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Friday, October 14, 2011

Writing Contest: Winners and Runners-Up Announced!

Thank you to all who participated in the Unnaturally Green Writing Contest! Everybody who submitted* gets to take home a super snazzy green-baby bookmark (stacked at left -- your choice of design -- more details soon!), while our two runner-ups get signed and personalized copies of Unnaturally Green, and the Grand Prize winner gets a signed, personalized copy, $25 to, and their entry posted here!

Congratulations to Bettie L. in New York, NY -- Grand Prize winner of the Unnaturally Green Writing Contest! 

We loved her sassy prose, unique perspective, and fun-loving take on an "unnaturally green" experience.

And major kudos to our two runners-up, Lesley R. from Brooklyn, NY and Tyler H. from Ogden, Utah, who, respectively, wrote about their unnatural turns playing ice hockey and dressing up as a scary clown for a Halloween parade.

Check out Bettie's awesome entry below (or click on "Read More")-- and stay tuned for more, posted right here on this blog! -- including: writing by our runner-ups, and excerpts from the remaining 50 entrants (all of which were so fantastic!).

(*Note: If you entered the contest, please check your email; there will be one from "UNNATURALLY GREEN" with the section we'd like to excerpt. Please let us know if it's okay by Sunday evening, 10/16!)


The Jump (winning entry, the Unnaturally Green Writing Contest)
By Bettie L., New York, NY

“A time when you went outside yourself and did something new?” 

I suppose I come to this question with a bit of an advantage, being older than dirt and having had a ton of adventures in exotic places all over the world. But there is one event in that life that will qualify me for this most colorful contest -- and you'll be surprised that someone with even my epic quantity of chutzpah attempted it in the first place.

Now, after referring to my longevity, I still bristle at divulging my actual age.  I'm only demure because most of my friends these days are still very young, or at least much younger than I am, and I fear age-discrimination. Still, it is fun to mark a big birthday with a monumental day -- and 5 years ago I did just that.

Well, actually, my kids forced the issue: kids being my daughter, son and his wonderful Canadian wife (I may be moving there if the government gets any worse here)…Anyway, they informed me that they had an adventure planned for my birthday and that it would be a doozy.

I was shuttled into the car and driven for what seemed to be hours -- indeed, it was at least that -- and as we drove past the city and the suburbs and were speeding by the farmlands of the East Bay, I was sure they were taking me to Sacramento to smoke cigars with the Governator…and I don’t smoke.

After a long drive down a bumpy dirt road, we pulled up to a ramshackle barn, and I was told to get out. This, it seemed, was the destination. I don’t remember the actual name of the place, but I will call it “Drop Dead Skydiving School.” Yes, they were making me skydive! Now, they knew I have a keen sense of fun and have been known to take risks most people avoid (like walking the streets of NYC at 3 AM), but no one had asked me if I was up to this, and I had to give it some thought.

Were they planning this day to speed up their inheritance? That was my first thought, but they had such glee in their eyes and smiles on their faces, I do believe they were happy for me. So I ruled out murder as a sub-plot.

The deciding factor lay in the jump partner. This was to be a tandem jump. I would be attached to another jumper, who presumably, had done this before. It was a woman. I asked her to tell me something of her background. She said she was the mother of a girl in Kindergarten….Stop, that sealed the deal. If she was willing to risk making her daughter motherless, I was willing to fall 14 thousand feet linked to her nylon jumpsuit.

After signing LOTS of papers, saying no one would sue anyone if anyone died, we donned the glamorous baggy overalls, kissed all the loved ones goodbye (probably for the last time), and walked to the tiny propeller plane that would soar me to the clouds.

I have no fear of small planes. I rather like them. Bumping over the grassy landing strip I was excited -- no fear at all -- not even when the plane went above the cloud cover, which was low that day. No, the moment of fear -- and I mean real fear -- came when they opened the door and told me to put my foot on the wing strut and stand up -- outside the plane! Yes, my friends, that was total fear. My legs felt like those heavy weights I read some men like to lift for fun: dead weights of at least 400 pounds. No way in Hell I was going to be able to put all my faith in that right leg and be sure it would hold me up, at whatever fracking speed that plane was traveling. And it was COLD.

Before I had a chance to give it any more thought, the “nice” mother of that 5 year-old child, pushed me to the distant strut and we fell. Fell so fast and so far that the wind was knocked out of my lungs. I couldn’t catch my breath! I now was certain I would die of affixation, before I was a puddle of blood and bones on the cow pasture I could see coming closer and closer. 

Then she pulled the ripcord.

Euphoria and joy! The descent was reduced to a gentle glide, and I was enraptured by the beauty of the Earth and the sanctity of life. I screamed and yelled with glee. (No, I did not wet my pants!) My parachute buddy even let me pull on the lines to guide the two of us close to the huge X that was our target. Executing a perfect landing, as fine as any gymnast coming off the uneven-bars, we hit the ground.

The family all rushed up for photos and hugs…joy was felt by all.

And yes: I would do it again in a nanosecond!


  1. I'M SOOOOOOOO EXCITED. I'm thinking I may write a novel next. Is this how Margaret Atwood got started?

  2. WOW! I am sincerely impressed! My ziplining experience appears as child's play, in comparison! Kudos, Warrior Woman!!!

  3. Congrats, Bettie! That was fun and I enjoyed your account of it.. while safely in my bed... hahaha!

  4. Woo-frakin-Hoo, Dearest Darlingest Bettie!

  5. You are a great writer! Remember I called you from Julia Child's kitchen just as you were about to jump?
    We also talked about the Great Race, how much I loved watched it, and how terrified I was of every stage? You assured me that if we did it together you would be the brave one!
    And brave you are!

  6. The Best from my friend Beets----now,on to that novel!!!!!
    Adventures in NY
    Love ya

  7. Wow, the winning entry was great! Congratulations!

    Btw are there going to be any other opportunities to win a copy of the book? I'm pretty much broke.