The Music of Winning
I’d like to say that the musical The Book of Mormon had something to do with the outcome of this year’s Quills Conference writing awards. The problem is, when I Spock out on the probability of that being true, the whole idea reeks of highly illogical. Still, the idea makes me happy.
I belong to a groovy group called the League of Utah writers. It’s a state wide organization that’s been around for over eighty years, and has chapters across the state. I’ve only been a part of it for the past four years, and had been a huge help to me as a writer. Fellow writers helping out each other to be better story tellers.
Every year they have a fall writing conference, Quills, and wrap up the two-day event with a dinner and awards ceremony. Every year I submit a few pieces and waited in anticipation in hopes of hearing my name called out loud in a group of my peers.
The first two years my name remained silent, but last year I got an honorable mention for a short story in the Speculative Fiction category. I handled it like a pro; my face turned bright pink as I shuffle to the front of the room, with my tribe of Monkeys cheering me on with each step I took.
Oh yeah, the chapter I belong to is called the Infinity Monkeys, we’re a speculative fiction chapter who has yet to wrote Hamlet, but damn if we don’t try every chance we get.
So this year, on day two of the conference I’m all poised to attend the awards banquet. I’m full of curious anticipation, not quite shivering, but work my way there. Would my name be called again? It’s a hope I shared with every writer at the conference.
At two hours to award time my pocket began to vibrate. Either there was a Pokémon close by or someone was texting me up. Turned out it was the later. A buddy of mine had a spare ticket to go see The Book of Mormon.
It was a tough call. On one hand, it was the end of the conference. The awards ceremony, a chance for my name to be called out. The chance to become an award winning writer should one of my pieces make it in the top three. On the other hand, it was the musical The Book of Mormon.
I minute later, my friend knew I’d be meeting him at the theater, and was in route to the parking lot.
Worth it. Soooo worth it.
I had no ass left by the end of the show do to my incessant giggling.
What I didn’t expect was the vomit of constant buzzing from phone when we left the theater.
Oh my god, is everyone okay? Who’s in the hospital? Did the house flood? Did someone die?
Turned out: Yes. No. No. And, no.
No messages from my immediate family, but a slew of texts from my Monkey family. Apparently my name had come up a few times that evening. Five times to be precise. I summed up the news in three simple words: “Holy fuck socks!”
Here’s how the evening turned out:
• Second Honorable mention in Fiction
• First Honorable mention in Creative Non-Fiction
• First Honorable mention in Poetry
• Third Place in Media Article
• First place in Poetry
I may have even made a little scratch from some of the awards. Not only had I become an award winning writer in the span of the last two hours, I had also become a paid creative writer. Even as I type that out, two months later, it still feels surreal.
I didn’t want to cliché the whole experience and spend half of my award money on a nice bottle of Scotch, but . . . okay yes, yes I did. I totally spent half my award money on a nice bottle of Scotch. And yes, it was absolutely worth it. The most satisfying campfire I’ve ever licked. Taliskar 10; delightful.
So yeah, logically going to see The Book of Mormon had nothing to do with the outcome of the award banquet. The reviewing, scoring, and award certificate were all done long before I got the call to go see the show. But it just feels more satisfying to believe that just maybe, skipping the awards ceremony to spend the evening in riotous laughter with some fabulous friends, maybe sort of had a little something to do with the outcome of that night. Fiction, yes. But in the end, it’s the story that makes me smile most. And for me, that’s kind of the whole point.