MANDREW’s Blissenblog’s First-Annual Essay Contest!

July 22, 2014
Andrew Blissenbach

            Do you like MONEY? Do you like receiving up to $100 CASH for your excellent art? Or do you like receiving $20 CASH just for pushing a few keys on your computer? Do you like to WRITE? You got a STORY? Are you into short fiction, experimental creative nonfiction, muckraking journalism, or poetry? Maybe you like to paint or do spoken word or yell brilliant opinions at every person who passes your window? Are you an undiscovered genius or do you only have a modest amount of skill and talent when it comes to writing or the arts? You still like MONEY? Then you should enter MANDREW’s Blissenblog’s First-Annual Essay Contest! EXCLA-FUCKING-MATION POINT! So here is the question you have to answer and the rules:

What is your view on contemporary masculinity and what is your relationship to/with it? This is an important question and I would LOVE to get my readers’ thoughts on it!

Send your original, non-published piece, video, or photo(s) to ablissenbach@gmail.com or post it directly in the comment section (a piece published on a personal blog or personal website is still considered original). Submissions will be taken no later than Monday, August 4TH!

Unlike those soporific college essays in English Composition 101, you don’t need to answer the question directly. What I mean by the previous statement: I don’t want a clutch of essays that begin with, “I feel contemporary masculinity…” followed by your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph (although, if you’re feeling gutsy and creative, you can certainly subvert this format). This is about telling a story in an artful fashion, not about your composition skills (although such skills are certainly important). I use the word “essay” very loosely, so approach this question from any angle you deem fit.

The top five entries will be published in their full, unedited glory on MANDREW’s Blissenblog on August 7th, 2014. “But wait,” you might be saying, “how can I compete with your egg-headed MFA friends who read and write all day?” Don’t despair! I will be giving TWO $20 prizes to randomly selected entrants who don’t place, simply for having the courage and conviction to put their words in print! The (small) catch? You have to share ONE Blissenblog essay on your Facebook page in order to be considered (you don’t even have to like it, but I need my pound of flesh)! QUID PRO QUO, BITCHES!

1ST place: $100, publication, a commemorative certificate, and an awesome pic of your beautiful self on the blog!

2ND place: $50, publication, a commemorative certificate, and an awesome pic of your beautiful self on the blog!

3RD place: $30, publication, a commemorative certificate, and an awesome pic of your beautiful self on the blog!

4TH place: Publication, a commemorative certificate, and an awesome pic of your beautiful self on the blog!

5TH place: Publication, a commemorative certificate, and an awesome pic of your beautiful self on the blog!

So, being the inquisitive people that you are, you’re probably wondering, “When I win my substantial cash prize, how’s it getting into my model-quality hands?” If you live in the metro area (pretty much all of Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding suburbs), I WILL BRING THE MONEY AND THE NIFTY CERTIFICATE TO YOUR DOORSTEP (provided you’re willing to give me your address)! If you don’t live around here, well, I guess you’ll get it in the mail. Maybe we’ll engage in a complex and masculine handshake. Maybe we’ll hug. Maybe we’ll kiss. Maybe you’ll invite me in for “coffee.” Maybe you’ll punch me. Maybe you’ll invoke some archaic, pioneer-age law that allows you to shoot whoever sets foot on your property. I’m a guy well-versed in how to communicate with fellow humans, so I’ll roll with whatever (wink-wink).

I want to keep this as open-ended as possible with limited artistic strictures and impediments, so feel free to contribute a few basic paragraphs or dozens of complex and nuanced pages. It can be deeply personal or funny or tragic or (best of all) a combo-platter of everything that makes modern masculinity so wonderful and flawed. And (this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway) make sure it’s something you’re comfortable sharing!

They will be judged on their artistic merit by a panel consisting of MANDREW, his dog, and his daughter. And although I’m a jovial dude, I’m approaching this contest as a serious, careful, and, above all, sensitive critic. I’ll apply a discerning academic rigor to all my judgments. I’ve read and edited millions (literally, MILLIONS) of papers, so have faith. PROFESSIONALISM COUNTS! Submissions must be in by Monday, August 4TH, so get your ass in gear! Let me know if you have any questions or concerns or if I’ve omitted any detail. THANKS FOR READING! LOVE YOU ALL! $$$$$ STRAIGHT CASH, HOMIE! $$$$$