Check out the whole thing, but here’s what I wrote as the introduction:
Writing is an act of courage.
It takes courage to try to turn your thoughts and feelings, passions and fears, idle notions and deeply held beliefs into words.
It takes courage to commit those words to paper or pixels. There they lie, naked, exposed to any reader who happens by. What if they laugh—when you weren’t trying to be funny? (What if they don’t laugh, when you were?) What if they just don’t get it? What if they get it, but they hate it? What if they judge you?
It takes even more courage to send those naked words out into the wider world, not just taking the chance people might read them, but actively seeking other people to show them to, trying to convince them that they should spend some of their limited and ever-dwindling supply of time hearing what you have to say: “Look at this! Read this! This is important!”
All the young writers who submitted to this issue of windScript, then, whether their work was selected or not, deserve recognition for conspicuous courage in the commission of writing.
It was an honor to read all the submitted works, and I was impressed over and over again with the fearless way in which these writers tackled tough topics with conviction and insight … and, just as importantly, firm control of the tools of the writing trade: words, phrases, lines, sentences, and paragraphs.
It was difficult to select just three to give awards to, but in the end I settled on Kaila Garchinski of Regina for the Jerrett Enns Prose Award, for her piece “Irony,” Kayla Kozan of Regina for the Jerrett Enns Poetry Award (for all of her pieces, but especially for my favorite, “Double-Checking,”) and Shirla White of Moose Jaw for the Currie-Hyland Prize for “Nostalgia, Revisited.”
Kaila’s piece, full of longing and loss, captures the frustration of every writer trying to capture in words his or her own deepest feelings. Kayla’s poem expresses a wish we all share, for a better way of winding our way through life than often-disappointing trial and error. And Shirla’s poem condenses a short story’s—or novel’s!—worth of the emotion surrounding outgrown relationships in just a few lines.
I hope you enjoy reading their pieces, and all the others contained in this year’s edition of Windscript, as much as I did: and that you’ll be equally impressed by the quality—and courage!—of this next generation of Saskatchewan writers.
My thanks to everyone who submitted, and special thanks to the Saskatchewan Writers Guild for keeping windScript alive–and allowing me to be part of it.