The rationale behind the contest, according to the three women running it, is to gather enough worthy essays to create an anthology titled Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s. Since that covers twenty years of my youth, my first thought was, Oh where to begin!? The anthology planners helped the early thought process by providing descriptions of the five themes they anticipated would organize the book. The theme that spoke loudest to me was “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: Feminism and Women’s Rights.” Other themes include the early 60s, the hippies counterculture, political movements, and spiritual/human potential movements.
My first draft happened quickly, the memories flying through my typing fingers. But then I knew I’d be smart not to read it again for a while. It’s wise to wait a day or two, or a month or more, to move to a revised draft, and then wait again to revise again. I had only five days, though. So I revised a bit on each of the five days and uploaded my entry with under an hour to spare. The last time I met a tight deadline (not to mention a midnight deadline) was — well, I can’t remember when. I could barely think straight, and had no idea if what I’d submitted made any sense.
I’ve asked a few trusted readers to give me their reactions while I wait to learn what the contest judges decide. Most of my readers have weighed in now, and overall I think I stand a chance of getting into the anthology. If I do, and if the anthology actually gets published, it will be my first published piece as a writer. Also, in addition, there’s a first prize of $300, a second prize of $150, and a third prize of $75. Entrants get the word March 15.