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Steven Domingues

Thinks of things, then writes them down


A few months ago (around the end of March) I entered a short story into a competition held by the SLO NightWriters. Not being a member, and not really knowing what they do as an organization, I tried to not get my hopes up at all. I didn’t know who I’d be competing with, their skill level, etc. All I did was send in the best work that I could. I found out a few weeks ago that I was a finalist.

Last night was the awards ceremony. Martine (my wife) and I went, not knowing what to expect. We sat near the back of a small amphitheater and the presentation started.

The average age of the group was, well, a lot older then I was expecting. To me, this meant experience. At this point I was of two minds. On one hand, I didn’t think I had a shot- some of these people have been writing longer then I’ve been alive. On the other hand, I felt honored to even be a finalist- I must have done something right, right?

So, the ceremony starts with an honorable mention in the short story category (there was also a poetry category). The winner approached the small stage, received a framed certificate, posed for a picture and then read their story.


Martine and I looked at each other in surprise. We had no idea that if I won anything, I’d have to read it aloud. The last time I read anything like this, must have been a high school English class.

Now I really had misgivings about winning anything. I was already nervous, and now thoughts of stuttering and blanking out filled my head. Internally, I was a wreck.

After more poetry awards and the third place short story award was given out, I felt a little relieved. I had been hoping for an honorable mention, or perhaps 3rd place.

And then then they announced my story and name. I won 2nd place.

As I walked up to the front, applause in my ears, all I could think about was how my mouth always used to get dry before a band performance. (I’ve been in a number of bands, and before a show I always had to pee real bad, and then my mouth dried up.)

I got my certificate, my prize ($75!) and was handed a copy of my story. I approached the podium, took a deep breath and read.

(I’m not sure what happened next, but there is a YouTube video of my reading. Please don’t judge me!)

After it was over, and I walked back to my seat, ears once again filled with applause, I heard the presenter say something to the effect of:

“This young man has a future ahead of him.”

At that point I was sure that I wanted to join the SLO NightWriters.

After the presentations were done, the group mingled a bit and I was approached by three different people, all congratulating me and saying that they enjoyed my story.


All said and done, it was a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to do it again.


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