Giving Makes Me Feel Good

Last week, Kate Johnston, AKA 4amwriter, posted a writing contest on her blog. The contest involved writing a 250-word (max) story featuring wolves in a positive or hopeful light. Three entrants will be chosen as winners by Kate’s panel of judges on April 10, 2017.

It had been a while since I’d participated in a good, old fashioned writing contest, and this one was for such a good cause, I had to put down my editing/rewriting pen and give it a try. I’ll post my entry after the winners have officially been announced on the 4amwriter blog, so as not to potentially skew any of the judges, for good or ill. Not that anybody reads this blog anymore, let alone those judges, but I need to decide how to present my entry anyway (first draft with changes, or just final submission version?).

Part of Kate’s contest involved her donating $5 for every entry received. I was so touched by that endeavor, I decided to check out the site that prompted her to offer the contest in the first place. That site turned out to be the Wolf Conservation Center, a private, not-for-profit environmental education organization located in South Salem, NY. Per their webpage, the Wolf Conservation Center teaches people about wolves, their relationship to the environment and the human role in protecting their future.

I clicked through a bunch of the pages on the site, when I came to the Adopt a Wolf section. Now, I love looking at pictures of animals, and wolves have been a long-standing animal love of mine since the days of reading about the Wolfriders in Elfquest. I scrolled down the list of wolves, and then I saw her:


It seemed so fitting. Those sparkling eyes, that wily smile, and her name: Alawa, meaning “sweetpea” in Algonquin. For those of you who have read my “Finding Mister Wright” series, you’ll know that one of the principal cast characters, Paige, has several nicknames, most of them involving the letter P: peanut, pickle, and, as her grandparents call her, sweetpea. Nobody else would remember that little detail, but I did. The word sprung out at me from the screen, making me think of all of the happiness I’ve felt sharing Paige’s and her family’s stories. And so, I just had to adopt this gorgeous girl.

I’ve felt weighted down for a long time. Even my writing has lacked a certain spirit. But, this adoption made me feel good. Not just for the charity, but for the feeling of being connected to a greater whole. It’s naive to think that my writing can connect people that way, though that is certainly something I strive for. What this good feeling of giving gave me was a breather, a moment of openness to a world made more beautiful for this creature’s presence in it. I can only hope for me and my stories to mean as much, someday.

Did you do a wolf-write for 4amwriter’s Save El Lobo contest? What version of my own entry might you like to see? Who are your favorite wolves from stories?


14 thoughts on “Giving Makes Me Feel Good

  1. Sweetpea/Alawa is adorable, irresistable. I was and still am so touched by your generosity, Mayumi. I think that one major aspect to a writer’s job is to connect people–we are writing for anyone other than ourselves when we put our work on a public platform, be it blog, newspaper, novel, or political speeches. I got such a high from simply holding this contest and seeing the enthusiasm from so many people–people I’ve never even talked to before! That tells me a lot. There is a power there, and it is a mistake not to use it to the benefit of greater good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kate. It was a fun challenge!

      Writing has helped pull me up out of depression before, and the actual writing did feel good. But, when I saw that happy wolf “smile”, and the name next to her picture, it was as if Serendipity hit me in the face. 😀 As soon as I’d given to support Alawa, I truly felt like a weight had been lifted from my psyche. It’s good to give! That’s why I try to do it when I can. Your contest and call for awareness was a tremendous wake-up call that I can do things to help others – both two-legged and four-legged friends!

      Thanks so much for helping me to remember the world is bigger than me, but I’m still a part of it. I can’t wait to read the winners!


    • Thanks, Carrie. I couldn’t resist that happy, furry face. 🙂

      It’s hard to devote extra time and money to a cause, and we need to be selective about the battles we want to fight, on our own behalf or others’. This one called out to me, though, in more than one way, so I had to answer.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. She is a beauty! And connecting with that larger existence is a wonderful thing. I wish we could all do more of it—the world would surely be in better shape if we did. I wouldn’t necessarily want to meet up with a pack of wolves in the wilderness, but they embody the very idea of wilderness to me. Every species plays a role in the larger scheme of the universe, and we should respect every one of them and their right to exist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, JM!

      Everyone around me is so good at giving. I try to give, too, though it can be hard to choose. Though, once I saw that face – and that name! – I had to do what I could. I like to think that Paige was prodding me in that direction. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!


  3. What an awesome contest! Glad it got you writing something new and submitting it. I think sometimes as writers we get too in our own heads and listen to the self-doubt. Your writing matters. There are people who are waiting to read your stories. The hardest part is finding your audience, but remember it exists. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a very fun contest! And, it was for a great cause that motivated me personally to do more. Not just in a charitable, give-back way, but for my writing, too. This last week of writing has been a lot more focused on goals and clear pictures.

      Thanks, Kourtney! I take inspiration from your journey. Even when you have a “down” moment – like the WordPress conflict – you turn it into an “up” one. 🙂


  4. Yes, finding the will to give money and do more for a cause bigger than ourselves can be difficult but that’s why people who choose to do it are called heroes. Great piece by the way! I loved the ending and the descriptions of the wolf 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, shahzodav! The wolves at WCC – especially Alawa – have found a place in my heart, and I’ve pledged to help in their care. They are glorious animals and stewards of the cause. I’m hoping to get out to see them one day soon!

      I really enjoyed reading your story, as well. The goddess imagery was beautiful! It reminded me a lot of the Asian deity stories, specifically the myth of Ame-no-nuhoko creating the islands of Japan. Go wolves!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! I just looked up that myth and yes, I agree there’s something similar to it although I hadn’t planned for it :p
        And oh how much I’d like to visit them too. That’d be a great goal to work towards, for sure!


  5. Those eyes! Sweetpea looks like such a ball of playfulness, it’s hard to remember that she could also be so primal and powerful as a wolf can be.It’s really quite majestic!

    I’m happy to see you were able to participate in this challenge, Mayumi! This one immediately invoked thoughts of Wolf’s Rain to me, and became the backbone of my own story. I know I missed the challenge on this one, but I’ll put it up someday. I hope to see 4amwriter bring on more challenges as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, shade! Alawa really is a sweetheart. I love it when she shows up on the wolf-cam!

      Kate has already expressed interest in doing more challenges like this. This one was nice and short – and quick – so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time on it, which helps in challenges. I’m looking forward to the next one! When you post yours, definitely ping back to Kate’s blog, so everyone can give it a look!


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