I lost it. It is nowhere in my office. Not in my hundred or so paper files. Not in the cabinet where I store my business cards, stationary, printer paper. Not in my pre-internet writing portfolio where I keep all my early successes, clips and awards. All those early accolades except the book award, the one that matters most.
Or does it? I’m pretty sure I won’t mention being an award-winning author when The Weam Namou Show tapes my interview with Weam. (That’s Weam and me in pic first time we met; we were seated next to each other at a book event.) Not even if that piece of parchment paper shows up. I’ll be on television to talk about my upcoming release, not walk down memory lane amidst the little victories of the past that led me to where I am today. I do have stories about the highlights of my writing journey and that first book is among them, but not because of the award.
While searching out the certificate, I decided to purge my files. It had been several years since I’d done it, back when I stopped teaching and threw away all that mess. For unknown reasons, in the last purge, I held onto all the print copies of my manuscripts, revisions, and notes. Now I pitched them all as I have the actual books on my shelves, which was the aim when writing those thousands of pages in the first place.
I spent the day going through old papers and listening to other interviews Weam has conducted via YouTube. I’ve never been on TV before and wanted to know what I was getting into. As for cleaning out my writing files, I didn’t get any of that magic feeling Marie Kondo talks about in her book on tidying up the Japanese way. I did get three large garbage bags, the kind you use in the fall after you rake leaves, crammed full of pages and pages of stuff I didn’t need anymore but had to look through to make sure the certificate wasn’t there.
One of Weam’s guests talked about vision boards. I do those for my work and for personal goals. I knew I had a photo from the vision board I did for Lily White in Detroit. Maybe she’d want to use it as a visual on her show. So I sent that and some other photos to her. We are taping Tuesday and the show will air on my book’s release day in two weeks. I asked for that day, and Weam somehow magically made it happen. She’s much better at magic than Marie Kondo, in my opinion.
After searching my house high and low, I decided to give up on the certificate. It was important to me as a personal achievement, but I’d just ditched thousands of sheets of paper. I could let that one more piece of paper go. I put a line about winning a MIPA in my new author CV and that would be that. My publicist will use it in the press kit she’s putting together for me.
I was curious about the award though. What place had I won? Not first, I’d remember that. Had I won any place or was I relegated to “finalist” like so many other competitions I’d entered back then? I kept an eye out for the certificate in little nooks and crannies. A basement drawer, a high shelf in my bedroom closet.
During the search, I came across my vision notebook, like the one Weam’s guest had talked about. It was synchronistic how we both had done the large cardboard posters and then did smaller, many page versions. I like the big cardboard posters for my books. But my personal vision book is for other goals, be it a new sofa, a publishing contract, or a trip to somewhere sunny in winter.
I hadn’t looked through my personal vision book for awhile. It’s always fun to see how many of the goals I wish to manifest come true. Each time I revise this book, it is because almost everything I wanted to happen has come to pass. That’s how I found my publisher, how my office came together and how I got a home in Florida. So, I pulled the book off the shelf and opened it to the first page, where the certificate I’d been searching for floated out and into my hands. Magic!