First of all, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who submitted an entry to UPK’s very first, Micro-Fiction contest! We had a great time reading through the entries, and it was incredibly difficult to select the grand-prize winner and runners up. But select we did!
Our entrants were asked to write an ekphrastic micro-fiction (300 words, or less!) piece of prose or poetry in response to one of two images:
“Bottling Line Split” from The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries by Carol Peachee
“Mahogany Sewing Table” from Kentucky By Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture edited by Andrew Kelly
3 Runners-Up will win 1 Kentucky fiction or poetry book of their choice published by the University Press of Kentucky, and 1 Grand Prize Winner will win a prize pack of 3 Kentucky fiction or poetry books published by the University Press of Kentucky.
View our fiction titles here. Find poetry titles here.
And now, we present to you, the
Grand Prize Winner
Congratulations Patricia Holland of Paris, Kentucky, for her prose piece: “Threads!”
And, congratulations to our three runners-up:
Liz K. (“Thread Baring”)
Sarah H. (“Sewing Not”)
& Rich G. (“And Still You Sew On”)
My great-grandmother Nanny believed she could foretell the future by studying the clipped threads and bits of fabric that caught on the hem of her skirt whenever she made a new dress.
She taught me to sew and as I pedaled away on her treadle machine, she also taught me to respect her strange, Irish superstitions. To her, those stray threads found on my clothing had landed there to help her analysis my future. Different colored threads meant different things. Black did not mean death. Blank was the color of my true love’s hair. Threads in red, yellow, green or pink were fine unless they were from my wedding dress. My Nanny sang, “Married in red, you’ll wish you were dead/ Married in yellow, you’re ashamed of your fellow/Married in green, you’ll be ashamed to be seen/Married in pink, your spirit will sink/ But when you marry in white, you’ll find the love of your life.”
For a time after she taught me how to sew, I believed that stray threads really could show me a glimpse of my future. Do I still believe that those bits of colored thread have a mystical meaning and power? No, I don’t; but I still remember and treasure Nanny’s long-ago lessons. So as I sew up my white wedding gown and think about the pattern my life will take, I’ve taken a mare’s nest of tangled threads from the bottom drawer of Nanny’s sewing machine and made a small silk drawstring bag to hold them.
I do believe in traditions so I’ll make sure that on my wedding day I’ll have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Nanny’s tangled threads are old, my dress is something new. My Irish lace veil will be borrowed and my garter will be blue.
Read the entries from our runners-up after the jump