November 04, 2012

Winning and Losing

Wow--Just one week ago, I was celebrating some truly incredible, wonderful news via the lovely Ms. Anna Meade:


Melanie Conklin

WOOOOOOOOOO! Go forth to her website and pour out congratulations and love, as it was a mightily hard-fought battle but her story prevailed.
Melanie's entry, The Catch, is a pithy bite of dark flash fiction with a crunch at the end. I was filled with dread the entire time I read it and she built the suspense to the unbearable climax. Well done, Melanie! I look forward to collaborating with you on my next flash fiction contest in 2013!
When the audio recording of The Catch is posted, I will let everyone know!
Seriously! That happened! I am still so humbled and excited and proud and flabbergasted. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Dark Fairy, please let me introduce you to Anna and her wonderful website Yearning for Wonderland, wherein you will find incredible interviews, amazing writerly companions, and truly inspiring contests. I entered the Behind the Curtain contest because, well, Anna's prompts are awesome. For example, here's the prompt from #BTCurtain:
Greasepaint and floodlights and cheerful music out front, but behind the curtain sometimes darker dramas unfold. Whether theatre or circus, pantomime or ballet, there is the world presented...and then the world hidden.

Too often, a gorgeous, painted stage facade conceals dry rot and warped wood. The clown's smile wipes away to reveal bitter rage. The ballerina's twisted foot, the leading man's alcoholism, the abuse of performing animals, all carefully hidden from the audience. For the price of just a ticket, the artifice is yours.

Yet I challenge you to pull it aside, to peek behind the curtain. Who do you see, what do they feel, and most importantly what do they hide?

How could a writer NOT respond with great creative enthusiasm to that? So, long story short, I entered, I read over sixty other fabulous stories, and last Friday, amazingly, my story was selected as the grand winner, along with...Sophie Moss (@smosswrites) for Scarlett's Rose Petal Revenge,
J. Whitworth Hazzard (@zombiemechanics) for his creepy, stalker story, Scopophiliac, and Jessica Marcarelli (@jmarcarelli) for her entry, Behind the Curtain.

And I am so grateful. Even more so now that I've spent the time since that wonderful moment riding out a hurricane and living without power and heat in descending temps, only to flee New Jersey for the refuge of my parent's home in NC late last night. This is the first time I've been back online, and sitting in a warm living room with heat and hot food and a warm blanket--do you notice a motif, here? I was really cold for the last week!

But while I was freezing, I was also thinking a lot. About winning. And losing. And how there really is no way to inhabit one of those spaces entirely. We are all winning and losing a little bit each and every day. The tally adds up to a vague gray sum, something neither black nor white, but a shade of human in a way. For one moment, your heart soars, and the very next it plummets. I think I've learned not to hold too tightly to any of these moments. It's best to let them ebb and flow, and try to remember who you are and what you want out of this day, out of this moment--and know that regardless, there will be wins and there will be losses, but all that matters is staying the course.


  1. Woo-hoot! Congrats, Melanie, on winning! Nice to have a bright spot in all this weather mayhem--and well-deserved too! Can't wait to hear about the audio recording. And your advice about winning/losing is spot on. It may help me keep perspective if we lose power again this weekend! >.<

  2. This is a beautifully written post about winning and losing, Melanie. I could not agree more. We're all just riding the waves up and down and paddling in between. Congratulations again on your win! Your story was incredible and I'm so glad Anna chose it for the Grand Prize! :) I'm so sorry to hear you've been without power all week, but glad to hear you're safe and warm now. Thinking of you and hope you get to return home soon.

  3. Your story was so beautiful and poignant--congratulations!!! And good to hear you are doing well now after such fierce storms : )

  4. Wonderful news. Congratulations!! I'd love to read this. Yes, the ebb and flow. <3

  5. So true - there are many moments in every day - but still, I hope you celebrated appropriately. Congratulations!

    1. :) I did! Luckily, we had tickets to see Louie C.K. in NYC that night, so I got a celebratory night out on the town before the hurricane arrived. It was a wonderful day!

  6. Wow! Congratulations! I loved your thoughts on winning and losing, too. You're right; they do often occur at the same time, in little ways.

    1. Thank you! Although I'm feeling moderately self-conscious about my photo appearing twice on the front page of my blog as of now. I need to get a new post up pronto!


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