|Posted by Donna Dawson on June 23, 2009 at 11:40 AM|
I realize we aren't finished Matthew 24 yet but I had to take a small detour to share with you my awards gala experiences. While I have won a number of writing contests before I have only one other time been involved in something of the magnitude of The Word Guild Awards. That first and only other experience was with the Canadian Nats (short for nationals) Vocal Competition where I placed third. And even then, I hadn't realized I had placed third so I wasn't there for the awards ceremony. The certificate arrived in the mail.
This was a first for me. Black tie affair. The drive to the big city where I would mix and mingle with some of Canada's best Christian writers. It was all surreal and I continued to shake my head over why I was there. After all, I've read some of the work by those other authors and I couldn't understand how I'd managed to be a finalist in three categories.
The conference hall at World Vision Headquarters was crowded--over 300 people--and all were decked out in their finery. I scanned the room as the evening moved toward my first finalist category. I wanted to see the reaction on the winner's face. Never once did I suppose it would be me. And then they called the category. Best Independently Published Fiction Book. I looked around again. And then I heard my name. No way! In that split second of recognition I tried to collect myself and look calm as I followed the aisle to the stage. Herbie Kuhn was there with hand outstretched and a congratulations on his lips. I smiled a thank you, received my award and turned to the microphone.
There is an actual stretching of time when one is faced with a high-stress, unknown moment and I experienced that stretching as I fumbled through my prepared thank you speech. It might not have been so awkward had I remembered 'enter stage right--exit stage left' but I didn't and almost exited where I entered. A quick pivot mid-stage got me on track again and I disappeared into the dimness of the room.
My heart rate slowed as the evening moved on and again I found myself searching for the other finalist for Best Mystery/Suspense. It was no surprise to hear his name called and I joined in on the heavy applause--a bit relieved that I didn't have to find another way to say the same speech I had already used.
"Best Contemporary Fiction--Donna Dawson!" I nearly jumped out of my skin. I knew the other finalist. I had read his book. It was awesome. And yet, it was my feet carrying me back up to the front. How could that be? And what would I say? My family tells me that I was coherent and spoke well. My instinct tells me that I reacted on pure adrenaline and that the 'deer in the headlights' look was plastered across my face. Nevertheless, I found myself back in my chair and the applause was there so I couldn't have done too badly.
I'd have to say the most delightful highlight of the evening was seeing my good friend Fay Rowe receive an award. She didn't even know she was a finalist. And she had only come to cheer me on. We all applauded loudly as she had her turn at the microphone and a little birdie has since whistled in my ear that God knew what he was doing--she didn't have time to stress out about the award:)
Thank you to the judges, the sponsors, The Word Guild, my family and friends and those readers who kept urging me on. Many blessings.