Friends of the Palisades Library Continues to Accept 2021 Writing
By FRANCIA POMA | Contributing Writer
Dating back to the early 1990s, Friends of the Palisades Library has offered summer writing contests. What started as a contest to encourage literature appreciation and writing soon became an outlet for children and teens in grades one through 12 to express their creativity and originality.
There were a few years at the beginning where the contest had no theme, in contrast to today in which a theme is constructed for the writers to base their work on. Themes have ranged from “Foods” to “Dreaming the Possible Dream” to “Paws for Writing,” and, this summer, to “Help!”
The themes were meant to be general so as not to limit the writers’ imaginations. Writers are required to think outside the box and interpret the theme on their own to create a story, poem, script, non-fiction article or essay. The way the creators interpret the theme will impact how their work is judged, along with its originality and effort.
At the end of the contest, three winners will be picked in five age categories, recognized at an awards ceremony, and given gift certificates to DIESEL, A Bookstore. Their work will also be kept in Palisades Branch Library to be viewed by readers. The winning entries will be performed by actors, as well as published in the newspaper and on the Friends of the Library website.
The summer writing contest allows participants to develop their imagination and ideas into something more exciting than real life. To be able to write and share stories, whether fiction or non-fiction, grants writers the opportunity to connect with others and share their own messages or opinions.
It’s a common misconception that writing is tedious, a feeling which most likely stems from school when students write essays and reports. However, writing is for more than just educational purposes. Writers give themselves the power to create new worlds and characters that embody the world and humanity, regardless of the genre.
An example of this is the short story “Victim of Mercy” by Suzanne Wrubel, one of the 1995 summer writing contest winners. In a short time, she captured the dark and desperate nature of poverty and how it drove the protagonist to extremes to obtain money.
Another example is “The Killing” by Heather Mischer, a high school senior, who won a past writing contest. Told in first person, the protagonist showed feelings of guilt for killing a fish, respecting that a fish is like any other living being. Her short story sent the message there should be no shame in remorse, demonstrating the vulnerable side of humanity.
Writing is a safe place where writers can share their experiences and parts of themselves that they can never say out loud. It’s a form of art that captivates children, teens and adults alike, and is a powerful tool that helps establish a bond and connection between readers and writers.
Even famous people have gained something from writing. Paul McCartney, one of The Beatles, won a local essay writing contest at the age of 10. Despite getting marked down for his grammatical errors, McCartney still won and was given a book token prize. He used it to buy a book about modern art, which would later inspire him to become a musician.
A person may not become a famous musician like McCartney, but writing can help build experiences that can aid a person’s growth. By writing, a person can get a sense of their identity and develop their ideas.
In the end, writing may not be for you, but let yourself attempt some writing just for fun’s sake and submit your entry at friendsofpalilibrary.org before September 8. After all, you never know how entering the contest can affect your life.
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