And yet, I felt like a winner too, because my form letter from Highlights had a little note scrawled in the bottom right hand.
Dear Ms. MacKinney,
We like your writing . Please try us again!
Just a few words, but great encouragement for a writer. Editors have zero time. Likewise, associate editors are busier than proverbial bees. A hand written note means a lot. Also, I realized later that if a SASE wasn't included (and I didn't include one) they stated they would not return your manuscript or respond. It was a surprise to hear from the editor under these conditions.
So I'm dedicating this post to Ms. Dujardin. Yeah, I didn't win this year, but it made my day to know that she enjoyed my story. I felt like a winner, because what greater pleasure is there for a writer beyond knowing that she wrote something that provided reading enjoyment for a reader? Ms. Dujardin, thank you for spending a little of your valuable time and some postage on that short note! It encouraged me!