The One Where Abby Wins Three Writing Awards

The first two lines of "Blitzkrieg."

HI FRIENDS! Another year, another competition season expelling results out the end of the tail pipe. If you’ve been following me for some time, you know I enter an annual competition known as the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, which is a competition for those in the middle and high school levels to compete in respective categories and garner accolades, recognition, and training. In my sophomore year, I received an Honorable Mention for a piece called, “Acceptance.” I later continue to my junior year to gain Silver Keys for “The (Starving) Artist’s Dilemma” and “Parents, Listen to Your Children,” respectively, which tackle issue I encounter in my daily life. This was the final year to enter, and once again, I won something! I dedicated so much time to perfecting these pieces, and to have them be continually recognized still boggles my mind.

What used to be steeped in high fervor last year has now been replaced in calmness. Last year, much of my energy had been diverted to obsessively checking my email for results, despite the set date and time when results were released. I shook, just reading results and proceeding to express my feelings in a crazy jubilee of jumping. This year, my efforts diverted to other creative outputs, both in the field of writing and the like—essays, films, scholarships, and math problems requiring more symbols than numbers. The day of the results release, I had been too preoccupied with numbers and an economics test too even fathom worrying about results.

I did, however, make an agreement with myself to not look at the results until after the test passed. I remember being one of the first to finish, pulling out my phone and scanning the results page. At this point, my nerves begin to pass, but my habit of constantly refreshing the page came about. I listened to soft eighties music and hummed, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” all while imagining how the song is suitable for a music video of waking up in New York City and driving in the taxi, doing normal things a newer New Yorker would do as they woke up, scrambling out of bed and headed to their job in a skyscraper company. In a sense, it seems off-topic, but it’s the details which count.

The test ended, and my teacher let everyone disperse for a ten-minute break. I remember refreshing the page once more and seeing the results come out. My stomach dropped. I scrunched down to the floor right next to the big couch whose back faces the football field. My fingers laced through the plethora of names in neat boxes, with each row dedicated to each person’s name, school, and award varying all different grade levels and states on the west side of the country. I read the list and see not one, not two, but THREE awards dedicated to my name.

Two Honorable Mentions, and one Silver Key.

Unlike last year, I didn’t jump up like crazy and proceed to scream. Unlike last year, there was no one to fangirl with because most of my friends who entered in writing graduated and all my other friends who competed in art received their awards two weeks prior. I remember exhaling so much tension built up inside and just feeling a sense of calm inside me. A small part of me had been disappointed because it was my last year of entering and it was one of my only sources of training I had for my craft, but I had to remind myself that I improved every single year! Every year, I received one more award, and that’s more than what others can get.



I proceeded to get celebratory ice cream after school.

The three pieces which received recognition were two personal essays and a poetry piece, which shocked me since poetry is still a novelty, in my experience as a writer! Each of them had been written in one of the three points-of-view: first, second, and third. It felt so comforting to write in third person again, with my time away from it for so long it almost felt like a foreign language instead of my main language in writing! All of these had some risk in them, as well as highlighting what I feel is some of my strongest, moral-filled writing.

“Math Lessons” is a piece I’m hesitant to talk about in excess, mostly because the narrative continues after the ending presented in the piece. I wanted to write an exploratory piece which utilizes math terms—integrals, derivatives, integration by parts, the First and Second Fundamental Theorems of Calculus—into portraying how I felt at certain times and certain places. It was one of the most emotionally draining pieces I had to write. I remember collapsing after pressing submit and knowing when the piece was done. “Math Lessons” was written to be a reconciliation instead of a separation, and for those who think math ultimately stinks, think again.

“Ophthalmology” is similar “Math Lessons” in the sense it deals with mentors, but unlike the previous one, it deals with how one person sees things in the literal sense. For those unfamiliar with the title’s definition, ophthalmology deals with “branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eyeball and orbit.” The only other fact I will reveal is that its full title in my head is “Opthamology en Theatrica,” which is the probably the most telling piece of information about the summary.

Lastly, “Blitzkrieg.” I wanted to write a piece that not only captures the horrors of war, but the feelings one may feel when ensnared amid battle. I didn’t expect this piece to receive anything, since I felt like much of the message had been blurred with messy prose and lines, but it did, but I’m incredibly happy about it.

Now, if you would excuse me, I need to go back and write. I don't know what the future holds for collegiate competitions and others suited for the adult demographic, but these past three years writing and entering the competition. It's been a fun ride!

Have you ever entered any writing competitions, and if you did, how did you fare in them? Which one of these pieces mentioned sounds most intriguing (despite the vague descriptions). Do you understand the reference of the title? Also, my blogiversary is in five days! Get ready for some new surprises, including some shout outs, a new blog design, and a giveaway with some writerly goods...

24 comments:

  1. Congratulations!!!! Math Lessons - is that a horror piece?? Just kidding...I'm not a fan of math. *shivers*

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    1. Hmm... I guess a horror piece is one way of thinking about it, I suppose. It's not horror in the supernatural or terrifying sense. Instead, it's more the kind of horror that we face as our individual selves, and trying to reconcile that internal conflict. But you are right, is is a bit scary.

      If you're doubting math, Julian, may I suggest watching a video called "The Beauty of Mathematics?" I discovered it a few days ago, and it's beautiful to see the numbers and calculations related to thinks we do in our everyday lives, like stir coffee. It's worth looking into. xD

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  2. That's so exciting!!! How fun that you enter these competitions and ACTUALLY WIN. Go you. :)

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    1. You should try to enter one, Evangeline! It would be so cool for you to enter (and to see you win-- I'd honestly fangirl hardcore if you won). xD

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  3. ABBY!!!! YAY!!!! HOW COOL!!!! CONGRATS!!!! That is so awesome. :D !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have been an honorable mention in a poetry contest (weird, because my poetry doesn't make any sense), an honorable mention in a short story contest (mind, these are just magazine entries, a long time ago, nothing big).

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    1. HI CLARE!!!

      *squeals REALLY high pitched* Even if these seem super small, you still were recognized as an honorable mention and as a finalist, and that's honestly really exciting! xD And, YES TO POETRY. One other poetry piece I entered I thought for sure would win (thematically it held together SO MUCH BETTER) but it didn't recieve anything at all??? Art is strange and subjunctive. Art and judgement is a double edged sword, that's for sure.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  4. Congratulations, Abby!!! You well deserve it :)

    Catherine

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    1. Thank you thank you thank you, Catherine!

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  5. Ahhh congratulations! "Math Lessons" is one I'm intrigued to read, having struggled with calc BC myself XD

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    1. PSSTT we're on conics please send help because the equations for polar and parametric are making me internally panic on the inside?!?!?!? I honestly love the piece "Math Lessons." It terrifies me so for various reasons, but I just love the creative risks taken with it and that's what matters.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  6. That is so cool, Abby!! Congrats!! I might have to look into entering when they're accepting submissions again. :)

    I've entered a national essay contest twice, and each time I've been a Finalist. Maybe sometime I'll win a medal... *shrug* In the meantime I guess I'd better hone my essay-writing skills! :D

    Great post, Abby!

    Lila @ The Red-Hooded Writer

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    1. *flails non-stop* OH MY GOSH PLEASE LILA PLEASE ENTER YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT I PROMISE. <3 They usually open entries in September so it's a long way off... but start writing pieces now! Even if you don't think you may enter them in a contest, it's better than waiting last minute to write them.

      Lila, that is AMAZING. *emphasis on the the entire word because seriously finalist status is so hard to achieve ASDFGHKL* Technical writing isn't my strong suit though others may say otherwise, but if you can reach being a finalist, you've got talent!!!

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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    2. IT SOUNDS LIKE A FABULOUS OPPORTUNITY, EEP!! I've been looking for places to enter my writing, ever since I got too old for my fave magazine which I submitted to but didn't get in (*sigh*) and so I read this post like THIS IS SO COOL I NEED TO LOOK INTO THIS. :D

      Oh goodness, Abby, thanks so much!! And you got higher awards than that, which is EVEN MORE AMAZING. Like, SILVER KEYS?? *ginormous high-five* I think it's cool they call it that instead of just Silver Medal. xD

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  7. Congratulations! you're an amazing writer :)

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    1. Thank you, Autumn!!! xD

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  8. Congratulations. And those topics sound really difficult to write about so double the congratulations!

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    1. Writing about eyes and math lessons can induce a headache at times, that's for sure! Thank you so much as always, Grace!

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  9. mmm, the ice-cream photo made my mouth water :)

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    1. Honestly, the ice cream photo is just amazing. There's always time for the food photos.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  10. I honestly don't know like half of the words in this post BUT CONGRATS!

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    1. Nabila, you crack me up. xP Thank you!!!

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  11. Ahhh Abigail you go girl, that's amazing and you 100% deserve it!! All your pieces sound like v interesting premises:) Also happy blogiversary for what (I think) must be tomorrow<33

    Lexie x
    www.whatlexieloves.blogspot.com

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    1. Sorry for some reason, this was meant to have gone up yesterday, but I just saw it never published haha so happy blogiversary for today instead!!!

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Stay strong and wonderful!
xoxo Abigail Lennah