Edmonton Creative Writing Collective
December 8, 2011

I am awesome now!

Cross-posted on Jason’s blog.

A conservative estimate would show that I talk about how awesome I am about 80% of each day. The same estimates would show that roughly 0.01% of people actually listen to me when I’m talking. I finally found somebody to listen to me and my amazing ideas!

There is a group in this city that I’ve recently discovered called Awesome Edmonton. They’re a group of about ten or so people in this city who put their own money into supporting projects in this city that they think will make it more ‘Awesome’. People visit their website and there is a little entry form they can fill out where they can describe their idea. It can be a charity, an event, a combination of the two, an invention- anything. The people from Awesome Edmonton narrow down the ideas that were sent in and choose about four or five people to come and pitch their ideas at a monthly Pitch Party. At the Pitch Party the trustees listen to each roughly two minute pitch and then go into a room and deliberate and then come out with a big bag of sticky money for the winner.

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Pitch Party for November. The event I co-0rganize with Kasia Gawlak called Words with Friends is just the tip of the iceberg for the ideas I have for events in this city. Words with Friends is an event that I want to grow and I think that over the four events that we’ve had, we have done just that. I want to mix writers and artists who are more well known in this city with ones who are just getting started and I definitely want to have a packed house at whatever venue we are at in the new year.

I told the people at Awesome Edmonton about Words with Friends and also about some of the other (for now secret) things I have planned for 2012. The reason why I haven’t told many people about what I have planned is because these plans involve a lot of other people, businesses, artists, and a shit ton of glow sticks! I need to organize a lot of things all at once so once the ball starts rolling with those things then I’ll be able to announce those plans to the world.

So I’ve really buried the lead on this story. There were four pitches that night and clearly mine was the best one. To be fair, there was only one that was even close to mine and this was mainly due to the charity aspect of the woman’s project. She wanted to help out kids and that was admirable but she clearly didn’t have much of a plan. So when the Awesome Edmonton group came up to announce that SHE had actually WON THE MONEY I was shocked and pretty pissed. I don’t like losing and couldn’t honestly believe that her idea was better than mine. People from Awesome Edmonton came up to me after all the dust had settled and told me how close of a vote it was this time. Their closest ever, apparently. A lot of them expressed how they wanted to know more about my ideas and about Words with Friends and somehow find ways to help me realize these plans of mine however they could. I thanked them all for their kind words and took their business cards and then put on my coat to leave.

Before I was out the door another person from Awesome Edmonton came up to me and told me not to leave just yet. She said,  ”don’t go just yet. something has happened that hasn’t happened before. Don’t go just yet.” and so I stayed. I figured that they must’ve felt bad that the vote was so close and maybe they decided to throw me a couple bucks to help me out, since they weren’t having a Pitch Party for the month of December. All the people got up at the front of the room again and, along with the winner of the money, announced that I was in fact GETTING THE MONEY. I said, huh? They said, yeah!

So to make a long story even longer, it turns out that the woman who had won the money never really thought she was going to win. She was a little unprepared and for reasons that are very personal and private to her, she decided that she needed to give the money back to the Awesome Edmonton group and then they in turn gave it to me. It was a huge shock. I went to talk to the woman afterwards and she told me a little bit about herself. After speaking with her for just a few minutes it was clear that she had done the right thing in giving the money back and I’m pretty sure that everyone in the room would agree that the right person won the night.

So, I have a thousand dollars burning a hole in my pocket. In 2012 we have big things planned for Words with Friends and more as well. It’s no secret that I have my targets set on the biggest names in writing in this city. Babiak, Coady, Major- I want you! I want to meet you and pick your brains and most of all I want you to see first hands the things we are doing with Words with Friends. If everything goes according to plan I should also have my book ready for public digestion in early 2012 as well too.

If anyone is reading this who wants to know more about me, Awesome Edmonton, Words with Friends (not the iPhone game), or any of my other amazing ideas- please feel free to send me an email or send an email to our Words with Friends account- yegwords@gmail.com

Stay awesome,