Friday, May 21, 2010

Pat on My Own Back

Ya know, this has been a pretty good week. We got the book up, Madeleina and her sisters, Chepa's new babies, have been over several times--even though it's not my week with Madeleina--and a friend of mine put up a facebook page for ayahuasca in my blood. And after one day, that's got 60 people on it. Holy Mackerel! Who are these people? Do I really want total strangers reading my book and finding out all about me? And if they do, will I just be taking up their brain space uselessly? Yikes! It's all pretty scary, tell you the truth.
But then another nice thing just happened. The Houston Press Club, which gives out the pretty prestigious Lone Star Awards annually for the best journalism in Texas, named me an official finalist in the Print Journalist of the Year, Government/Politics and Public Service categories for my work with the local Fort Worth alternative newspaper. The worst you can do as a finalist is bring home a third place trophy. And yes, selfishly, I love getting the awards. I especially love getting first place awards. They might not mean much to anybody else, but to journalists they mean that a pool of your peers considered your work and judged it to be outstanding. And considering the amount of work that goes into a 5000-6000 word cover story, it's nice to get the feedback suggesting it was worth the effort. It means a writer worked hard and produced insightful, honest work.
And you know what else was great? Nearly every other writer on our small staff is also a finalist in one category or another. The paper has an amazing pool of talent and we're driven hard by our editor who pushes us to make those last last phone calls even after you've made what you think are your last last phone calls. She won't let anything slip by her.
Six years ago, two years after I moved to Texas, I first hooked up with the paper when the editor bought an unsolicited story on Plan Colombia from me. The payment saved my house for a month and put me on her radar. And I have loved working for that paper this whole time.
I hope all of you are having fantastic days/weeks/months/lives as well.

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