Monday, June 27, 2011

Who does she think she is.... entering a contest?!?

Entering contests sort of reeks of self-promotion and a big giant bobbling head. I never could understand why so many people would do it... especially when I would (very critically and superior-ally and judgement-ally) look at whatever they had made to enter the contest and think to myself, "who do they think they are? I could do better than that."

Oh my goodness. I should not admit that.

But unless you're a fat liar, you must also admit that you have looked at the decisions others have made to enter a contest and laughed at them.

Seeing someone enter a contest and then deeming that others are not very good contestants is funny. Because we know -- completely KNOW -- we could have done such a better job if only we had entered. We end up feeling all superior. And the fact that we did not, indeed, enter, proves that if we had, we would have won. Period. No need to enter the contest.

It came to me in the last few weeks that I have had this snotty attitude and I am appalled to realize it. 

Since when did I begin to believe I was something superior? I never thought I was... no, I never consciously thought I was. But subconsciously, I'm not so sure. Why have I always acted so silly over someone else's decision to try things I was unwilling to try? Why so smarty-pants and know-it-all? Why such a jerk?

It came to me in the last few weeks. My friend Amy is excited to enter her photos in the local fair. We are going to frame them. She told me she always enters and it's not for the prize money ($5.00 top prize) and not for the competition, per se. She does it because it's an adventure and it's fun and it's something to look forward to. Mostly, she does it because she "just wants to."

And so, because of Amy, I thought about contests. And I thought about what entering a contest might really mean to a contestant.

When someone enters their creative endeavor into a contest, that person is vulnerable. It follows, I think, then, that that person must also be confident. They are going to risk sometimes enduring the snickers and sneers of others. They are going to risk losing. The bottom line is, they are risking baring their souls for others to simply dismiss.

Brave thing to do.

And even if you win, some are going to think your entry is the worst.

And so, because of Amy, I thought about contests some more. And I thought about what entering a contest might really mean to me.

It would mean actually doing something instead of just talking about it. It would mean risking (perceived) humiliation when people laugh at my entry. It would most likely mean losing and feeling sad even if I told myself I didn't care when I entered (which is what I always do).

And so I did it.

I entered the Cloth Paper Scissors contest called "Home Sweet Home" and I was so embarrassed and proud and, good grief, I have logged onto that site numerous times to look at all the other contestants entries and, good grief, has it ever been fun!

A picture of my little entry is posted above. And here it is on the Cloth Paper Scissors website:


If you decide you are going to rate me, I hope you aren't secretly sneering at how stupid my entry is. Believe me, this has crossed my mind!
Love to all, d.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bringing in the Laundry

After coming home late this evening from my mother's where we celebrated my sister's birthday, I hurriedly brought in three loads of laundry from the line. Almost everything had dried stiff and scratchy and full of sunshine and wind and the prayers of thanksgiving I had uttered while I hung each towel and sheet.

Mosquitoes weren't quite biting yet and lightning bugs weren't out as I started removing the linens but they were before I finished. The air wasn't quite crisp with night, but my down comforter was beginning to dampen with dew as I folded it into the last basket on my third trip. It will need a tumble in the dryer.

I had told my sister I had to leave her little party early because I was afraid of seeing a 'possum when I went to the clothes line. Although Frankie, my wiener dog, raises his hackles routinely as he guards the yard, nothing is afraid of him except a silly pit-bull-faced-bushy-tailed neighbor dog that my younger daughter thinks looks ferocious. Frankie runs all over the field and into the weeds barking at rabbits and gathering ticks. Lucy, my other wiener dog, is deaf with old age. She doesn't wander as far but spends most of her time sniffing the clothes as they come off the line or wallowing into the wild onions that are everywhere on that side of the yard. If I pay too little attention to her, she licks my toes until I acknowledge her.

Even with companions like these, who isn't scared of 'possums that are bold enough to come up to you at the clothes line in the gathering darkness?

I'm scared of a lot more things now than I was as a kid. I'm scared of the darkness that envelopes the yard after dusk. The skies will still be blue and clear, but not the yard. It's full of shadows that could harbor anything at all. My grandmother told me that's where the Booger Man is. Who's to say she wasn't right.

I'm scared of twilight and the mosquitoes and not being able to make out what a noise is. It's a perfectly wonderful and delicious shivery unease that I remember as a little girl as I willed my feet to fly home on the dirt road from my cousins'... surely something pursued but never quite caught me....

Then night comes and the mystery is completed. The dusk-to-dawn lights speckled across the 30-or-so miles we can see from the back of our house become our neighborhood and someone is home. The frogs sing. Whippoorwills call to one another. Crickets chirp. Sometimes I hear owls. Oftentimes I hear the coyotes as they meet up for the evening.

During the summer, my sister and I, along with our mother, gather ourselves into blankets and watch the stars. It's cold out at night no matter the time of year and you always need a blanket.

And you lie there and feel important. The same God that made all of these made each of us.

God Bless.