Good news is always worth waiting for. Nobody waits in for bad news to arrive.
Trouble is, for the aspiring writer, bad news is the more frequent of the two visitors.; and it’s not easy to shy away from it.
This bad news visitor generally arrives in the guise of an email announcing competition results. It lures the expectant entrant into opening the message with all the hope and positive anticipation they felt when submitting the work so very many months ago. The emails have to be opened because you might, just might, find your own name lurking somewhere, anywhere on the list.
Not in the top three? No problem, keep reading; there’s still the shortlist to go. Still the hope that all your efforts were worthwhile. Not on the shortlist? Nor the long list? Who cares? It is, as we all know, and let’s hold hands and repeat the mantra once again, THE TAKING PART THAT COUNTS.
Still, for all that, the sinking heart and momentary stab of regret are hard to avoid. Thankfully, these feelings and the disappointment always become diluted and tend to result in a burst of renewed energy and vigour; a determination to return to the desk and try again. Try harder. Almost certainly fail again. But next time, fail better (Beckett said this: wise man).
Yesterday I received a results email. I metaphorically hid behind the sofa as I scrolled down, as if waiting for a Dr Who monster to burst from my kindle fire. I felt prepared to do battle with my sinking emotions. I am, after all, predisposed to tackle the setbacks, the blighted hopes. We all are. It comes with the territory. Naturally, I hadn’t prepared for the converse emotional response: the thrill, the joy, the sweet delight of actually winning something. The need for this is so infrequent, so rare, so very unlikely, that it never occurs to me to brace myself to seeing my name up there on the list of winners. Runners and riders yes; winners no.
But this time I’m in the winners’ enclosure. The results of the Words with Jam ‘Bigger’ short story competition 2013 are out and I placed in one category and made the short list in another. I have neither won anything, nor been published for such a long time, I’d forgotten how it feels. To be honest, I was numbed yesterday by jet lag and tiredness, having literally just returned from our holiday to California. This compounded my brain’s confusion and probably inhibited it’s ability to compute positive information of this nature; it certainly meant that I couldn’t contemplate toasting the glad tidings with anything more exciting than a mug of Horlicks.
This morning in the warm, glowing light of day (it’s not: it’s cold and windy), I can bask more easily in the knowledge of my small success.
Now I just have to make this feeling last….it might be some time before I find myself dusting off this emotion form the shelf again.
My second placed story “Sackcloth and Ashes” in the category for stories up to 1000 words can be found over at Words with Jam. It is also to be published in a winners’ anthology in due course. My short, short story which was short listed will also appear in the anthology.
Follow the links above to read my story and the other winning entries. They are all very good.