Hallmark has published a Canton resident’s new and original poem.
Writer Diane Reyerson-Warren’s poem won first prize as part of a writing contest by Hallmark.
“I was definitely shocked,” Reyerson-Warren says upon hearing of her being named a winner. “It was really surprising, and I just about fell over when they called me.”
The contest was looking for true stories, letters or poems written by contestants expressing thanks and gratitude to their mothers or people who have been like mothers to them.
“I thought that would be a feel-good kind of piece,” Reyerson-Warren said.
Reyerson-Warren’s poem was published in the Hallmark book titled “Thanks, Mom,” which contains submissions from 85 contestants.
“There’s just a lot of really neat letters and poems in the book from everybody,” Reyerson-Warren said.
Her poem is about a memory of seeing her mother in the hall wearing support pantyhose with little else on.
“My mom was really goofy and really is funny,” she said. “When you get older, you really come to appreciate that your parents have that kind of humor.”
Says Reyerson-Warren of her poem: “It’s silly but sweet at the same time. That’s really what the poem is about”
She won a $50 prize, two Hallmark books and an additional $250 for being chosen by Hallmark to have her card sold online. She won another $250 when her work was chosen for sale in Hallmark stores.
Reyerson-Warren said writing the poem was spur-of-the-moment.
“It took me about 20 minutes (to write the poem),” Reyerson-Warren said. “It was the deadline, and it was like midnight on a Sunday. I hadn’t really had anything. I worked on a couple of things for probably three weeks but I just didn’t like any of them.
“I thought, well, one last good effort before I go to bed, and I just kind of whipped that out, and I certainly didn’t think that it would win.”
Reyerson-Warren admits receiving help from others with making her cards. She also used her mother, Vi Reyerson, for her first Hallmark-winning card in February 2011.
She collaborated with her mother to make a “Maxine’s Crabby Contest” greeting card.
Reyerson-Warren wrote the text for the entry titled “Toddy Does Dishes,” with her mother pictured on the card in character as Maxine — clothes, wild haircut and all.
The character also has a speech bubble that says, “A hot toddy always makes me feel better,” with a drink on the table before her. The text continues on the inside of the card with, “Especially if he does the dishes.”
“We had a great time doing the photo shoot, but it took a while since she kept laughing,” Reyerson-Warren said. “Staying in Maxine character was definitely a challenge for her.”
Reyerson-Warren went on to win several other Hallmark contests later that year.
Her other winning creations include “Life is Funny,” “Love is a Funny Thing,” and “Watch What You Say...Again!”
All five of Reyerson-Warren’s cards won the two $250 prizes and are sold online as well as in Hallmark stores.
All of the contest card entries were judged based on criteria such as cohesiveness, sendability and whether or not the cards stuck to the theme of the contest.
Reyerson-Warren’s cards have plenty of humor and reflect her positive and upbeat outlook on life.
Aside from the recognition and monetary rewards, Reyerson-Warren has formed relationships with other contestants as a result of being a part of the Hallmark contest.
“I’ve gotten to be good friends with a lot of the women who entered the contest,” she said. “We all went down to Kansas City last year for the Hallmark group with 50 people called Pandemonium. We came from all over the country and met up there, and so it’s been a really neat experience to form those relationships aside from just the creative part.”
Reyerson-Warren applauds Hallmark for offering the contest to people who often forget about creativity and imagination as they grow up.
“It just gives everybody a chance to really tap into that creative side of them, which sometimes we forget to do when we get a little older,” she said.
The contest is especially helpful for those who have a family and become busy in trying to keep a family.
“I think for a lot of people who enter these contests, it’s giving them this outlet that they didn’t even know existed or haven’t tapped into for years and years after the housework and the kids and this, that and the other,” Reyerson-Warren says. “I give a lot of credit to Hallmark for opening that up.”
She seems to get her tendency for finding the humor in life from her mother.
“I’m not big into mushy,” Reyerson-Warren said. “I can hardly do the serious stuff, that’s not my deal.”
Reyerson-Warren said another good part of winning the contests is the recognition she has gotten and how she has been able to include her friends and family in the process of making her cards.
“I’ve got a friend who’s on a card, I’ve got my brother’s cat that I used for a card, one of our dogs on a card, so it’s really just neat seeing how excited your family and friends are and to know those people on the cards when you walk into Kroger or Hallmark. It’s really wild and it’s still really weird every time you see that.”
Reyerson-Warren finds the creation of her cards to be a fun and rewarding process.
“It’s just plain old fun,” she says.
Reyerson-Warren’s prize-winning poem will be in stores in the next few days.
All of her cards can be purchased at Hallmark Gold Crown stores or at Hallmark.com.