Sometimes, all the hours of thinking, writing, editing, and self-doubt results in the type of recognition you might have dreamed of, but hadn't really expected. This year, I entered the Surrey International Writers' Conference storyteller's competition. In late September, I received an e-mail telling me that I'd won an honourable mention (there was first prize and two honourable mentions only). Now, I've won honourable mentions before - fourteen, in fact, but this time there was an awards ceremony, a cash prize, and a copy of the anthology my work was published in. Since the conference was held only minutes from my home, I went to the ceremony, not knowing what to expect.
The final judges were Diana Gabaldon and Jack Whyte. Both of them walked up to the microphone, said really nice things about my story "Some Mother's Child", and then announced my name in front of 500+ people. During the applause, I walked up to the stage, shook hands, thanked the judges and contest coordinator, then accepted the cheque, anthology and a certificate. After my picture was taken with the presenters, I returned to my seat somewhat dazed by this unaccustomed attention. The event was thrilling, humbling, and truly memorable. I wish the same experience for all writers who care about words.