Sunday, March 24, 2013

Love Your Work!

I have never yet paid to enter a writing contest.  I can’t escape the feeling that any such contest is rigged.  For starters, the contest exists simply to indulge the contest organizer’s tastes while disingenuously demanding the hopeful entrants pay for it.

This sounds mean-spirited, I know--and that's not my style.  There are many contests that charge entry fees which many writers consider reputable and worthwhile, though it does seem to me that the purest, if impractical contest would be funded by any group who in turn would vote their own winners.  There may actually be a few out there that work like that.

The only contest I've entered repeatedly is L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest (WOTF).  It's free, popular, is judged by well-known, serious writers, and is respected and reputable.

But about that "reputable" part...  

The contest is owned by the Church of Spiritual Technology, an entity of Scientology, and more than ever lately tales of physical abuse and other bad behavior continually flow from the ranks of  this cult, yet the contest keeps itself completely separate from Scientology as L. Ron Hubbard seems to have intended.  The "meta" problem here, though, is obvious.  As Scientology sinks to ever deeper lows, can anything associated with it not be tainted?  Of course, much charitable work is done by enormous corporations who simultaneously wreak havoc on the environment, etc.  A cynic might observe that no good work doesn't have a connection to a suspect source of support.  One can't "buy American" because there's always some component parts created in an overseas sweatshop, etc.

I may continue to enter WOTF.  I'm Scientology's worst enemy.  I'll take take their money and put it to good use.  Here's a picture of Algys Budrys, a celebrated writer who commented on my story entry years ago, standing with Rachel Denk, with whom I had a pleasant phone conversation when I got lots of press for simply receiving an honorable mention in a WOTF contest.  Budrys had nothing to do with Scientology as far as I know, Rachel, as a contest administrator, may still be a Scientologist, I'm not sure.

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