Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Thoughts on My Caine Short Listing

Last Thursday I received the news that my story "In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata" from The Bed Book of Short Stories published by Modjaji Books has been short listed for this year's Caine Prize. See the list HERE and read the stories.

When I first started writing seriously about seven years ago I remember not knowing anything about The Caine Prize. I suppose that's the case for most people who are not writers. I remember my friend and fellow writer, Wame Molefhe, explaining it all to me. She knew the importance of the Prize and I soon did as well. From then on we followed the Caine like others follow The Bold and the Beautiful. Each year we'd pour over the short list, reading the stories, discussing our favourites to win, and then be either happy or disappointed when the winner was finally announced. I'd meet Caine winners like Brian Chikwava and Henrietta Rose-Innes and be in awe of their talent. The Caine Prize was the goal held out there faraway in the distance and always at the back of my mind at least and I suspect Wame's as well was - "Some day I want to be there.".

And so last Thursday after a slightly disappointing day, having first been told two of my books had gone into second printing and I would be getting some royalties and then being told it was a computer mistake and feeling very down, I checked my email one last time before going into the house to cook lunch. And there it was. An email telling me I'd been short listed for the prize I'd always dreamed about.

So how do I feel? I'm writing this Monday afternoon after a frantic morning of congratulations from all sides after the official announcement. I feel a bit like a rock star. I know it will fade but for now I'm trying to just sit right in the middle of a big pile of happiness. I'm trying to remind myself how much I yearned for this very moment. I don't want to do what I usually do, tick it off as done and move on to number two. I don't want to think about the 11th of July (the awards day) and worry myself sick. I want to sit right here. Let time stop in my mind. Let me say for once without any reservation, without a single look behind my shoulder- I did this. I did this and it is an important thing.

This writing thing is such a crap shoot, keeping you always wondering if you're ever going to make it. Today you're fantastic, tomorrow you're a reject. But today, today I know I am a writer. I am a writer and I've done good.

15 comments:

Judy Croome said...

You have done good indeed, Lauri, and you should simply bask in that feeling! Writing is *such* hard work and there is so much talent around, that to be shortlisted for a prestigious prize like the Caine is truly a Grand Achievement, and one you can be very very proud of!

Well done again!!
Judy, South Africa

Jude Dibia said...

This is an important thing, Lauri and you have done really good. I was doing cat-wheels when I saw your name among the listed. You deserve this moment and don't forget the opportunities it will open up for you; it is not about winning (you all are winners).

Sue Guiney said...

I know I've said it before, but it can't be said enough -- I am sooo thrilled for you. this is, indeed, a big thing. to be honest, I really do believe that being shortlisted is just as good as winning, so in my mind, you've already won. And what you say about today you're fantastic and tomorrow you're a reject is so true. So please do take lots of time to rejoice in this! Xoxo

Writerdelic said...

congrats Lauri, this is really big, really really big!!!

Lauri said...

And like you say Jude being shortlisted is very important and comes with a lot of wonderful things: trip to London, meetings wite agents, next year's Caine workshop. I really am over-the-moon grateful.

Sue you know as well as I do the toll our psyche takes in this writing business, but don't worry I'll be wearing my tiara for a few more days still-HA!

Yes Judy you're right, being shortlisted is an achievement itself. I've had two other stories submitted in past years that have done nohting so I know the competition is stiff. Thanks!

Lauri said...

Yes Novuyo- BIG but I'm trying not to think about all of those scary readings in London. :(

Mama Shujaa said...

Congratulations Lauri!! I just read "In The Spirit of McPhineas Lata" and I absolutely LOVED it! Such a pleasure to read. So well done. Such a taboo topic amongst our 'elders' and even some of our youth, yet you managed to convey an entertaining story so naturally. What a gift. Now I want to read the entire Bed Book of Short Stories.

The Caine Prize has done well to put you out there for us, like this. Congratulations once again and keep up your creative energy.

Those readings in London will be a breeze!

Anonymous said...

i saw the list in a Kenyan newspaper-Dairy Nation, and when i saw your name among the shortlisted, i felt inspired, that after all, its not in vain, at some point, things comes together.
well done Lauri

Jack said...

congratulations Lauri. i first commented as anonymous.

karen said...

Congrats Lauri! You are a rockstar, indeed :)

Wordsbody said...

Very, very happy for you, Lauri. Enjoy this.

MW

Lauri said...

Mama Shujaa-Thanks for the kind words about Mr Lata's tale. :)

Jack, Karen and Molara-Thanks for your kind words.

Joyful said...

Wonderful! Congratulations to you. Sit in the moment.

Selma said...

You'll always be a rockstar to me. Congratulations. This is so exciting. Yay. Yay. Yay. I hope you win!!!!

Lauri said...

Thanks Joyful!

Selma you're always so supportive- thanks!!