Runner Up for the Poets and Writers California Writers Exchange Award

This morning, my writing friend Christina Lee Zilka congratulated me + some other peeps for being a finalist of the Poets and Writers California Writers Exchange Award.  I applied for this award when I was still living in LA but had totally forgotten about it.  Since then, my wife + I decided to move back to Chicago.  So, maybe in the spirit of the award I don't deserve it cuz I'm not in California anymore.  But regardless, when I took a look at the P+W website, I discovered that I was the fucking runner up!  Out of 600 fiction manuscripts + I was the motherfucking runner up!  My joy, though was quickly taken over by frustration + elation + sadness.  Dude, I was so fucking close.  If the judge (the well-known + well-respected Chris Abani, who's a former PhD alumnus of my program at USC, by the way) had picked my manuscript, I would have received an all-expenses paid trip to NYC to mingle with agents, editors + give a fucking reading in the City.  Winning this award would have helped launch my emerging literary career + put me in contact with some of the players in the industry.  This would have been it, man.  This would have been it. 

Motherfucking runner up.  Don't get me wrong, I'm crazy flattered.  But being so close, I'm depressed too.  I mean, at least being a finalist is like:  Yo, you're really good, but who knows how many people separated you from the winner.  But runner up is one of those titles with all the prestige + none of the glory.  You get the name, but no hardware.  It's like being 4th place in the Olympics.  I've always felt the worst for that dude, for that woman, who came so close to distinction but then fell short for whatever reason.  I'm happy for the winner, Laura Joyce Davis.  Her manuscript was polished, controlled + very well-written.  Personally, I think my story is a little better + a little more cohesive than her novel excerpt, but whatevs.  She deserved it.  Though, of course, I think I did too.  But the truth is, I didn't realize how much I really wanted this thing until I understood how fucking close I was.  You know what I'm saying?  I'm happy about the honor of being a runner up + happy for LJD, but I'm so bummed, man.  This could have been my opening as a hapa fiction writer.  But instead, I keep looking for a way in like I always do.