big deal


Last night, the 100th Grey Cup was played in downtown Toronto, where the Toronto Argonauts defeated the Calgary Stampeders 35-22.  

On Saturday, three writers I know were listed on the Globe's top 23 Canadian fiction books of the year.  Eva Stachniak for The Winter Palace, Grace O'Connell  Magnified World, and Heather Birrell for Mad Hope. 

Earlier this month, my writing teacher, friend and inspiration, Sarah Selecky had the US launch of her book, This Cake is for the Party.  
  
And, last Thursday, I was awarded the Random House of Canada 2012 Student Writing Award for my short story, Let Me Call You Lovely.

Each of these accomplishments is, in my opinion, a big deal. And deserves the recognition it receives. 
   
The publication where my short story appears, Three, is small but, a big deal. U of T faculty, Random House staff and the contest judges all had very positive things to say about my writing and the finalists writing like, "remarkable literary outcomes" and "fine writers" and "a fantastic achievement". 

I didn't realize just how big a deal the award was until I arrived at the U of T Faculty Club on Thursday night to celebrate the win along with the finalists and read this, from 2009 winner Anne Perdue, underscoring the importance of the award to her career.  

"A year later, Insomniac Press published my book. I am hugely grateful to the Random House of Canada Student Award in Writing for providing opportunity, prestigious acknowledgement, and validation."

Pretty big deal.

The evening was a tandem celebration for the award's 10th anniversary and at the door, one of the organizers told me they only had name tags printed for VIP guests, faculty, and finalists.  When I introduced myself, she said, "Oooooh, you are the winner! Congratulations. Of course you have a name tag."  

I was the big deal.

I also had to read an excerpt from the story, something the editor had failed to mention to me.  Finding out then and there saved me the worry and concern and neurosis of deciding which bit to read. No rehearsing, no overthinking it, no breathing exercises.

No big deal.   

I am more writer than sports enthusiast lately.  However, I am from Saskatchewan so that makes me a Roughrider fan by default.  My best Grey Cup experience was 23 years ago when I still lived in Saskatchewan. With two seconds left in the game, Dave Ridgway kicked a field goal giving the Riders a 43-40 victory over the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the 1989 Grey Cup.  We jumped in the back of a pick up truck and drove around downtown Regina after the game.  

It was a big deal.  

On Friday, my nephew and his girlfriend came to Toronto for the weekend to attend the game yesterday. They are huge fans (pictured here, front and centre, in green) and along with many other keen CFL lovers, have been roaming the city for the past week. I went to Nathan Philips Square and Yonge and Dundas with them where we did yoga on a makeshift field, tasted new flavours of Frank's Hot Sauce and tossed a football at some tires in a cage. Next year's Grey Cup is in Regina. 

It will be a big deal. 

Whether it's sports or writing or any other thing you want to make a big deal about, below is some wise advice from Natalie Goldberg, a big deal in her own right.  

“Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.”