your writing group or friends you know who write. We will welcome their contest entries.

And remember. There are no contest fees. This is a perfect opportunity to get your writing “out there.” You have nothing to lose and something to gain.

Memoir Writing Contest PRIZE

Thai-Silk-JournalsWhat’s a contest without a prize! Let me tell you about our Thai Silk Writer’s Journal prize. I have a friend who moved to Thailand. During an email exchange she told me about a trip she had made to watch Thai silk being woven. Soon after that I commissioned her to have bolts of Thai silk woven in specific colors and patterns for our Women’s Memoirs journals.

Thai-Silk-CocoonsErin took photographs for me to share. In this picture you see the cocoons being soaked in water. I have a another friend in Thailand who has a large facility for silk threads. Farmers bring him the cocoons and he creates skeins of silk. When I last saw him, he was not weaving the silk, just creating the basic threads. In Erin’s photograph you are seeing a small scale version of the cocoons soaking in water.

Thai-Silk-Woman-With-ThreadIn this second picture, Erin shows us the silk threads that have been removed from the cocoons. Several individual thin threads are twisted together, dyed, and then put into skeins for use in weaving.

Thai-Silk-WeaverFrom cocoons to skeins of silk is already quite a feat. But if you want to do something from fabric then you need to weave the silk threads into cloth. Erin chose to have some bolts woven in solid colors. For others, she chose a combination of colors to be woven into patterns. They were all so beautiful that it was hard to create a final list. Erin took this picture of a woman weaving.

Thai-Silk-Journals-Erin-WonBut wait, bolts of Thai silk still wasn’t the end point. I wanted to have journals that women would enjoy using whether they were journaling on a daily basis or taking a course and wanted to keep their notes or developing an outline and research materials for a memoir. Erin (standing on the left in the photo) found a wonderful woman, Won (standing on the right), who agreed to cut and sew the journal covers. We decided that the solid covers would look beautiful with an embroidered butterfly and Won knew just what to do. Perfect.

Of course, Won created journal covers, not journals. I wanted something that could be used over and over so I sent her, via Erin, the measurements of a standard composition book. Once the covers arrived, I purchased composition books from Staples and put the covers on them. This means that you can go to your nearest Staples or Office Depot or Office Max to get a new journal whenever you fill one. Then you just take the Thai silk cover off and put it on the next one. The fabric is handmade and the covers are individually cut and sewn. There’s slight variation in each one, but that’s part of the charm of them.

Thai-Silk-JournalsThe winner of our KitchenScraps Holiday Contest will receive one of these special Thai Silk Writer’s Journals.

By the way, they do make lovely gifts for your writing friends. If you’re interested in purchasing one, here’s a link to more information on the Thai Silk Writer’s Journals.

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The Steinbeck Center’s Message to Memoirists — Memoir Writing Blog
August 25, 2010 at

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Hope November 9, 2010 at

I wrote a memoir for my mother. Everybody Calls my Father, Father is a new book based on the true life love story of my parents. This book is about the strength of a remarkable woman, my mother. She was a strong, optimistic and resilient woman, who at the time she met my father, was a successful Broadway actress and producer. She met and fell in love with my father, a handsome, charismatic man who, unknown to my mother at the time, happened to be a Catholic priest. Their love story unfolds into a kaleidoscope of intrigue, suspense, betrayal, and romance. 5 out of 5 stars avg. rating on Amazon.com. Please come and check my website and see some the famous and infamous people who are in the book. Thank you.
http://www.EverybodyCallsMyFatherFather.com .

Sharon Mortz July 30, 2011 at

I would like to submit for Contest 7 – deadline August 31. I can’t seem to locate the entry form for online entrance. Thanks.

Matilda Butler July 30, 2011 at

Hi Sharon: I have sent you a separate email with the details. We look forward to your entry.

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