Fall 2007 Runner Up! Ellen Murphy
Ellen Murphy is a runner up in WOW!'s Fall 2007 Essay Contest. Her entry, Time Together, is a touching story about her changing relationship with her dad. We congratulate this high achieving sixteen-year-old from Fort Myers, Florida, and chat with her about writing and the other activities that keep her busy.
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WOW: Congratulations for placing as one of the Runners Up in our Fall 2007 writing contest! How do you feel?
Ellen: I was incredibly excited. I didn't really expect to place this high in the competition since it is the first writing contest I've ever been entered in. It was really cool to be the only "kid" runner up, among a bunch of adults.
WOW: It's great to have a young writer in the winner's circle. What inspired you to enter the contest?
Ellen: My English teacher handed me the prompt and "suggested" I entered.
WOW: She had the right idea about you! When did you develop an interest in writing? Have you written other things as well?
Ellen: I honestly have not been interested in writing at all until this year. This year I feel like my writing has really improved and the pieces I've created this year are way beyond anything I've done in the past. But this is the first contest I have ever entered and had anyone besides my English teacher judge.
WOW: You definitely are doing well with your writing. What about future writing plans or goals? What would you like to do?
Ellen: A career in writing doesn't particularly interest me. I just hope I can write a killer college admission essay.
WOW: Absolutely. We wish you luck with that important project! Tell us about the trip that you took with your dad. How did it go? What were the best parts?
Ellen: The trip was amazing! We went to the beach (my favorite) and I got to get a little color in what is the dead of winter for my hometown. The game was awesome and the Bengals won which made the trip that much more exciting.
WOW: Sounds terrific. I'm sure your dad was pleased that his "surprise" turned out so well. From your bio, you seem to be a very busy young woman. First, you're quite an athlete! Can you talk about the sports you participate in, and what's involved with being on those teams? What do you enjoy about them?
Ellen: Well, I have swam since I was in the third grade and it has quite the schedule. I practiced everyday after school, and two days a week I got up at 4:30 am for before school practices. On Christmas break and over the summer practices were also twice a day, everyday. As you can see, it was quite strenuous which is why I have begun to pursue my running career. Running is great exercise and makes me feel good about myself. If I'm ever having a stressful day, I go out running which gives me an outlet to let out my frustration and gives me some time to myself to think. Despite how my mom hates it when I run at night because she thinks it's dangerous...it is my favorite time to go. It is so relaxing and peaceful. I run random races around where I live, but I'm also on my school's track team which practices after school. I like the track team because it is for my school, whereas the team I swam for was a separate club team.
WOW: Running is a wonderful stress reliever, and it's great that you've found something you enjoy. You're also a member of the National Junior Honor Society and the French club. What can you tell us about your involvement with those groups?
Ellen: In NJHS we collect canned goods around Thanksgiving and Christmas time to give to the needy. We also each adopt a less fortunate child at Christmas and fill a box full of presents, which for some is all they will receive at Christmas. We then go to the school and personally give them our gifts and spend an hour or so playing with them. It makes me feel really good knowing I have made this kid so happy. We also sponsor different events for our school and around the community.
In French club we sponsor different events for younger kids to get them excited about foreign languages.
WOW: Those are some wonderful ways to help and mentor others. I'm sure your efforts are appreciated. If there was one bit of advice you could pass on to other aspiring writers, what would it be?
Ellen: Write something that has meaning to you.
If you haven't done so already, please read Ellen's story, Time Together.
And remember, every Tuesday we'll be featuring an interview with one of the top 10 winners from the Fall 2007 Essay Contest. So, be sure to check back and see who's up next!
For more details on WOW! Women On Writing's current contest, please visit: