Thursday, September 18, 2014

So let me be frank: I dread literary awards season. I don't have any real expectation that I'm likely to win one of these big awards, though naturally I daydream about the possibility. But when the big day arrives, and the National Book Award longlisters are announced and the McArthur Geniuses are lauded, I do everything I can to avoid thinking about them. Please don't assume I'm cranky, jealous, and mean. I'm not. What good fortune this is for the winners! They, too, have been striving in silence and chaos; they, too, have been stumbling and falling. I am happy for them; I truly am.

Nonetheless, I have a hard time not punishing myself: not staring into the mirror and shouting, "You are not a genius!" I have a hard time not bundling my manuscripts into the woodstove. If there were no awards, I wouldn't feel this way. But because there are, I excoriate myself.

So, once again, I have to dig myself out of the hole. I have to remember the covenant I make to myself, day after day. Dawn, I swear I will not burn those manuscripts. I swear I won't even light the stove. 

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