Following on from yesterday’s Write About Love writing competition news post….

The twenty-one ‘Honourable Mention’ winners were announced yesterday, and now we can announce Stuart’s Top 5 selections!  These writers will all receive a Belle & Sebastian medal, as well as a signed LP.

From the Top 5, one very lucky overall winner will be announced soon, and will receive a visit from Stuart, and have a song written about him/her!

Here are the winning essays:

John Ficenac, Omaha NE:
Advice for Young Lovers: Never in ANY instance believe that you are going to marry someone you are dating/fond of before you are 18. Play the field while you are young. Don’t cheat or be a whore but see what all the fish are like so you’ll know what you like and what you don’t. Don’t dwell on past loves; they are ex’s for a reason. Don’t go out with someone if you have to keep it a secret because when it ends since no one knows you were dating there will be no one there but your actually ex to comfort you and chances are pretty good that they won’t. While you can show some public affection keep it to a minimal of holding hands or a cheek kiss. I always find myself disgusted walking by and seeing people swap tongue right in the middle of public. Yes, we get you are dating and whatnot, but really get a room. Don’t have sex without a condom. Don’t date your best friend. It may sound like a good idea at the time and even while you are going out with them but you know what when the relationship is over so is the amazing friendship. Don’t date people up to 2 years or older until you are 18. Don’t make someone your rebound. It makes them feel like shit and you feel like a monster. Talk to your significant other. Laugh with them ask them questions but DON’T interrogate them. Don’t become too jealous of anyone else. And never EVER get into the friends zone with someone you are fond of. It will scratch away at your heart and soul knowing that you will get no further than friends but that your heart wants to be more than friends.

Rebecca Armendariz, Washington DC:
Clark’s cancer had spread to his hip and so two months before he died he couldn’t really walk. At least not without my help so I was his human crutch crushed on one side anytime he wanted his 33-year-old body moved to another spot in our apartment. After a period of decline he traded me in for a desk chair on wheels and I pushed him around scooping him up from under his armpits when we reached the bathroom. I’d use a firm but tender grip to lower his eggshell body into the tub where he’d sit for hours to make the effort worth it.He hardly left the house except for doctor’s appointments. I’d finally convinced him to wear an adult diaper after too many laundry loads of soaked pants and bed sheets. The first night he slept in it I put one on too and we giggled under piles of blankets together sharing a secret before he nodded off. One spring day we let the air breeze through the front and out the back of the apartment. The buried idea of what he’d been missing was exhumed; he wanted to go outside. We drove a few blocks to a friend’s where we sat in lawn chairs in a sun-soaked driveway. A snapshot of any one particular moment from that afternoon would appear unremarkable to an outsider. We gossiped and laughed. I drank a beer. After a few hours we were home refreshed by our peek at normalcy. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to see that mischievous amorous look in his eye but after helping him to the couch it disappeared. He wanted to do something for me for once. He wanted me to relax. And for the last time before he died I did.

Lia Braswell, Van Nuys CA:
I fell in love this summer. He was my first love. We spent every day together hand in hand and unaware of the people around us. Then summer came to an end as the leaves started to change colors. He moved away to Rhode Island. He never loved me back. I know he cared about me but the feeling of his subtle disappearance from my life leaves me no choice but to smile and walk away. So as of today I’m forgetting about it. I’m leaving it all behind because in this moment after hours and hours of biking around the valley I realized that the person I love most is someone who changed my life as soon as he left the world. He would have been thirty-one on October 11 2010. He has been gone for almost twelve years. That man is my brother. Still nineteen and no longer in pain. I had an epiphany that I am a musician because of his love. I am who I am because of his love. People tend to let go of loved ones who pass on but I can’t seem to part ways with him. The spirituality in me says that he is still around and he’s coming to life every second of the day. Even though I can’t see him I can feel him. I feel him whisper in my ear “Fuck it. You can do better” and I listen with an everlasting smile. It’s not that I’ll never find someone to love again. I will know when the time is right and when he is capable of loving me back. I will know when it is no longer Adam whispering in my ear. Every night is different and though it is lonesome I will never be completely alone.

Christina from Ridgewood NY:
One day my best friend and I went to a guitar shop in midtown Manhattan. I was and always have been a musical dope unable to read music or remember where to put my fingers. My childhood piano teacher gave up on me. My friend Lo was quite talented with violin and guitar. A lanky young man with long hair covering his face assisted us showing us acoustic and electric Fender and Gibson. I’m certain neither Lo or I remembered anything he showed us because every time he put his fingers on the frets he flashed us a tattoo on his wrist. It was a big red heart and inside the heart in beautiful script was the word “Nervous Nervous Heart.” Afterwards Lo and I talked about how it was the best tattoo we’d ever seen that the young man seemed such a gentle shy soul it fit him well. We wondered if we wore our heart on our wrist what would it say about us “Bold Skittish Free” I think back on this moment from time to time how we were and how we are. I still cannot play music but I can sing and Lo owns a trendy consignment shop. She lives far away to the North with her husband and child their marriage on the rocks. I still live in NYC with my husband and child going strong surviving disasters and laughing. What would our tattoo hearts say now “Brave Adapting Fractured”.

Daniel Montano, Pittsburgh PA:
I could not contain the Great Love I had inside my Heart. So I went around the city on a bike to Write about Love. I wrote on the walls along the train tracks the rivers and the bridges. In abandoned buildings and on fancy storefronts in the busy shopping area. To express my Love for the Beauty of the World. To reflect the Light of The Sun Moon and Stars. To honor and pay tribute to the simple Beauty of my beloveds face. To place value on feelings of the Heart over the material world. To cover the bricks with precious kisses and sorrowful tears so they too could experience Love. To wake up the sleeping people of the world with Bold Statements of Love. And the people said that my Love was prolific and would go down in History. And they displayed my Love all over the evening news. And when they showed the policeman taking me away even he would say that my Love was profound. And the Judge said so too at my trial when he sentenced me to five years. But my Love was so strong that I took it with me to prison. My love was so determined that it would not diminish but always grow. So in my cell I wrote about Love…I wrote about Love at all costs for it is the noblest cause on Earth and is valued accordingly by God in Heaven. So I got on my knees and prayed I would purify my Love so it wouldn’t cause harm. So the World may receive it. God answered my Prayers when a young girl sent me a letter in prison: “I enjoyed reading your Poetry all over the city walls. Please write them in a book so they will last.”

Winners: Matador will be in touch with you shortly to get you your prizes. (If you haven’t heard from them in the next day or so, you can email Mike V at Matador).

So, which one of these writers will Stuart choose as the overall winner?  All will be revealed, …soon!