Karen Becker

During her career as a court reporter for the Missouri 25th Circuit Court, Houston resident Karen Becker typed thousands upon thousands of words.

She recalls how some of the cases she worked resulted in numerous volumes of trial transcripts, each several inches thick.

But now retired, Becker recently wrote down 64 words that have caught the attention of one of America’s oldest and most famous magazines: Reader’s Digest.

The words were the body of a short story Becker submitted in a contest featuring peoples’ personal stories. The contest is part of a project called “Your Life…The Reader’s Digest Version,” which celebrates the launch of a book titled “Life…The Reader’s Digest Version.”

Contest entries will be voted on by the public and winners will ultimately be selected by Reader’s Digest editors. One winning story will eventually be published in the magazine, and its author will receive a major cash award. Several runners-up will also receive attention and cash prizes.

Becker wrote and submitted her story Monday, Sept. 26 and got an email three days later indicating it had made the cut.

“I couldn’t believe it – I was shocked,” she said. “I thought, ‘oh my gosh, this is such a little thing I put in.'”

The email stated that Becker might be “contacted by media.”

“And I guess that’s now true,” she said.

An email sent by Reader’s Digest to the Houston Herald stated that a “local author” had written a story being considered for publication. Becker pointed out that that label was generous, and that her experience as an author is about as long as her contest entry.

“I authored that,” she said. “But that’s the extent of my authoring.”

Becker admits that she probably isn’t cut out for writing a long novel. She recalls being involved in several murder trials during her court reporter days and how hard it was for her to type the lengthy transcripts that often went along.

“It was killing me,” she said.

Readers Digest fans and others can vote for and submit 150-word stories about lessons, simple advice, funny moments and other life stories at facebook.com/ReadersDigest.

“Best Christmas” by Karen Becker

I was a child in Mercy hospital in Chicago with pneumonia and aterrible storm was brewing outside. All the nurses told me that myparents wouldn’t be able to get to the hospital, but I just knewthey would. I waited by the elevators in a wheelchair and suddenlythe doors opened and there were my parents! That was my bestChristmas ever!

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