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The other pieces followed in and out over the next 15 years and when I got around to sending another one out in 2003, it was on the news that Leslie Mellichamp had died. I remembered writing a short quatrain titled Carpe Diem and sending it to him some years earlier. He wrote back with some encouraging words regarding it, but did not have room to publish it. I pulled it out of the drawer, dedicated it to him and sent it on to his wife and daughter who were assuming the role of editors for The Lyric.
It was published in the spring of 2003 and ended up winning the 1st annual Leslie Mellichamp Prize for poetry later that year. That was my first payment for my writing. Another wonderful moment. I enjoyed the letter, photocopied the check and sent it back as a donation, believing the recognition was more than enough payment.