Sunday, January 6, 2013


     The inspiration for the Kelly Culhane Writing Prize came from my own experience with the passing of my niece Kelly in August of 2010. As was my morning ritual on that Tuesday I walked to the upstairs rear window to look out and check the weather. Approaching the window, the horn on the neighbor's car honked once. There was nobody in the car. I stepped closer to the window to see what was happening and a brown sparrow flew to the white pine tree branch two feet away from the window. The tiny brown sparrow looked me intently in the eyes, chirped once and Kelly's presence instantly filled the room and my being. I knew instantly and certainly that she had died. I looked at the clock. It read 7:29 a.m. A half hour later Sister Joyce called to tell me what I already knew. Beloved Kelly Meier Culhane, wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece...after a three-year struggle with debilitating breast cancer, had started on her new journey at the precise time of the sparrow's visit. I am still humbled that one of her first stops on her new and irrevocable path was to say goodbye to her, "Uncle Muk."

     The sparrow's (and Kelly's) visit comforted me as much as a hug, touch, or visit. The palpable sense of her spirit with me reassured me, eased my pain and helped me heal.

     My hope for the contest is to honor Kelly of course, but also to honor and respect the spiritual nature of our living and dieing. I believe that your writing and sharing will ease and heal your process and that publishing your words of healing will be a gift to you and all who read them.

Visit for more contest information and details.

The first Kelly Culhane Writing Prize anthology from 2012 can be viewed at:

Additional information about the authors and stories in the 2012 anthology can also be viewed at: