The winning story in the January 6 contest is “Fade to Gray” by S.A. Molteni.
January 6 Contest - Placement in Categories
At the closing time of the contest (noon PT January 12), “Fade to Gray” had 111 Facebook likes. “Visiting Russia by Way of Sante Fe” followed closely in this category with 100 likes. “Coffee Talk” earned third place in this category with 73 likes. “Shadow Dancer” had 35 and “Sailing, Anyone?” had 12 FB likes.
In the second category, the judges look at the persuasiveness of the high-quality comments, not the number of comments. “Fade to Gray” lead in this category. “Visiting Russia by Way of Sante Fe” placed second in this category followed by “Sailing, Anyone?”, “Shadow Dancer” and “Coffee Talk” were in a virtual tie for fourth place in this high-quality comments category.
In the third category, all stories received at least one favorable opinion by visitors from the Closing Arguments page. We show below one passionate opinion for each story.
Coffee Talk” received this one opinion advocating the story for first place:
I like “Coffee Talk.” It was personal for me. My girls are grown now but I still at times have to put the brake on when unsolicited advice threatened to spill out when I think I should intervene as their mother. It’s a learning process, my 91-year-old mother tells me what to do sometimes, but I smile and say “yes, Mom” because now I know better.
Here is one opinion:
All the work is good, especially “Fade to Gray” and “Coffee Talk” which are both well-written pieces that I can relate to and which I enjoyed reading. However, my vote goes to “Visiting Russia by Way of Santa Fe.” This story starts out being a simple travel piece with wonderful description that makes the reader feel as if they are right there with her. Yet, it is more than a travel pieces about meandering through Santa Fe. This story explores how art, like music, can speak to us regardless of culture, time and/or language. It reminds us that we need to pause and really pay attention to the people and things around. It shows how one chance moment can become the highlight of a trip and possible change a person’s view (or the people herself). It shows the intimacy that women often share, even if only strangers having a short conversation and reflection. This isn’t just a travel piece but a story on human nature, the need to reach out and experience life, the need to understand ourselves and others. And all this in only 994 words!
Debby Forte’s writing had me in tears. I visualize the “lone dancer” Debby writes about and I see a “one-way bridge.” Time stands still and a man dances. The author and the dancer connect together. It’s only for a moment, without any spoken words, but there is a heartfelt communication between the two. One lone dancer is weeping. Compassion fills my heart as I read the authors words. I see a rainbow over a one-way bridge. It was not raining in the author’s story but both she, and the dancer, seem to have been through a storm. I read a message in this story. If we can dance through the tears that fall in our lives, we can find an orchestra. Debby Forte is an excellent writer.
I believe the story “Sailing” by Helen Ostermann should win. The author’s willingness to try new things was refreshing, as was her ability to discuss her fears and difficulties with the boat. I also enjoyed her sense of humor.
Maybe because I’m of an age when the “signs” are all beginning to point to “Exit,” but “Fade to Gray” really touched me. I’ve been coloring my hair for as long as I can remember, always fighting those dark roots. And then, almost overnight it seemed, they were no longer dark. There were, at first, only glints of silver here and there — easily plucked out and discarded. But now, I’d be bald if I plucked out every silver strand that has ruthlessly taken over my hair follicles. I admire the author’s carefully chosen prose as she weighs her decision, and applaud her ultimate bravery in facing the inevitable head-on (no pun intended). This piece was full of humor and insight. In it, I recognized myself and all women who struggle in a society that worships at the feet of youth. It made me laugh at my own vanity, as I picked up the phone to make a hair color appointment.
Despite the competition from other worthy opponents, “Fade to Gray” placed first in all three categories and wins the first $100 contest for 2014.
We hope all the writers in the contest are pleased with the many encouraging comments received by the readers. The stories are now on our Archives page. Thank you to our visitors for their great comments.