Okay, Internets, brace yourself, because this post has been brewing for a while.
In the last three months, When We Wake has been honored with a number of special things. My science fiction Sleeping Beauty story is:
- A Storylines Notable Book.
- A finalist in the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.
- Longlisted for the Silver Inky Award.
- A finalist in the Sir Julius Vogel Awards (Best Youth Novel).
- And finally, as was announced yesterday, When We Wake is a finalist in the NZ Post Awards for Children and Young Adults.
This means that When We Wake has been honored in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States - all the territories where it has been published.
It's hard to tell you how I feel about that. It's gratifying to be recognised. And I am stupendously relieved that after five years and (as of this week) four books published, I can still write what someone wants to read.
Writing is hard work for me right now, in my first year of full-time teaching. Writing requires time I don't have to spare, and a focus I lack by the end of the day, and an emotional fortitude I'm drawing on to support my work in the classroom instead. It's discouraging when I hit the end of another weekend without writing a word of fiction, or think that I really must update my website, or remember that if I don't get started on my Cranky Ladies story now, like, right now, I'll have to do it right in the middle of report writing.
Occasionally - not anywhere close to regularly, but occasionally - I wonder if I might not be better just to give up on even trying to write this year. Give myself a break, say no, save my brain. Honestly, perhaps I should.
Today my Year Nine class and I went to the school library for our fortnightly visit, where they renew, return and exchange books for our compulsory reading sessions at the start of every English period. I took attendance and then told the girls that I was nominated for the NZ Post award. They applauded, I thanked them, and then we settled into our routine.
Just before we left, I thought about what, actually, we did in this light-filled room with the carefully labelled shelves.
I'm sure every student could give you a different explanation of what she was doing there. What I can tell you is that I saw girls curling on chairs with books, girls perched on desks exploring Project Gutenberg, girls asking each other what they should read next, girls talking to me about what they had read. I saw 25 girls, 25 interconnected universes of experience and interest and ability, all doing the important work of making meaning from words. All reaching through open doors.
It might be better for me to give up writing this year.
But I'm going to write anyway.