By Cati Currier, Staff Writer –
Winners in the annual MCC Liberal Arts Network for Development (LAND) writing
contest have been announced for fiction, poetry and essay.
They received cash awards of $100 for first place in each category, $75 for second, and
$25 for third.
Michael Dietz took first place honors in fiction with “Red No. 67.” Second was Angelo
Hernandez-Sias with “Chainboy (1979)”, and third was Mathew Wagenmaker with “Rust.”
Honorable mentions were awarded to William Rezny for “Feeding Time” and Thomas
Cotty for “Outstanding Slumber.”
In poetry, Jennifer Lance took first place for “Camouflage,” while Afton Walker won
second with “Owed to O’Keefe.” Third was Shayne Miller with “Unnecessary Elegy to
Receiving honorable mentions were Kristina Salinas for “Ruptured Aorta” and Adrianna
Turner for “Longing.”
Winning first place in the essay category was Jonathan Hastings for “Deep Breaths.”
Elizabeth Robin Carpenter won second with “How to Have an Absolutely Miserable Camping
Trip,” and Hannah Mockma took third with “Rebellion: The Story of Gizelle.”
Fiction winner Deitz said he’s been writing for many years.
“I distinctly remember writing a short story in grade school, first grade to be exact,
which won a contest the school was having,” he said. “The subject had something to do with a
boy and a magical horse. A shelf on my bookcase is dedicated to the years of journals I have
accumulated since my late teens, and in my early 20’s I began writing a fantasy novel that is
saved to a flash drive in my office.”
Dietz says that he was inspired to write his piece “Red No. 67” because of something that
he realized on his way home from work one day.
“No one, I repeat, NO ONE, should ever be made to feel awful for what cannot be
controlled and for what is on the inside,” he said. “I sometimes fantasize of a world where
everybody is comfortable enough to be who they truly are on the inside and not be made to feel
that those parts of us are to be confined and imprisoned within the frame of a mirror. Though
some may be off-put by the subject and theme of the story, my hope is that it at least raises
awareness to the fact that being different is never wrong.”
Dietz said that he decided to enter the contest “because I truthfully wanted to compare
my own work against the work of the competition. To simply place in the contest would have
been an amazing confirmation in itself that I am headed in the right direction with my work as an
artist. But to walk away with first place was truly an overwhelming experience, and it has
equipped me with a very special tool with which I will be able to conquer much self-doubt for
Lance also has been writing for quite a few years.
“I’ve been writing since I was about nine or ten,” she said, “though I didn’t really become
involved in writing poetry until I was 13.” She said that most helpful to her was taking Mary
Tyler’s poetry writing class. “It is an incredible class and I learned so much.”
Lance says that she is inspired as a writer by the ways that people interact with each
other. She says that she wrote her poem using hunting as a metaphor to a relationship.
Hastings said that he originally began writing his essay for an assignment at Grand
Valley State University. He never turned it in, so he decided to enter it in the MCC contest.
“My inspiration came from the positive message that Breathe 02 provided. I believe that
nature should be respected and protected, especially in today’s society. It is easy to go day by day
without giving nature preservation a second thought.”
The MCC competition is sponsored by the Muskegon Writers’ Center and the MCC
The winning entries will now move on to state competition. Awards will be presented at
the statewide conference in February at Grand Rapids Community College.
Picture unrelated: MCC Holiday Music Concert on Dec. 6th 2015 with Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” by more than 100 student musicians and singers.