Sunday, June 07, 2009

My first Arkansas Writers Conference: the afternoon

You may not remember but this is the conference with all the contests...for one low, low entry fee. Out of the 36 possible, I entered 8. And at lunch the first day, there was an induction into the Arkansas Writer's Hall of Fame and some of these contest winners were announced. And I wanted to know. I really, really wanted to know whether anything I'd turned in won anything.

I was lucky enough to get to a very friendly table that included some poets from Fayetteville, a prose writer from Fayetteville, a mystery writer from North Little Rock, a history writer from Rogers, and a very nice lady from Malvern who thought I might be one of the actors at the Royal theater here in Benton. I have one of those faces.

And we talked a little about what we write, what we've published (I was quiet), and then the ceremony began to induct Phillip McMath into the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame. To find out more about him, go here (but if you're from Arkansas, you might recognize the name McMath, maybe not as a writer, but as a governor or in this case a governor's son. I sat at the final award banquet with Mr. McMath, his wife, and a couple of people who clearly had not been to lunch the day before and had no idea. And that's a good thing, because I might have been a tad uncomfortable, but even Hall of Famers are just people and it was a great conversation in which I took very little part and that really makes me happiest because then I don't have to regret all the stupid things I say. You know?)

So, back to lunch. They started naming the awards...1008 entries from 18 states, and then for each individual award, the total number of entries was announced. And I wrote them down. I was being quietly dorky again, but just in case I ever do this again (I will), I wanted to know how good my odds were.

And then I started to win. And when you win, they say your name and city, so it was very cool to hear "Cheryl Johnson (pause) Benton."
First Honorable Mention.
First Place and then
First Place.
And then at the awards banquet I won Second Place in the Grand Conference award.
Oh, and I won a book raffle prize, but no door prizes. I just can't seem to overcome my door prize bad mojo. And then to be approached by other Benton writers with invitations for critique groups etc. I don't think I'm ready for that yet, but it was still cool.

So... now I know...I didn't do so hot with the fiction or the poetry. Essays I did fine, so maybe...I'm an essayist? Or maybe I just need to work more on fiction and poetry?
I was feeling pretty good after lunch. I went to the bathroom and thought that I had actually gotten better looking. And then I realized it was the dim lighting. Every bathroom should be lit like the Holiday Inn Presidential in Little Rock. Seriously.


Karen in Idaho said...

Congratulations Cheryl!

LuLu said...

Totally way to go, Cheryl!!

pat sloan said...

OMG!!! this is SOOOOOOOOOOOO cool!!! yeah YOU!!!!

Shari said...

Cheryl--this is so cool--CONGRATS!!!!