Saturday, June 29, 2019

Waking the Muse

When I enter writing contests, I always want to forget the announcement date. The date becomes a worm in the mind, burrowing tunnels of anticipation until it arrives and passes. June 26th was no exception for me. I'll be honest, on the 25th, I hadn't received an email and depending on the contest sometimes they will notify you the day before the "announcement" date. The morning of the 26th, I checked my email to only find the usual junk. Sitting at my desk at work, I tried to focus on the numbers that I was suppose to enter. If you know me, I'm not a numbers girl. However plugging the data away helped keep my mind off of the deadline as the clock ticked on the wall above me.

Around 10 a.m., my cell phone rings. I glance at the name that I didn't recognize, along with the town and state. I quickly silenced the call, thankfully because my boss passed by my room at just the same time. I typed a few more numbers, then stopped and looked again at the caller. I thought, "Did that say GA?" I snagged the phone with no care of my boss wandering the halls anymore and swiped the screen.

"Is this Amy?"
"Yes," I answered with a big cheesy smile.
"I'm calling to tell you that you're a finalist..."

I can't even tell you the exhilaration and joy I felt hearing the women's voice on the other end!
Life Happens on the Stairs is a finalist for the coveted Maggie Award for Published Authors!
I am so grateful and honored!

RWA contests are tough. I've submitted LHOTS to many over the years just to get some feedback and hopefully a chance to be seen by an agent. I did get the bronze in the Linda Howard Award of Excellence back in 2016 and that was a huge step forward, but I haven't submitted LHOTS as a published piece before. This all comes at a time when I'm questioning my talent, my purpose, my imagination and where the hell my muse ran off to. So many things have changed in my life since writing Life Happens on the Stairs. I question if that's why my words feel dried up and barren. Even little things like the desk I work at (a desk I'm probably going to change out again today. I'm just not comfortable sitting at it) or the shifting of the tides with my daily routine. I have so many ideas but they fight for attention and I can't seem to commit to any of them. After reading some rough drafts for other people, I found myself questioning if I was even a mediocre writer. Then reading a few very well written books brought up thoughts like this quote:

“Maybe she had "no more books left inside her," as people often sorrowfully say about writers, envisioning the imagination as a big pantry, either well stocked with goods or else wartime-empty.” 
― Meg Wolitzer, The Wife

Another quote from the movie version of The Wife is: "The hard part is finding the guts to write the next one."

It's funny to me how the movies I watch are some mystic attraction from the universe, showing me how I'm not alone as a writer. The Wife, Rebel in the Rye, The Words, even The Help, they all have found me and I devour them over and over. The struggle is real, but I will move forward and challenge myself to write something even better.

My point to all of this is,  Life Happens on the Stairs being acknowledged is the boost of medicine this writer really needed.

I'm so grateful to the judges and the Georgia Chapter of RWA. I hope to make my way to Atlanta in October for the banquet ceremony. If this is as far as the journey takes me, I'll be forever grateful for the smile you've put on my face for the past few days and days to come!

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