“If this is a true story I am going to lose my shit” me looking at my son towards the end of watching the movie Radio with Cuba Gooding Jr., where he plays a mentally handicapped sports fan that ends up getting basically adopted by the football team he worshiped, then becoming a mascot…and inspiration for the whole damn town or whatever. Well of course the movie was based on a true story and as promised, I lost my shit. Bawled like a baby while my sweet son shook his head and laughed at me. Such a sucker for that kind of story, shit if I even hear the theme song for The Blind Side I get choked up. I can rant, argue, take fierce bites of anyone that tries to hurt or insult me but, honestly I’m basically a squish.
I woke the morning of December first, head pounding and eyes bloody red, after staying up until some ungodly time in the morning writing about my brother, http://sansdosage.blogspot.com/2011/12/slow-build.html our relationship and his current health. I’d slept maybe two and a half hours and not only did I look like ass, I felt it. Trudged through my morning, very thankful that the chores of “wake up, get coffee, read email, shower and go” were so engrained that I didn’t even need to use the four brain cells that were firing that morning. Shuffle, grunt, rub face and repeat as I scrolled through my emails and messages on Facebook. I was toying with reading my own post, something I almost never do when I write those somewhat exposed pieces. When I am writing one of those I just sit down, open my heart and talk to all of you as if you were right here in my living room and just as you can’t go back, or rewind a conversation, I don’t scroll back and read what it is I’ve written. Explains a lot I’m sure. So yeah, I’m sitting there swollen faced and second guessing myself when I happen to click on the bubble thingie that tells me I have a private message on Facebook. A very sweet message from a dear friend and writer I just so happen to admire the hell out of, telling me that the piece I wrote moved him, that he was thinking of me and that he wanted me to do something…something that I was unsure I had the courage to do. I followed the link he’d sent me and sat there, heart pounding in my chest thinking, “Dude, there’s no way”
The first couple of years after I started this blog I had this idea that no one would take me or my writing seriously unless I won one of those Wine Blog Awards. Like I would somehow be more relevant or respected I guess, if I could place one on those badges in the corner of my blog. Then, then people would know that I am like a serious player in the world of wine blogging and junk. Lofty right? To be a serious player in what is essentially a free for all….a girl has to dream right? The first year I was nominated I wanted to win so badly it quite honestly made my skin twitchy. I would check the website all the time to see when the finalists were announced, felt a massive kick in the gut when I didn’t make it. Took it as a sign that what I feared was true, that I was just some yammering hack that really didn’t fit in. Now as the years, posts and friendships have piled on this here blog, I long ago gave up on trying to win anything or see my number of hits, comments and accolade as any real indicator as to my relevance or writing ability. I’m profoundly moved, and honored that anyone takes the time to be here with me…matter of fact, those words are far too small to truly articulate what it means to me. At some point the drive that made me write was no longer about what I might get out of it, it was about having those non-rewinding conversations with the people that let me do this thing, this thing I seem to crave and adore, I get to write. Last year I didn’t even know I’d been nominated for a Wine Blog Award and didn’t hear the outcome until days after the whole thing was over. I think losing a finalist spot to Chronic Negress the year before might have put a nail in that coffin. I mean, if that was what people wanted in their wine blog, well right on, but I was no longer interested in being part of it. Might sound bitter but I assure you, it’s anything but. Giant relief actually. I don’t want to modify what or how I write in order to fit into some model that I don’t even find interesting enough to read. Some people get or like what it is I do here, others don’t and I’m more than okay with that.
“Oh, and the deadline is today” those words looping in my head when at 4:30, just a half hour before our final mail pick up, I was licking the flap of a giant envelope and buying stamps from The Wine Country’s stash. As I marched out to the mailbox on the curb outside our store, thick envelope clutched in my hand, a friend’s kind and supportive words like fingers in my back, pushing me each step and shrouding me from feeling afraid or anxious, I began chuckling at the very idea of what I was doing. I dumped the package in the mailbox with a thud and marched back to the store feeling really fucking accomplished. I did it. I’d applied for a fellowship to this year’s Professional Wine Writers Symposium. Knew there wasn’t a chance in hell but the fact that someone asked me to, believed that I should and that I had the sack to put myself in the line of, “I’m sorry but” fire for something that I feel as deeply as the writing I do here? Felt pretty goddamn amazing.
Woke last Tuesday morning to yet another one of my son’s late night reveling buddies crashed on my couch but was touched to find that my dear son, knowing that I’m a fairly early riser, had moved my laptop and cigarettes to the dining room table. I quietly moved about the kitchen, getting my coffee and settled in for the morning routine. Seeing as I was off, (well aside from inventory later that evening) I found myself there hours later. Scanning, picking at the breakfast burrito my son had picked up after depositing his buddy back to the bar parking lot where he was storing his car for the night, the three-way banter of my family in full swing when I saw that I had a new email. Opened my mail to see a subject line, “Fellowship winners” my rejection letter had arrived. No kicks in the gut and no anxiety as I clicked the email to open it. The hard part, for me anyway, was over. Getting past years of debilitating insecurity, my own issues with aching to fit or belong, the finding of a voice and not being afraid to use it. Those things, those things have been my award and no matter the wins and losses, they are mine…always.
“You have been awarded a fellowship to this year’s Professional Wine Writers Symposium. Your writing was the most envelope pushing of the bunch-the judges liked it”
I still cannot believe it….
So, looks like I’ll be heading to Napa Valley next month. There as a guest of Stag’s Leap Winery and the judges that saw something here, in me, and voted to have me there. Every time I write or say that the smile that spreads across my face and the pride that fills my chest are nearly enough to overtake me. Unreal. Never in my life would I have thought I would be here. With a family that adores me, friends that support and love me beyond measure, selling wine, traveling to Europe, the dinners, the laughter, the Champagne and this…simply unreal.
Radio, I feel ya dude.