Saturday, June 26, 2010

Home from Aspen

I'm back from three glorious days in the mountains with my friends Rowan and Rachel. I've been friends with Rowan for some sixteen years, since our boys met and became best friends in preschool at Boulder Montessori; I've been friends with Rachel for almost thirty years, since we worked together as support staff at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Rachel has been visiting me from her home in Roanoke, Virginia, and joined Rowan and me for our girlfriend getaway to Aspen.

The pretext for the trip was the awards ceremony for the Colorado Book Awards, held last year and this year in Aspen. Last year my book The Totally Made-Up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish was a finalist in the juvenile category and won. This year my book How Oliver Olson Changed the World was a finalist in the juvenile category and didn't win.

Last year I thought, ooh, I may enter a book for the Colorado Book Award every year! This year I'm thinking, oh, I don't know if I'll bother entering my book next year (One Square Inch). Winning is definitely more fun than not winning. And of course not winning engages all my crabby thoughts: the book that won last year got less glowing reviews than the book that didn't win this year (which had a starred review, and was named an ALA Notable Book of the Year, and - well, you get the drift of my thoughts!). It costs $50 to enter the award, and when you win - IF you win - you only get $150. And you compete against other Colorado authors, which means that if you win, you often beat out a friend, and if you lose, you've been beaten out by a friend, and neither of those is a terribly comfortable situation.

So I'll see. It IS lovely to have a glamorous-sounding excuse to go to Aspen: "I'm off to Aspen this week, because one of my books is up for the Colorado Book Award." That sentence does trip pleasingly off my tongue! And then I can deduct the expense of the gas and the hotel room and at least a couple of the meals - and maybe a couple of the glasses of wine that I sipped together with Rachel and Rowan as we sat outdoors in a sidewalk cafe gazing up at the mountains, on a day where it was 80 degrees in Aspen and 95 degrees in Boulder. So maybe yes for next year, too?

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