Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong (shadesong) wrote,
Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong

Some thoughts on winning the Rhysling Award for short poem.

Which I totally did, in case you don't read LJ on the weekends or follow me on Twitter. And I am still in a state of perplexment.

Which is totally a word now.

So okay, from the top: two of my poems were nominated for the Rhysling, yay! My general feeling was that neither would win, but it is nice to be nominated. The way nominations work is that SFPA members get to nominate just one short and one long poem, so if someone nominates you, that means that your poem was their absolute #1 favorite poem that year. That's awesome. So I was chuffed, but didn't think anything else would come of it.

Usually the Rhyslings are announced at Readercon. There's a big reading by all of the nominees who are present and some present non-nominees, and then time_shark gets The Envelope and tells us who won and we all cheer and hug. This year, for whatever reason (long story, I've been told), Readercon opted not to have the award presentation. So we nominees actually didn't even know when the announcement would be. Like, what month it would be, even. I asked cucumberseed on Saturday if he had any idea, hastening to add "not like I think I'll win, I'm just curious!" He laughed and indicated his opinion that I would totally win for "The Changeling's Lament", and I listed off the reasons I totally wouldn't.

So I slept in Sunday morning - I'd been sleeping poorly for days, and the guys knew I didn't have any programming items until 2:30pm and opted wisely to let me sleep. And I staggered into my office to feed Betta Ray-Bill and check my e-mail, and here is this e-mail from the SFPA. And I sat and blinked at it for a few minutes, because it said I won the Rhysling for short poem for "The Library, After", and that didn't make any sense. Elaborate prank?

I staggered downstairs and peered around the corner at Adam, who was sitting on the couch playing an iPad game. He looked at me. I looked at him. I blinked at him a bit. He asked what was up. Still halfway around the corner, I said "I... won the Rhysling? I think?"

"Wow! 'The Changeling's Lament'?"

"No, 'The Library, After'."


"Is this happening?"

Adam checked the page and verified that this was actually happening, at which point someone got me coffee and I took a shower and I told Twitter and Facebook and LJ and updated my website and zoomed off to the con where time_shark introduced me to his writing workshop attendees and I read the poem and a lot of people hugged me and I kept being bewildered at them and they told me I was ridiculous and everyone saw this coming and I was like I do not see how that is possible.

And I hugged cucumberseed a lot because he won second place! and personally I would have been fine if our positions were reversed because I love his poem and I voted for it.

So a few things.

* People expected "The Changeling's Lament" to win or place, but honestly, I never did; it was well-loved by us, but that doesn't always translate to Rhysling voting. It's an angry poem. You don't see those win often.

* "The Changeling's Lament" was such a huge exception in terms of poetry getting talked about; "The Library, After" was the norm in that it wasn't spoken of, really. It got two great reviews, but that was a while ago, and I had no idea that it was on anyone's radar.

* As I was telling sinboy at the beginning of the con when he referred to me as not just famous, but infamous, I genuinely have no idea if anyone besides y'all on LJ know that I exist. It constantly startles me when people I regard as well-known who I haven't previously met know who I am. By psychological necessity, I tend to think no one's watching me. And really, I still don't know. I have zero perspective on My Place in the Community. And I'm looking at the list of past winners like tithenai and samhenderson and time_shark and catvalente and csecooney and Theodora Goss and Sonya Taaffe, and I am very confused by my presence on that list!

karnythia and I were talking at the con about how bizarre and disorienting it is that these are our lives now, that these are our jobs now - and that was even before the Rhysling thing. Five years ago, I had never even thought of submitting anything anywhere; I had fiddled around with Shayara in bits and pieces over the years, but I had never so much as written a short story, and I hadn't written a poem since my hideous high school juvenilia. To go from that to this is, yes, profoundly disorienting.

A lot happened this weekend; not just this. A lot of leveling up. I can only hope to handle things with as much grace as confusion.
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