I can hardly say enough about how delighted I was last night when I received word that my short story collection had been named as one of ten finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award in Fiction for 2021. The happy vibe is still in full effect this morning, and I find myself reflecting on this whole writing endeavor.
Writers are a funny bunch. It’s the most solitary art form of all, and somebody can be working on a single project for years. You have to distance yourself from the rewards of immediate gratification, and in fact you’ll hear a lot of writers declare that they get sufficient reward from the work itself. I say that myself from time to time.
But at the same time, writers as a group tend to be highly insecure, often neurotically so, and every little bit of recognition is lapped up like sweet cream. So we hold contests and conferences, and we monitor sales reports, even as we announce that such things don’t really matter. But of course they do matter, even if it’s only inside our heads.
So today I celebrate, and tomorrow I get back to work.
Trevor Harris said:
Congrats, Steve! This is a great honor. Trevor
Hardy Menees, Kirkwood, Mo said:
Steve— I am reading Scattered Lights and find it satisfying, provocative, and reassuring of many Midwestern values. I am ordering three more copies tomorrow directly from your publisher in West Plains to send as far east as Princeton ,New Jersey. I called my retired English professor, one of the leading Thoreau scholars of all time,to tell him of the book and to especially mention the Thoreau quote.More later, and thanks for you wonderful stories.
Thank you for your kind words! It’s very gratifying to learn that Scattered Lights is finding an audience. Thoreau has been my touchstone ever since my teenage years. There’s always something new to discover in his work.