Well, there you go. None Of The Other Flies Follow My Crooked Lines, despite its cool title, failed in the final hurdle of the Queensland Premier's Awards. I'm bummed, but in a detached way. The American writer James Lee Burke once described the strange twilight writers must inhabit to quarantine themselves from the highs and lows of submission. Because we are rejected so frequently and consistently, we willingly cut ourselves off from reactions to our work as a matter of necessity. It reminds me, as many things do, of a bit of dialogue from the Simpsons:
'We're the MTV generation. We feel neither highs nor lows.'
'Really? What's it like?'
So we play down achievements as an insurance policy against the crushing failure we know is just around the corner. It may not be ideal, but it works. And when, as usual, you get shortlisted for something and don't win, you turn it around to realise that your manuscript was one of four selected from 900. Jesus! 900? And your name sat in close proximity to both JM Coetzee and David Malouf.
You take whatever victory you can and move on.
The third novel is coming along nicely, by the way.