Stumbled upon http://www.pictorymag.com/ today. Its a user-submission based website that is definitely worth checking out. There are a couple of themes open for submission right now.
Here's mine for the "Learning from our elders" theme
A good portion of what I know now has come from a simple question asked
over and over again: “Hey Dad, what’re you reading?” From his well worn
post on the brightly lit side of the couch he would gladly put down the
New Yorker, Harper’s, Malcolm Gladwell, Steven Hawking, nonfiction and
fiction alike to answer his precocious prattling son. What those
writers had to say was a mere irrelevance to me but what my Dad had to
tell meant the world.
I always wanted was to know what was going on inside that distinguished
balding head of his. Something about his happy contemplative eyes
hidden behind the double-thick panes of his glasses let me know that
the thoughts he had were worth much more than a penny. It was my
childhood mission to pull every piece of available information out of
him, so that I might, one day, share his erudition and maybe even beat
him at a round of Jeopardy. He never got bothered by or bored with my
questions or impatient with his explanations, even if it did take three
hours for his 12 year old to understand the latest theories on the
genesis of human civilization. While I should’ve been watching TV or
chatting online with my friends I would sit on the arm of the couch
posing query after query until my mind was full.
Now that I’m 3,000 miles away I can still imagine him sitting under the
lamp on the left side of the couch reading while the rest of the world
watches television and shuffles around the internet. I call him weekly,
like picking up a trusted and spine-cracked encyclopedia, and I’m never
disappointed to find that his entries keep accumulating. He’s smarter
than me. I would never want it any other way.