By Bradley Varnell
Students Paulina Lopez and Joe Rowe won Brookhaven College’s Student Literary Competition, part of the national League for Innovation in the Community College Student Literary Competition. Rowe won first place in both the essay and short story categories, while Lopez won first and second place in the poetry category.
Rowe won for his essay, “Life Is Good,” and his short story, “The Blueprint.” “Life Is Good” is a humorous essay defending garlic, wine, chocolate and butter, among other foods, from the position that they are nothing but indulgences with only negative contributions to a person’s health.
Rowe said “The Blueprint” was originally developed several years ago in a creative writing class taught by English professor Aaron Clark. The story centers on a father’s inability to move past the loss of a child.
“A couple of years have gone by,” Rowe said, “and he is not really dealing with it. The rest of the family wants to move on, but the father is stuck in the past.”
Rowe, a published author, said he loves the creativity of writing and “you have to get a lot of thinking done to develop your stories and your characters.” Rowe advised aspiring writers to always seek other writers’ input and to never give up pursuing the craft.
“You learn so many things from other writers,” Rowe said. “Join groups of other writers and let them critique your work, because that’s the way you learn.”
Rowe was not alone in his literary success. Lopez won first place for her poem “Satellites.” When she received the email naming her the winner for the poetry category, Lopez thought it was her husband playing a joke on her. “I just assumed that it had been a mistake,” she said.
Lopez, who has been writing since the second grade, submitted the poem to prevent herself from editing it any further. “I was like, ‘This is the last time I want to look at this poem,” Lopez said. “I just want to close that book and never look at it again.’”
Lopez began work on “Satellites” in December and spent a good deal of time grappling with the poem. She said “Satellites” is about “trying to move forward without really moving at all.” She added, “So many times we have problems and we do things to remove ourselves from the situation, but not necessarily get rid of the situation or resolve it.”
Rowe’s essay and short story are available online at joerowe. com and will be published in Brookhaven’s Moulin Review.
Lopez has submitted her poems to various literary magazines and hopes to have them published.
Lopez and Rowe’s work was submitted to the Dallas County Community College District literary competition, where they competed against other first place winners from DCCCD colleges.
Rowe and Lopez received first place in their categories and will proceed to the national competition held at De Anza College in California.
The Student Literary Competition is held every spring. Aaron Clark, English professor and organizer of Brookhaven’s Student Literary Competition, said he urges any and all aspiring writers to enter.