Editorís note // October personified
By Kathleen Stoehr
It’s another day in the offices of Minnesota Good Age. I have written at least a thousand words for this column if not more, and deleted them all. Topics have ranged from the sad demise of the Eastman Kodak company, to politics, to my frustration in having clothes that are too big for me but no funds to buy smaller, to an epic road trip I just returned home from, to Medicare. I’d get one very interesting paragraph in and say, eh — that’s going nowhere … and start over again.
Actually, as I write this I question whether I will finish this piece, so if you are reading this, hurray! I finished!
And all of this is because it’s just too beautiful out right now to be able to focus. I get that way in September and (especially) October, two of my favorite months of the year. (Plus, there’s a really nice restaurant next door to our offices with an outdoor patio right outside my window … I can see it … and it’s calling my name on this sunny 70 degree Friday.)
But one thing I was able to give my full attention to when it arrived in my email this morning was the terrifically compelling piece from the winner of the Loft Literary Center’s first writing contest, held in conjunction with this publication. From 103 entries, the Loft narrowed the competition to 25, and then handed those over to judge Kate St. Vincent Vogl. If you recall, the subject to be addressed was “The Personification of October” and I have to say, I thought that would be really tough. Our winner, Sally Franson, made it look easy.
Of course, it wasn’t easy for judge Kate. She said, “One winner? I can only pick one?” and then went on to say that she read the 25 top entries many times over. I loved that she also made note of the vibrancy of the writers in our community. I agree. If I had to choose one thing I like about my editorship more than anything, it is that I get to promote and publish the voices of writers, from the honest emotion we get from Dave Nimmer, to the intelligent look into the human psyche from Dr. Kara Witt (and of course, everyone in between). I love, love, love reading and learning from others.
So, if you have just a little bit of time, the piece clocks in at just under 800 words. It won’t take you long, only about double what it took you to read this. But believe me, you may want to read it more than once. Turn to page 11 for October Requiem, by Sally Franson.