…whether on the news, at the hairdresser, or at your local place of worship, Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck did NOT win the Oregon Book Award. To help me process this devastating loss, I have written my acceptance speech, a mere 16 hours after this crushing blow, thinking that—in some alternate reality—perhaps I did ascend the dizzying heights of success last night to enter the hollowed halls of award-winning authordom.
“Wow, it’s like emerging from the birth canal [at the show you had to leave the theater, then reemerge on stage somehow…I wouldn’t know, exactly, as I was never called up on to the stage]. I even think that someone may have spanked me.
It’s weird to be addressing a group of adults. Wow…[I lovingly caress award] I’m a little touched. At least that’s what my editor says after reading my first drafts.
I really didn’t think I’d be up here. I didn’t even write anything, since—you know—I wasn’t paid to. The competition…wow. Maybe they mispronounced Graham Salisbury’s name as Dale Basye [Bitter irony as Graham won]. This category is especially odd, as it wasn’t like comparing apples-to-apples, more like middle grade horror comedy to picture books to nonfiction. But, please, nobody rethink their decision. I’m kind of liking this whole Oregon Book Award winner thing!
Well, I moved here from California in 1992, started a newspaper, took a good many advertising jobs, bought up a few houses, and even drew from state unemployment. So, with this award, my personal invasion of Oregon is complete, and I can return back to sunny California…it’s weird, in California they don’t even have an Oregon Book Awards!
I’m especially tickled that Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck won as it has always seemed to me to be the Jan Brady of the three Heck books currently out now: that awkward middle child. The first book, Heck, garnered a number of reviews and sold fairly well, while the latest, Blimpo: The Third Circle of Heck, seems to be a fan favorite so far. But Rapacia will always be special to me as it was the book that proved—to myself anyway—that I was a real writer. I had over a year to write the first book, and could take my time, sitting back, waiting for the ideas to fall into my head. But with Rapacia, I had just a few months, and it was like wringing out a wet towel for eight hours a day. The process was strenuous, though—at the end—I came away knowing I could come up with something at editorial gunpoint. Everyone has a book in them…maybe more if they’ve swallowed a Kindle. But when you sit down everyday, staring blankly at a blank screen staring blankly back and somehow come up with a book, then I guess you’re a “real” writer. Not that one-time authors aren’t real authors…I mean, just look at God with the Bible…but at least Rapacia proved that to me.
Anyway, I’m going to go back to my seat before the Xanax wears off. Goodnight and thank you for your colossal lapse of judgment! [thunderous, deafening applause and hoots, with the occasional flinging of underwear up on to the stage].”