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Wednesday
Jan242018

On Being an Award Winning Author ~ How Do I Cope?

I’m an award winning author. An obscure journal concentrating on issues not terribly interesting to the general public with a readership of—well, I guess no one has every counted, but it can’t be a lot—held an essay writing contest. I won joint third place. The essays that won first, second, and the other third place were all published in the journal. Mine was not. When I enquired why not, I was told my essay was too controversial, would cause conflict, and would offend some readers. No one said it would be easy being an award winning author.

Regarding the offending people thing: If I hadn’t offended people during my life than I wouldn’t have lived much of a life. Being offended is one of the most common experiences human beings have. I can’t hardly get through a day without being offended. To which the most appropriate response is: So what? Big deal. My award winning essay that would have caused conflict and offence if anyone had read it, was about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersex, and asexual rights. And if I’ve left someone out, please don’t be offended. As I’ve often said, while offending people is not the purpose, nonetheless, if you can’t bring yourself to offend anyone then don’t even pretend to fight for justice or stand in solidarity with another person, and certainly not with a group of people.    

My Twitter profile reads as follows: Writer, Blogger, and creator of the website The Back Road Cafe. Avid reader. I always follow back. For the enjoyment of it all. It used to say “creator of The Back Road Café,” but people thought I had an actual café here in Seattle with one of those magic coffee machines. I got a message from one person saying he definitely was going to visit my café when he came to Seattle in the coming weeks. I toyed with the idea of not setting him straight, but figured he’d be pretty damn offended if I didn’t. I also have in the profile “I always follow back.” I need to change that because I don’t always follow back. I don’t follow Trump enthusiasts, gun nuts, fascists, Nazis and Neo-Nazis, LGBTQIA bigots, racists, xenophobes, and KKK members. They all offend me to no end. And to be honest, I also have trouble with people who throw their cigarette butts on the sidewalk. If I’ve missed anyone else, don’t be offended.

However, I’m sure you noticed that my Twitter profile doesn’t indicate, indeed proclaim, that I’m an award winning author. I tend to follow all kinds of writers on Twitter: bloggers, poets, essayists, short story and book authors. Some of them are excellent writers and some of them are terrible writers. The excellent writers I love, though I do have pangs of jealousy sometimes. The terrible writers don’t offend me, and at times lift my spirits. What amazes me, however, is the staggering number of award winning writers I follow. Profile after profile announce awards have been won. Often the awards are listed. More than not I’ve never heard of the organizations granting the awards, but it matters not a jot. I’m still impressed. And I never google the organizations to find out who the hell they and what they do.

So, I was thinking, what if I write something like this for my profile: I’m an award winning author, the Peabody Institute having awarded my award winning novel The Girl in the Silver Mask, an award for excellence in literature and for being a cracking good tale. I made up the Peabody Institute, but just googled it to make sure it doesn’t actually exist. My bad luck, it does. The Peabody Institute is part of The Johns Hopkins University and is a conservatory and university preparatory school in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood of northern Baltimore, Maryland, the United States of American. Who would have thought? I wonder if it gives awards to authors. To all the good people at the Peabody Institute, I meant no offence, and if I have offended anyone, I beg your forgiveness, but if you can’t forgive me and instead complain as you retreat to some safe place, I say: So what? Big deal. 

So, I have to think of another fictitious award granting organization that no one will ever google. Once people read that I’m an awarding winning author, my book sales will skyrocket, visits to my website will go through the roof, and I’ll offend any number of people. So, to get you started:

I’ve got other books, but they are not award winning worthy, so I’ll keep them under wraps. But regarding the other two—White Marble and Silver Mask—it seems given the number of award winning writers and authors I follow on Twitter there must be some club, or organization, or institution, or association, or society, or guild that could see its way to giving me an award.

You can reach me through The Back Road Café. I look forward to hearing from you.

Copyright © 2018 Dale Rominger

Award Winning Author

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