You may not have ever heard of them, but I have always wanted an AML Award. I wouldn't mind a Pulitzer or a National Book Award or a Daytime Emmy, but of all the literary/art awards in the world, the one I had most set my sights on was an AML Award. Someday, sometime, I would write a book or something that would capture the AML's attention and net me an award. Someday
And then, to my great surprise, last week I received this email (first paragraph only):
You have been selected for an award by the Association for Mormon Letters for your invaluable work in editing the September 2010 edition of Sunstone : Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues and ... COMICS!
I was terribly excited. I yelled and jumped in the hallway and pumped my first in the air --- things I'm not sure my normally demure self has ever done before.
Is this silly? I don't care. I won an AML Award. I'm such a fan I wrote the Wikipedia page.
I have not received a copy of the full citation yet, nor have I heard back from the artist I sent in my stead to pick up the award. (Last week plane tickets were particularly expensive and, as it ended up, I was in bed sick all weekend anyway.) I have heard back from Master Fob who represented me at the reading that night where he heard, among other things, "how elusive [I] are, that they're beginning to wonder whether [I'm] a real person."
Since I haven't heard back from my proxy acceptor yet, I don't know if he ended up reading my thanks (I told him to do so only if it seemed appropriate), but for the record, here's what I sent him out of my illness-addled mind:
- First, I am terribly horribly genuinely excited to receive an AML Award. I carried a dopey grin on my face for the two days between receiving the email from Mr Clark and getting laid up in bed sleeping sixteen hours a day with a jaw swollen up like a lopsided chipmunk. I told my wife it was better than winning, say, a Pulitzer because with a Pulitzer there would have been some buzz ahead of time so I couldn't possibly be as surprised and thus ecstatic as I am now.
- In addition to thanking AML for recognizing comics as a viable medium and the work of the artists in the Sunstone comics issue, obviously I need to thank Sunstone (and editor Stephen Carter in particular) for giving me the opportunity to anthologize these artists' work. I had been planning a comics anthology for a couple years with idea of publishing it through my press, Peculiar Pages, but I knew that comics are complicated and expensive and I just didn't have the wherewithal to pull it off. But now, with Sunstone's help, that herculean task has been done once. I'm hopeful it can be done again.
- Of course, recognizing the existence of Mormon comics is just a first step. Just as recognizing the existence of Mormon poetry, scholarship, fiction and cinema were first steps. Now we need to grow our production and our audience. This will happen. Comics are burgeoning in the national mainstream and I have every reason to expect Mormon comics will follow. How will it happen? I don't know. I'm just excited to be present at the beginning of this train ride. And I'm grateful for this award, because it makes me believe you're all buying tickets. Let's go get 'em punched and head on down the line.
- Dibs on a window seat.