Saturday was a good night. Warm and enthusiastic writers, agents and publishers crowded into a huge ballroom, eager to see who and what would happen at this year’s Royal Palm Literary Awards . The conversations all around me were vibrant, creative and filled with talk of books, writing and plots. My book came in first place, Memoir. The second and third place winners were accomplished, published authors with some meaty subject matter (One book was about a mother who’s son was in the war in Iraq, the other, a story told by a cancer survivor). I was very honored that my book, a tale where a donkey serves as a metaphor for grasping for a dream and failing, held up so well. Most startling was walking up to receive the award and hearing the announcer read my bio. With credentials including an MFA, teaching experience, and a list of other awards I was lucky enough to win since the last time I received a Royal Palm Award, I realized that while I often feel I’ve not accomplished any of the things I had hoped for when I moved to GA, I really have made great strides despite the challenges I’ve endured. And THAT made me feel prouder than any chunk of etched glass that symbolized winning an award. Our lives are nothing but the accumulation of small steps, and walking up to that podium, I realized that even if I am not yet at my hoped for destination, I’ve walked miles in the right direction.
Later, I had a wonderful meeting with a very established agent who not only asked for my book, but took the time to share insight as to why my queries have not been getting the responses I hoped. She said no one will touch a memoir that runs 110k words, even if it’s amazing. I have to pare the book down to 80K words to be saleable in this market. OK then….. so tonight I begin the arduous task of cutting material from the book to prepare it for a new agent and a fighting chance to earn a place in the publishing world. I embrace the task. Every change, painful as cutting can be, makes for a stronger book, and bidding good-bye the fluff is bound to make My Million Dollar Donkey a more intense and poignant read.
My date, David, had great class. He helped make the evening special, doing all he could to make me feel beautiful, accomplished, and talented (I suppose the Chardonnay helped me feel good too.) I appreciated his genuine support and efforts to make the celebration all it could be.
After reading my last blog, my friend George texted me to wish me good luck. He said, “Pack light, Ginny. It’s time you start lugging only a carry on with you.” Made me laugh.
George has always been both practical and wise, and his words came to mind more than once that night as I sat in that crowded room among strangers. I felt grounded and at home because it occured to me that special friends are with me always, in spirit, in heart, and in the smiles they inspire; smiles that resognate long after the moment of first impact.
Ginny, the writer, is back. It feels right and good to be blogging again, but I’m afraid not tonight. I must attend to my editing…..