One of the hardest parts of writing is submitting, whether to contests, agents, or magazines. Without submitting, you never know what you can achieve. Finding projects worth putting yourself out there can help.
It Takes a Tribe
Pikes Peak Writers is currently running two writing contests that end in a month. One of them is Writing is Art, a creative collaboration between Pikes Peak Writers and Cottonwood Center for the Arts. In the first iteration, which took place in fall of 2017, writers were asked to visit the galleries at Cottonwood to choose a piece of art by a participating artist. They were then given a single prompt to use in a story inspired by the artwork.
In part two of the contest, we’re asking authors to write a story to the prompt “It Takes a Tribe.” Winners’ stories will then be handed over to Cottonwood Center for the Arts, where artists will be given the opportunity to peruse the stories and find something that inspires them a visual creation of their own. This is a great opportunity for writers! It’s not often that intra-art projects like this one come about, yet they can be wonderful for inspiration and flourishing creativity.
This project was the brain child of Bowen Gillings, current president of PPW. When asked the inspiration behind the project, he responded with the following:
“Writing is Art was born out of a desire to show that creative writing, that literature, is an art in and of itself and deserves to be treated as such. With that foundation, I developed a two-fold concept to propel WiA forward. First, I wanted to partner with a venue that could appreciate writing for the art it is and that could embrace using writing in a visual way. Cottonwood Center for the Arts has a long history with PPW, so it was an ideal fit. Jon Khoury at Cottonwood got behind the idea right away and has continued to be instrumental in make WiA a success. Second, I wanted to show how art inspires art and how all art is open to the interpretation of the observer. WiA writers toured Cottonwood and chose pieces that moved them to create. Some of those works were abstract, some were still life, some were renderings of moments in time. Each piece struck a chord and the writer responded. I love that and cannot wait for the next phase, where writings inspire the creation of visual art.”
We asked a few of the contributors to tell us about their experiences with part one:
“Art evokes, cajoles, inspires, even coerces a response from the viewer. The response may be emotional, visceral, intellectual — but it can’t be denied. The initial Writing is Art project provided an opportunity to put words to my reaction to a piece of art. The process of viewing the piece, reflecting on and writing about it, and seeing the writing exhibited next to the art was a powerful, interactive experience that caused me to get just a little deeper inside of ‘Ocean 2’ by Terry Birkenfeld.”
— Vince Puzick
“I found out about Writing is Art during a Write Drunk, Edit Sober session. Since I only had been living in Colorado for a short time and was healing from a rough break-up, I felt hesitant about entering the contest. In fact, I wondered if continuing with my writing career was worthwhile at all even though everyone around me insisted I have talent. (I still think they must have me confused with someone else.) During a particularly difficult visit at my parents’ house, I locked myself in the guest room with the pictures of a few pieces that caught my eye at Cottonwood. I kept finding myself drawn to the pink closet with things tucked away. It made me think of packing the tangible and intangible items during my separation. I poured those memories and the emotion I pulled from the art into my piece, and surprisingly, my piece was among those selected for the show. It was so validating to see my work in the show and to meet some of the artists. I enjoyed the conversations between artists and writers about how they inspired each other. It was a privilege to be part of this unique collaboration and I look forward to the newest iteration of it.”
“Initially, I decided to participate in the very first Writing is Art as a show of support for Pikes Peak Writers and Cottonwood Center for the Arts, the organizations who paired up to make this happen. I enjoyed chatting with some of the artists and wandering the gallery, looking for possibilities. But then I became selfish. I chose my piece and wrote my little bit entirely driven by and for my own heart. What pleasure! I found myself writing poetry, though I’m not a poet. I considered keeping it to myself, but instead did the right thing and entered my work. And it was selected! It is possible that I may have jumped up and down and shared the news with all who would listen. I missed the gallery opening but stopping by on a quiet afternoon allowed me to take my time viewing, reading, and mulling over each of the art/word pairings. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside, to be a part of this display of talent and creativity. And so, in the end, I still found my selfish joy.”
Free to Enter
Why not try it out? It’s free to enter, and though there are no cash prizes, we do hope to get enough contributions to create a table-top book with all the stories and art prints. Your story will be placed on display next to the artwork inspired by it, for anyone to visit. We’ll also have a gallery opening celebration in March!
For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
Ghosts of Downtown Writing Contest
In addition to this contest, we have a contest in partnership with Downtown Colorado Springs: Ghosts of Downtown Writing Contest. This one seeks your creepy stories about locations in downtown Colorado Springs. Tours will be led by the city, with both true and false stories being told. The guests will then try to guess which ones are real. As with Writing is Art, there are no cash prizes, but winners of this contest get free entry on one of the tours. What could be more fun than watching those taking the tour try to guess if your story is true or false? For more information visit the Facebook event page.
Contests End Soon!
Act fast if you’d like to participate in either of these projects! Writing is Art closes October 1, while Ghosts of Downtown closes September 30. Submission information can be found on the event pages and on our website under Upcoming Events on the main page.
What have you got to lose?
A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in several anthologies and magazines, including Space and Time Magazine and The Literary Hatchet, and her short story collection Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations is now available. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there’s always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. Find her at www.thewarriormuse.com.