Friday, March 26, 2010


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.

Wondering why?

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?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Whenever I enter my artwork into a contest, I have two concerns that sound like they should cancel each other out. I'm worried that it won't make it into the show, and I'm worried that I might win. The two main arts organizations in this area each have the winner of their membership shows put on a solo exhibit the following year.

While I don't mind getting an award of some kind, I'm terrified I might have to come up with a whole ahow all on my own. If my stuff doesn't get in, I just hang it on my own wall (I have an art gallery in my bathroom). Then I might put it in the next show, or do something else entirely for the next show.

It's kind of funny, but at one place, I got in the show as a subject a year before my own work was accepted. I used to model at a few studios years ago. We even liked one painting of me so much,we bought it, and it hangs in our living room.