About eight years ago, actor and infamous playboy Charlie Sheen manifested a massive midlife crisis. Upon separating from his bombshell third wife and abandoning their young children, he took up consorting with strippers and porn stars, dabbled in a heroically drug-fueled hedonism, and spectacularly quit his high-paying role on a top-rated TV show. He then pronounced himself “Winning!”
This became an oft-memed catchphrase for as long as these things usually last (e.g. the Warholian fifteen minutes). But having recently hit the milestone age of 50, I find myself in the throes of my own midlife crisis. And while mine is taking on a milder sheen than Charlie’s did—although it does feature similarly bad puns, ill-advised word play, and even more ill-advised motorcycle riding—I believe I finally understand his perspective. For even as everything physical (such as my chalk-like teeth and degenerating spinal discs) falls apart, I am experiencing an exceptionally lucid and powerful moment of just not caring what anyone else thinks anymore that is freeing me up to feel quite victorious.
Creatively what this means for me is that I am taking more chances with my work: Embracing the provocative concept. Writing that difficult scene. Using more intimate, sensual language. Sharing my stories with friends and strangers alike. And I’m winning!
I’m pleased to announce that I have placed with six of my eight entries to the 2019 San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts Contest. The accolades range from an Honorable Mention for my picture book manuscript Cat in Glasses, to First Place for the opening chapter of my novel Under L. Here’s the complete list:
Div. 331 Publisher’s Choice Novel Chapter Contest
1st Place: Under L, Megan McDonald
3rd Place: Incendiary, Megan McDonald
Div. 335-02 Poetry, Free Form Poem, Adult
3rd Place: “Before the Fall,” Megan McDonald
Div. 335-05 Poetry, Structured Poem, Adult
2nd Place: “Habitation,” Megan McDonald
3rd Place: “A Haunted Sonnet,” Megan McDonald
Div. 338 Stories for Children Contest
HM: Cat in Glasses, Megan McDonald
I am, of course, very pleased with this showing. I seriously needed the validation and encouragement at this juncture. I’ve been so heads-down on finding a new job of late, I haven’t been composing consistently. So for my poetry and prose to earn these distinctions delivers a huge kick in my proverbial pants. My 2018 wins were not, in fact, one-offs. I really can do this writing thing and, as Sally Field would say, “You like me—you really like me!”
I will be reading on Saturday, June 8th, between 4 and 5 PM, on the Literary Stage at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds, 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo, California, 94403. I will also be delivering an abbreviated version of April’s “Outlining for Everyone!” talk on Sunday, June 9th, at 2 PM, in the same location.
Locals, come out and see me! I will get you free tickets; come for the Literary Arts, and stay for the pig races, Ferris wheel, and funnel cakes… And for those of you who can’t be there in person, I will provide a link to a Dropbox folder that contains my prize-winning pieces; just ping me via the form on my Contact page if you’re interested in perusing them.
Thanks so much for your continued support!