Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Woman in Her Thirties Shakes it Off

I have never been delusional about a career in writing.  I knew going into it that it wasn't going to be long, leisurely afternoons in cafes, but I wasn't totally prepared for the emotional ups and downs of the writing life.  Lately, if I'm going to be totally honest, I've been super discouraged.  The thought publishing another book seems so daunting that I'm dragging my heels.

So, a few weeks ago when I got an email that my book was up for an award, I felt a quick recharge.  'Woo Hoo! Recognition! Finally!' That recharge, however, faded fast when I realized that my book was up for "best cover".

Not content.  

Not writing.  

Best Cover.

Now, let's be totally clear.  My cover is AWESOME.  The guy who designed it is so beyond talented it's ridiculous.  He completely deserves every accolade he receives. (Here's his website.  He specializes in maps.  Amaze.)

And yet.

I thought for a long time about not going to the awards ceremony.  In fact, I was a total poop about it.  I didn't tell many people about the award because I didn't want to have to do the 'Guess what? My book is up for an award!' and then bring in the sad trombone (wha wha whaaaa....).  I knew how totally ungracious I was, but I didn't care.  Writing is so sucky sometimes.  It can bring out the poop in anyone.

Yesterday morning, after much hemming and hawing, I decided to go to the awards gala.  As any Kardashian will agree, any publicity is good publicity.  And sure, the honor was certainly more my illustrator's than mine, but that didn't mean I shouldn't go to cheer him on.  So Anna and I got all dressed up, put on our biggest smiles, and went.

 Anna, modeling my book on display.  Everyone loved her, obviously.

As we mingled, (well, as Anna talked to everyone about their jewelry, her tiara, and her beautiful necklace), the thought never crossed my mind that my illustrator wouldn't win.  I mean, IT DID NOT CROSS MY MIND.  I sat in the crowd trying to figure out the best way to go up and accept the award with him without tripping over my high heels and humiliating myself.

Then the awards started and one of my fellow author friends won for best non-fiction, and that was so great.  And then it was my turn, and I pointed to the screen when my book came up, and I asked Anna if she wanted to come up to the stage with me.

And.. Sadder Trombone... (Wha Wha Whaaaaaaaaaaaa...) We didn't win.

I realize I am totally biased, but I am in a unique position with this.  Sure, it's my book, but it's not my award.  So I feel totally justified to say WE SHOULD HAVE WON.  Fine, my most incredible illustrator (who also looks exactly like my baby brother) should have won.

But this is the writing life.  Ups.  Downs.  Mediums.  I was talking to one of L's friends the other night about how a person doesn't pursue a career in the arts unless they love it.  They must love it, otherwise they just can't.  They'd be crazy to.

I tossed and turned a bunch last night, but not over any of the excitement or disappointment.  I thought of that moment in the audience, when my book wasn't announced as the winner, and Anna looked up at me to see my reaction.

'Aw man,' I whispered to her.  'We didn't win.'

'That's okay, Mommy,' she said.  'You'll win next time!"

She might be right, when it comes to books.  But when it comes to being a mom, I've already won.  


  1. And THIS is exactly why I love you to the moon and back. Honest, humble, self-deprecating, funny, irreverent... and the eternal optimist. You have already won in so many more ways that you can count! XO

  2. Everything Michelle said. That and, you're amazing and awesome. And hey, you are a winner as far as Pleasantville is concerned!