[apologies for the original post being full of typos – exhausted and distracted writer wrote it. Hopefully, the following is error free.]
Wow, what a day and night. My email in box has been flooded with congratulations from friends, students, past students and colleagues from around New Zealand and around the world. And, the posts on the blog, facebook and the txt messages have poured in. Not to mention the welcome home committee: my dear friend Jo (her presence a surprise) with a beautiful posy of flowers and coming home to a excellent 'basket' of goodies from my publisher (Penguin New Zealand). Heh Heh. Someone knows me: cheese, chocolate, crackers, cheese, chocolate, crackers - all varying kinds - and a sweet bucket of flowers.
Anyway, let me just rewind a bit and paint the picture of my four days in Wellington and the prelude to the LIANZA awards evening:
I arrived Saturday morning and was picked up by the ever talented and ageless beauty who is Fifi Colston. She scooped me into her wee car and off we went to run errands and do things critical for the following day’s Storylines Festival.
I met her god of a husband (hi Adrian!) and then we went to a baby shower for the hard working and wonderful Sarah from The New Zealand Book Council before heading off to Dr Sketchies - a place artists go to, well, draw life models. I drew and drew and despaired. Even though there was one I did which I loved, this is not the place to show you my illustration. Fifi won an award that night.
Sunday: Storylines, Wellington. What can be the only result when you've got kids, a rainy day, crayons and paints and glue and scissors and cardboard and authors and illustrators? A bloody brilliant experience.
Later, many of us met up at a cafe and chattered. I am delighted that I got to spend time getting to know an author I admired hugely: Des Hunt. And, I loved catching up Ruth Paul and David Elliot.
Well done Wellington team!
Monday: I meet up with the intelligent and wonderful Linda Burgess. A couple of decades ago, when I had to 'go be a teacher for a day' before I applied for teachers' college, I had the privilege of spending time with Linda. She told me then and told me later that she saw the amazing potential in me as an educator. We’ve kept in sporadic touch over the years and came together again in the mid 2000s because of a shared experience and I have enjoyed our intermittent correspondence (often via txt).
Then, I met my friend and much admired author, Fleur Beale and we had lunch at the gardens. We discussed the awards evening happening in a few hours and I told her that I wasn't even considering the possibility of a win. If I was a judge, I wouldn't select me, I said. (but then I can never see my work like others can!)
Kyle Mewburn and his wife arrived (what a writery filled house it was going to be!)
So it was that Fifi and hubby (hey Adrian), Kyle and wifey (hey Marion) made our way to the venue. The only blimp was trucking up to the entrance to discover they could not find my name on the list. 'I'm one of the finalist,' I said, embarrassed that my tone was a bit hard. Nup. Wasn't there. In the end, I took a pen and wrote my name on a sticky on label.
In my heart I thought: this is the story of my life - I am billy no mates even when I'm supposed to be someone special. Still, others had the same problem and it seemed that the combination of the pour light over the table which housed the list and the tiny font meant there were a few 'moments'.
Today I received an email from one of those at the door explaining what happened and I am ashamed at my own haughty attitude at that time. I guess I didn't follow my own advice to my children which is: at all times, whenever and wherever it is possible, behave with 'grace and good discipline' (Columba College motto). ‘A harsh word stirs up anger but a kind word evaporates wrath’ (The Bible).
The event held at the cool Caffe L'Affare in Wellington. Just an aside: OMG the finger food was divine. We (as in authors and illustrators) have all commented on how scrumptious was the finger food.
It was a fantastic night. I was so impressed how the judges told the gathered audience how wonderful they thought each entry was and were specific. Warm fuzzies for everyone.
Then it was the YA award and, yeah, I won. Actually I was so not expecting it and I was busy filming for the other others that dear Maureen Crisp had to hit me and take over the filming.
How did I feel?
Hot and cold washed over my entire body. Fleur tells me that I looked shocked (cos I was) and then I burst into tears. I was NOT prepared for what I needed to do which was to trot up, accept my gift with a quaint (but short) speech and move off. Me, I got up there still feckin blubbering and made some note about being lost for words and I think I thanked someone and then declared that at least one of my daughters should now read my book.
Thank you, LIANZA. These awards validate us. These awards make it worthwhile (even to be shortlisted). Thank you and thankyou for your time and effort because it makes us want to try harder next year.
Loved last night.
I’m still smiling (especially as the Air New Zealand pilot told all on the plane of my success!) whoop
*here. Come close. Hrummp. Never, ever doubt a librarian - they know stuff. We think they have magic powers - but don't tell!
K. Tomorrow I'm back to tending my lambs.
See you soon