RHA’s 2021 fiction writing contest has been judged and we have three award recipients, not to mention an upcoming fiction writing picnic for every participant in Rossmoor Park.
The RHA’s judge, Susan Denley, a former features editor at the Los Angeles Times and avid book club participant in Rossmoor, not to mention president of the Rossmoor Woman’s Club, has ruled. Susan says that it was hard to pick the top three stories, meaning we have some good storytellers in Rossmoor, people who not only entertain their audience but have a good time themselves.
First place goes to Welcome Home, by Lisa Lanier. Susan said it was the best-written submission in the contest. “She tells a story of two brothers who make their living as thieves but with a twist: they also act as handymen around the Rossmoor home they break into, fixing the TV connection, a dripping faucet, and more even as they make off with the vacationing homeowner’s watch and eat an apple from the refrigerator. Dialogue is very well used in this story, and in only a few spare words I get a pretty good sense of who these young brothers are. Bonus: I’m left with the eerie feeling of not being altogether certain if they are real or ghosts! (I’m not sure the writer intended for the reader to feel that way, but I did!)
Second place goes to Lost in the Unknown, by Sean Massoumi. Susan wrote, “This is an action-adventure about the exploits of a shipwrecked sailor. The writing is very graphic in the sense that the reader can visualize the story almost as if watching a film: “Splash! A massive wave slapped my face. The rain was heavy and the wind was thick….Splash! Another wave hit the boat. I lost my grip and went sliding to the back of the boat.” The story also contains humor, such as when a monkey shoots off the hero’s flare gun, and has a few nods to Rossmoor (the sunken boat is the Martha Ann and the explorer’s name, we learn at the end, is Charles Rossmoor). This story is especially impressive since the writer, Sean, says he is only 12 years old.” I wish Sean a successful career as a writer.
Third place goes to The Umbrella Lady, by Ron Kirkpatrick. Of this one, Susan wrote, “This is the one that might be an essay or might be fiction. The unnamed narrator sits at his desk in his Rossmoor home and sees a smiling, older woman with a pretty parasol stroll by every day. The writer reflects on the turmoil of the past couple of years, with disputes over politics and Covid-19 rules (to mask or not to mask) roiling the once peaceful neighborhood. In the midst of all this, the Umbrella Lady “is always there, reassuring me the world is good, people are good and life is a gift we should enjoy,” he says.
I’ll also mention such good stories as Destiny’s Foster Child, by Joel Block. And Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow, by Kevin Cimarusti.
The winning entries, all authored by members of the RHA, will be posted following the traditional celebration scheduled for early September.
The Fiction Writing contest is one of the activities that RHA supports for its members, young and old, newly arrived and original homeowners. Through the years, we have had winners across every age. I’m happy that this year we had a younger resident join the winner’s circle. We will award gift certificates of $200 for first place, $150 for second place, and $100 for third place. I want to thank all of the participants this year and in years past.
RHA Fiction Writing Contest Director