Now I’m Even More Important Now

Standing at the bus stop on the first of May after a long, hard day busting my butt, among many other body parts, to further the glory of my department at Redacted Enterprises, I checked Facebook Messenger and found a series of cryptic messages from a friend of mine, Tyler Redacted. My confusion only intensified once I had boarded my bus and the wifi connection started cutting in and out. Let’s go to the replay:

During my bus ride, congrats began appearing on a group chat, and once I got home I found that someone in the group had taken pity on me and attached the PDF of National Magazine Award nominees. Sure efuckingnough, there was my name in the Personal Journalism category, nominated for “Half-Thing,” the (non-)essay that won the TNQ personal essay contest last year.

The next day I got a congratulatory email from the editor I’d worked with at TNQ, who had assumed I would have seen the nomination on Twitter as soon as it was posted. Nope! #TwitterFreeLifestyle #CluelessAF #NeverUsedAHashtagInTheCorrectContextEver

I figured there was no chance of my winning, since the list of nominees was pretty long and my essay is not even really an essay, let alone any type of journalism. How my thing had been allowed into that category at all was a mystery. I can only imagine it involved some tense negotiations in a small room. But regardless of how it came about, it was super cool to be nominated. I never expected this long weirdass piece of writing to be accepted anywhere, let alone win anything, let alone be nominated for another thing: everything that’s happened since I submitted it to TNQ has been pure gravy.

The weeks passed, I continued doing job things at my work place, and finally the day of the NMAs arrived. That night there was what I understand to have been somewhat of a big dealio of an event in Toronto, with editors and publishers and writers dressing up, leaving their homes, and schmoozing all over the place. And at that event, my essay won silver (NB: no actual medal is involved). Two TNQ editors emailed me right away, having learned through the nomination situation that I am 95 years old and not a patron of CanLit Twitter.

If my brother’s No Fear t-shirt of 1994 taught me anything, it’s that second place is the first loser. So this is pretty exciting, because I’ve never first-lost a national literary award before, because I’ve never been nominated for one before. As I said to my editor, if I’d been nominated in the Lyrical Swearing category, the first-place winner would be eating my dust.

#NMA2018 #CanadasSecondBestPersonalJournalist #HotSavouryGravy #FirstLoser #GravyJacuzzi

I’m Very Important

This blog post is coming to you live from an adorable room in the Waterloo Hotel, an old-timey place directly across the street from a sex shop and a ping pong saloon. Literally, I’m looking at the sex shop right now. There it is. The Stag Shop, established 1972. The New Quarterly‘s staff are allowing me to be in the city for a couple of days because I won the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest. (DIGRESSION: A person at a reception yesterday told me that Edna Staebler became embroiled in some sort of copyright battle over a cookie recipe and would only agree to make the trip to appear in court if she could find someone to take care of her cat while she was away. So, my kind of human all around. She loved cats, and she fought the truly important fights.) Those who are familiar enough with my writing that they don’t believe it could win something, and/or would like to see my name in a place, can click here. The essay (don’t worry, it’s not really an essay), an interview of sorts, and a blog post that includes some sweeeet photos of my living room (Q: Will there be Larrybombs? A: YES) will be showing up on TNQ‘s site soon.

Last night I did a three-minute reading in an acoustically kickass room at the festival’s opening event. This morning I woke up with what I’m choosing to think of as a celebratory migraine, because in times of extreme and obnoxiously timed pain it’s important to stay positive. In lieu of attending festival things I took a bunch of sumatriptan, drank a cup of coffee, and half-consciously watched episodes of Coronation Street in this adorable room until I was well enough to go out for a larger cup of coffee. This is the kind of life that awaits you if you make it big in the writing world like I have!

Tomorrow the migraine and I are off to Toronto to reunite with some old friends and visit some nerd-friendly attractions and eat as many desserts as I can cram into my face. Will I write anything during my three-day stay? No. But will I get lost 1000 times? You bet I will.