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You'll be glad you entered this year's Write a Dear Reader Contest. I know it's true, because every year, for the past 13 years, the most familiar last line of someone's entry is, "Suzanne, I'm so glad I did this! I've always wanted to write this story down and now I finally had the nudge I needed to do it. Thank you so much."
Need an idea for something to write about? Tell me about your pet peeve, how your husband proposed, the most memorable moment in your life so far, your first trip to the animal shelter, memories of your grandfather, the story you and your spouse tell over and over again but you still laugh about it every time, or a quirky little habit of yours. You don't need to be a writer to enter. Simply tell me a story, put your heart into it, say what's on your mind.
Let me share a story with you that I wrote several years ago...
The boxes came today.The ones my husband and I packed up after my mother's funeral. Deciding what to keep and what to toss or give away was a slow and difficult process. What looked like junk to most people was actually full of precious memories.
Sorting through someone else's possessions, even my mother's, made me feel uneasy. The things left behind expose a person after they're gone, and that person's not around to explain why they kept something for all those years. So I could only guess why my mother had hung onto a tall, decorative, gold glass bottle with a pointed top. The bottles were popular when I was growing up, and ours used to sit in the corner of the living room. It didn't do anything except sit there and collect dust.
Looking at it now, I can't for the life of me understand why my mother found it attractive. It's one of the ugliest bottles I've ever seen. Nevertheless, it went into my "save" pile of things. How could I say no to a bottle that I'd dusted throughout my entire childhood?
And that's how my sorting-things task went for most of the day. After four hours my save pile was overflowing and the toss pile had only six items in it.I finally asked my husband to help me make decisions. Thank God he was patient. The two of us started over again, from the beginning. I'd pick up an item, tell him a story about it, and then he'd help me make a less sentimental decision about whether or not to keep it. By the end of the weekend, we'd filled twelve huge boxes with things I was shipping to our home in Florida.
I immediately opened a couple of those boxes today when they arrived, but I think I'm going to have to leave most of them taped up for a while. It took a lot out of me to pack up those memories, and I don't think I'm ready to start unpacking them quite yet.
I miss my mother.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* I'm waiting to read your story. All the info, including the deadline,for the the 14th Annual Write a Dear Reader Contest is here.
AUTHORBUZZ: With so many new books out every week, we promise these titles deserve your attention:
SURRENDER by Elisabeth Naughton
SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP by Cinque Henderson
This month's Penguin Classics book is THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF JOAQUIN MURIETA, by John Rollin Ridge. I have a Penguin totebag to share with a lucky reader. Read this month's Penguin Classics book and enter-to-win for your chance to win the adorable totebag.