Trophy Whore

Reading up on fellow nominees

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul has flashbacks of high school debate at a medal ceremony for his memoir.

Over the years, my love affair with golden booty has gotten me into some sticky situations.  I couldn’t keep myself from fingering Whoopi’s Oscar in an episode out of I Love Lucy Alphabet City.  Then there was the time in high school in 1986 when as a visiting young competitive soul I won some loot at the Bronx High School of Science Debate Tournament.  Smart in the classroom but dumb on the streets, I made the questionable decision to ride the 1-train at 1-am and promptly passed out from exhaustion.  I was roused by a conductor somewhere in Brooklyn sans silver platters but at least with my life in tact.

The day before the end of senior year Spring Break at my fancy Dallas prep Greenhill School, some hooligans burned down the high school.  Every kid’s fantasy comes true?  Not mine.  My best friend Valerie and I ignored the yellow tape marking off the crime scene and waded into the still hot rubble where the debate trophy case had once stood.  I fished out some charred remains that I carried with me for years—imagining one day I would triumphantly return them to my alma mater in a special ceremony.  But when I packed up the Alphabet City set for the move to Washington Heights, I finally let go of the sad looking melted platter and goblet—burned beyond all recognition.  It was time to make room for some new accomplishments.

It’s been a long time since I’ve participated in any type of medal ceremony making last night’s 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards reception a real treat.  The setting at The Plaza’s Rose Club was a little more fancy than dingy school auditoriums of yesteryear.  Surprisingly, my competitive streak was a little bit tamer.  25 years ago, I remember seething with envy when my nemesis from St. Mark’s bested me in earning a speaking award.  But last night, it was just an honor to be nominated alongside diverse titles like American Idle: A Journey Through Our Sedentary Culture and A Student’s Guide to Being Happy in Argentina.  There was a sense in the room that we all know how hard it is to follow a dream and be an independent author—one of 764,448 “non-traditionally” published last year.  That it’s more important to stick together and be supportive, than divisive and competitive.  And it was lovely to hear those sentiments echoed by literary agent Marilyn Allen of the Allen O’Shea Literary Agency, who spoke of what a delight it is to work with hardworking indie authors.

Truthfully, on the way to the photo-op, I did bump some elbows and push aside a few folks on my way to get my medal—at the end of the day I’m a trophy whore.

2 Comments

Filed under Book Tour, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Trophy Whore

  1. Congrats! See you in Madison!

  2. Katie

    Congratulations! Well deserved!

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