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This year's 12th Annual Write a DearReader contest was the most remarkable one ever! The entries were amazing and it was extremely difficult to choose winners, which is why there was a tie for 3rd Place this year.
I personally called 1st, 2nd, and two 3rd Place winners to share the good news, and find out a little more about the writers.
Today, I'm honored to introduce Scott Wiley, one of this year's 3rd Place winners. I really enjoyed talking to him, what a delightful guy. Scott writes instructional curriculum, but he said that writing a 650-word column for the contest, was a very different challenge. Reading his entry brought to mind a story from my own past, and therein lies the magic of sharing your writing with other people.
Well done, Scott Wiley...
The decision was agonizing. Would I keep it? What would I do with it?
My grandmother had died. She left me something, specifically mentioned me in her will. Her old dark upright piano with yellowing keys. The piano I loved.
The piano sat in her front room for as long as I can remember. I spent hours playing on it. At first I would play random notes or my own "compositions." Then I learned "Chopsticks" and "Heart and Soul."
I wanted to take lessons but couldn't. So I settled for learning a different instrument in the school band.
Still I played my grandmother's piano...in my own way. I acquired a discarded hymnal and placed it on the piano. On my visits, I picked through the melodies with my right hand, getting pretty good at playing them. I tried to add harmonies with my left hand, but those were the harder-to-read notes so I often just settled for the single note method. Usually I played with no audience--but occasionally my grandmother would come in and listen.
And sometimes, she would play for me. She didn't read music; she played by ear. She would run through her repertoire and my heart would fill. It's one of my fondest memories.
I loved that piano. She told me it would be mine one day. And now it was.
But I lived several states away. In a house with no spot for a large upright piano.
The piano sat quietly in her house, waiting for me to decide. Waiting for its next chapter.
One day I began to think about not taking it. I didn't want to think that but I had to face realities. As much as I wanted it, I just couldn't see how it could be with me. But letting it go seemed like losing something I wanted to hold on to.
My mom told me not to feel upset if I didn't take it. "She was happy when she gave it to you," Mom said. "And you are happy to receive it." Maybe that was the real legacy.
I decided to part with it. My mom found a home for it with a cousin--someone studying music. That feels right. The piano lives on, creating music in ways that I could never do.
That piano will always bond my grandmother and me together, even if it doesn't sit in my house. I see it now as I write, almost feel the keys beneath my fingers.
And I kept the piano stool. That I could bring home in my car!
3rd Place (Tie), 2016 Write a DearReader Contest
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
AUTHORBUZZ: RIVERSIDE (Fiction) by Brett Burlison
In the early 1990s Austin, Texas two young lovers move in together and open a cafe and chase the American dream, only to be besieged by their own pasts, drugs, and New Orleans mobsters. As the plot unfolds the story becomes increasingly sinister. Over the course of little more than a week the couple must find a way to protect each other and all they are struggling for or lose everything.
Go to: http://authorbuzz.com/dearreader click on RIVERSIDE to read more and to email author Brett Burlison, you'll get a reply.