Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Winner of My NoQS Free Pass

I know you'll want to scroll down fast and just read who the winner is but WAIT. You must must must read this first.

I didn't realize how heartfelt and deep the responses would be. If I did, I wouldn't have made it my question - I can't pick from these options! But I'm happy I made it my Free Pass question because I feel so blessed to witness this outpouring of stories and experiences. Never has something like this happened on my blog and I'm so, so grateful for all of you who shared.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, last week , I asked, "Which writer means the most to you?" The questioned I loved 'most' would win my Free Pass into the writerly Nightmare on Query Street contest.

Seriously, I loved them all. There's something to be said about a community that would reveal such pains and pleasures, happinesses and joys with, technically, strangers. About thirty stories! Thirty! Ranging from fun and exciting ones to dark and troubled ones. You all opened your hearts and for that I'm so thankful.

Then came the fact that I had to pick one as the winner of the Free Pass. How can I pick only one? How can I pick one personal story over another? It's a war of subjectivity. One is not greater than any other because these are personal facts, memories, and emotions. How can one's experience be greater than anyone else's? Would I neglect a happy story simply because it's happy? How about stories of writers who found their calling due to another writer? People who cherish their writers due to technical merit?

So I thought back to the question on the post, where I said, "Writing and writers can create revolutions in people. Now I want to know which writer means the most to you." Revolutions. Revolutions in people - I'll look for the most 'revolutioned' writer.

And, great, that was basically everyone. Revolutions in craft, in purpose, in jobs, in personal situations.

So then came the subjective part. I made the sort-of-kind-of arbitrary decision to focus on personal situations since I think that's the deepest part of an individual. Not saying that any other revolution isn't as revolutionary. Simply, I needed a way to narrow down my choices.

Honestly, I'm going through all this trying to find a method to the madness of picking a winner, but it's all useless in the end because it was all so subjective. So I'll cut to the chase.

The winner of the free pass is Kelsey Simon! She wrote:

I'd have to say for me it was Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon. I was about fourteen when a friend of my mom's said "here read this" and handed me the biggest book I'd ever seen in my entire life. I was probably a little to young to read Mists of Avalon, but it didn't matter. I devoured that book whole, again and again. I was going through an extremely hard time in my life, I was dealing with sexual harassment at school, rumors that I was a lesbian, and complete and utter abandonment by all my friends. It was so bad I had to each lunch in front of a counselor, and couldn't be left alone. The worst part was, none of it was because of something I did, but because everyone believed I was lying about something someone did to me.

I wasn't religious at the time. My mom was, and she begged me to go to church with her, but I hated the idea. Then, this book was, in some ways, about this religion and a Goddess that was dark and brutal yet beautiful. She spoke through nature and was more about women and that just spoke to me at the time. Suddenly, I was praying to this Goddess every day, using her to help me through the worst. I prayed when the characters did, I cried when they did, and most of all I put one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward.

It's all that that makes Marion Zimmer Bradley important to me, but also because, when I was old enough to finally reflect upon what happened to me, I realized this is it. That's why I want to write. I want to write for kids, I want to give them worlds they can slip away into, I want to pay it forward. I want to write a book and hopefully, touch a soul like hers touched mine, and help them through a rough patch in their life. That's why I'm a writer.

The fact that an author could affect a person to this degree and help her out so much stuck with me. Truly, without a doubt, this writer meant a ton to Kelsey :)

My runner-ups were:

I loved all their answers.

In fact, I love all the answers! That's why I feel so bad praising these four amazing replies because I feel the other writers would take it to mean that their answers weren't 'good' or 'praise-worthy'. NO!!!!!!!! I can't mention all of you and tell you how much I appreciate each one because I like to sleep at night, and if I discuss how amazing each one is, I'll be up all night!

I consider myself blessed to have been able to read all these stories. I hope you all enjoyed reading them too :) I know I'll be coming to the page a lot, just to read up from time to time :)

Again, THANK YOU FOR SHARING! And, of course, CONGRATS KELSEY!! Congratulate her over Twitter and
thank you all for sharing!!!!! You guys are the best!


  1. Congratulations to Kelsey. That is an amazing story, and kudos to Kelsey for finding the strength to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it's the hardest part of living.