Betting on a Longshot

Well, I didn’t win the weekly Reedsy short story contest I entered with my story titled “Uncle Ed’s Toupee.” I didn’t even make the shortlist of finalists. That’s okay as I didn’t expect to win. I did it for the experience of writing to a prompt with a one week deadline.

Editor’s Note: Sounds like loser talk to me.

Here’s a link to the winning story. I feel compelled to say that I’m not impressed. Sure, it’s written in a highfalutin style with a lot of cool imagery. But the bottom line is that it’s a story of a mother complaining about her 3 kids who won’t sleep through the night with a husband who can sleep through an earthquake in a house with a faulty air conditioner. Big deal! I’ve raised/am still raising 5 kids, and you don’t hear me bitching about it in my writings. Of course, I was the husband sleeping through the earthquakes/kids crying.

In all seriousness, congrats to the winner and the finalists. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write like that. I also don’t want to write like that. I want to write stories that make me think “That’s funny” or “That’s entertaining.”

Editor’s Note: Talk about a low bar. He thinks that when looking into his cereal bowl.

I guess my point is that writers should write what’s inside themselves for themselves. I did so with “Uncle Ed’s Toupee.” It was inspired by my Uncle Ed’s toupee, my deceased brother-in-law, and various other personal influences. It felt good writing it, and I am pleased when I read it. That’s how I want my writing to feel, and I wish the same satisfaction for you when you write.

The odds were 1 in 258 against me winning that short story contest, so I was quite the longshot. Better odds faced me yesterday when I read for the lead in a short film.

You read that last sentence right. I was invited to read for one of the lead roles as Dad (typecast!) in a new short film from the same filmmaking team that brought us the short film “32 Degrees” in which I was a background extra bar patron. You may be asking why you haven’t seen that film yet? Well, they tell me it is still in post-production work. That’s been frustrating as my acceptance speech for Best Non-Speaking Extra in a Short Film gathers dust. Anyway, I can only guess that the team noted my smouldering sexuality leaping off the screen in “32 Degrees,” so that’s why they reached out to me to read for the lead role as a rural farming father.

I don’t think they had many people read for the part, but I’m still a longshot. Why? I would point to no formal acting training coupled with no discernible acting talent along with little to no acting experience. So, why do it? Well, I liked the filmmaking team. It was a very professional set on “32 Degrees.” And because I wanted to. It was fun. Sure, it was a stretch for me. But reaching for the stars is sometimes what we need to do to grow personally. For example, you may have to reach for Pluto to find Uranus.

Editor’s Note: Ugh, see what I have to deal with?

As the title pic states, a longshot is better than no shot at all. Take your shot.


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