(Cross-posted at Backword Books)
UK-based Essential Writers editor Judy Darley interviewed me recently about writing, Homefront, and – inadvertently – Backword Books. Have I mentioned that while I hate, hate, hate being in front of people and talking about anything remotely “me,” I looooove answering interview questions via email? And what an absolute honor to be sought out by Essential Writers.
Some of my responses were truncated (which means I actually end up sounding more professional and “writerly-writer” than I think I am), and one of the cutting-room answers involved my feelings after being nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Undoubtedly, it was cut for length, because I can be overly “blahblahblah, blah blah BLAH blah…and thennnn…”, but I’d like to include that part here, because it’s amazing how easily others can taint something that would otherwise be “I’m-getting-so-wasted-tonight!” exciting:
How did it feel to discover …you were nominated for a Pushcart Prize?
Being nominated for a Pushcart Prize was exciting, too, but strangely less so [than winning the Storyglossia Fiction Prize]. I think because I was part of an online writers workshop, at the time, and there was a lot of talk about how anyone can nominate anyone for a Pushcart Prize. Your mother can nominate you. So, while I was truly very excited to have been nominated by an editor, and while I still – three years later – appreciate it and love to simply have the knowledge that my writing was nominated for such a coveted prize, the pooh-poohing of it by other writers squelched my enthusiasm, a little. Winning – now, that would have been something.
“It’s an honor just to be nominated,” they say. And truly, often it is. Really. But when you learn you can even nominate yourself and then claim to have been nominated, you have to wonder how many people are going to roll their eyes at your “Nominated for a Pushcart Prize” and think, “Everyone gets nominated for that.”
When I worked at the Journal Inquirer, I received a little index card in my mailbox that said I’d been nominated for some award in journalism. (I forget what it was.) I thought, “Wow! And I just started!” I then found out everyone in my newsroom, and in newsrooms across the country, were nominated for it. Editors nominate their reporters in a sort of raffle. All nominees are invited to attend a dinner or other journalist-y event where the winners will receive their awards. Most reporters can be pretty sure they’re not going to win (especially when, like me, they hadn’t had more than a six-month career in the field, hadn’t exposed anything particularly noteworthy, and hadn’t – frankly – earned it).
So, naturally, I went from being “Ohmygod!” excited to “Ohhh. Mmm-kay.” (Much like the day Oprah called me.)
That’s why I said what I said about winning the Pushcart. Because not everyone wins the Pushcart. Hell, hardly anyone wins the Pushcart.
I want one, fer sure.
The rest of the Essential Writers interview can be found here. Thanks, Judy, for the interview! I’m excited and honored to have been included.