No cigars for me, lately, though I've been close a couple of times. There was the second place in TNQ's Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse contest, honourable mention (IE 4th place) in PF's Bliss Carman, 4th place among the women who took part an 8-week fitness program/contest at my boxing club. Then today, I learned that I'd placed somewhere among the top FIFTY in the Summer Literary Seminar contest. (To keep that in perspective, there were 900-something entries, so the ranking is still sort of encouraging.)
So, you can find me, pretty consistently, just over from the podium, within smelling distance of victory. (Which is especially pungent in the case of the boxing thing.) Not that I mean this as a complaint. It's pretty great just to be in proximity of winners.
But it has me thinking: when did writing -- and everything -- start feeling like a contest to be one or lost? And then I realize: it was when I started entering contests. Duh. Or maybe when I started publishing -- having a lit mag take a poem or a publisher accept a manuscript is exactly the same kind of competition, but your name ends up on a table of contents or better yet, a title page, instead of a shortlist. Prizes seem more prestigious because they come with bigger cheques and because they get more media attention than, say, a new issue of a journal.
But really, it's all completely subjective, we're all beholden to the whims of editors and juries, so why even spend precious writing time thinking about it? Besides, my Mom thinks I'm pretty hot stuff. And so, I hereby celebrate my recent experiences adjacent to glory.