Monday Short & Sweet AND The In Just Spring Contest Announcement!

Happy Monday of the last week of February, everyone!

I admit it.  With March only days away, I’ve got spring on the brain… even though it’s currently snowing 🙂  I know it’s a little nuts because around here we don’t really get anything like spring ’til about the third week of April, but March is so hopeful, teasing you into thinking that spring is just around the corner, that I can’t seem to help myself 🙂

And in the spirit of turning the house upside down with spring cleaning… or something… I’m going to do everything backwards today.  I’m going to announce the contest first and put the Short & Sweet second.  I know.  The mind reels at this crazy rule-bending rearranging of the norm.  I’m such a rebel 🙂

First, as inspiration for both the contest and today’s Short & Sweet, I will share one of my favorite poems.

in Just-
by: e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

N Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
balloonMan whistles

“in just” was originally published in The Dial Volume LXVIII, Number 5 (May 1920). New York: The Dial Publishing Company, Inc.

Isn’t that wonderful?  I love the idea of “eddieandbill… running from marbles and piracies”, “bettyandisabel…dancing from hopscotch and jump-rope” and who can resist words like “mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful”?

So now that you’re in the mood…

 Announcing The In Just Spring Contest!

The Contest:  Write a children’s story, in poetry or prosemaximum 350 words (see how nice I’m being giving you two long word counts in a row for contests?! :))

The story must be about something that really says “SPRING” to you – something that really makes you feel that spring is here!  It can be nature oriented – the robins or geese returning, eggs hatching, flowers blooming, baby animals being born, bears waking up, sunshine or rain, etc.  It can be holiday oriented – St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, April Fools’ Day etc.  It can be school oriented – the spring pageant, spring vacation, the spring talent show.  It can be activity oriented – picnics, bike riding, baseball – anything at all that makes you think spring.

The only other requirement is that the last line must be “[Character Name] knew Spring was really here!” or “[Character Name] knew Spring was here at last!”  (You can also write in first person if you want – e.g. I knew Spring was really here…. and present tense is fine too.)  I’ve given the rhymers amongst you a choice… but if you can’t make either option work with your rhyme scheme you have permission to tweak it slightly as long as the essential meaning stays the same.

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Friday March 15 at 12:01 AM EST and Monday March 18 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official In Just Spring Contest post which will go up on my blog on Friday March 15 (no PPBF that day!) and remain up through Tuesday March 19 (no new post on Monday March 18).  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments on my March 15th post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you!)

The Judge:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to five (or possibly a couple more :)) finalists which will be posted here on Wednesday March 20 (no WYRI that day) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at midnight March 23 and the winner will be announced on Monday March 25.

The Prizes!:  I’m still working on the prize(s).  I’m hoping to have something knock-your-socks-off great to offer… but we’ll see.  Stay tuned 🙂
badge created by the talented Loni Edwards

Now, after all that excitement, for our Short & Sweet today, let’s close our eyes and roll back the years until we’re 5 (or 3 or 7 or 9 – anything under 10 :)).

Now let’s remember that feeling, that first inkling, that Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter has arrived.  What are the tiny details, the little moments, you think of?  The things that are representative of that season to you?
Now, let’s turn those tiny details and little moments into lines – things kids can do – in the style of “eddieandbill come running from marbles and piracies”.  You can share just one for the season of your choosing, or you can share for 2, 3, or all of the seasons if you really want to stretch those writing muscles!  (Or if you’re in a spring-obsessed mood, you can post 4 or 12 or 20 all about spring :))
Here are my examples:
Spring:  annieandjane come soaring, hair streaming, higher and higher into the greengold air
Summer: maddieandmike run laughing from the white-foamed waves that tickle their bare feet
Autumn: harryandgrant come creeping under skeleton trees toward the warm jack-o-lantern light
Winter: johnnyandjade come stomping in snowy boots and wooly mittens for a carrot nose and a licorice smile
This exercise may actually help you get started on your contest story idea!  Who knows?! 🙂
Have a great day, everyone, writing, reading, parenting, teaching, and otherwise! 🙂

44 thoughts on “Monday Short & Sweet AND The In Just Spring Contest Announcement!

  1. Angela Brown says:

    Such a spring in your blogging step today – pun intended lol!

    I'll have to think on the Short and Sweet for a while. The first images and impressions of spring that sprung to mind at that age deal with rain, wet sidewalks and barefoot racing down the street.

  2. Renee LaTulippe says:

    What a wonderful poem to share, and what a great prompt. “Puddle-wonderful” is perfection, isn't it?

    Love the contest, though don't know if I will be able to enter this one as I have so much going on through April. But if not, I'll follow along!

    Here's the first thing that came to mind for spring:

    lilyandme come skipping
    from mudpies and rain-wet willows
    over the worm-wiggling sidewalk
    and it's spring!

  3. Teresa Robeson says:

    I don't think I ever told you that your contest in December (the “Dashing Through the Snow” one…I saw it via someone else's blog) inspired the story that I ended up sending to the Highlights Fiction contest? I hadn't officially started following your blog then and didn't want to just elbow my way into a contest. 😉

    So, I am very excited to be able to participate in this one! I'll put on an extra thinking cap (might as well since it's still cold) and cook up something. LOL! I'm good at mixing metaphors.

    Love the e.e. cummings poem!

    Okay, Short & Sweet:
    Autumn: cindyandsusan hand-in-hand run through a golden-leafed sea sending dandelion babies afar with happy breaths

  4. Beth Stilborn says:

    I love e.e. cummings poems, and this has to be in the top five! What a delight. I am writing a plot map for the novel-for-grownups I just completed, getting ready to take an online course in plot structure beginning March 14th, wondering if I'll be able to squeeze in a picture book draft for 12×12 in either Feb or March, and figuring out how I can do the chapter book challenge I signed up for in March — so I won't be able to do the contest. Sounds like fun, though!

  5. coleen patrick says:

    Happy Monday, Susanna! Spring has been on my mind all weekend. Yesteday I went outside with the camera and took pics of tiny flowers peeking out of the brown, dead leaves. I love that photo with the bird–so cute!

  6. Debbie Austin says:

    Hi, Susanna! Thanks for the writing exercise this morning.

    First sign of spring: sarahandneil come tiptoeing out of the frost-glazed dirt to stretch their toes and lift their faces to the sun.
    First sign of autumn:carlaanddeb come whirling among the golden leaves that drop to play tag in the street.

    Have a great day!

  7. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Welcome, Heather! I'm so glad you stopped by to visit. Please browse around, get know everyone, and have some chocolate cake – there's always plenty around here 🙂 I'm thrilled that you're interested in the contest and look forward to reading your entry!

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Oh. Sigh. I'm so jealous you have tiny flowers peeking out! We have snow. And ice. Although I'm happy to report it's very sunshiny today, so at least that's nice 🙂 Maybe the ice and snow will melt 🙂 Happy Monday!

  9. pennyklostermann says:

    Even though spring is next…my love for fall brought images to my mind!

    etherealandphantom fluttery-flew in wispy wafts of shredded
    shroud through inkiest of ink-black, shadowed-moon nights

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Oh, I hope you win! Then I'll know I lit a spark 🙂 You could certainly have elbowed your way in – lots of people do – totally fine – all for the contest – but I'm glad you're a regular visitor now! Love your Short&Sweet – it paints such a perfect picture 🙂

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I love that line. I actually wrote a picture book called Puddle Wonderful – a story I love – but I've never been able to sell it. Of course you will able to enter the contest – it's in March – not April your busy month 🙂 And oh gosh I LOVE your lines for spring – so beautiful and evocative! What are you? A poet? 🙂

  12. Beth Stilborn says:

    She has developed it much further than she had in the book, as a tool for scene by scene analysis. Since it's probably proprietary to the class, I can't share the exact how-to.

  13. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    This exercise sounds fun after a snowy day in CO –

    jimmyandsue come marching in boots
    stomp flat-puddled mirrors
    rippling mud cakes
    knee high

  14. This Kid Reviews Bks says:


    BillandGeorge come running, leaping, trudging in high winter boots. PLUSH PLUSH PLUSH SPLAT

    Snowballs fly, hitting and missing.



    Open door. Walk inside, cold. Get by fire. A good day.


  15. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Hurray for Spring Contests! Do you know how much we appreciate the time you lavish on your blog, Susanna…providing all of us with fun, merriment and great writing prompts?
    I'll give this a try:

    a pig and a lamb
    silently leave warm milk and mothers

    to nibble bright green daffodil shoots and purple crocus petals

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I'm so glad, Vivian! 🙂 Your lines are sweet and delightful! And oh boy oh boy I'm so excited to tell you all what the prize is going to be that I can barely contain myself… but tomorrow will come soon enough 🙂

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    You are so welcome! I look forward to having you join us 🙂 It's all fun and games around here 🙂

    Heather Annie Dent wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Thank you for the warm welcome. I look forward to reading your future posts and becoming more involved in this writing community!

    User's website
    Link to comment
    IP address:

  18. Pamela Courtney says:

    LoriandLynn dash through sunless leaves,

    upsetting crunchy covers hiding ripened pecans.Butter coats
    Sugar melts
    Milk simmers
    presents for the Praline Festival

  19. Laura Renauld says:

    GinnyandGil gather galoshes to chase the gloom away with puddle-stomping glory.

    Glad I got to your short and sweet this time. Always great writing exercises!

  20. Patricia Nozell says:

    For Spring:

    Mollyandpolly screached across leaden skies, racing raindrops to perch on blossomed boughs.

    Thanks, Susanna, for helping me think about spring coming, soon, despite the combo of freezing rain & snow battering the windows. Looking forward to focusing more on spring as I think about the contest.

  21. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Oh, gosh no! Of course not! I just wondered how much was in the book. If I go read it, I'll find out 🙂

    Beth Stilborn (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    She has developed it much further than she had in the book, as a tool for scene by scene analysis. Since it's probably proprietary to the class, I can't share the exact how-to.

    Link to comment
    IP address:

  22. Lauri Meyers says:

    Oh is it Thursday already? Here's my short and sweet:

    laneyandluke come blowing, cheeks red and fingers chilled, first spring bubbles hang in the heavy air.

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