Seeking TRUE 850-1100 word stories. Adams Media pays authors $100 per story, plus one copy of the book. Literary Cottage offers prizes as follows: $75 first prize, $50 second prize, $25 third prize.
DEADLINE: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2008
No phone calls, please - Finalists will be notified by October 30, 2008
The Woodstock Festival, touting three days of peace and music in 1969, became one of the most unique and legendary events in world history. The festival materialized amidst highly controversial military conflict abroad and unnerving racial discord at home, and yet became a huge counterculture party, where hippies and ordinary youth mingled to celebrate and watch some of the most prominent musical artists of the 60s perform—JimiHendrix, The Who, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, and many others. Lack of seating, downpours, oozing mud, food shortages, and poor sanitation failed to dampen the spirits of attendees, who blended, bonded, and got along swimmingly.
Woodstock Revisited will contain fifty stories written by people who attended the original, 1969 Woodstock Festival. Since all the books that preceded it have focused on the musicians, promoters, and staff, this book will be the first one that chronicles the audience’s experience in an up close and personal way. Our intention is to document the event itself, but to also provide a portrait of America as that tumultuous decade came to a close. Stories should be historical within the context of 1969 and yet unique to your experience.
Stories must be TRUE, 850-1100 words, vivid, and substantive. If you did not attend but know someone who did attend, you can write an “as told to” story. Please read the following to gain a sense of what we want, i.e., textural stories that together will offer a historical account of the actual event in the context of what was happening . . . and a few paragraphs about how it affected you and who you have become. Please touch upon the following:
Who you were then –economic and social background, educational level, hopes, dreams, aspirations. PLUS how you felt about the Vietnam War; were you participating in demonstrations; were you counter-culture or preppie; were you a hippie; were you following the straight and narrow, i.e., did your parents already have your life mapped out for you, or somewhere in between, what were your primary social concerns, were you into the music scene, etc.
Your Woodstock experience
Why you went
How you got there, the nitty-gritty details, obstacles, etc.
What you saw, felt, loved, hated, never forgot, changed your life, etc.
What it was like to experience physically, emotionally, spiritually
What, if any, long range effects in your evolution
What was retained; what was lost
How did music affect your life, how was music intertwined with social changes
What are your most poignant memories about the late Sixties & early Seventies
What major societal (or global) changes do you credit to the Woodstock Generation, and what fell by the wayside
What shaped your individual character, ideals, life
Paths your life has taken - Fits and starts? Surprises? Not what you planned?
Stories must be original, true, and in English.
STORY LENGTH: 850-1100 words
TITLE: Choose a unique title that applies to your story. Do not use "Woodstock" in the title.
POINT OF VIEW: First-person or third-person (no second person). If you know someone who attended, you may write an "As told to" story.
STYLE: Narrative nonfiction, creative nonfiction, literary nonfiction.
FORMAT: Times New Roman, 12 pt. Everything single-spaced, flush left, with one space between paragraphs, and only one space between sentences. Read all instructions below: Those not properly formatted may be returned unread.
* Send all stories as a separate WORD document. If you don’t have Word, send as a "Text" file, or as a last resort, embed the story into the body of the e-mail. Name file as follows: Your Last Name, Your Initial (DO NOT USE TITLE or "Hero")
* No headers or footers; No page numbers.
* Use one-inch margins: top, bottom, left, and right.
* Use 12 pt. Times New Roman; single-spaced with one space between paragraphs.
* Make Paragraphs flush left; NO indentations.
* Only use ONE space after a period.
* Do not put titles in all CAPS; Type your name as you want to be credited one space beneath title
* Do not put “The End” or a # symbol at the end.
* At the bottom of your document, please provide a tightly focused three-sentence bio that includes selected writing credits, but limit self-promotion to mention of a website. Humor is good. Link it to the story if relevant. Do not type in "Bio:" Sample: Susan Reynolds is a freelance writer . . ."
TONE: Stories must be uplifting and can be poignant, heartwarming, and/or humorous. Humor is not only acceptable, but encouraged.
INFO TO INCLUDE: Each submission must include the following in the top, left-hand corner of the first page of the story file (not in the e-mail):
* Your full name, as you want it to appear in the byline
* Your mailing address
* Your phone number
* Your email address, if applicable
* Story word count
* Story title
DOCUMENT: Save your document as a Word file named as follows: “Last Name,Initial.doc” (example: “Reynolds,S.doc”) Do not save your story file as “Woodstock” as it may get lost in the shuffle. If you don’t have Word you can save it as a Text document, or as a last resort cut and paste the text into the e-mail. Word docs are strongly preferred.
NOTE: We do not publish magazine articles, fiction, poetry, profiles, eulogies, sermons, testimonials, letters, commentary, expository essays, persuasive essays, diatribes, academic papers, confessionals, erotica, pornography, or experimental literature. Stories with religious themes or references will only be published if religious beliefs are truly inherent to the story and delicately woven into the story (not as the focus!), and will be a very small percentage of accepted stories, as in less than 5 percent
Terms & Conditions:
Adams Media pays $100(each) for stories published in the book. Only one per volume, per author.
They also send authors one complimentary copy of the book upon publication.
Literary Cottage offers prizes to the top three stories: $100 for First Prize,$75 for Second Prize, and $50 for Third Prize, awarded upon publication.
Some previously published material is acceptable, if you own the rights and it was not on an Internet site. Include information as to where and when your story was published, including who owns the rights at the bottom of the story file.
A publishing agreement will be mailed to the Author of each story selected as a finalist. Adams Media purchases the book rights to this version of your story; author retains rights to publish the purchased version in an anthology containing solely their own work. The Agreement will spell out further details.
Due to the large volume of submissions received, we will acknowledge receipt of submissions, but after that we cannot report on the status of individual submissions (with the exception of finalists, who are notified in writing). The prize winning stories and the list of contributors for each volume are posted on the website upon the book's publication. Manuscripts are not returned.
How to Submit Your Story:
Electronic (emailed) submissions are preferred; mailed submissions are acceptable.
Write “Woodstock” in the subject line of the e-mail, and send the document as a Word attachment named as follows: “Last Name,Initial.doc” (example “Reynolds,S.doc”)
Do not save your story file as “Woodstock” as it may get lost in the shuffle. See titling information above. If you don’t have Word you can save it as a Text document, or as a last resort cut and paste the text into the e-mail. Word docs are strongly preferred.
E-Mail: (Strongly preferred): firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, send USPS regular mail to: Susan Reynolds, Literary Cottage, P. O. Box 1070, Pembroke, MA 02359. NOTE: No computer disks or CDs. SEND VIA USPS REGULAR MAIL. Please DO NOT send Certified, and DO NOT use Fed Ex, UPS, etc. as these packages cannot be accepted at this address and will be returned unopened.
Please direct questions and suggestions to: email@example.com.
Due to volume, we cannot accept telephone calls.
Coming Around Again
Because our family was as divided as our country at the time (one brother had fought in Vietnam; the other threatened to move to Canada) and I was an antsy teenager, I leapt at any chance to escape the arguments at home and the sleepy town on the banks of the Allegheny River where we lived. Thus, I spent the summer of 1969 living with my sister, who had left home to become an airline stewardess, and her three female roommates, in a one bedroom apartment in Queens.
My sister didn't land an airline job so signed on as a secretary at Hertz Rent-a-Car in Manhattan, and soon after secured me a summer job taking reservations over the telephone. I would occasionally take reservations for visiting bands like Iron Butterfly or Jefferson Airplane or the Little Rascals, which caused much screaming when announced and led Rozanne and I, whenever we could scrape together a few bucks, to attend smoke-filled concerts at the Filmore East. When local radio stations in New York began advertising several outdoor rock concerts that summer, my sister, her boyfriend, our brother, Roy (the conscientious objector), and I were determined to attend one. Initially, we set our sights on Atlantic City, but at the last minute, Roy couldn’t get time off from his summer job to come, so we scratched those plans and opted instead to go to the Woodstock Festival, which was also being widely promoted.
We had not pre-purchased tickets and had little real idea of what we would encounter. Nevertheless, we piled into a Hertz car and struck out at the break of dawn. As we approached,radio newscasters reported that the highways were jammed; by the time we arrived, cars had ground to a standstill on the highway leading to the concert site. Police were urging everyone to turnaround and go home. So, even more intrigued, we stopped at a local grocery store and asked if there was a back way in. There was, and eventually, we squeezed the car into a tight spot and eagerly joined the throngs of people weaving through the traffic jam, filling every inch of the two-lane road. Along with literally hundreds and hundreds of others, we formed a cavalcade of pilgrims on a spiritual journey to what was become not only the event of our generation, but a worldwide event of great import.
An electric feeling pulsed through my body; we were on the road to somewhere, en masse. Although I participated in communion at the Kittanning, Pennsylvania Baptist church my family attended, this was my first taste of real generational communion—these were my people, my contemporaries, my sisters and brothers, my friends. Shortly after we climbed over the fence, Roy and I became separated from Rozanne and Tom. I don’t remember how it happened, only that we later learned they kept inching their way towards the stage (Their faces are visible on the album cover.), while Roy and I maneuvered through the crowd until we found room to sit.
For the next eighteen hours, we sat amongst a burgeoning group of strangers—a sea of youth. The smell of marijuana wafted through the air so thickly we experienced a contact high. Although I was too timid and afraid to accept the offered tokes, Roy gamely indulged. I was still an uptight, “good girl” who had not yet broken free of parental and societal strictures. Plus, an announcer kept spreading the word that “the brown acid is bad,” and I was afraid that the marijuana cigarettes might have other drugs laced into the weed.
Despite this wariness, I felt oddly safe, immersed in my generation’s culture, one with the swelling crowd, and part of something so monumental, I couldn’t form opinions about what it was for a long time afterward. I felt like an amoeba in a far larger organism,symbiotic and minuscule. The music bonded us; our humanity engulfed us; oursense of global significance embodied and empowered us as a swaggering band of youthful dreamers. "The counterculture," as they called us, had a visual—450,000 yearning children, as one, portrayed credibility, voice, adrenaline, and vision. Our longings for peace, for change, for brilliant futures for ourselves as individuals, and for the human race as one were evident.
What I remember specifically is perching on an abandoned Maxwell House coffee can; sleeping curled into fetal position on a piece of shared cardboard that slid around in the oozing mud; and watching my brother accept marijuana and feeling jealous that he could let himself go while I felt a trembling need to maintain control. I remember the forcefulness of an omnipresent anti-war sentiment, the helicopters circling overhead, and the hint of paranoia and anger they generated. Was the government going to spy on us, threaten us, disband us, or gas us? I remember the cheers that arose when the announcer told us they were bringing us food, water, and medical supplies,and that someone on board had flashed a peace sign.
I remember the joyful, even jubilant, atmosphere that followed, crawling up a muddy hillside by grabbing outstretched hands, standing in long lines to use the foul-smelling portable toilets, being hungry, wet, tired, and thirsty. I remember hearing announcements about drug overdoses and the lack of food or water, and feeling like the outside observer I had already become, yet also feeling an emotional tide and feeling sustained by the group. Through it all, I remember the music and how it bound us together. One after another, musicians and groups played the songs that we already loved or would grow to love. They were our anthem, our identity, and the demarcation line from that of our parents. These were our troubadours, the truth-tellers, and the rebels we admired and emulated.
I remember grumbling when my brother decided we should probably look for Rozanne and Tom, walking through the chilled night air at 4 a.m., retracing our steps until we reached the car and crawled inside to sleep. I remember the trip home; our tongues wagging with tales; our recognition that we had all gone through something so extraordinary that going back to our everyday lives would not erase it. Our country was in turmoil, but 450,000 contemporaries came together to celebrate life, music, and joy and had the phenomenal experience of realizing that we were one. What I remember most is the sense that my generation could make a difference—that the world would soon become ours to ruin or to save.
Prior to Woodstock, absorbed in the quagmire of my life and restricted by my penchant for passive observation over active participation, I had attended peace demonstrations and often stood warily on the sidelines, watching others raise signs, make speeches, chant slogans, and taunt "the establishment," as we called them. After Woodstock, I moved more freely into the throngs, even planted myself on the floor of a local university library during a “sit in,” and told my mother I was spending the weekend at a friend’s house when, in actuality—a short time after four students were killed at Kent State—I piled into a broken-down Chevy Impala with seven other girls and drove to Washington, D. C., where I saw, for the first time in an up-close-and-personal way, soldiers lining the streets of Washington, their guns trained on us. Buoyed by the strength in our numbers and the memories of Woodstock, I gathered my generation’s ideals to my heart and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with students shouting for an end to the Vietnam War.
I was never a hippie—not even close—unlike my sister who wore ratty jeans, I neatly pressed my bellbottoms. But I was an idealistic dreamer who went on to become a reporter, a field where ideals served me well. Rozanne and Roy—who was a hippie briefly—became teachers, molding young souls in important ways. For years afterwards, whenever we got together, we gleefully reminisced about Woodstock. But it wasn’t until Iwas living in Paris in 2003 that I had another “Woodstock moment.” I had only been in Paris a few months and did not speak the language, but had a few Parisian friends who were attending the anti-war demonstration leading up to the invasion of Iraq. So there I stood, surrounded by several hundred thousand people whose language I did not speak. The air was electric, the mood jovial despite the reason we had gathered.
As we waited for hours for the march to begin, new arrivals came in droves, inching ever closer, tightening our personal space to a few inches. The crowd swelled, the lines of police multiplied, and feelings intensified until someone put a huge speaker on the roof of their truck and blasted, "We Are Family" . . . and then it happened, my “Woodstock moment.” Suddenly all barriers disappeared and the music brought the entire crowd together, as one . . . and I felt just as I had felt thirty-four years earlier, in a muddy field on Max Yasgur’s Farm.
To this day, memories of Woodstock make me yearn for those heady days when the youth of America took up the sword. Woodstock wasn’t a dream, it happened, and like the photograph of our planet from space, it affected the way many of us viewed the world and our place in it. The phenomenon of Woodstock created waves in world consciousness, and the seemingly boundless creativity that had taken root throughout the decade blossomed. For no less than that, it’s worth remembering and honoring, and perhaps more importantly because many young people today yearn for a similarly empowering experience. Oh, if we could rise again in solidarity and strength, we could once again transform the world.