Wow, it’s been a while since my last post, hasn’t it?
Early in July, I traveled to Albuquerque to attend the GCLS conference. When I returned, I had every intention of hopping on here soon afterward to tell you all about it.
What I didn’t anticipate was how long the pure shock of winning a Goldie Award would actually last. It’s been a month already, and I still keep thinking I’ll wake up and realize I dreamt it all.
I mean, I was just so amazed and grateful to be a Goldie finalist. I didn’t dare hope for more.
But…more on that in a moment.
Now that I’ve finally found my (typing) voice again, I wanted to share with you what it was like, going to my very first in-person literary conference! 💙
For anyone who isn’t familiar with it yet, the Golden Crown Literary Society is an organization that celebrates sapphic and women-loving-women literature. It’s a pretty awesome thing, and if you’re anything like me, a quick glance at the previous years’ awards (and especially the Trailblazer Award) will have you overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the brave lesbian/sapphic authors who paved the way in this type of fiction (long before most publishers were willing to touch us). 💙
(I’ve included a link to the GCLS website here, if you want to learn more.)
My first introduction to the organization was during the pandemic. So, I’d never been to an in-person conference before.
I was terrified. Totally terrified.
I’m neurodivergent, which (among other things) means I get overstimulated easily—especially in crowds. But if I’m being honest, that was the least of my problems.
I’m also very anxious and super shy.
What was I so afraid of? Well, that’s always the question with anxiety, isn’t it? I didn’t know what I was going fail at. I just knew I was going to fail.
But I was a finalist! 💙 And I’d been invited to participate in a panel! And on top of that, the thought of meeting people who love sapphic literature as much as I do sounded pretty amazing—if I could just conquer my fear of, you know, people.
So, I decided to try, and I’m so glad I did. 💙
Did my voice shake during my reading, like I was afraid it would? Yes. Definitely.
But the world didn’t end because of a quiver in my voice. No one laughed at me or hated me because of it. Everyone was actually unbelievably kind. 💙
Did I get so nervous about the panel that I left my name thingy at the other hotel? Yep!
But again, I survived.
Did I get a little more personal and emotional during one of the panel questions than I intended to? Yes.
But there were people who related to my story and appreciated it. 💙
To meet these wonderful people and to be so encouraged in my craft, it was worth every fear I faced. 💙
Most of you know…I live in Alabama. Very red, Bible-Belt Alabama. It took me a long time to come out.
Between the pandemic and my own anxiety, I’ve only been to one Pride since I came out.
Feeling safe to be who I am, being surrounded by people who are like me—these are feelings I don’t know well.
There were two nights—the first one was after my panel, and the second was after the Goldies. Both times, I just sat in my hotel room afterward and sobbed.
Very happy tears.
And just in case we thought I was done being super emotional, I’m crying again at the memory. 😅
Does that sound silly? Or is it something a lot of LGBTQ people experience? I don’t know.
I guess it’s the thing that drives so many of us toward the found family trope.
I know my experience was probably different from that of someone who’d grown up in a more inclusive area or came out earlier in life or just…wasn’t as shy.
But for me, it was something I’d never known I needed—but definitely had needed. 💙
Anyway, now that I’ve gotten ridiculously emotional on you, let me just jump over to the announcements with no transition whatsoever! 😅
Listen…the people who invited to sit at their table were so amazing and encouraging, and I just didn’t know how to tell anyone that there was no chance of me winning. 😅
So, when my name was called, I just…froze. I don’t know how long it took me to process the fact that I’d actually seen my book on the screen. Maybe it was half a second. Maybe it was thirty.
I just know it took me a moment.
A friend was texting me later that night and asked what I said during my thank you speech, and I said, “Honestly, all I remember is wandering up there and hyperventilating on the microphone.”
I’ve been assured by a few people, since then, that there were actual words that came out of my mouth, but I remain skeptical.
I know I wanted to thank my readers, friends, and GCLS, but whether those words actually made sense once they came out of mouth is a total mystery.
Seriously, though, I am so grateful for all of you. 💙
All I want is to bring people joy and show them they deserve happiness, no matter what, and without readers, I couldn’t do that.
So, thank you so, so much. 💙
Congratulations to all the other winners, too! 💙 You can see them all here! 💙
And it’s in such awesome company, too! 💙
Congratulations to SD Simper and K. Aten, too!
Thank you so much to everyone who voted for Pirates of Aletharia. It means the world to me that people are enjoying this book. 💙💙💙💙
Gosh, it’s just been an encouraging month, and I’m so grateful for it. 💙
And now, a picture of the award itself:
It’s shaped like a book! How cool is that! 💙
I’ll have a few more book updates in the newsletter that’s going out within the next couple of days, but until then, I just wanted to say thank you. 💙💙💙💙
© 2022 Britney Jackson