I entered my first writing competition in Grade 4, submitting “My Summer Holiday” story like everyone else. I had implemented many of the key elements into my tale of hauling wood across the lake – a startled bat flying from the boat house foreshadowing doom, a boat overflowing with wood maintaining tension, my father hanging onto the motor as the boat sank for comic relief and my unbridled terror as I descended into the dark water for the voice – even if I had no idea what I was doing. I fell over backward in my chair when they announced my name as the winner in a school assembly and I was presented with an inscribed copy of Farley Mowat’s Owls in the Family. It remains the only contest I have won, except for a contest to describe the great taste of Hire Root Beer in which I used a nonsensical parade of ‘f’ words, including fizzy and fantastic. I earned an ‘Honorable Mention’ for that and a pair of radio headphones. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I might have peaked too soon.