In early 2009, at the age of 15, I received my first affirmation from someone other than my family that perhaps I could indeed go about this business of writing when I received this email:
Your poem “Snow” and the accompanying photo have won first place in your age category for the Inscriptions “Say Cheese” contest. Your prize book, the novel Abandoned, will be mailed to you shortly and should arrive within the next few weeks.
While the third stanza of your poem could use a bit of clarification, the poem as a whole is a unique perspective on the beauty of snow. I especially loved the phrase “white-woven water.” I’ve read many poems about snow, but this way of describing it is just amazing. . .
Writing is hard work, and finding a market for your work can also be very difficult. But don’t give up! The more you write, the better you will get; and people who can write well are always in demand.
I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future! Keep writing!
This email came to me from Paige Wright, an editor and mentor for Bob Jones University Press’ Inscriptions Aspiring Writers Club. In April 2009, Inscriptions posted the results of their “Say Cheese” contest – for a poem accompanied by a picture – and I had won first place in my age category! This was a great boost for a young writer and the first time writing of mine was ever published.
When I look at the poem now, I actually still like some things about it:
By Ethan McGuire
Snow is wonderful as it falls around,
Like autumn leaves as they glide to the ground.
Snow cloaks the earth in a furry gown,
White-woven water falling down.
Fast its descent into an earthy dell;
Steady it fell into an empty shell.
A mother sweeps the snow. Swoosh! Swoosh!
A child speeds down a hill. Whoosh! Whoosh!
The picture was just a free stock photo I found online, which I did credit correctly as far as I remember. I tried to artfully print the photo when I mailed in my submission to the contest. That’s why you see those odd lines in the contest post photo above.
Inscriptions Aspiring Writers Club has since gone defunct.