I didn't win any awards today - but I did get up close and personal with a few VCFA faculty members and visiting lecturers who have.
This morning, the YA industry was abuzz with the ALA awards, and of course the fabulous Rita Williams-Garcia won a Newbery Honor for One Crazy Summer, as well as the Coretta Scott King Book Award. Since she's on the faculty here at VCFA, she's on campus today, so when she walked into the cafeteria at lunch time, everyone cheered.
Today, the first semester students had lunch with faculty members in assigned seats, and my assigned seat was right across from Rita Williams-Garcia. She was aglow from her wins, but so, so humble about everything. Mostly we talked about books, life, and writing with the other students and faculty members at the table. Later in the evening, the entire children's MFA program cheered for her when she was introduced at the opening remarks. She blushed and waved her hands, and I realized that this is absolutely the perfect place to be when you receive such wonderful news.Who better to understand and appreciate such success than fellow writers?
At night, we had a funny, charming, and touching guest lecture from Katherine Paterson. You might know her name. She's kind of a big deal. She was also totally approachable, and talked about her career and experiences in a way that even I - an unagented, unpublished writer - could relate to.
So I didn't win any awards today. But being surrounded by such prolific authors who have achieved such astounding success...it's pretty inspiring. And learning from them makes me feel like I have won something, after all.
(I know. I'm totally cheesy.)