This evening I went to the awards ceremony for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. I won a regional Gold Key for my Senior Portfolio, as well as a Women in the Visual and Literary Arts award, which were both huge honors. I got to christen a beautiful new dress by wearing it to the event, and it was all around a wonderful evening.
One of the best parts, though, was meeting one of the judges who read my portfolio. After I described a couple of the pieces in my portfolio (since all the judging is blind, she wouldn't have known which one was mine), she told me that it was one of the best portfolios she read. She went on to reference a specific story and told me it felt like she was standing in a bookstore, reading something she'd picked up off the shelf. I kind of stood there numbly during this praise session, a huge smile on my face, as it began to dawn on me that this woman was my first reader. What I mean by that is she was the first person outside of my friends and family and critique partners who had read my work and was telling me, in person, what she thought. The whole time the only thing I could think was, "This is what it must feel like to be an author." Somehow this little interaction felt like the beginning of something larger than I expected, like some aspect of the writing world I haven't experienced yet was waking from its long slumber, arching its back, coming to life. It's that relationship between reader and writer. It's that feeling that your words have touched someone, and the realization that your story resonated enough that they would want to share their reaction with you.
And that, above everything else, was the highlight of my evening. Of course I'm grateful for the tangible awards I received tonight, but as for the most rewarding moment, that one has to be it.
|My dad and me were all smiles tonight|