And Maybe You Did, Too! (Find Out Below.)
So I won an award.
Not an Emmy or a Pulitzer or anything quite that grand, but a small token of appreciation from a marvelous writer and Internet blogging buddy, NoNameDufus.
It’s called the Superior Scribbler award, and I’m very proud of it. I have been proud of it since about three weeks ago, which is when NoName gave it to me. I kept meaning to acknowledge his acknowledgement, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it until now, and I don’t really know why.
I’ve won more than a handful of writing awards over the years, but I’ve always had a strange relationship with them. Like an expensive pair of cotton socks, they make me feel good about myself for a little while, then I lose them, and then I forget about them. It’s not that I’m ashamed of these awards, or embarrassed by them. I’m very proud of them, actually, and I want them badly; so much so, that I’m often filled with a disturbing mix of jealously, resentment and self-pity when other writers win awards–even relatively insignificant Internet awards such as this one–and I don’t. But, strangely, once I receive one, I soon forget about it. In fact, I’ve forgotten everything I ever knew about any of my awards except these four:
1. One year, the Colorado Press Association, which is mostly a group of cheerless writers and editors who get together and drink gin until the world seems downright rosy, apparently drew my number from a hat and named a story I’d written about several naughty politicians who were taking bribes the “Best News Story of the Year.” They decided to emphasize the point by giving me a showy, oversized walnut plaque with a brass plate screwed to it. The plate was engraved with my name and the name of my publisher and the name of the newspaper I worked for at the time. It was very impressive looking indeed, and also very heavy, and I never hung it up, mostly because I can be shockingly lazy when it comes to hammering a nail into a wall. Then, one afternoon, while packing for a move, I whipped out a screwdriver, removed the brass plate and tucked it into a scrapbook, throwing the rest of the plaque into the garbage. And then I forgot about it until about a year ago, when I decided to update my resume.
2. On another occasion, the very lofty-sounding William Randolph Hearst Foundation gave me an investigative journalism award for uncovering years of bad planning and wasteful spending at an area university. In fact, it’s the very same university that trained me to be a reporter, which shows what kind of ungrateful, conniving bastard I can be if I think there’s an award to be won. It’s a lovely stamped and gilded certificate with my very unimportant name right next to Mr. Hearst’s very important name and a few words indicating how professional I am, although, to be honest, they never caught me sleeping under my desk with a half-empty bottle of gin tightly clasped in one hand. But, again, rather than expend energy by framing and hanging the award, I conserved resources and tucked it into a scrapbook, where it laid totally forgotten until about a year ago.
3. Some time ago, I was also thrilled to be recognized by the national Special Olympics committee and the founder of that august organization, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who recently died. I’d written a series of largely flattering articles about the Special Olympics, an organization which I greatly admire because most special Olympians are much better athletes than I’ll ever be, even though I’m technically not handicapped. To be honest, though, sometimes I really wonder about myself, especially when I get up off the couch, walk all the way to the refrigerator and then stand there with the door open wondering what it I was looking for. I lovingly looked at the award for a long time, then slipped it into my scrapbook with the other two, and promptly forgot about it like all the others.
4. And, of course, even though three weeks have passed and I’ve forgotten or lost many things in that time, including my car keys, cell phone, several passwords and, one day, my lunch, I still have warm memories of NoName’s Superior Scribbler award.
Unlike every other award I’ve received, however, the Superior Scribbler award came with conditions, some of them even more bothersome than hammering a nail into the wall. They are:
* Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass the award to five most-deserving blog friends.
* Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received the award.
* Each Superior Scribbler must display the award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains the award.
* Each blogger who wins the Superior Scribbler award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List at the bottom of the post explaining the origins of the award. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives this prestigious honor. That’s more than 1,000 bloggers at the time of this writing, which seems like a big number until you realize Technorati says there are more than 118 million bloggers, tens of millions more if you include China.
So, with no further ado, whatever that means, I’d like to sincerely thank NoName for this pesky award and then pass it to the following fellow writers:
1. Lorena at Lorena Rose. Lorena is a terrific writer who doesn’t consider herself a writer, and she’s a blogger who gleefully breaks the rules of blogging, to her credit. Most of her posts are funny and thought-provoking–even inspiring–but don’t adhere to a consistent theme, style or subject from post to post, for example. They’re just about whatever’s on her mind at the moment, whether it’s happy, sad, goofy, or politically and emotionally sensitive. Some of her posts are wonderfully ambiguous–clarity’s so overrated, I think–and she doesn’t post daily, or even weekly. She posts only when she feels like it, without much regard for the reader. Once, she posted a rather serious column asking for feedback about managing depression. Then she let days and days go by without posting, and even though I didn’t know whether she was asking out of self concern or concern for a friend or family member, I became sincerely worried. I couldn’t help but think perhaps she’d found a three-legged chair to balance on until she got the rope around her neck and did herself in. Fortunately for us, she hadn’t.
2. Janna at The Jannaverse. Janna has a brilliant comedic mind and can say a lot in 100 words or less, a skill that I’ve yet to master, obviously. Her word plays and lists are extremely well crafted, almost always playful and hilarious, and yet oddly thought-provoking, which is a quality I admire greatly. She posts very regularly, sometimes more than once a day, and I can’t wait to see what she’s come up with for our entertainment. Amazingly, I’ve yet to be disappointed by anything she’s written, including a recent week-long series on temporary, self-imposed vegetarianism that had me in stitches. Her responses to readers’ comments are often as funny as her original posts, too, which makes it unusually fun to follow her comments. I’d like to have her quirky mind, if not for breakfast, then certainly for dinner. Someday, I expect to see a book by Janna in Barnes & Noble, and not in the bargain bin, either.
3. DK at Knucklehead! DK has a knack for humorous story telling that’s almost unrivaled on the Internet, which is to say that he’s the rare sort of blogger who actually understands there’s an art to writing. Many of his posts are personal reminiscences, and most of them evoke fond memories and broad smiles, occasionally bursts of laughter. Understandably, he’s very popular with a lot of readers. What makes it all the more curious is that he’s the principal of an elementary school. I wish any of my principals had been this cool, because maybe I would’ve paid more attention in school. Why DK gives it away for free on a blog amazes me. Find a publisher and leave that stinky germ factory behind, buddy! (Note: DK recently had to delete all of his old posts, so you can’t read them anymore. But I’m sure his news ones will be good, too.)
4. Leeuna at My Mind Wandered…And It Never Came Back! To get you to laugh, most humor writers resort to using dirty jokes and the f-word in combination with the s-word, h-word, i-word, t-word and as many other letters of the alphabet they need to get the trick done. Not Leeuna. Leeuna reminds me of the great comics Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor, who aren’t comedians at all, but humorists who rely on gentle observations about the vagaries of everyday life to get you to smile. Most of her posts are kind reminders that you don’t have to shout to get attention or appeal to base instincts to get a laugh. And she’s a syndicated writer, which means she makes money being funny. I’m very jealous, of course, but I’m a big enough man to give her the award anyway.
5. Frank Lee MeiDere at I Probably Don’t Like You. Frank is, in my humble and utterly biased estimation, one of the very best bloggers there is. Screw bloggers. He’s just a very good professional writer, editor and, unfortunately for him, English teacher who likes to pretend he doesn’t give a damn when it’s damn clear that he cares very much indeed. Everything he writes is well crafted, well thought out, filled with varying levels of meaning, and connected to a larger body of literary work that perhaps only another professional writer can truly appreciate. I’m not the only one who thinks so, either, because Frank already got this Superior Scribbler award from NoName. I just didn’t want to let him go unmentioned here on my blog, because if there’s one blogger I admire, one guy whose critique I care about when I post a column, it’s him.
NoName, thank you again for this award. I hope you and anybody’s else who’s still reading this God-awful-long post understands it’s the first time anybody’s openly acknowledged my blog as being blog-worthy. And that’s why I appreciate it so much, even if it is an embarassing pain in the ass and doesn’t come with a cash award. And that’s why I bothered to get my metaphorical hammer out of the drawer and drive a metaphorical nail in the metaphorical wall so that I could metaphorically hang it up. That’s a first for me, and a reflection of how honored I am to be recognized by you, a fellow writer I admire at least as much as these other writers and read daily.