My $1,000 Dream


Editor’s note: YouSayToo is ringing in 2010 by hosting holiday awards for the 10 coolest blog authors. Nine lucky bloggers will receive fun gifts of their choice and the first place winner will be rewarded with a $1,000 holiday dream gift! To enter your blogs in the awards all you need to do is add them to YouSayToo and write a Dream Gift post on them.

Five months ago, my $1,000 Holiday Dream Gift possibilities might have been limited to a laptop, a gift card for the movies, a bookstore or for Best Buy. But something happened one August day that changed everything, even those possibilities.

Prior to that day, I was a reporter at a newspaper in Baltimore for a little more than a year. The job was a stressful one, where I was overworked and underpaid, where I was going through the daily motions waiting for something better to come along. Too bad I didn’t know about YouSayToo’s Awards then. I really could have used a thousand dollars worth of groceries, or a gas card loaded with dough.

(PHOTO: Courtesy of

Even YouSayToo’s fun gifts, like the USB Tulip Hubs, would have come in handy. The blooming garden of plastic tulips might have been enough to lift the mood of an employee that was borderline disgruntled. (One could never have enough high-speed ports.)

That August day, I felt I had won the $1,000 Holiday Dream Gift when I was laid off, collecting unemployment, trying to figure my future out. The process involved me starting a blog. Why should it win? Ask the people I’ve covered: a local woman struggling to become a soul singer, D.C.’s literary advocates imagining their world without books, and a Nigerian artist who shows both the local and national art scenes he’s a force to be reckoned with.

Or better yet just ask the people who visit my blog. “The quality is high and it’s enjoyable to read,” Martin Cameron Smith said in a comment posted on Oct. 24. “I like the young, creative, intellectual slant I’m sensing from the blog.” Kelli Garner, another reader, had this to say: “I enjoy this site; it is worth me coming back.”

Since that August day, I completed a poetry manuscript and participated in a big writing project for a literary journal. I also started considering switching career fields after jumping at an opportunity to teach creative writing in an afterschool program. Now the possibilities are endless, especially with me on my way to grad school. And I think it’s pretty clear how that $1,000 Holiday Dream Gift can be put to good use.

I did my part, writing those essays for grants and scholarships. But a cash award could help me get there, or at least cover the cost of books.

For more information, or to enter you blog in YouSayToo’s Awards, go to


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