Uncategorized | September 18, 2015


I am very talented at spending money, a skill my husband doesn’t appreciate unless the money in question is mine or someone else’s. For example, here at TMR or at the small private school where I teach I have very little problem blowing it out on literary events. I dislike the appearance of scrimping so my philosophy is “go big or go home.”

As the deadline of Editors’ Prize nears I’ve been thinking of ways to spend $5,000 that would bring utmost pleasure. There’s plenty of time to sock away your dollars, but when you win a major award you must celebrate, at least with part of it.

So here are my ideas for blowing $5,000.

  1.  Champagne, Prosecco, or Cava, depending on your preferred region.  A perfectly decent bottle can be bought for $15.  Most stores offer a 10% six bottle discount.  So that gets you more than 300 bottles of sparkling wine (please don’t check my math).
  2. It doesn’t have to be a Vespa to be good.  Many writers teach on college or university campuses that are overrun with cars and undersupplied with parking spaces.  Usually you pay a parking fee to hunt not find.  A scooter three seasons out of the year is perfect for zipping around the collegiate byways.  A good make and model will set you back $5,000 but the sense that you are oh-so-cosmopolitan is priceless.
  3. Literary New Orleans.  Hang out for a week in the city Tennessee Williams called “the last frontiers of Bohemia.”    Follow in the footsteps of not only Williams but also Truman Capote, William Faulkner, Walker Percy and Kate Chopin; all of them did a stint in the Quarter.  Whenever I am in town, I spend a day or two at the Historic New Orleans Collection combing through rare manuscripts that offer first-hand accounts of the city in its infancy.  A really wild place.
  4. Gatsby anyone?  An American Classic 1925 1st Edition of The Great Gatsby with dustcover in pristine condition costs around $5,500, depending on the dealer.  The blue cover with a sad woman’s eyes and lush red lips floating above the skyline of a carnival was designed by the Spanish artist Francis Cugat.  He was paid the princely sum of $100.
  5. Party time.  Throw your own “I won the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize” party and invite all your friends to attend dressed as their favorite authors.  Share lines from the best or worst poems, novels and short stories.  Better yet, act them out.  You’ll create community while also spreading the joy.

So this is not a paean to my twisted ways, I asked around the office for other ideas:

Assistant Managing Editor Dedra Earl thinks that a river cruise down the Amazon might be in order. Smithsonian Journeys has one leaving in the spring. The $4,695 price tag is just under budget. Bon Voyage.

Associate Editor Evelyn Somers is torn between either buying a tiny primitive cabin to live in with a pet rabbit while she reads philosophy or a really cool and authentic saint’s relic.

Editor Speer Morgan thinks that the Cadillac of espresso machines is the way to go.

Webmaster Chris Bramon replied to my email with the following picture. “In orange,” she wrote.


We are all so different around here. Please tell us how you would spend $5,000 in prize money; we are dying to know. And remember you can’t win if you don’t enter.