Monday, August 09, 2010

What? Blooming is Not a Finalist?—den Boer

I was so sure Blooming—This Pilgrim’s Progress, "packed with inspiring spiritual truth" was winning material, that when The Word Guild’s awards short-list came out without a Blooming mention, I felt disappointed, confused, and full of trepidation about what the judge would have to say.

Would the judge counter the reviewer who said, “Her stories run the spectrum from hilarious to heart-wrenching”?

Would he dispute the review that claimed "Marian’s charm and wit jump off the pages"?

Obviously the awards judge didn't agree with the reviewer who advised, "Watch for Blooming when the short-list comes out for this year’s Canadian Christian Writing Awards."

My publishing consultant at Word Alive was equally surprised at the no-show. She suggested ‘Christian Living’ may have been the wrong category.

Possibly my pilgrim’s progress wasn’t helpful as an example of Christian living. Possibly my celebration of “the agony and the ecstasy of being human with humour and honesty, while leaving the reader begging for more!” was an example of un-Christian living. Maybe I should have entered the ‘Other’ category.

All this speculation led to more trepidation. What could the judge say? A few weeks after the Blooming-less list came out, a fat envelope from The Word Guild landed in my mailbox. Would a judge say that much? With nervous apprehension I opened what turned out to be my membership renewal papers. Phew.

Several months later, another, much thinner envelope arrived. This had to be it. I sat down. I stood up. I sat down again. I pulled up the flap on the envelope, and edged out three sheets of paper. A cover letter told me, “Enclosed you will find the judge’s marks for your entry. We hope that there are some useful points that will help you with your writing.”

The letter also said, “Just a reminder that judge’s comments and marks are confidential and are not to be publicized as reviews.”

I found the judge's remarks to be positive and encouraging. I’m not sure if I should tell you this, but he used the word ‘clever’ several times and complimented my writing style. And, he identified the flaw in my book which is the flaw in my life.

If you are not yet familiar with Blooming, the book leads the reader through my life as I move from a self-righteous Christian who lives by the law into becoming a Spirit-led Christian. The flaw: I don’t live or articulate the Spirit-led life as masterfully as I lived and wrote about the old self-righteous me.

But, I press on.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 NIV


Peter Black said...

O-o-oh, Marian, your vivid description of that heart-pounding, bated breath opening of the judge's letter is oh-so-close to home! But you transparently shared it with "charm and wit," along with inspiration from Paul in Philippians 3.
Thank you for it.

Marian said...

Thanks Peter. I love you.

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