On Friday September 17, I nominated Write Alley Writing Coach Suzanne Lawrence (my mother) for a Mayor’s Arts Award as an Arts Educator.
To do so, I had to select up to five documents and letters of support, and to write up to 1000 words to describe how her achievements and contributions to arts education have been significant and far reaching and to show how she met the following criteria:
Ø Leadership in the arts community and service to the arts over a significant period of time
Ø Demonstration of having set a positive example
Ø Significance and magnitude of the nominees’s contributions to citizens of Ventura
It was a difficult 1000 words to write. There was a lot I wanted to say and for the previous two years, I had intended to nominate her but had not. With her passing in July, this was really the last chance to do it; Eric Wallner at the City of Ventura told me they had received posthumous nominations in the past so I knew it would be accepted.
By the 5pm deadline today, I had the essay written and had picked up Letters of Support from Donna Granata, founder of Focus on the Masters; Tim Schiffer, director of the Ventura County Museum; and Cynthia Thompson, of the San Buenaventura Conservancy. Art City Sculptor Joanne Duby, Art City founder Paul Lindhard, San Buenaventura Conservancy board member Carol Lindberg and photographer Steve Schaffer all volunteered to serve as references.
In the process of writing and revising the essay, I did a lot of Natalie Goldberg style writing practice on the idea of “I remember…” to get my words and my imagination flowing and going. (Here’s a link on doing Writing Practice.) Because I didn’t have a lot of time, I focused on what I knew; the first drafts were very personal and when I read them aloud to my husband for feedback, I could barely do it because of the tears.
My down draft got as long as 1250 words at one point. For my editing process, I focused on showing how she met the criteria. I had the criteria at the beginning and the end of the essay and midway I did a freewrite specifically on how she met the criteria to keep me on track. But I didn’t want to TELL the committee she met the criteria, I wanted to SHOW them by using stories to illustrate why they should choose her.
As I reread it now, I realize that I edited out the intro where I mentioned that she had passed away July 30, 2010. Now I need to decide whether I need to revise it to include that information and ask permission to resubmit the essay.
What do you think? Do I need to mention (more…)