It's been one week and one book prize since I've last confessed. If you missed my post on Saturday, my good news is that I just learned this weekend that I won the Foreword Mag's Book of the Year prize for Poetry. I tried to do a longer post on this, but wasn't sure what to say, so maybe this is the place to be as I can write in shorter snippets without boring you too much.
To the confessional--
I confess I had just returned from 3 days in the rainforest & was snuggled up in bed with my daughter watching old Psych episodes when I received the news from my publisher (It came by text - Check yr. email. You won the Foreword Prize. Dennis).
When I went to the link, I wasn't sure I was reading it correctly. I kept thinking, My name is in the #2 spot, but it says Gold. My name is in the 2 spot, but it says Gold. I repeated this to myself like some sitcom mantra until I realized they have chosen two winners for book of the year. My book and Rebecca Foust's book, God, Seed had both won the top prize, and they have alphabetized us by title.
I confess while I had tried to visual winning this book award, I did not think I could win. Every time I tried to imagine winning and what it would feel like, I would end that daydream with, "Um, probably won't happen, Kelli," which is really a lousy way to end a daydream. Daydreamers are really quite skilled in their ability.
I confess in my excitement to call people about the news, none of my poet friends nor my family were home. My husband was at the fire department on a medic call, my 76 year old mother was at the gym, and the list went on like that...
This is exactly why Facebook is a great idea, someone is always home on Facebook. Just like birthdays, if you need to throw yourself a party online, there's your tribe, right there and ready to party. Facebook was one of the first places I shared my news because I tend to process my life outwardly not inwardly. Meaning-- I have to talk about things or they are not real.
I confess that as much as being chosen has made me feel incredibly happy, I still realize that both criticism and praise come from the outside and as artists and writers, we have to find peace and satisfaction from within.
This isn't easy and it's something I'm still working on. I can feel as if I'm on Cloud 9, 10, & even 11 after something like this happens, or kind of crankypants if the outcome isn't what I had hoped for.
I know that had the judges been different or had they read my book right after a fight with their spouse or on a bad day, it could have easily been someone else's name up there. There were 1400 entries, then 37 finalists. There are thousands of outcomes with these types of numbers.
Luck & timing-- that is what much of this poetry world is made of.
I confess my life is returning to normal. We are running out of toilet paper and I found moldy bread in the bread box.
I know in life's big picture, this is wonderful, but the prize doesn't come with four chambers and a rhythmic song. The most important things in my life have heartbeats. Family, friends & pets-- these (not prizes) are in the end are what make a happy life.
Though right now, I still feel the good energy from learning this news. And there is a part of me, the girl who always wanted to win a trophy, who is dancing. And she will probably continue the rest of the week, I won't lie, it's a freakish good weekend in that respect. And I'm still excited and honored and thankful to have been chosen and while it's not officially "a trophy" - it feels like one. So maybe that little girl who always wanted to great at something, can sleep well this week.
My poetry group threw me a party last night that included tiaras, caprese, chocolates, champagne and lemon torte. I couldn't count the number of toasts made. If I haven't mentioned it a thousand times before, I'm ridiculously thankful for these incredible women. My friend Jen said it felt like all of them had won too, and I believe that-- that success occurs in clusters (which is from the Artist's Way has always been my creative bible on helping me weave my way through this writerly life.)
So this is where I'll end it--I'm thankful in many ways including all of you who have connected with me to offer your good words, congrats and support-- thank you for sharing in my news. It's been a lovely three days of emails and notes. Your heartbeats make mine flutter a bit-- so many many thanks to you for being part of my tribe.