On The Juliet Stories being nominated for the GGs (surreal! and for real!)

fall colours, through window

This morning I felt like disappearing into music. I searched around for Lindi Ortega’s version of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” and for some reason also felt like hearing Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” and I landed for awhile on Danny Michel’s beautiful and joyful new album “Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me.”

I prepped for a reading I’m doing tonight here in town, in support of the launch of Waterloo’s own brand-new Wild Writers Festival.
I worked on a grant application.
All the while, I avoided the internet. Because this morning was the announcement of the Governor General’s Literary Awards, the last major prize listing of the season here in Canada. I wasn’t sure I could bear the disappointment; well, that’s not true. I knew I’d be fine, but I knew, also, that the emotions would be unpleasant. It would suck. I was irritated with myself for feeling that way, so I plugged into headphones and listened to a soundtrack of my own creation, which seemed to answer perfectly whatever it was I was lacking. Suddenly I said to myself, hey, let yourself believe you could be nominated, right up until you find out you’re not. Why not? Why not be hopeful? The worst that could happen is that you’re disappointed, and at least you’ve spent a little while in happy fantasy.
Why be afraid of an hour or so of happy fantasy?
So I let myself go, in the music, and got to work.
And then, just after 10am, I saw that my inbox had suddenly filled up with messages. Could it be??? The first message I opened was from Jared Bland, senior editor at Anansi. It was titled: congratulations! And it said simply, “I just saw the wonderful news about your GG nomination.”
What happened after that is a blur. I’m pretty sure I started crying and laughing and shouting all at the same time. I know that I leapt up and scared the dogs, who had been sleeping peacefully in my office. I was shaking so much that I almost collapsed. This is not an exaggeration. “I can’t believe it!” might have been the words coming out of my mouth, over and over. 
I wanted to tell Kevin — instantly. But I’d temporarily lost the ability to use my cellphone. When I finally got through to him, he had no idea what I was saying for the first minute, I think because my words were essentially nonsensical. 
So, dear reader, that is what it feels like to be nominated for a literary prize. It feels dumbfounding and it feels thrilling, and it makes a mess of one’s physical and emotional self for a smallish moment in time. I’ve since collected myself. Mostly. I’m not even sure I should be blogging under the influence of such heady emotions. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life (other than that I really shouldn’t start a sentence with the phrase “if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life”), it’s to jump into the good moments with both feet. Dive in. Get submerged. Be joyful. These occasions come rarely and the time to celebrate and savour them is while they’re happening. Don’t worry about looking like a giddy fool! Be giddy, be foolish.
So I’m being giddy. I’m being foolish.
Oh, oh, oh, and I get to read at the International Festival of Authors with the other nominees in Toronto on October 22nd!!!! And let me just say a few words about the GGs themselves. I’ve been a fan since high school. Basically all of my favourite CanLit authors have won the GG. I’m a nominee, not a winner, but it’s like dipping my toe into the waters of Canadian literary history. It’s like being a tiny part of it. I’m blessed and I’m damn lucky.
Also, I have yet to see or hug anyone in person since the announcement (aside from dogs), but I’ve been loving the emails and phone calls and texts and FB posts. (Like this one, from a friend who lives near Kingston, Ontario: “[My husband] and I are at Boston Pizza in Brockville and your book is on the T.V.”) What more can I say? (I’ll think of more soon, I’m sure.)
Urban garden patch: green tomato relish
A day out of ordinary life, with thanks and mile-wide smiles

28 Comments

  1. I’m very happy for you! Hope the new doggies give good hug.

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    • They’re sweet good doggies. I’m glad I got to share the moment with them!

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  2. Hooray for you and, yes, savour this moment and all the ones to follow. Congratulations.

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  3. Huge congrats!

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  4. What a great post! I’m all teary-eyed now!

    Way to go Carrie!

    Wish I could hug you now! πŸ™‚ If only I’d known when I drove by your place just before lunch, I would have stopped in for sure!

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    • Wish you would have stopped by … but you can hug me after school tomorrow! Or at spin class on Thursday!

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  5. Congratulations Carrie! Great post. And yes, go wild, feel the excitement !!! I totally agree you should love every second of it. I surfed in from Twitter. I’m looking forward to meeting you at our event at VIWF. Riel

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    • I’m so excited about coming out to Vancouver! Look forward to meeting you soon.

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  6. Very many congratulations, Carrie!

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  7. So happy for you Carrie! I have goosebumps. Enjoy it all and go crazy! Sending you a huge hug!

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    • Thank you, Sarah! Big hug in return!

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  8. congratulations, carrie!! so happy to hear this news!! i loved your description of how you reacted to your nomination! πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you, Cathy! I tried out the shoes at the rec centre track this evening and I think they’re keepers!

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  9. So wonderful, I feel happy and excited for you! Good luck (like you need it – ha!)

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    • Thanks for your confidence, Susan! But I’m very happy to accept the wishes of good luck. πŸ™‚

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  10. Swelling with pride for you!! How wonderful.

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  11. awww, it’s so exciting!! Congratulations! I’m glad you blogged under the influence of that happiness – it’s a little window into that experience and I’m so happy for you.

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    • I think I’m going to look back on this post and be glad I blogged under the influence too. It’s been quite the day!

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  12. HOLY BLEEP. This is fantastic! I have a lump in my throat and I didn’t even write the book. Be sure to take some time to bask – you certainly deserve it.

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    • I KNOW! You’ve summed up my whole day yesterday. Holy bleep! I think I did my basking yesterday, though. Not sure it would be healthy to bask for much longer.

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  13. Congratulations, Carrie! So chuffed for you.

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    • Thank you!! (And thank you for using the word “chuffed.”)

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  14. Yea, yea, yea. I think about all the creativity, work and hours you must have put in to craft Juliet, not knowing that this would happen. Its a very special type of patience and determination. Yea again!

    Leah

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    • I think you’ve captured something in your comment, Leah. Because once a lovely thing like this has happened, it is easy to forget that all the way along, all of the work and effort was done without any premonition of success or reward. It’s work done in the dark, really.

      I can’t help but think of all the other writers I know who deserve to be similarly rewarded for their effort and work.

      Reply

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