Have you ever won anything? A sports trophy? A medal? A commendation for a job well done? A prize for the most cookies, cars, or houses sold? Have you ever won even a runner-up position in a competition? If you’re a writer, have you won something for your writing?
Not me. Ever. For anything. Not even as a runner-up. The closest I ever came was when I received a certificate for having never missed a class when I was in culinary school. (Okay, I did win a small scholarship as well.)
Then, two weeks ago, I got the news that the anthology I co-edited with Andi Marquette, All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Romance & Erotica, is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. I was floored. I truly was not expecting it. They receive so many nominations, the odds of getting chosen as a finalist are slim.
It took me days to get over it. Let me rephrase that: It took me days to absorb it and return to my regularly scheduled programming. I’m still not really over it, but my brain has processed it. This was an enormous thing for me.
I won’t go into all the particulars of my dementia, but suffice it to say that my lack of awarded merits has given me a bit of a complex. So, getting this news was insane. (I will acknowledge, however, that AYCE also won an Honorable Mention from the Rainbow Awards, which is also awesome, and I was stoked about that, too. But this Lammy thing is huge.)
Several days before I got the news, I took my beloved Boo Boo Kitty to the vet and was told he had cancer and didn’t have much longer to live. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. Like any grieving parent of a fur baby, I wanted to do what I could to extend his life, but he declined so quickly that within a week, he was gone. I (and my ex, his other parent) made the decision to put him down the same day I got the Lammy news. Four days later, I had to take my baby to the Rainbow Bridge. It was a horrible, horrible day and I felt as if my heart had broken into a million little pieces.
I’ve had (and have) other cats, but Boo Boo Kitty was special. Humans fell in love with him instantly because he was such a lovable, affectionate mush. He never once hissed, swatted, or bit anyone, ever, for any reason. If you wanted to carry him like a baby in your arms and kiss him for 2 hours, he’d let you. That’s just how he was. All my friends cried, and some visited him one last time, when they heard the news. That’s the effect that Boo Boo Kitty had on people.
I found myself with two pieces of news—one amazingly fabulous, the other incredibly heartbreaking. And I didn’t know what to do. I felt too sad to truly bask in the glow of the Lammy list, and too excited and happy to fully grieve my Boo Boo Kitty. It was a week of highs and lows, and lots of drinking to both celebrate and numb the pain.
I decided that I can’t let the sorrows of life take away from the joys of life. A piece of Boo Boo Kitty will always be with me, and I will always miss him. But I need to celebrate the good things in life when they come because they’re what make life special.
I don’t know what I’m going to do if we win.