One Last Pearl

The Southern California Writers Conference www.writersconference.com has been a favorite event of mine for the past four years. I began my first novel just five years ago and attending this conference has provided me with a link to learning my new craft, to other authors, and to people in the industry that could help me SUCK LESS as Michael Steven Gregory would say.

Each year when I attend this conference, I try to step a little further out of my comfort zone, not an easy task for someone who as a youngster wasafraid to face a cashier and pay for a purchase! But bit by bit, I have stepped out, and today I hold in my hand my first published work!!! Woo-Hoo! Yipee!

When I attended the conference this past February, I entered a contest sponsored by the new literary publication, The Hummingbird Review, www.thehummingbirdreview.com. I think that the requirements were to write a 1,000 word essay on The Impact of Another. The idea of writing a 1,000 word essay seemed daunting. I write novels! It takes me 80,000 words to say what I have to say‚ no comment from the peanut gallery. But, this was a chance to step out of my secure zone, a chance to stretch myself in a new way. And, I knew in an instant what I would write about. Tim Kiraly. I had spent a couple of hours with this dying man some twelve years ago, and I still recall his words and the power of that meeting.

Tim Kiraly

Tim is pictured here in the khaki jacket and jeans. He’s the one with the mustache!

I spent hours writing and polishing my essay. Anyone who knows me knows that I never feel finished and never feel that my work is good enough. But I turned the work in. There was a deadline, after all. When I heard in March that I had won the contest, I was so excited that I even forgot to let Michael Steven Gregory know that I had received his email.

From there, the most amazing thing of all happened. In April, I heard from Bob Yehling, www.wordjourneys.com, the editor of the Hummingbird Review. Editing needed to be completed. I wanted to contact Tim’s widow, to be sure that the details of my essay were accurate. At work that morning, I looked up her phone number and wrote it down. As I was driving home that afternoon, I saw a familiar figure walking down the road, but one I hadn’t seen in years. It was Kathy Kiraly, Tim’s widow! She and I talked for a long while then, about the fact that the tenth anniversary of Tim’s death had just recently passed, and how she’d just been thinking of him. The stars had aligned once again, and both Kathy and I felt Tim at work.

Tim Kiraly was an astounding man. I am so pleased that my essay has brought him back to life for so many who knew and loved him. And that this story has touched both those who knew him as well as those that did not.

hummingbirdYou can read an ecopy of my essay, One Last Pearl, at www.hummingbirdreview.com/essaysprose-claudiawhitsitt.html

Every writer has many goals. Some of those include evoking emotion in the reader, being published, and being paid! Thanks to Charlie Redner, Bob Yehling, Michael Steven Gregory, and Tim Kiraly for helping to make all those dreams come true for me!

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