California Writers Club Young Writers Contest . . . Retrieving Mail . . .

 Retrieving Mail

Opening our California Writers Club mail box, I see the familiar yellow card. This means there’s too much mail for the tiny box; I must ring the bell to the back door where I’ll receive the box of entries for our contest.

At the door there’s a frail elderly woman holding on to the wall with one hand, a cane in her other. She pushes the bell and waits. “I don’t know where they are,” she says to me. “I’ve been pushing this bell for awhile now.”

I see her body shakes slightly with the tension and work of standing. My memory flashes back a couple of years ago to my dad at ninety, fighting off Parkinson ’s disease while maintaining his dignity. He, too had trouble standing and walking.

“I guess they’re taking their time,” I say. It becomes clear that no one is coming. The woman shakes more. I’m concerned now. Her gnarled hand grabs the flat wall. I know this is not enough support for her.

I remember trying to convince Dad a cane wasn’t enough support for him either. He needed a walker. But it wasn’t until after a fall and a decree from his doctor that he obeyed.

“I’ll tell the worker at the front desk,” I say.

“Excuse me,” I tell the woman weighing a package for a customer. “But there’s an elderly woman with a cane who can’t stand long, and we’ve rung the door’s bell several times and no one is answering.”

Ms. Postal Worker sighs. She’s not swayed by my plea.  “Ring it again!”

I go back and pound on the door.

“They must be listening to music,” I tell the woman who clutches the wall.

No answer from behind the door. Next, I pound so loudly the entire block must be able to hear me.

“Your tax dollars at work,” I say.

The elderly woman smiles through her obvious difficulties.

Back to Ms. Postal Worker who grimaces at the sight of me. “I pounded and no one came.”

Ms. Postal Worker’s eyes flash. She rolls her eyes and stomps off toward the back.

At last the door opens.

I tell myself that Ms. Postal Worker has had a bad day. That she really wants to write instead of tend a scale and cash register. She didn’t really mean to take it out on me.

And I watch the elderly woman walk away. She uses her cane while hugging the wall with the other. Next she grabs the counter for support.

How long until she falls? I hope she has support around her for when she does. Does she have a someone to be there when she falls?

With our writing, we all need support. Seek out others who like to write and form a writing group. Attend writing workshops where you can meet like-minded people.

If you receive a critique, don’t react with quickly with anger. Relax. Think about it and don’t let your pride get in your way. You never know, but the person who gave you suggestions might have some good points. They may help you make your writing better. Write as often as you can. With practice, you’ll learn to make a good foundation which makes our writing the strongest it can be.

California Writers Club Young Writers Contest Tidbits:

*A big thank you to the teachers who encourage participation in our contest and who have students write in their classrooms! You know who you are.


*You don’t have to send each entry in a separate envelope. (Now you know this for next year.) As long as you put enough postage on it, you can send all of your entries in one large envelope.  It doesn’t matter to us and you’ll save yourself time and postage.

*You don’t have to fill out two entry forms for each entry. Just one form per entry. A few people put one entry per copy. Just more work for YOU.

*If you send your entries in large envelopes, placing a regular stamp on them isn’t enough. Check the postage rates online or take them to the post office.


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