Welcome back to Blogville my friends, thanks for visiting. I think a Peppermint tea might set the mood for some exciting news. Grab a cup and read on.
A while ago I entered the 2023 CBC Short Story competition. According to the contest rules, it had to be a never previously published, just shy of 2000 words, short story. I decided to consider finishing and submitting a piece that I had written called, Ten Days. I finished writing it, edited the piece, read it, reread it, and finally declared it ‘ready to submit’!
I was a living example of contradictory feelings, terrified and excited at the same time, but I copied and pasted the piece and pressed ‘send’ concurrently with my entry fee. There, I did it, I was about to win my first literary contest. Then, the hardest part, I waited. I tried to forget about it but do you know how many times a day one hears the term CBC? I have never really counted but I’m confident when I tell you, one hears it a lot. Every time I heard it my tummy did that little flip as butterflies took up residence.
I fantasized how I would announce my selection to the long list, which is obviously released before the short list. The short list is comprised of five authors, one of whom will be selected as the winner of the 2023 CBC Short Story competition, and I planned to be on it.
I pictured announcing my being selected concurrently with the CBC on Facebook and other social media. I wrote little templates up so I would just have to fill in the details and publish them right away. I made up an announcement email and created an email address grouping so everyone would hear my news at the same time. After all, my family and friends shouldn’t hear about it on Facebook, right? They should hear it from me.
I belong to the Timmins Writers’ Group and I imagined logging on to the virtual meeting and when Jess called on me for my weekly update I would calmly state, “Well, I suppose I should let the group know I made the long list for the 2023 CBC Short Story competition.” I imagined hearing the cheers and applause from my fellow writers. After all, we are a very supportive group.
All I could do now though, was wait. I searched for and read previous years’ winning submissions. I was entertained, I laughed, I cried, and I cringed. Would my piece stand up to these types of submissions? Maybe this would be the year that the jury would be comprised of people looking for a short story with the topic and style my piece had. I was sure that would be the case. Again, the butterflies in my stomach took flight and the anticipation was almost more than I could stand.
The CBC Short Story competition comes with a cash prize, a CBC Books publication, and a two-week writing residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point. Pretty cool right? Imagine what I could learn about writing during that two week residency. I was already forming a list of questions that I could ask to hone my writing skills. Just the thought of how that residency would help improve my blogs took my excitement to a whole new level. Maybe people who do not actually know me would start reading my blogs. Oh, those butterflies.
I learned that there were over 2300 submissions to the CBC competition. Wow, that’s a lot of submissions right? Well, I wished luck to my competitors in my mind, and hoped the writers who did not win would not lose their confidence.
Then, incredibly, I forgot about the contest as other life responsibilities took over. Well, not actually forgot, but put it lower on my thought priority list. One morning I innocently logged on to my Facebook account and there, quite unexpectedly, was a picture of the five contest winners. There must be some mistake I thought, my picture was not there. Ok, relax, this is probably just last years’ winners. Nope, my stunned mind focused and read, “5 Writers Make the 2023 CBC Short Story Prize shortlist”. To my shock, I had not actually made the short list. Really? My story did not make it?
I then realized I must have missed the release of the 2023 CBC Long-List. A quick internet search revealed the 27 writers from across Canada that had been long-listed for the 2023 CBC Short Story Prize. Sigh, the list was not even alphabetical. So I scanned the list, by title and then author, looking for the words, “Ten Days” or for my name.
Having recovered from the shock of not winning the competition after all, I realized I now had to amend my pre written Facebook and social media posts, emails, and text messages. So, I sat back, collected my thoughts, and wrote, “As you may or may not know, I submitted a piece called Ten Days to the 2023 CBC Short Story competition. This was a story of the days between the birth of my grandson and the loss of my mother. It was a piece that came from my heart that I am so very proud of. With regard to the CBC competition there were over 23,000 submissions that culminated to twenty-seven stories making the long-list and then to the top five submissions that made the short-list, and finally the declared winner. Please join me in congratulating all the finalists and of course, Will Richter of Vancouver, whose piece, Just A Howl, won the grand prize.
I feel like my piece probably placed 28th in the competition, but we will never know for sure. After all, someone had to have just missed making the long-list of 27 stories by placing 28th, so why not my story? I do know that some CBC jury member or members actually read my short story, so I’m pretty proud of myself.
My story may or may not have placed 28th in the 2023 CBC Short Story competition, but I have personally short listed the piece so watch for my blog post, Ten Days, that will be published May 9th on my website www.whatisyourstorybook.com/blog
Once you have read it, let me know if you think it placed 28th too.
Thanks for reading! As always, your comments are welcome here or by sending me an email at email@example.com