So as you guys hopefully know, I did a teeny-weeny contest in order to giveaway my hand-sewn bracelets. I called them Aba-Made (the name is a story for another post lol) I want just want to say THANK YOU to all that participated. This was my first time doing anything like this so I wasn't as perfect or as efficient as I would have liked to have been. Anyway, it was quite a challenge to review everyones' submissions in the panic of my senior year, but I did it! Yay. I read and saw everyone's work and short stories; there were sooo many good pieces! BUT, I picked the ones that captivated me by the first line, ones that I could relate to, and ones that were structurally and grammatically sound. SO! Here are the winners! (1st prize - 5 bracelets, 2nd prize - 3 bracelets, 3rd prize - 2 bracelets)
The bracelets! (I'm so SICK of sewing!)
In first place is Raina Terry who submitted THIS VIDEO of her summer this year. I encouraged other works of creativity, so I'm glad I didn't get just written pieces. Why did I like this video? Well it isn't perfect (part of why I liked it), but I was drawn to the images. At first, I was about to instantly rule it out because I was so sick of hearing Adele's songs all the time on the radio, but I honestly loved the song . . . when it first came out lol. I could give a thousand reasons why I picked this but I'll keep it short and sweet: To me, the video depicted the beauty of simplicity. I got such a great vibe from Raina thanks to this video. It was goofy (the part with her feet lol), it showed what looked like an ideal summer to be envious of, and gah! I don't want to babble. I picked it and that's that.
In second place is Kassandra Mendes and her short story Pretty. It's a bit long, but here is an excerpt:
The white cream in her hair tickled her scalp. Yet Camille sat still as the last
section of hair was parted and the relaxer was slathered onto her roots. She resisted the
urge to touch her head and feel her hair becoming magically straight.
She still remembered the first time she had her hair done. She was eight and had
been excited to go to school the next day. Her mother had neatly curled her hair and it
brushed against her neck as she walked to class. Camille felt like one of the pretty girls
with her new straight hair. As she took off her coat and hung her backpack in her cubby
she looked in at her classmates. They were sitting at desks reading. Hair spilled over their
books so Camille could not even see the glow of their pale faces.
Her face didn’t glow. It was a dark shadow. Camille scratched her neck where her
hair itched. She suddenly felt embarrassed. Their hair did not itch. Their hair was plaited
in long braids that nestled between their shoulder blades. Their hair lay flat against their
scalps. Heat built in her face. Camille could almost feel her hair rising away from her
head, puffy like a cloud of cotton. She panicked and desperately pushed her hair down
but felt it spring up defiantly around her fingers.
She wanted to be like the pretty girls with their sleek hair and their light colored
faces. She’d cried the day before at recess when a boy refused to play with her and told
her she was dirty. The pretty girls never played alone. Even now in high school, Camille
could clearly see that being pretty was an advantage. And with her dark uneven skin, and
skinny, awkward body, it was one she didn’t have.
“Five minutes,” her mother said and rose to clear away the items. The tickling had
now turned into a mild burning sensation. She closed her eyes and listened to the sound
of her mother removing the gloves with a snap and the clank of the empty container as it
met the bottom of the trash can.
She bit her lip as the burning intensified, but made no move to stand up. Last time
she washed her hair out too soon and her strands had been crinkly and stiff. This time,
Camille thought, they would be straight. Some part of her childhood dreams still
remained in her and she imagined herself with a long flowing mane, the kind that people
would notice and that boys would run their hands through, the kind of hair that seemed to
elude her broken nape-length reality.
Her friend Tiffany had told her a story about a cousin of hers who’d skipped her
touchups for four months and her hair had grown a foot. Camille had eagerly tried it. She
remembered the looks she’d received when she began skipping her relaxer. The white
boys who’d always ignored her now appraised her in the hall. She felt herself ballooning
with pride. She believed their stares were admiration until one of them dug his hand into
her roots. His nails scratched her scalp. He retracted his hand quickly and looked at her
with disgust before turning to his friends and saying loudly,
Her face had burned as the boys laughed.
The third winner is Nicole Joseph and her short story Loose Screws in Eden and here is an excerpt:
Hot wetness between my legs. He rose to leave and even then I lay paralyzed, unable to gather the rage, the courage to pluck his eyes out, to scream, to snap his head in two, the way I’d often done to my dolls. These fat, shapeless lips belonging to this empty voiceless vessel refused to utter a word. Had I liked it…
“Kaia? … Kaia,” Ande called softly. “KAIA!” he finally shouted. My eyes jerked open. He stared at me bewildered and agitated. In those dark brown eyes, I saw hurt. “Hmph,” he grunted. “You don’t even bother to fake it anymore, do you?” “We’re past that, I guess.” With that, he warily got up and left, and now as then, I lay there, paralyzed.
He tells me I am suffering from body dysmorphic disorder. “Ha! There’s a frigging name for it,” I mocked cynically under my breath. There is a name for what can happen to a person when someone you trust screws you without screwing you when you are only 9 years old.
I stood outside Dr.Ryan’s office, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my face as I waited for Ande. There’s a name for it, a name for every day of my life I spent encaged in that prison of self hate, hopelessly moving through the days certain that I’d deserved nothing less, that I was worthy of nothing good. There was a name for not being able to express myself boldly to this day. I thought of this body that for so long I’d considered a monstrosity, this body that I’d went to great lengths to cover up at all times so that no one could sense my shame, its dirtiness, and discover for themselves what I was, what I’d done. I thought of the dreams that died with me on that day, the opportunities I ran away from, the loved ones I shunned certain that they could never understand. The simple pleasures I’d denied my husband. The ugliness has swallowed everything. Daily it strangles me, it has put down roots.
A sign above the church across the street catches my eye. “For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust… Matthew 5:45.” I smirked and strolled toward the curb. The civic pulled up and I shuffled in awkwardly.
“So?” Ande looked at me expectantly, as I sunk into the seat. My gaze fixed on the sign again.
“It’s hot out today, yes?” I said. He shrugged uninterestedly. “There’s a name for
it.” I held his face with both hands as I reached over to kiss him. “There’s
a name for it.”
YEAH! FREE BRACELETS!!!
I have emailed the girls and have gotten their mailing addresses. Hopefully I will have them sent out tomorrow if I am not too lazy. Everyone worked hard on this. Especially me lol. Yes. I'm serious. I don't even know how I found time to do this. All those who submitted get discounts on the bracelets and must email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with their full names AND the work that they submitted to me. This way, I will know that I'm selling the discounted bracelets to the right people and I WILL recognize the previous work you have given me. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! Once again, this contest wasn't perfect as far as my organization skills go, but let's hope I do this again with much improvement! I will have my site to sell up hopefully by next week. I will give a proper announcement for that!
I'm so tired right now. Email me with questions if you have any.
I'm so tired right now. Email me with questions if you have any.