Monkey love!
Monkey love!
Last week was vacation time for Cynthia in the form of a Western Caribbean cruise with stops in Roatán, Belize and Cozumel. I did some things I never thought I would doincluding snorkeling, staring down the maw of a hungry alligator, wearing various animals (the hungry alligator, no, but a tiny crocodile, yes), looking down from the top of Mayan ruins and eating escargot and frog legs. (I would post a picture of me snorkeling, but it would just be my butt and a snorkel sticking out of the ocean. No.)

Side note: Butt sticking out of the ocean results in an awkward sunburn....

Escargottastes like snail
I also got to start and finish Embassytown by China Miéville, which is an amazing book that throws you in the middle of a completely alien environment and lets you decode it a chapter at a time. The story deals largely with linguistics, of which I have a very basic understanding, and how it shapes our perceptions. Great read. I will definitely read another of his books.

Side note: I feel 12.2% smarter for having read it.

Random animal
Random animal thrown
on my shoulder by that kid
Because I am, and always will be a writer at heart, every experienceevery person I met is fodder for some story I will write, or enhancements for stories I've already written. This, combined with the insightful critiques of my recent League of Utah Writers contest entries, have given me a renewed excitement for my writing.

Side note: No matter how dedicated they are, writers often need to renew their excitement for writing in the form of praise, cash, vacations or manuscript requests from agents or publishers.
Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Below are the critiques I received on my winning submissions. Disclaimer: I omitted some of the specifics to save space and because it won't make sense if you haven't read the work that is being referenced. Also, I only want to post the stuff that makes me look awesome. End disclaimer.

Mayan Princess
I'm a Mayan princess
There is so much to love:

The candles seemed like a gross overcompensation—flaming phallic exposition; Kern had to feel like he bought a lemon—a lemon trying to soothe his empty ache with a lace tablecloth and Merlot from a box; I guess three years is the universal light show anniversary. The first chapter ended at a point that was both exciting and driving to make the reader turn the page and see what’s in chapter two.

Loved it and have very little in criticism except that I wish I had the whole book. Well done.

Laetoli, Tanzania
This poem imagines the life of a hominid ancestor of humans suggested by footprints captured in ash. The poem works best when it describes with colorful details the little moments of the woman's life which aren't known to science: things such as her coughing, her tears, the relationship
Brutus the Cajun alligator
she had with her children. The final two lines connect the poem hauntingly with the modern reader, describing this ancient ancestor as "just one more single mother/skirting the edge of disaster."

This poem is well written and articulate.  I chose it as the 2nd place winner and could very easily have placed it as Number 1.  You have shown us what happens without telling in the poem. You have given me a new insight on the 2nd Rule of Thermodynamics.  Thanks for the interesting lesson.
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