And that's a genuine crikey, not an I secretly always thought I had a decent chance crikey.
I get that I'm supposed to say crikey. And that I'm also supposed to say that my fellow nominees were vastly more deserving. But the thing is that I genuinely do mean crikey, and they genuinely were. Which doesn't mean that I'm not grateful; that I'm not ecstatic; that, at some point on the 7th of September, I didn't screech and jump up and down like a five year old hepped up on Skittles. Or that I haven't spent the last week secretly squeeing to myself whenever I'm alone.
It does feel very weird to have actually won something though. Particularly on merit, when so much of any win is still undoubtedly down to luck. Almost all writing awards present a similar assualt course: you must first be nominated, and then members/the general public vote to whittle a long list down to a short list, after which a jury of your peers decides upon a winner. So many hurdles, so many pitfalls. So many ways to passively drop out of the running without your even realising it.
I haven't won another thing in my life. And, with perhaps the exception of the lottery - any lottery - I'm glad. I think the closest that I've ever come was getting down to the final six of the 2010 Aeon Award. When the final three were announced, I wasn't among them. And that was that.
And so what, you know? So what. Except, the so what is never true, not really. Awards are important; recognition from your peers is important; being able to tell your mum and dad that you haven't entirely wasted your time after all is important. Having people tell you that you are worthwhile, that what you do is worthwhile, that all your sacrifices are worthwhile is something far beyond important.
Writing is lonely. And unless you're one of the lucky few regularly topping the bestseller lists, it's inattentive, fickle, and entirely lacking in any kind of assurance. It's a rubbish partner to be saddled with, except when it isn't. Last Sunday, it wasn't. Last Sunday, it made me happier than a pig in shit. And that's the truth. That's my absolutely genuine crikey.
Signs of the Times; Black Static #33: