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Friday, April 04, 2008

Waaaay After the Fact

Did I wait long enough? Are you all so tired of details that I’m just being obnoxious? Please accept my sincere apologies. The last couple of weeks have been plumb full of family, a rewrite, spring break, and an attempt to keep my house from falling down around my ears. But I finally have a minute to share with you my top ten from the Whitney awards. Now, don’t get to excited, this is not like a David Letterman’s top ten that make you laugh till grape juice comes out your nose, these are just my ten favorite moments of The Whitney Awards 2007, and they are not in any particular order:

1—Cheesecake. I should have known right then that this was going to be a goooooood night for me when I sat down to find cheesecake waiting at my plate. I adore cheesecake—and make a dang good one if I do say so myself. This one had a fresh berry topping that was delicious. I once took a cruise that used a gelatin base for their cheesecakes—I was irrevocably offended by such betrayal of all things cream cheese based. This cheesecake was not like that, it was pretty dang good. A few days later, my friend Becki Clayson who is also a member of my writing group brought a ‘party’ to celebrate, complete with a New York Style cheesecake. Mmmmmmmmmm. Super yummy, and she left half of it with me when writing group was over. I plead the fifth on how much of that remaining half I ate by myself. Thank you Becki.

2—My hair. I actually have naturally curly hair, however, it’s a frizzyball mess if I don’t slather it with stuff. Once it’s slathered it’s either sticky with product or stiff with product, which is why I usually wear it pulled back or streightned. I decided to try and bring out the girl and pin it up, knowing if it didn’t work I’d have it in a sloppy ponytail all night which would be totally lame. But, as with the cheesecake, it should have been an indication. I was very happy with how it turned out and it made up for the fact that I didn’t have a tummy tamer. I think most girls agree that good hair really can add to an event. It did for me.

3—Jessica Day George. I had never met her—didn’t even know who she was other than I’d read her book—and even though she’d presented at the conference, I hadn’t been able to go to her class. But I got to sit at her table that night and she is a hoot! She’s just young and cute and very funny. It made me even more excited for her success because she’s the kind of person you want good things for. She was the presenter for the Mystery/Suspense category, and she saved me the envelope, which was so sweet. I then ended up being the presenter for Best Novel by New Author, which is the category she won. Her acceptance speech was so cute and so fun. I just enjoyed getting to know her, even though she and I were opposite from one another on a big table and didn’t get to really talk too much.

4—My hubby. After 3 days with the kids, my husband jumped through several hoops in order to be at the Whitney dinner that night. The conference had ended up on our spring break which meant my kids were on their own for several hours each day I was gone. One child was having some pretty intense issues, and he was the one left in charge of that. He did phenomenal, of course, and it was just fabulous to have him there with me at that moment. He’s not a “Ra, ra, ra” kind of man as much as he has absolutely confidence in my potential. He’s always been there encouraging me, and bragging about what I’ve been able to accomplish, but not in way that somehow takes away the importance of my other roles. I realized later that night that he was sicker than a dog all through dinner, but he didn’t want to make a big deal about it. We spent Easter night in the ER getting him taken care of, but he pushed all those things aside to be there for me.

5-Dean Hughes. I’ve been a big Dean Hughes fan for many years. He’s written over 90 books for both national and the LDS market. He’s what I call “Big time”. He received a lifetime achievement award and I have to say I didn’t expect it would be that big a deal to him. Certainly he’s had all kinds of acclaim and attention over the many years of his writing career. Not that I thought he’d be ungrateful or anything, just that he’s had all kinds of acclaim and attention over the many years of his writing career. In opposition to my expectations, however, he was so gracious, so humble, and so appreciative of the recognition. He talked about how he’d gone to school for many years, gotten his Ph.D while his wife raised their family, and then right after getting tenure he told his wife he wanted to take a year off and write a book. To her credit she agreed to support him, and thirty years later here they are. He was so sweet and grateful for his wife, which impressed me so much. And while he’s up there talking, his wife is wiping her eyes and just smiling so big at him. I was so incredibly inspired by this couple. I’m embarrassed to admit I hadn’t realize his wife was Kathleen Hughes, former member of the General Young Women’s board, but what an amazing woman in her own right, and what a great wife she’s been to a great man. Watching and listening to them reminded me of the kind of marriage I want to look back on, the closeness I want to feel. It was really beautiful.

6—Friends. I was able to sit at the same table with Annette Lyon, my very good friend who I admire so much. I had Julie sitting just a table away, Heather Moore and I were back to back, my friend Ronda was to the right, Lisa Mangum from Deseret Book was at Julie’s table. All around the room were people that had wished me luck, sent me e-mails telling me they’d loved the book, hung out with me in the halls for the conference—people that cared about me, people that were sending me good vibes. It was a great feeling to have such a moment surrounded by friends rather than nameless mucki-mucks. It was a reminder of what a great community I’m a part of and I was just honored and thrilled to be among people I so admire and respect.

7—Shannon Hale. I think a lot of people brought her up when they blogged about the Whitney’s, like, two weeks ago. But in her acceptance she pointed out than anyone that’s disappointed when someone else wins are evil, therefore all the people in her category that didn’t win are going to hell. It was just hilarious, and she stood up there as this cute bouncy girl saying it, wrapping a scarf around her neck and just being cute. A little later she got up to present another award and said her check was for $5,000.00 not $500. She was just so comfortable with herself and cute—the kind of woman you’d (okay, I’d) like to be.

8—The dresses. I’m not a fashion plate, and as I told many people my dress was wrapped around my shoes and stuffed in a purse all weekend. I’d bought it 5 years ago on sale for $16—but it sparkled so it worked just fine. But it was lots of fun seeing people dress up. Rob Wells and Scott Wright were in tuxedos, several women were in fancy dresses. For a girl that never went to prom, wore borrowed dresses for the 3 high-school dances she attended, and rented her wedding dress for $50, I’m not one who often attends that level of event and it was just fun to see people so fancy. I realize this makes me sound 12 years old, but it really was a fun aspect.

9—My family. My wonderful sister had hosted an easter party earlier that day and offered to watch my kids so that my husband could come to the dinner. He text messaged her when I won and they made this huge sign so that when I arrived at my sister’s to pick up the kids, they were all cheering and clapping. I rolled it up and brought it home with me so I can smile every time I look at it. My kids hear a lot of my complaints—when I can’t get a scene right, when I get a bad review, when I have to drive two hours for an event—and sometimes I wonder if they wonder why I do this at all. I’m a vocal complainer and an internal celebrator, so it was awesome to be able to just really enjoy this moment with them and see them be so happy for my success.

10—Harry and David. About a week and half after the weekend (or, like yesterday) I went to my PO Box and got the mail. To my surprise there was a package there. Had I looked a little closer at the label, I’d have seen who it was from, but instead I had a few minutes of driving home to ponder on who would send me something. I’d ordered a book off of Amazon, but this wasn’t a box for books. When I got home I promptly ripped it open and found a gift box set from Harry and David, a gourmet candy company, and a congratulatory card from my publisher Deseret Book. I was all by myself, surrounded by dirty dishes, and yet just giggled. I won the Whitney! My publisher, a group of people I owe so much to and admire so greatly, sent me candy! It was just . . . surreal and validating and wonderful. I feel as if I’m the one that should be sending them thank yous, not the other way around, but loved that they took the time to send me a little reminder.

All in all it has been a great moment in my life and in my career to ponder on something, to feel other peoples pride in my work, and to know that the hours spent and the headaches garnered paid off. In some ways I hope I never get nominated for another award in my life. I can then always just have this memory, this moment to ponder on. Again, thank you to everyone that supported me to this end—truly I am so blessed and so grateful for all those things my Father in Heaven has given me. It’s not entirely comfortable to have such great moments, we feel as though we need to downplay them in fear that expressing them fully will make someone else feel bad. That’s been something I’ve been working through as well and so if I’ve approached it in the wrong way, and someone does feel bad, well, according to Shannon Hale I guess you’re going to hell, bummer. ☺


Annette Lyon said...

Awesome top 10, Josi. The award was well-deserved.

Looks like I for one and NOT going to hell. :D

Danyelle F. said...


Loved your top ten. And how awesome that Deseret Book sent you a gift. I could totally picture you giggling in your kitchen after opening it. Congrats again! Your book was fantastic!


Luisa Perkins said...

Josi, thanks for this terrific post. It all sounds so amazing!

I didn't know who Dean Hughes was until his son Tom was in our ward in Manhattan years ago. Now I'm a huge fan.

How cool to see all those great writers in person! I hope I can be there next year.

Holly said...

Terrific top ten. You definitely deserved that award.

Julie Wright said...

I am so not going to Hell! I am thrilled for all of you winners, but let me be biased and be most excited for you. That was cool of DB to send you a gift to congratulate you. The whole night rocked and you looked beautiful. Your hair rocked in every way. Congratulations a million times a million.

Kimberly said...

What a lovely, lovely evening. So glad that your wonderfulness was so honored!

Michele Holmes said...

Great list, Josi. Do you think I'll go to hell because I coveted your fabulous hair all evening?

Congratulations on a well-deserved win.

Janette Rallison said...

Your hair was way gorgeous. Next year I want to sit at your table!

Anonymous said...

You've been tagged!! Come to my blog and see. :^>

Rebecca Talley said...

I love this post and am so excited for you still. Woo hoo! You deserve to relive it over and over again. What a great night.

Rachelle said...

Thanks for sharing so we could live the evening vicariously. You need to post a picture of this beautiful hair, everyone is talking about.

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

Congrats, again, Josi, and now I know what the cheesecake comment was about. Wish I would have checked here sooner.