April 2nd, 2008

Brownies!

Ok, ok, I didn’t win the Journey Prize tonight. It’s really hard to be sad, though, when there were so many brownies available and when such a good story did win–Craig Boyko’s “OZY.” In fact, I’m hard-pressed to think of a story in the anthology that I would’ve been too distressed to lose to. Besides, it was a glittering room of happy talky writery people, and I ran into several old friends I haven’t seen in ages, and Andrew Pyper was the MC, which I had not been expecting. I know not everyone agrees on this, but to me, any day that contains unexpected Andrew Pyper is a good day.

Also, the acceptance speeches were all artless and really warm and funny. It helped, I suppose, that a number of the prize-winners were told ahead of time, so that they could write a really good speech. And they did–Diane Schoemperlen, winner of the Marian Engle award for a woman at mid-career, talked about her youthful impressions of Marian Engel, and Michael Crummy, winner of the Timothy Findley award for a man at mid-career, talked about how rare and wonderful good news is in the life of a writer.

This was a theme Lawrence Hill touched on in his acceptance speech for the fiction award for his novel, *The Book of Negroes,* which I have not yet read, but judging by his *Black Berry, Sweet Juice* it’ll be very good indeed. A theme across all the speeches accepting awards seemed to be, a real writer would write adrift in a bucket no readers but seagulls, and often do, but a prize is nice every once in a while. Everyone seemed to be saying that this critical and financial validation was just going to make it a lot easier for them to continue doing exactly what they would’ve done anyhow.

Which is nice to see so consistently re-affirmed. Another theme was that three of the speeches mentioned cats.

There were brownies at the end of the night, and they were good. Hence the subject line.

If you were a flower growing wild and free
RR

P.S.–I mean, I’m still sad in that winning-is-more-fun-than-not way, but I feel like that when I don’t successfully roll-up-the-rim, too. It’ll pass, and there’s always next year!

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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