July 14, 2014

Shirley Jackson Awards



Well. I certainly didn’t expect that.

I had a great time at Readercon, but in all honesty when the day of the Shirley Jackson Awards rolled around, I’d almost forgotten I’d been nominated – partially because I’d met so many new, lovely, and interesting people, and partially because I’d just assumed I didn’t have a shot in hell of winning. Lightning doesn’t strike twice – does it? Certainly not.

So I was tremendously stupefied when I stood up to accept the award. It’s really a tremendous honor, and the SJA holds a special place in my heart for a bunch of reasons. I babblingly tried to tell the crowd that, referencing a somewhat tough period of my life recorded here.

Looking back on that period now, three years later, it seems A. like it was much, much, MUCH longer ago than it was, and B. I was being terribly, terribly silly. I did not know how good I had it, and even though I’d hit some bumps, it wasn’t even close to the end of the world. And I had no idea of all the wonderful, excellent things that were coming down the pipeline. I had no idea of how lucky I was about to be.

I wouldn’t have gotten those things if I’d given up. I was a newbie at publishing, and newbies get easily discouraged. They have no frame of reference: they’re like a teenager who feels like their first breakup is the worst thing to have happened in all of time. And the SJA, which came completely out of left field for me, gave me a tremendous shot in the arm. It made me think that maybe I should go on and keep trying this. So I did, and here we are – wherever that is.

This is not to hold myself up as some paradigm of effort. This is just to say, persistence is so much more of a factor than anyone ever realizes. I sometimes think good things don’t go to the honest or the just or the brilliant; I think victory just goes, eventually, to the person who sticks around.

Publishing, like a lot of life, is a lottery – something Shirley Jackson herself might find darkly humorous – and those who find success are the ones who keep playing.

Many thanks to Readercon, the Shirley Jackson Awards, my readers, agent, editors, and friends and family for helping me get here.