I’d like to announce that my novel, Ways of Leaving, won the “Best New Fiction” category of the 2014 International Book Awards, but I can’t find a way to do it without appearing boastful.
I suppose I could spew some transparent piffle about not deserving it, but who am I to judge the judges who judged me worthy?
A pinched-faced middle-aged bartender at a resort where I played in my twenties seemed to win absolutely everything. He won all the sports pools at the resort and at other bars he frequented; he won his private bets, of which there were rumored to be many; he won coin tosses and poker games; and he won the state lottery at least a couple times, though I guess he never won the big prize, since he was ultimately caught ripping the place off, after which he was promoted to head of security, which, I suppose, was yet another way to win. I mean, if anyone else had been caught robbing the workplace they would have been fired, arrested, shot, and forced to stay at the resort as a guest. But my point, to the best of my recollection, is that some people—even resort bartending type people with bad hairpieces, overbites, and runaway moustaches—tend to win stuff, whereas, typically, I do not.
Here, for the record, is a comprehensive list of things I’ve never won:
But now, in the spring of the summer of my mid-week post-pre-pubescent adulthood, with my first novel virtually languishing on all the finest virtual shelves, I, or rather, that aforementioned tome (which I hereby duly name as my hereby duly named personal representative) has won something. Nay! Not merely something, but an actual award.
That’s right, imaginary fans and fictitious followers: Ways of Leaving won the “Best New Fiction” category of the 2014 International Book Awards.
And I have a feeling this is just the beginning.
Now that I’ve finally broken my lifelong losing spell, I’m going to practice my look of dumbfounded disbelief for the Publisher’s Clearing House cameras, prepare the perfect European pucker for those snugly clad Tour De France bookends, and latch onto the World Cup title (winners don’t need bribes and threats). Then I’ll write my acceptance speech for that Nobel Peace thingy (I did separate a couple kittens once), and to top it off I’ll shyly agree, after a brief show of feigned humility, to be People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive (or Miss America, should the pageant approach me first).
If all of that goes as planned (and why wouldn’t it?) I’ll finally have the confidence to go after the one victory I truly care about. Fists clenched (unless my hands hurt), eyes unblinking (unless it’s dusty or too bright), I’ll bravely challenge my ruthless eleven-year-old to a no-holds-barred game of rock-paper-scissors.
Come and get it, thuglet!
If, on the other hand, things don’t go exactly as expected, and this award (did I mention the award?) doesn’t boost my sales by a factor of shitloads, I may have to grow a runaway moustache and learn to mix drinks and embezzle.
Did I mention the award?