While I’m all for romance, it doesn’t have to be all that Valentine’s Day is about. It’s a good today to tell someone you love them, whether it’s a partner, a best friend, a grandparent or your kid. It was in the spirit of love that I started HowIFoundYou.com, a website that collects stories of how people found those most important to them. “How I Found You” was also the theme of a writing contest sponsored by The Rivard Report and Gemini Ink.

I based my choices on two criteria – the strength of the work itself, and whether or not the work suggested that a Gemini Ink class would take the author’s writing to the next level. (Get to know Jacquie and read more about contest details here.)

I’m pleased to present my winning picks:

First Place: Yvette Benavides

Yvette Benavides
Yvette Benavides

Linguistics 101: Finding My Soul in Español – I loved the rich visuals this author painted and the assuredness of her voice. As I moved through this short essay, it was easy to trust where she was taking me.

Benavides has won a $100 gift card to Feast, an up-scale restaurant in Southtown.

Second Place: Amaris Diaz

Amaris Isabel Diaz
Amaris Isabel Diaz

The Summer I Discovered You – This author’s voice is snappy and her writing is clear. It was a familiar narrative – one I think anyone who’s ever been young and in love could relate to – but her specifics made it feel fresh.

Amaris Diaz has won a $50 gift card towards a Gemini Ink writing course.

Third Place: Desiree Johnson

Desiree Johnson
Desiree Johnson

The Man in the Moon – This piece has a certain amorphousness that I struggled with, but I kept coming back to it despite that – something about the moon as a metaphor for grieving struck me, and felt spot-on. There’s a lot to work with here, and I’m confident a Gemini Ink course can help this writer find her footing. Desiree has won a $25 gift card towards such a class.

Winners can claim their prize by stopping by Gemini Ink at 513 S. Presa, (210) 734-9673. Congratulations!

*Featured/top photo: Jacquie Fuller with her daughter. Photo by Maggie Fuller.

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Jacquie Moody Fuller

Jacquie Moody Fuller

Jacquie Moody Fuller hails originally from San Antonio. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband and daughter, and works as a host for The Current, an alternative music service from Minnesota...