Short story ‘stokage’

As I finish reviewing a batch of short stories written by young authors (age 11 and younger) that were entered into the Write Michigan Short Story Competition, a LOT of thoughts are going through my mind.

  1. First, comes the a sense of being greatly impressed by young writers. They so clearly love to write and tell stories, and their imaginations never fail to surprise you. Kids are naturally inspired, so it's rewarding when a program like Write Michigan provides a little structure for them to express themselves. They would probably express themselves in some manner regardless, but the opportunity to become a published author - well, how stoked would you be, knowing that your work is being considered for publishing? This 'stokage' is felt by adults, too.
  2. Next are thoughts of gratitude for the work that teachers do every day. Hopefully, this program gives teachers a nice assignment that works with their course plans. We enjoy participation with writers and schools across the state, including a new partnership with the Hancock School Public Library in the upper peninsula. Thank you, Dillon Geshel (Library Director at Portage Lake District Library) for this newest partnership!
  3. This is one of the rare 'normal' things to occur in 2020. By now, ALL the adjectives have been used to describe 2020. All of them. With so many schools turning to at-home learning and so many lives becoming disrupted by COVID-19, we were not sure of what to expect in terms of turnout for the competition. In the end, it was pretty much normal. The spirit of expression is persistent. Nearly 1,000 short stories were submitted by authors of all ages in English and Spanish, with winners to be announced Feb. 4. 

As always, I'm looking forward to reading the anthology. Details are in the Write Michigan website.