So, this happened: A Pushcart Prize nomination.
It happened in early December, and I shouted (loud, apparently, almost directly into my son's ear!) when I got the email from the lovely editors at Front Porch Journal, who nominated my essay, "Your Boyfriend's Back" from their Winter 2015 issue.
But I haven't shouted about it here on the blog yet.
Truth is, a lot of writers get nominated each year. Literary journals can select up to six pieces each year, and many writers have been nominated in multiple years. Some writers have won several Pushcarts.
(A jaded writer told me that when you get past your "first" Pushcart nomination, you're over it and don't get excited anymore. I don't like jaded writers.)
This is my first time, so why not be a little bit excited?
I am EXCITED, HONORED, PROUD, SURPRISED, HAPPY. All that uppercase stuff.
We write, alone and quietly. We revise, mostly alone, mostly quietly (expletives aside).
We agonize, ponder, submit, usually alone and quietly.
We are rejected, alone, in silence (expletives aside).
Maybe we give out a little yelp when we get an acceptance. We try to make some noise when our work is published.
So, if getting nominated for an award that recognizes excellence in creative published work, isn't a reason to shout, what is?
I noticed at least a half dozen writers I know announcing their own Pushcart Prize nominations over the last few weeks--and why not! Congratulations to all of us!
To celebrate, I bought the book that emerged from the previous year's round of Pushcart nominations. Maybe I could have done something flashier to celebrate, like buy that new computer I need, but the book was enough; I think I did it partly to honor those who were selected for the Prizes most recently, and partly as a silly, private little goodwill offering to the writing prize gods. (Then I started to read it, and wanted to hide under a sheet: such stunning work!)
Most of those nominated of course, don't win. That's how any nomination process works. That's okay. Now I finally believe those Oscar folks who say, almost convincingly, "It's an honor just to be nominated."
Only I'd delete the "just".