My unpublished memoir won 2nd place in the WNBA Writing Contest. See the winning excerpt below and follow the links to know more. Very excited and thrilled at this new development! ~Renate
The winning excerpt:
The Seine was lapping up high, swollen and excited from the rain storms of the past days. The illuminated Gare d’Orsay across the river threw a lick of polish on the cobblestones of the quay. My youthful follies with Frantisek and other lovers seemed like a story invented by someone else. My imagination had been stirred by women as far back as I could remember. A little girl with a dark page cut mesmerized me at age five because she was half French and her parents had a marble statue in their garden in Berlin, where I grew up. I remembered a children’s ballet I saw at that time, the little girls dolled up in brocade like in a painting by Velazquez. I was permitted to touch one girl’s crinoline dress, entering a magical realm I never completely left.
The fairytale of femininity…
What made it so fascinating was that I was never entirely part of it. I was and I wasn’t. I was in love with the tale but didn’t fit the bill, no matter how hard my mother tried. There wasn’t a day in my childhood and youth that wasn’t touched by this dream my mother, my older sister and I were supposed to share – graceful manners, beauty, charm, all difficult to define and difficult to escape. We didn’t have money but my mother, cook and baker par excellence, was endlessly creative in making up for this fact, tailoring entire wardrobes, ball gowns and coats, making us look like members of a social class she was determined to belong to. We sometimes joked that she’d also make our shoes if only she had time. My inclination for being a trickster, which I considered second nature, had perhaps originated with my mother, after all. While she baked and bustled and hosted, my sister and I smiled, curtsied and pirouetted in apparent unison. Our planet of womanly virtues was graced by admiring visits from “outer space”: my father circled around us at a distance, but always brought his favorite toy, a camera. His thick, leather-bound photo albums filled a prominent space in the book shelves and fed my mother’s hunger for family stardom.
To read the entire excerpt, click here.
To view the list of all winners, click here.