Who’s that lady crying by the pool?


Today, I took all twenty Brave Writer essay contest entries with me to the pool. I pulled out the first one (about a pair of pants, of all things), put on my sunglasses and settled back against the lounge chair. I was ready to read through the stack, consider each one, pick a couple I really liked and then crown the winner. Instead, I was hooked by the first sentence. As I read, I kept thinking, “But how will this end? Where is this going?” I desperately wanted to know. I had to know. Then “Bam.” She got me. By the last paragraph, black (waterproof) mascara poured down my cheeks. I loved it. I had no idea that would happen.

I put the pants essay in the “I cried reading this one” pile and pulled out the next one. Adopted baby in China. Can you ever read a story like that and not cry? And yet, this one was no ordinary “heart-wrencher.” Honesty, insight, ambiguity, pain, compassion… all there in simple, clear, moving language.

One after the other, the stories of bravery told in vivid prose left me smiling, crying, shaking my head in amazement or snorting with laughter. Simply put: you overwhelmed me.

Even more than the emotions evoked, I was completely impressed with the writing! We have some excellent homeschool mom writers in our Brave Writer community. Every one of the essays started with the BW trademark: an opening hook! (Right on, sisters!) Vivid verbs, retelling personal experience, fresh metaphors, spunk and humor as well as insight and emotion, suspense and resolution… all there in these essays.

Were they perfect? No. But they were brave, they were well-written, they told the truth.

I can’t tell you how proud of you all I am. I’m blown away. If you’re the moms teaching your kids, they’re going to be just fine. I hope more of you will enter the contest next time. I’ll be announcing the winner and runners-up tomorrow.

Thanks for sharing your lives with me through writing. I am convinced good writing can change the world… or at least, the world in me.

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