Picking the most compelling, well-composed work of more than 80 entries to this year's SFR Writing Contest kept our panel of judges awake at night. We pored over poems, essays and stories that responded to the theme "Come quick the revolution," and as has been tradition to keep things interesting, (mostly) included a trio of key words: blasting, elfin and gynarchy.
One man wrote to tell us that he would not enter this year's contest because it seemed like a sophomoric exercise with a feminist agenda. Touchy much?
Who among us doesn't want to see more women in elected and civic leadership roles? Rather an agenda, we call it a recognition of the need for representative democracy and gender equality. Yet, moving from one lopsided power structure to another can't be the answer.
While several entrants envisioned a divided society where segregation painted a futuristic horror plot, not all of the creative community saw it that way.
For example, a pair of contest entrants wrote about queen bees in charge of their hives. One man remembered a Vietnam jungle battle where he contemplated a warrior woman. Another author depicted the angel of the late Mary Lou Cook leading a Kindness Revolution by whispering into sleeping ears.
But none of them won. It wasn't easy to select the best works. See? So, thanks to all of you who made it hard for us.
Fresh from the imagination and memory of your friends and neighbors, here are the prize-winning stories, poems and essays of 2013. (Julie Ann Grimm)