Even though I had a week before the big reveal to digest the news that I was one of the winners of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Discovery award, I was not quite prepared for the outpouring of digital love that came my way. My blog and twitter feed gained followers, I gained friends on Facebook, and I heard from friends who haven’t contacted me in years. My comment boards lit up, and for a moment I thought, “Oh my, everything has changed.” That was until I opened up my WIP, stared at a blank page on Scrivener, and slapped myself upside the head. The hard work, joy, and pain of writing haven’t changed one bit.
What has changed is that I get a moment to celebrate. After a particularly difficult year that often felt hopeless, I find myself with a group of growing businesses serving authors and illustrators. I get to read a manuscript that I love in front of members of a community that have taught and nurtured me. I’m in this situation because the difficult things forced me to expose my writing and myself to the universe in a way that I had not been brave enough to try in the past. (Note to self– no one can see your awesome manuscript if it sits on your desk.) Yes, the universe works in mysterious ways.
I also get a chance to be recognized in my community of writers for my writing. Here’s the thing about our community and SCBWI in particular. There’s no one standing at the door telling new authors or illustrators they can’t come in. You can be in a room full of 1000 people at a national conference and have no idea who can write well and who is new to the craft. This allows people to be welcomed and safe, while they learn and grow. I’m grateful for this, and I’m grateful for the community of writers, illustrators, librarians and teachers who gave me a digital hug this week. Thank you all for your kindness.