January’s theme was “wonder,” because what better way to start off the year than focusing on what gives us awe, surprise, maybe a little of confusion? Wonder is for things that surprise us, enchant us, and scare us—and the amazing writers who participated in our competition introduces us to an array of wondrous things, places, and people. From fox spirits to dream worlds to terrors of the past and future, these entries showed us that regardless of whether wonder is good or bad, it is certainly powerful.
1st place goes to George Bronner’s A Damn Fine Letting Go, a quirky short story of a woman who loses her job, and maybe, just maybe, a whole lot more. In Bronner’s own words, “If you feel as I do, that a job well done is a rarity and a wonder in the age of LOL, then perhaps you’d enjoy this work.”
2nd place is Melanie Bell’s Digital Dislocation, a real, vivid work of family dynamics. Bell writes, “I wanted to explore how people experience awe and wonder differently, sometimes based on personality types and age. Even what we notice and excites us can vary widely.”
Of course, we can’t forget to credit the amazing judge who took the time to read and evaluate all the entries submitted. For this month our judge was Tessa Gray, a published author and retired writing composition professor at a Texas community college. Fun fact: she's sung at Carnegie Hall before! You can find her on Facebook and her website.
Thank you to everyone who submitted a piece to our contest. The entries were, well, wonderful!
Check out these stories and more on our read page!
A true son of Texas, Mr. Bronner was born in the Big Sky Country of the Panhandle, the first baby delivered at the new Dyess Air Force Base Hospital in Abilene. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches in 1981 with a B.S. in Communications and spent twenty-five years as a creative director/copywriter in Austin, selling goods and services and building the brands of companies such as 3M, Canon and the St. David’s Health Care System, but his most satisfying work has been as a stay-at-home Dad. His people have always been storytellers, and he’s proud to carry on that tradition.
Melanie Bell launched her marketing technology firm in 2014 after working for a startup accelerator in Houston. This followed undergraduate studies in international development at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she stayed to acquire several years’ marketing experience, and an MBA at Rice University.Born in Long Beach, California and raised in Houston, Texas, Melanie has traveled to places as far and varied as Venezuela, Rwanda, Cambodia, China, and Sardinia. She prefers to stay away from tourist traps and takes to the backstreets to sample authentic cuisine and culture.To hone her writing skills while continuing to run her business, Melanie recently began entering writing competitions and joining local writing workshops. She is a voracious reader, digesting a wide mix of fiction and nonfiction, often biographical and historical. Maybe one day she will write a novel. She balances work life with her husband, two step-kids, and a contentedly overweight tabby called Lenny.