Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Debut in the Short Story World

Months and months ago, I read about a short story contest that Bethesda magazine was hosting, and I made plans to enter it. But of course things got busy, and I never got around to writing my story, and so I decided to forgo entering. Then about two days before the deadline, and one day before my brother Matthew and his girlfriend Amanda came in to town, I decided that I would be dumb not to enter because hey what if no one else entered; then I'd be the shoo-in for the top prize of $1,000.

At this point, I obviously didn't have time to come up with something new, so I grabbed a story I'd written before and emailed it in, approximately 10 minutes shy of the midnight deadline. I wasn't thrilled with the story. The ending was weak and overall needed some serious editing, but it was what it was.

End result, I didn't win the $1,000. Damn it. I did, however, get honorable mention. Unfortunately it doesn't come with any money, but it does come with all the glory I can handle from having the story published on the Bethesda Magazine website.

If you'd like to read "Mayfly Summers," follow this link to the Bethesda Magazine site.

You can then leave your constructive criticism in the comments.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pawleys Island Vacation in Pictures: Part Three

Day Six: Thursday, May 29
It's a rainy day, It's a rainy day, It's raining outside and we can't go out and play.
...Except we do anyways. But not to the beach because that would be dumb. Instead we drive down to Charleston, where it's not really raining but a bit grey and cool.

We begin the day following this path, which is supposed to lead us on a self-guided garden tour.

They may want to reconsider naming it the church and cemetery tour.

We do see some plants and flowers, however, and of course, we take pictures of them, because of course these plants and flowers are unique and special.

We also see some fantastic houses. I want to buy one but God has not yet seen it fit for me to win the lottery so I must wait until he provides me with a vision of the winning numbers. Lottery winning is the type of prayer that God concerns himself with after all.

We have a tasty lunch at Poogan's Porch, where we eat some alligator. Not this one though. He's still alive and thrashing as far as I know.

We then go to the market where we see a lot of ladies weaving baskets from sawgrass. I am not sure they are aware of the laws of supply and demand, as there was a lot of supply and not so much demand yet no one offered a better price. Maybe they are all members of the sawgrass basket weaving union.

Luckily for us, it never really rains and the only water we see is in the many fountains around town.

My brothers claim that this one is named Golden Shower. I really should disown them.

Instead I take a picture with them. They're family. What can you do?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pawleys Island Vacation in Pictures: Part Two

Day Four: Tuesday, May 27
A kayaking trip to Sandy Island is the focus of the day. As the various paddle positions may give away, some of us are better kayakers than others. I am not naming names, however.

We spot a bunch of alligators while kayaking. The first one is a big 12-foot male, but I don't have my good camera with me and he goes underwater by the time I'm close enough to get a decent shot with my point-and-shoot. We then see a 9-foot female who does the same thing. Apparently, it's hanky-panky season in gator world. Though the 3 or 4 smaller gators we see aren't getting in on the action and instead hang around to have their picture taken.

We hike around Sandy Island, and see a variety of plant life, including this prickly pear. Apparently, we paddled all the way to the desert.

As we paddle and hike, we get to hear our guide's version of history. He gets very excited when he tells us that plantations used to turn a 9% profit. Personally, I think if you aren't paying for your labor, you ought to be making a lot more than that. After a while we tune him out, and take pictures with funny trees, like this long-leaf pine.

In our excitement over kayaking, we lock the keys in the van. Jeff hitches a ride with our not so charming guide, breaks into our house, and returns in his car while we all wait in the parking lot. As you can see, it's a very fun parking lot. Nothing can top it, not even the yummy s'mores we roast up that night.

Day Five: Wednesday, May 28
We again spend most of the day on the beach. The water is a bit rougher than usual, however, and it washes a lot of jellyfish onto the beach. Though I really want to touch one, I don't.

There's also a good bit of coral and sea weed on the shore. I hate when seaweed touches me when I'm in the ocean. I always think I'm getting attacked by the creature from the black lagoon.

After lunch, Jeff decides to join my parents and sit in the surf, but sitting is apparently not his strong suit.

After a bit of instruction, he figures it out and joins my mom in watching for stingrays. We see a couple flipping in the surf, which inspires us all to hold a moment of silence for the Crocodile Hunter.

Apparently too lazy to get up or too afraid that he will fall over again if he leaves his chair, Jeff decides that sand is a good replacement for sunscreen.

In the evening, my mom and I head back up to Brookgreen Gardens to see the big f***ing otters that I had wanted to see on Monday. They turn out to be disappointing, neither big nor f***ing. I have to settle for birds.

Meanwhile, everyone else attempts a round of adventure golf, but spends most of their time hiding in caves since the sky decides to open up, leaving the course in need of a good squeegee. Astroturf just isn't that absorbent.

It is not a complete loss, however, as they do get to see a very exotic bird species and its young.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Pawleys Island Vacation in Pictures

Day 1: Saturday, May 24
We arrive in the afternoon at our house, Barefoot on the Beach. It's a very nice house in a prime location. We get settled in.

Though evening has come upon us and it's past prime swimming time, we head to the beach. My brother Gregory, aka Jesus, says "Let there be water," and there is. Lots and lots of water. Now everything is in place, and we can enjoy the rest of our week.

Day Two: Sunday, May 25
We head to the beach, where Gregory and I construct this amazing sand sculpture. We have admirers stopping by all day to marvel at it.

I then lead the charge into the water, which is a very comfortable temperature. Soon everyone is body surfing in the waves.

Matthew and Amanda discuss the propensity of the ocean to tear off your pants. Fortunately for us, they are able to keep theirs on, though apparently they require a bit of adjusting.

Gregory practices his Baywatch run, though he goes in the wrong direction.

Having consumed way more than our daily recommended allowance of salt, we head back to the sand for more fun. Being the appointed vacation photographer I don't appear in many photos, so I take a picture of my foot to prove I am indeed there.

The sun makes Mark loony.

And Matthew takes to playing Frisbee by himself.

Jeff, Mark, and Gregory come up with a game that involves bombing sand structures with baseballs. It may be a new beach favorite.

Day Three: Monday, May 26
My mom, Mark, Gregory, and I begin the day with a trip to Brookgreen Gardens. We see many lovely statues.

We also see many beautiful flowers.

The live oaks are very nice and remind me of one of the things I liked about Rice.

We encounter a handful of lizards, including this guy who modeled for me.

In the afternoon, we return to the beach, where Gregory, Jeff, and Mark continue to bomb seaside villages into oblivion.

We tell my mom and Matthew to go fly a kite.

And so they do.