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I’d Like to Say ‘You’re Welcome’ to the Little People, or, How Winning the Loft’s Fall Writing Contest Has Changed My Life

Posted on Thu, Jan 10 2013 9:00 am by Sally Franson

Flickr CC: terren in Virginia

Why hello there.

Seeing as I’ve recently graced the covers of Minnesota Trimonthly and Southwestern Tundra Magazine, not to mention all twelve centerfolds in my best-selling 2013 Me-ow: Sexy Cats calendar (buy quick before they’re gone!), I believe that my reputation as a rich and successful literary star precedes me. So before I go any further, I’d just like to say, You’re welcome, it’s really my pleasure; and, Yes, I’ll be available to sign autographs in the lobby after the program is over.

I’m not usually one for speeches—I’ve been told to keep a low profile following, ha ha, that unfortunate incident at the grand opening of the Mankato Hy-Vee—but when The Loft recently approached me to reflect upon my achievements, which are truly awe-inspiring, mind you, because I’m not even thirty, I could hardly say no. Because I owe some—not all, obviously, maybe about five percent—of my success to the Loft, which awarded me the grand prize for their 2012 Fall Writing Contest. The grand prize! Some of you may have submitted your own stories to this contest, and I’d like to take a moment and thank you retroactively for your work, which made my own seem that much better.

Yes. Thanks to you and the Loft, I have been catapulted to heights of fame and fortune previously unknown to the local literati. I had to sign a confidentiality agreement before accepting the prize so am therefore not at liberty to discuss the terms, but let’s just say that someone in this room may or may not have a controlling stake in a grocery chain rhyming with “Schmyerly’s.” I was also treated to dinner at what true bourgeoisie call an “upscale” restaurant at the West End, during which I drank six martinis and ordered three plates of chicken wings and didn’t even have to skip out on the bill. Fancy!

Also, on the day they announced the winners, I made seven-and-a-half new Facebook friends (one of them was in utero), bringing my grand total to 83. Thirteen more people followed me on Twitter, and not a single one was trying to get a copy of my credit report. I started getting fan mail on a regular basis right around this time, too: people generously offering discounts from 1-800-FLOWERS, and one funny guy who kept making jokes about enlarging a certain male member. I wrote him back teasingly and said, silly fan, don’t you know that I’m a girl? To which he replied with a winky smile and a link to a website with a lot of x’s in the name. To be honest I’ve been so busy with work I haven’t had a chance to visit it yet.

I’d like to conclude this speech by offering some sage advice. Because now that I’m famous and prosperous beyond both yours and my wildest dreams, people are always asking for advice. I’m sure you’re no different. To keep it simple, I always explain that my philosophy on life can be boiled down to three no-fail rules. The first one is, apply to everything. The second one is, try really hard. And the third one is, don’t invest your literary prize money with a bald guy named Lenny, because the talking Roomba in the shape of a husband he said he invented is TOTALLY NOT REAL. Which leads me to my fourth and bonus rule: never trust people with disposable cell phones.

That is all for today.

You’re welcome again.

Please, quiet down. I’m blushing.

Sally Franson is an award-winning journalist, graduate teaching artist of creative nonfiction at the University of Minnesota, and the winner of the Loft's Fall Writing Contest with Minnesota Premiere Publications. Her writing has been published in DailyCandy, The L magazine, and Isthmus, as well as various blogs. She recently recorded a podcast with the Wisconsin Story Project and is currently working on a memoir. Her lyric essay “A Benediction” recently won the 2011 Gesell Award in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Minnesota. She will teach the single-session class "Opening to the Sacred: Writing as Meditation" at One Yoga in Minneapolis on February 23.

Submit to the Loft's Spring Writing Contest with Minnesota Premiere Publications, which focuses on MYSTERY.
Deadline: Monday, February 4.