I see it's time once again for the finalists for the Romance Writers of America awards to be announced. Congratulations to all the finalists and good luck!
I was never going to be one of them, because - not for the first time - I didn't enter my book.
Have you ever heard the Jesuit saying "Give me a boy until he is seven and I will give you the man?" Here's what happened when I was seven:
It was "field day" at school, what goes by the name of "play day" now, I gather. My friend and I were in the three-legged race. I was not the most athletic child, preferring to bury my nose in a Trixie Belden book rather than run around chasing things. But lo! A miracle! My friend and I won the race. Such excitement!
However, it was a tie finish, so rather than give ribbons to both teams (as I'm fairly certain would be the case now), the Powers-That-Be decided the race should be run again.
My friend and I lost. No ribbon for us.
So what did that seven-year-old girl learn?
You can be a winner one moment, a loser half an hour later. Winning a contest doesn't mean a darn thing.
This is (obviously) a very personal take on contests, based on my own backstory. Nor am I against contests - for other people. But they lost any real value for me over forty years ago.
I wonder if the teacher(s) who made the decision to re-run the race had any idea of the effect that was going to have on one seven-year-old girl?