The event showcased six writers. The two $250 winners of the six-word story were Joe Luther (COL ’16) and Lai Su Lyn (COL ’16). For the short story category, the $1000 winner was Zach Busch (SFS ’16) and the three $500 winners were: Jacquelyn Stolos (COL ’13), Amy Reavis (COL ’14), and Kate Brody (COL ’13).
After each reading, the writers got a picture with a kitschy over-sized dry erase check.
Luther opened up the night with his six-word story:
“You look beautiful tonight.” “Thanks Grandma.”
Su Lyn followed with:
“Danced with her! Damn that alarm.”
The subsequent readings were a tad longer. Zach Busch ran just under an hour with his “Freezing Icarus.” This winning submission is to be a chapter in an ongoing novel of Busch’s. The story, along with many others of the night, pivoted around that inexhaustible topic: women.
The unnamed narrator dictated his obsession and complicated relationship with the intriguing Collette. The story took a macabre turn when the narrator exhibits signs of schizophrenia. Busch read to a captured audience: “How about it, old buddy? I’m in the mood to destroy something beautiful.”
Busch’s delivery and cadence was impressive, more a performance than reading. His skill as a writer evident, Busch is definitely one to watch.
Next up was Jacquelyn Stolos with “Red Delicious,” a summer love saga between a townie boy and a worldly college girl. Stolos impressed with a blunt, honest tone. Stolos read, “We smelled so human that we reminded ourselves of animals.” For an interesting twist, Stolos wrote from the perspective of the male, quite successfully.
Sexual frustration was a running theme. The couple ultimately do not last the summer; college girl moves on to bigger things. Stolos read, “I thought about kissing you, Meg, but I couldn’t figure out the logistics.”
Upon receiving her oversized check, Stolos quipped, “So, how do I put this in the ATM?”
The night continued with Amy Reavis and “Alaskan Salmon,” a poem inspired by her experience at a salmon-processing factory in Alaska two summers ago.
Reavis showed impressive poetic ability as she recounted summer love, with a fishy slant: “Drenched love and rubber overalls, frost and guts, salty kisses…”
Kate Brody changed the pace up with a nonfiction piece titled “More Than I Could Say.” The piece intertwined Brody’s writing with her late father’s. Brody recounted her relationship with her father and his battle with cancer.
The work was raw and honest, the result of Brody’s confrontation and processing of her father’s passing.
Brody ended poignantly with her father’s words: “When you think of me, don’t judge me too harshly. I love you more than I can say.”
The full works of all the winners can be found at The Corp’s blog Behind the Counter.
And now, an exclusive interview with six-word story winner Joe Luther:
Enamored, from the French phrase en amour. I like, really like French.
What is one thing you’ve always wanted to write but haven’t yet?
Can’t you ask simple questions like how did you come up with the story?
What was your inspiration?
I wanted it to be funny and have a twist. I tried to think of words that create the most tension. “You look beautiful” connotes romance and that kind of deal. You think of two lovers. But then the twist, and now you read it in the voice of a sassy 13 year old. The tension is gone, and the entire mood just changes.
What would be your prompt for the next Midnight Writer Scholarship?
Tell me your best Lau story.
What are you going to do with the money?
Photo through Creative Commons Flickr user bookgrrl99