Saturday was the July quarterly meeting of GPS–it was actually a very good day over all. I got to meet and talk with Tammy Foster Brewer, whom I know from Facebook and whom I’ve asked to read on the Java Monkey stage at the Decatur Book Festival, and Robert Lee Brewer of Writer’s Market and Poetic Asides blog fame. Tammy was warm and charming, just like her online persona, but I found Robert surprisingly shy, considering all the famous people he’s talked to and his very gregarious/ ubiquitous presence online, though he was also very nice. I really enjoyed talking to them, and I liked hearing them both read.
It wasn’t as long-seeming a meeting as it usually is; maybe for me, I was just engrossed and glad to be away from the meh-ness that is my life. On the other hand, I am pretty pissed off about about the rampant jealousy being demonstrated by several people I thought were nice. Oh, they’ve played it off as if they’re just “teasing,” but when you hear variations on the same theme from twelve people over the course of two meetings, it stops being funny and starts smacking of unkind pettiness. And I don’t think I’m being oversensitive or paranoid–I think several people are being ugly.
First of all, let me preface this by saying, if I come across as bragging or “I’m so much better than them,” that’s not my intention at all. I respect and like the people in GPS a lot, and I never, ever, EVER believe people have any reason to be jealous of my writing, because that’s just not how I think. That said, when I entered the 2009 contests, OF COURSE I hoped I would win, and, as a member in good standing, I have every right to enter. So, I sent in my poems last October, and they sent notices in early January–and I won a First prize, two Second prizes, and an Honorable Mention. Well, I was elated, in my quiet-I-don’t-ever-say-anything kind of way. So when they announced the winners at the January meeting, I was barraged with congratulations… and then the muttering, snotty comments started, the first of which was (and this is a direct quote): “I don’t think anyone should be allowed to place in more than one contest. It’s not fair.”
This was from someone who himself placed in one of the contests, and Someone Who Should Know Better. Let me point out, that are 6 or 7 annual contests, and there are no rules that say a person can only enter one of those contests (which would of course prevent her from placing in more than one contest if she won). And the comments continued from lots of different people. Here’s a sampling:
- “You should let other people have a chance!”
- “Wow, that’s really great that you won, but leave some prizes for the rest of us!”
- “I got tired of hearing them announce you as a winner. (Ha ha.)”
- “I was sick of seeing your name!”
- “I wish I was as …lucky… as you are!”
The editor of GPS’s journal did say some genuinely complimentary words to me (and, to be fair, there were a few others), and I was grateful… but she too commented about the quantity of poems that I’d won for (not in a mean way, though), and I mentioned to her that I was thinking of not participating at all in the 2010 contests, and she said that she’d noticed I hadn’t submitted any poems for publication to the Member Section, and she had wondered why. Truthfully, I was afraid I might submit a poem that could wind up winning one of the Awards for Excellence, and the very last thing I wanted to do was open myself up to more back-handed compliments and complaints.
I’m still pretty seriously considering not submitting poems to the 2010 contests. You know, maybe I really do need to give everyone else a chance. I really wasn’t trying to make a sweep last year… but fair is fair, right?
We’ll see though. I can always use the money (if I win).