Some awards people think my writing is interesting!

A week ago today, I became a father for the second time. Nothing can top that, naturally. However the last nine months have proven quite trying (from a health perspective) for my wife, son and I. So coming home from the hospital late last Thursday night, cooking up some pasta, sitting down and checking my email to find I’d been selected as a finalist at the Blog Awards Ireland 2017 was a genuinely lovely surprise.

Some months ago I’d submitted my little piece of the Internet for consideration in the Best Arts & Culture Blog and Best Blog Post categories. I’d entered on a whim, sure what harm could it do? Time passed and I’d forgotten all about it. Then I received an email to say both my entries had been longlisted. I was surprised, but very happy I’d actually made it that far.

Weeks passed, another email arrived. I’d been shortlisted in both categories. Again, I was surprised, but this time I said to myself that it was the end of the road and that I had done very well to get to this stage. Sure the competition was already intense at the longlist phase and looking at who I would be up against left me absolutely sure that this was it.

Time passed and I heard nothing further. I’d left it at that.

Until last Thursday night. An email arrived.

“We’re over the moon to let you know that The Coterie is a Finalist…” the email began. Then another email arrived. “We’re over the moon to let you know that Cyberdelia, or, Quantum Holography, or, Ding a dang ding your ding dang. is a Finalist”.

I was in shock. I still am a bit. To think that after so many rounds of judging my little blog was now a finalist in not one but two categories at a proper awards do, red carpet and everything, was quite something to take in. As I say, after the year we’ve had it is just nice to have a bit of good news.

It’s not all me me me me me

I hope I’ve not come across as selfish. For it’s not just my writing that got me to this stage. I have a very understanding wife. One that doesn’t mind my (now much downsized!) mini-man cave. One that proof-reads my writing and still says “what crap have you bought from Japan this time?” yet also says “You are up for an award? That’s great news well done!”.

Then there are the strangers that (hookers, hackers and bots aside) choose to follow me via Twitter and those from 2013 who purchased my Pink Bullets zine project. Not forgetting folks past and present who have tossed a buck or two my way via Patreon to help keep my site going.

With a family to support, what precious free time I did have with one child is now magnificently reduced further now I have a new, extra chubby captain to support! It’s part of the reason my blog is so lean. Finding the time to write. Though more importantly it is due to a core value I still wish to keep lit. I don’t want my work littered with 10 Things… and other miscellaneous click bait nonsense. I want to write about what lights my fire. What inspires me. Something interesting, something informative. If you visit my blog and come away knowing one tiny detail about something you never knew about before, then that’s my job done. That’s me happy.

All of these factors have combined to keep the site, and more so myself, going. Ultimately culminating in the great news I received in my inbox last week. I would like to thank every single one of you for helping me to get here. Whatever part you may have played. Large, small, microscopic. Heck, even if you just found my site via image search and are leeching images.

Does this sound like a victory speech? If it does, that’s because it is. I’ve not crossed the line yet. I’ve not won anything to put on my mantelpiece. It’s not about that. What I’ve gained is even more enthusiasm to keep going, to keep writing about the things I love because somebody out there has deemed my writing interesting enough to make me a double finalist at a prestigious awards ceremony next week.

Here’s to getting good news for a change. And thank you. All of you.

Ian