Saturday, January 28, 2006

It's an Honor Just To Be Nominated

I love to win awards, but usually I don't like award ceremonies. I don't know why. I'm not a very ceremonial person, I guess. I went to my college graduation only to please my parents. When I got my master's, I told my mother I wasn't going to walk because it would be four hours long and hot. My marriage was done by the mayor of Blue Ash, Ohio and took less than ten minutes. (I was going to wear blue jeans but Bob asked me not to. So I wore a suit.) I don't like to get dressed up anymore, because I don't like the way I've gained weight. I don't like to be anxious. I don't know how to talk to people at parties (I know Larry Dark will never believe I find myself unable to talk, but I find parties at WorldCons to be torturous.)

But I had the best time at The Story Prize. I'd like to think it was because I have matured, but I don't have any other evidence of that. One of the coolest things was meeting Patrick O'Keefe. He won the award, and unlike me, who is secretly convinced that I am a genius and the world just hasn't figured it out yet, Patrick clearly didn't believe he was going to win. I genuinely thought Jim Harrison was going to win, so while they were getting ready for the ceremony, I kept trying to drag Patrick to the back of the auditorium so we could sit and commiserate. We'd start chattering but then we'd have to find out where we would enter or get our mikes on, so we didn't get much of a chance. But I was utterly charmed by him. Luckily, he lives in Ann Arbor, and I'm planning to get him to Cleveland to cook for him. I'll see if Ii can arrange a local signing and reading or something.

Mostly, I was so happy. While I am secretly convinced I am a genius, I am also secretly convinced I am a fraud. And this recognition was such a bolt of lightning, so out of the blue, that it lifted me up and wafted me through the whole process. While we were at lunch at the Lotos Club, Larry Dark said that he and Julie Lindsey read all of the submitted collections and then picked the three winners--which he then amended to the three finalists. I cringe when someone says 'It's an honor just to be nominated' but then, most awards don't give the finalists a check, ask them to read their work on stage, and treat them the way we were treated. I really do feel like I won something big. I would like to think I will be able to sustain this enlightened behavior through other aspects of my life. I suspect not.

Julie and Larry have put together a short list--which I plan to read.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind words about The Story Prize. It was truly great to meet you. I, too, had an excellent time. The three finalists made for a varied group, which gave lunch an interesting dynamic. I'm glad Jim Harrison didn't find out I'm a vegetarian! (I think he's tasted nearly every creature on God's Green Earth.) You read beautifully and I enjoyed our personal conversation in front of 400-some people. It is our goal to make all three finalists feel like winners, which you and the others are. Pictures will be up on our site later in the week and you'll get a disk of your own. I'll be following your blog. Can't wait to read about Patrick's visit.

January 29, 2006 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Maureen. I consider Paddy O'Keeffe my best friend and I love it that he had someone to help him through the night up in New York. When he bartended here in KY folks came to just sit and be near him. I wish I could have been there to see the ceremony. I look forward to reading your work.

January 29, 2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

You'll always be my winner, but it seems like the Story Prize is just a wonderful thing altogether and even being a finalist is definitely being a winner, I think. Can't wait to read the other writers now. (Well I've read Harrison before, but not this collection).

January 30, 2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger Justine Larbalestier said...

How fabulous! I can't wait to read all those stories either.

You know, Maureen, you really are a genius. A friend just read China Mountain Zhang for the first time and has not been able to stop raving about it. Now she is to determined to read everything else you've written.

Yay, you!

January 31, 2006 12:03 AM  

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