June 17th, 2018

Trillium Preparations

The Trillium Readings are on Wednesday evening at 6:30 and the awards are announced and Thursday evening and I am a bundle of nerves and excitement (also sweat, but that’s the weather and not the Trilliums per se). Would you like to know what I have been doing to get ready? Well great, here you go:

1) Reading all the books! This was my first order of business as soon as the shortlist was announced, and indeed I was concerned about reading the five other nominees for the book prize in the time between then and the winner announcement (May 24 to June 21). But in the end it was so easy because the books were SO GOOD! I read the other nominees for a few reasons–in order to be able to make the most of the opportunity to chat with the other authors about their work when we meet at the events, in order to appreciate the nomination of my own work a bit more (someone thought MY book was in THIS category), and just because when someone brings good books to my attention, why not read them? I’ve read all five now and can say you won’t be sorry if you do too! I can sincerely recommend This Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Birds Art Life by Kyo Maclear, The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, Life on the Ground Floor by Dr. James Maskalyk, and Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez. I was simply blown away, and in such various ways and means! I don’t think I’ll finish the poetry books by the awards night but I’ve gotten started and it’s similarly staggering. Sadly, my abilities will not allow me to attempt the French lists.

2) Press! There was a short piece about me in The Hamilton Spectator when the short-list was announced, which was huge for me since they have never covered any of the work I’ve done as an adult (I had a story in there as a kid, though!) There as also a piece in the super-local Glanbrook Gazette–because of these two articles, I’ve been getting some nice notes from some of the back-home folks. Now Magazine also has a mini-site about all the Trillium nominees, which includes a short text interview with each of us including me. We’ll all each have a video interview posted as well–I had fun shooting mine, but I’m still scared of what it’ll be like to watch it.

3) Buying a new dress! Oh, wait, I haven’t actually done this, even though a lovely friend offered to go with me–and with three days left, I probably won’t. What I did instead was allocate myself fifteen minutes before I had to be somewhere else to run into The Bay with a hole in my stockings, sprinting past really nice dresses thinking, if I were more organized I could go try those on. Then I bought a new pair of stockings and threw the ruined ones in the garbage in the Bay changing room BUT I also bought an extra pair for Trillium night. Those have polka dots, which will hopefully distract from the fact that I will be a) wearing a dress of my mother’s from the 1980s b) wearing a dress from the grocery store.

4) Hoarding pills! Bet you didn’t see this one coming! It actually accounts for some of the disorganization in #3. I have my migraines under better control lately owing to good medication, which is why I haven’t pain-vomited in over a year (hooray!) BUT there are limits on how much of this stuff you can take in a month–I’m not sure what happens if you go over, a very slow-motion overdose, I guess. And June has been a terrible month for migraines, mainly due to weather but partly due to travel, stress, poor-decision-making on my part, and just some bad luck. So I’m down to two days worth of my strongest pills to last the rest of June (it is, please note, June 17 as I type this). The pharmacy will sometimes give you something a couple days early, but not a couple weeks. So, with two days worth of super-pills and two days worth of Trillium events, and with the potential for migraines at their worst to induce pain-vomiting, I am jealously guarding my pills like a…I’m sorry, what are those fictional characters who hoard gold under a bridge? Those. If you have had a weird conversation with me lately or I seemed on the verge of tears for no reason, I was probably way under-medicated and I’m sorry. Probably July will be better.

5) Enjoyment. I have to say, I have really liked being on the Trillium shortlist and if I could just drag this out forever and not find out the winner, I would do that. I feel pretty confident (and happy) that So Much Love won’t win–there’s so much brilliance on the shortlist, I’d be delighted for any winner at all. But this has been very fun and I’ll be sad to see it end. Open secret: I’m going to write an acceptance speech. I have never written one before when I’ve been short-listed for other things. I always thought it was presumptuous, like saying you think you’ll win, and also something of a jinx. But I haven’t won the other things I’ve been shortlisted for and I didn’t expect to, but I think it’d be fun to write the speech. So I will, and never give it but I will have had the pleasure of writing it. And pleasure is what this experience has been, so why not drag out a little extra? I am a lucky lucky kid.

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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