Oregon Book Awards

A marvelous evening at the Oregon Book Awards. The theme of the winner’s comments, to me (we all hear and resonate differently with our experience to find meaning) is:

press on in spite of circumstances or who bludgeons you with can’t.

Pulitzer Prize nominee, Larry Colton’s colorful acceptance speech of the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award powerfully advocated the need to support teachers. He related failing his college placement English segment, and flunking the requisite remedial “bonehead English course.” His professor was less than kind, yet, Mr. Colton is honored for a lifetime spent writing and mentoring teachers.

Storm Large, whose one woman play Crazy Enough transformed my personal vision, won the Creative Nonfiction award for her autobiography by the same title.  All of my life, those who want desperately to maintain their status quo have told me I’m too much, too loud, too intense, too strong, too something very unacceptable and Ms. Large’s courage to share her story, in one magical evening shifted my perception and replaced the negative programming with the idea I too am “crazy enough” to make something wonderful with my talents and strenghts.

Ismet Prcic, in an after party conversation said his uncle told him he’d never accomplish anything because he “couldn’t speak English.” Mr. Prcic carried home the award for fiction. The take away for me was his closing remarks of acceptance,

“You can’t do it unless you do it.”

Portland writers are collegiate, open-hearted, fostering and generous with their time and abilities. A writer friend graciously remembered and asked me about my project even though we’d not seen each other for months. Affection and support undergirded encouragement and I came home from the evening feeling like Wonder Woman, ready to finish off a few books, screenplays and poems ~ one word at a time.