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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A Smidgen of Success

January was another one of those months where I felt as though I'd been dangling from the roof of a hyperactive carousel. Spinning around with the world all topsy-turvy gets old and I've definitely been doing it for long enough. I had some bright spots with a friend and my nieces but, really, I was happy to see the month coming to an end. Then the final few days threw up a couple of surprises.

On Friday I found out a short story has been accepted for publication in April. I'll post more of the details closer to the time but the jolt I got from that was excellent and I'm very proud of the story.

While deliriously happy about that, I got something of another shock. Late Saturday night I learned that I'd won first prize in the Literary Journalism Competition organised by Dickens Journals Online. That was one of those delightful moments where I opened up the page, scanned the list of runners-up and commended entries and allowed myself a moment of disappointment before actually lifting my eyes a bit. Then, quite naturally, I ran downstairs to get my poor father to check I wasn't seeing things. He thought the house was burning down. Again, I'm really proud of the story and I'll let you know when it's available on the DJO website to read. Incidentally, if you're unfamiliar with them, they host digital copies of Household Words and All the Year Round and they're a brilliant resource for academics and nineteenth-century book lovers alike. It's one of those sites you can fall into and come out three days later dazed and talking like Mr Dickens himself - well worth a look.

One of my goals for 2015 was to have a little more success with my short stories to build on the start I made last year. I think we can tick that box already.

I'm floating back down to earth now but I wish I could bottle that euphoria. As ever, the first thing I did when I got the news was burst into an appropriate song - 'It's a Hit!' from Merrily We Roll Along seemed like the perfect choice and it's been stuck in my head since Friday. As the ever-wise Charley sings:

Success is like failure, 
It's how you perceive it,
It's what you do with it, 
Not how you achieve it,
And I can't believe it's a hit!

And, if Sondheim doesn't float your boat, try a little Judy and Barbra...

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