This is about awards. Why surprises? Because they always are. HOW could a writer (no matter how much she loves writing and works at it) be this winner at this time? So, here I am, sharing with you, my reading and writing friends, the surprises that any writer can aspire to.
Number one--the biggest surprise, and the one that thrilled me most:
Each year, at its yearly conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Writers' Federation awards writers for their work in thirty-four categories. Contest entries come from all over the United States. In 1992, with what felt like a tremendous amount of bravado and nerve, I entered one of my first essays in their essay category. When awards were announced, and my name was called for an honorable mention, I felt like Miss America, an Oscar winner and class valedictorian all at once. I walked to the front of that huge crowd on a golden path, almost unable to breathe. I remember well going back along that golden path to my seat, listening to the applause (never let it be said that writers don't support each other), as I held up my precious certificate.
I probably won third honorable mention or something like that, I don't remember, and the certificate doesn't say. But, I don't care. No award since then has been so special.
There are now twenty-five award certificates, most of them either first place or for a singular award, plus a key to one city, a key to a National Historic Site jail, two trophies, and other such stuff in my office. But let's fast forward to:
Number two surprise. August, 2010.
I entered the Silver Falchion contest at Killer Nashville. Their web site states: "This is awarded for the best achievement in publishing to a Killer Nashville attending author as voted on by his or her peers." The award is announced at a Saturday night banquet. I rarely thought about the Silver Falchion after I sent my entry, and didn't attend the awards banquet. (The $80.00 cost had something to do with this.) My husband and I went out to dinner with writer friends at a nearby Irish Pub. (Fabulous food.) We came back to the hotel. Went to bed.
When I came down to the conference area on Sunday morning one of the organizers said, "Congratulations." I asked, "For what?"
"You won the Silver Falchion."
The rest of that morning is a blur. Tears, congratulations, photos, interviews. Surprise? You betcha! That afternoon the award ceremony was repeated at the convention's closing ceremonies, and I got to hear, once more, (as I had in 1992), applause from a huge crowd of people. Who wants to be Miss America or an Oscar winner? Not me.
Number three surprise. June, 2011.
Here is an account of the third honor I choose to mention, as copied from the mystery fan Internet list called DorothyL. (Named for Dorothy L. Sayers.). Why is this one special? Well, mostly because it's awarded by my adopted--and much-loved--state of Arkansas:
"Dear Friends, one and all,
Each year, the longest running writers' conference in the United States (67th year in 2011 for the Arkansas Writers' Conference), chooses one writer with Arkansas connections to be inducted into the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Honorees have included Miller Williams (poet, who read his original work at the second Clinton inauguration); Dee Brown ("Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"); Paul Greenberg (Pulitzer winner, journalist and editor); Charles Portis ("True Grit"); and Charlaine Harris (mystery and thriller author, with a series on TV). Selections are nominated and voted on by the Arkansas Pioneer Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, and the board of the Arkansas Writers' Conference.
The inductee is announced at the yearly conference in June. Arkansas author and teacher Marilyn Collins introduced this year's inductee by describing some of that person's published written work, and previous awards and honors. Collins then said: "In closing, I want to say a personal word. Our recipient is not only a skilled and talented writer, she is what we as writers should all aspire to be, a friend to other writers. Her talent, sharing, and generosity set her apart. I am proud to present the 2011 Hall of Fame Award to Radine Trees Nehring." (Time for tears, and thank you.)
I wanted to share this happiness with you all.
Copyright 2015 by Radine Trees Nehring
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