A golden quill. I had a golden quill pinned to my shrug proclaiming I belonged at the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Awards Ceremony. If a time traveler had told me a week before I’d be standing there, I would have backed slowly away. In fact, about a week before the event I had emailed Joni Labaqui and told her I would not be attending the ceremony. What a difference a week can make.
I can’t recall exactly when I first heard about Writers of the Future. I was young, probably during Jr. High. I learned about the contest during the Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium. They were there and I stopped at their booth to ask about the contest. I began to dream about winning the contest. I also recall visiting a friend who had placed and sitting in his living room where his trophy held a place of honor. The trophy with a golden quill.
Even now, I still have to search for the words to explain the honor and excitement I felt attending. I wasn’t there, this year, as a winner, but I can understand a glimmer of their excitement. Excitement I got to see firsthand during dinner. I was fortunate enough to be seated at a table with Megan Kelchner. Currently studying abroad for art, she was still ecstatic (and exhausted) after the week long workshops.
At the dinner I was pleased to find an unexpected friend there, Scott Parkin. After twenty-five years of entering, he had placed this year. I was grateful for the unexpected chance to cheer for him, to see him accept the award he had been striven to earn.
What do Megan Kelchner, Scott Parkin, and all the other winners have in common? They have worked, they have dreamed, and they did not give up. Daniel J. Davis in his acceptance speech stated that “If you’re day dreaming, you’re not wrong.” Each writer, each artist has day dreamed their world and then turned those dreams into a reality which the rest of us can now delve into.
They were not the only dreamers at the event. There to support and congratulate the winners, the novices, where those who had gone before. David Farland, Keving J Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, and Eric James Stone to name a few. Many are there because they work with Writers of the Future, supporting the organization to ensure that the contest survives for the dreamers of tomorrow. Some, such as Eric James Stone, are past winners who choose spend their time returning and cheering for all the new visionaries now standing where they stood before.
Martin Shoemaker, a Writers of the Future contest winner, stated well what all of them where doing there, “Pay it forward. Pay it now.” Writers of the Future and Illustrators of the Future exist to help those not yet discovered find their voice and let it be heard. Those who have gone before and those there now both work together to aide those unknown yet to come. Who knows, perhaps one of my day dreams will help me realize my childhood dream and I will earn a trophy with a golden quill.
Win or lose, I will keep chasing my dreams. What dreams are you chasing?
I went with Jaclyn Weist and DawnRay Ammon. They both have their take on events up as well. Jaclyn’s is here. It does a sum of events nicely. DawnRay’s is here. Her’s gives her perspective wonderfully.