September 1, 2012

Time for a Happy Dance



If you’re like me, it’s not often that you find something genuinely exciting in your email inbox. But yesterday I received a real gem, and I’m eager to share it with you. So I hope you’ll join me for a moment in a little cyberspace happy dance.

The email was from Diana Chrisman Smith. The first line grabbed my attention right away: “Congratulations! You are one of the winners in the ISFHWE Excellence-in-Writing competition for 2012.”

Did I read that right? I quickly read the rest and downloaded the attached list of winners, and sure enough, under the “Columns” category, there was my name. Not once, but twice. I had won first and second place in the category!

Woo-hoo! After re-reading it a few times to let it soak in, I had to jump up and tell somebody. My daughter was the only one home, and to her credit, she was genuinely happy for me. She even put the list on the refrigerator door with a magnet. And if that’s not a sure sign of a Very Important Paper, I don’t know what is.

So now I’m proud to share the news with you, too. My winning entries are:

This story is one of my personal favorites. It tells the tale of my grandparents’ elopement on the day of the OSU-Michigan football game in 1935, some of it in my grandmother’s own words. It was published on November 1, 2011 for the Carnival of Genealogy, and you can read it here.

This post has received more views than any other I’ve written. It recaps the experiences of my great-great-great grandfather in the Civil War, as pieced together from a numerous records and historical accounts. It was published on April 10, 2011 for Bill West’s Civil War Challenge, and you can read it here.

All of this had its start at the NGS Family History Conference in Cincinnati in May. I’ve been a member of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors for about a year, so I stopped by the booth to pick up the ribbon for my badge. There were a few other people there too, and Diana, who was staffing the booth, encouraged us all to enter the Excellence-in-Writing contest. The deadline was fast approaching, and I mentioned that I didn’t have time to write a new article specifically for the contest. But she told me that individual blog posts are eligible for entry under “Columns,” and I could use anything published in 2011. Hmmm. Something to think about.

So a week later, I looked through my posts from last year and found two that I felt did a good job of telling a family history story. I thought if I submitted them, it would be valuable to get the judge’s remarks back. I sent the entries in and pretty much put the whole thing out of my mind, until the email arrived yesterday.

I’d like to say thank you to ISFHWE for this honor, and for the support they offer to family history writers. I’d also like to thank my family, who doesn’t think it too terribly strange that I like to spend my days digging up clues to our family’s past (or if they do, they hide it well). And most of all I’d like to thank you, my much-appreciated readers, for your time and the comments you leave that show you’re interested and engaged. More than anything else, that encourages me to keep writing.


--Shelley


28 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I was so thrilled to see you won! Well deserved!

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  2. I was also doing the happy dance when I saw the list of winners yesterday! Congratulations. You are a wonderful writer I always enjoy reading your blog posts.

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    1. I really appreciate that, Michelle! Thanks for being such a loyal reader.

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  3. Congratulations, Shelley and I loved the photograph you featured - the little girls looked so happy.

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    1. Thank you, Sue! The little girl in the black and white dress is me. I believe it was my 5th birthday party. It seemed like a good photo for today :)

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  4. Congratulations, Shelley! They were great stories and I enjoyed reading them. It's nice to know too that blogs are now being accepted in writing competitions.

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    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed them, Becky--that means a lot to me. I didn't realize blog posts were eligible for the contest either until Diana told me they were, but I think that's good news for us bloggers.

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  5. Congratulations, Shelley! I am doing the cyber-happy dance with you! I remember reading that OSU-Michigan elopement story when you first posted it. In fact, I think that's what first caught my eye and led me to your blog, since I know from my own family that OSU-Michigan is a big deal!

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    1. Oh, Jacqi, how sweet that the Big Game post was the one that led you to my blog. That's neat to know. Thank you for reading and commenting and doing the happy dance with me!

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  6. Congratulations Shelley! Always exciting when something we worked hard on is recognized and appreciated. Doing the dance with you!

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing the excitement with me, Valerie!

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  7. Congrats, Shelley! They were indeed wonderful posts!!

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    1. I really appreciate the kind words, Diana, and am glad to know you enjoyed them!

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  8. Wow! Congratulations Shelley! And you picked the perfect photo for your happy dance! Very cute!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Jana, and always being so supportive with your comments. The photo is one of my favorites--it's fun to have a chance to use it!

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  9. Congrats, Shelley! I love that your daughter put the list of winners on the fridge. That proves success!

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  10. Gold AND silver metals - that's a lot of hardware. Congratulations - it's well deserved!

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  11. Congratulations Shelley! I'm looking forward to returning for a "good read."

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  12. I just noticed the announcement on another blog. Congratulations, Shelley! Great job!!!

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    1. I appreciate it, Nancy! I'm a big admirer of your stories, too.

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  13. Congrats, Shelley! I'm so happy for you! It is well deserved. I still remember reading your post on the OSU game. Such a sweet story. It's still one of my all-time favorite family history blog posts. :)

    Steph

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    1. Wow, Stephanie, that makes me happy. Thanks!

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  14. WOW! Congratulations! What a great honor. I can't wait to read your articles as I believe I missed them when they were originally posted. Great job!!!

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Thank you for reading my blog! I welcome and appreciate your comments.

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