You were delighted and grateful to be nominated for the Award and overjoyed to find yourself on the Best Personal (blog) category shortlist.
Then you start to ask yourself.
‘Why Best Personal category? Why not the Best Writing category?’
Because that’s how ridiculous and deluded you can be.
You are afraid to attend the Glittering Awards ceremony because you feel a fraud mixing with proper writers and also because you know you’ll be irrationally jealous of the (justly deserving) winners. Your friend prevails upon you.
‘If you’re going to submit yourself to scrutiny - you have to be prepared for rejection.’
And your youngest child indulgently pretends she'd like to attend with you; so you purchase Glittering Awards ceremony tickets.
You are virtual friends with some of the other shortlisted writers. Your virtual friends, the Nice Man and the Writer Who Will Win, are on the same shortlist as you. The Amusing Man and Prolific Short and Story Writer are on a different shortlist. Prior to the Glittering Awards ceremony you realise that other shortlisters are preparing readings for the evening. You’re not sure if it’s an axiom that shortlisters read and you’re the only one who isn’t aware of this protocol - but you’re afraid of ridicule and not brave enough to simply ask someone who will know.
You tentatively prepare several readings; a three-minuter, and five-minuter and a ten-minuter – just in case, like a little boy going to a important football match with his cleaned boots in a carrier bag.
Then you realise your behaviour is preposterous and you contact your virtual friend, the Nice Man, to see if he’s planning to read. He isn’t. And he isn’t sure how shortlisters know they are expected to read at the Glittering Awards or what the selection criteria are. You speculate that it might be writers on the Best Writing category shortlist who are asked to read. He suggests that your Best Personal (blog) category might be interpreted as a Best at ‘colouring-in without going over the lines’ category, and you both have a hearty virtual laugh over that.
On the day of the Glittering Awards you paint stuff on your nails (writer blood-red on your toes, nervous-neutral on your fingers); have a hairdo in a shop; put on a dress - with legging, because that's how edgy you writers can be.
You stash your the three readings in your big bag - just in case.
On the evening of the Glittering Awards you are sick with nerves. You down some Beechams Flu Plus Caplets because you feel a bit queer, and because you want to dull your anxiety.
The Amusing Man, the Prolific Short Story Writer and the Writer Who Will Win read their engaging and hilarious pieces.
At nine o’clock the Lady Who Has Worked So Hard to ensure all this happens takes her place on the stage to make the announcements. She says.
‘First I’ll read out the shortlist for each category.’
And your youngest child nods at you in excitement, her eyes saying.
‘This is your moment!’
You nod back, still more queasy with anxiety.
Then, the Lady Who Has Worked So Hard to ensure all this happens says.
‘Oh. I don't have a copy of the shortlisted nominations. I’ll go straight to announcing the winners and runners-up in each category.
And your moment has gone.
The Writer Who Will Win has won and the Amusing Man, the Prolific Short Story Writer and the Nice Man are all runners-up.
All your virtual friends get a mention and you fail.
On the walk back to the car park your youngest child gives you a cuddle because you look bereft. Your chest is full of tightly compressed tears but you can’t cry. Your youngest child doesn’t understand.
‘I don’t understand - why are you sadder about this than you are about sad things?’
And you can only reply with a rigid little shake of your head, because you don’t understand either.
During the drive home Michael Bubley, the affable Canadian popular singer, is treating Radio 2 listeners to an easy listening concert. This is galling but your hand is too sad to turn him off. Then Michael Bubley, the affable Canadian popular singer, starts to sing the song Home, and the tears start to roll down your face and there are even more of them than you thought and your youngest child is watching your face in the reflection of the rhythmic motorway lights and she doesn’t know what she can do to make it better.
And she can’t make it better can she? Because it’s all down to you. You have to stop thinking you’re a splendid scribe one moment and that you’re an insignificant incompetent the next moment. You need to grow a carapace and put more energy into what you actually write instead of worrying about what others think about you and what you write. Until you’ve done those things, you need to avoid Glittering Awards ceremonies; especially if you’ve been shortlisted.
This terribly sad sequence of events isn’t what happened to me; but it might have happened to someone like me if their personality were a charmless combination of misplaced confidence and hobbling insecurity.
Coincidentally, I didn’t win at the Manchester Blog Awards but these talented people did and I extend my super-congratulations to them. I also am very grateful to Kate Feld of Manchizzle who manifestly does work incredible hard to ensure that North West bloggers get such a fantastic event and such lovely acknowledgement for what they do.
There is a nice Guardian review of the Glittering Awards too.
Lost in Manchester
The Manchester Zedders
My Shitty Twenties
Words and Fixtures
Songs from Under the Floorboards
I thought I told you to wait in the car
Dave Hartley’s Weblog
Run Paint Run Run
The Manchester Hermit
This terribly sad sequence of events, written in the second person, didn’t happen to me but if I were ever called upon to cry to order - unlikely, I know – but if I’m offered a starring part in a weepy film say, or I find employment as a professional mourner, I know a tune that will set me off nicely.
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