I’m thrilled to finally spill a secret I’ve been keeping for months: I was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award! (And I’m thrilled to see some friends on the list, too. Congratulations to everyone!)
This feels really big for me. Big because while I’ve published more and more pieces & stories recently, I don’t (yet) have a book out; big because the award is for creative nonfiction, rather than fiction, which means that as I’ve ventured into writing my own stories, my work is being appreciated, and seen.
So many people I know (& love) work and work and still feel invisible. Feel like it’s pointless. Publishing can be fickle and hard and depressing, and the importance of recognition is huge, yet it can be so rare, and can feel like it’s never going to happen. (There’s a great book called Necessary Dreams, by Anna Fels, that deals with the importance of recognition, for women especially.)
Years ago, I wrote about seeing and being seen, its importance to humanity. I think about this a lot…when I talk to people, when I feel how busy everyone seems to be, often too busy to really connect (myself included). When I hear how invisible people feel. How broken we are. How part of the mending is to stop and see each other. Sometimes being seen takes the form of Big & Public (like an award), but sometimes it’s simply looking someone in the eye, with intention: I see you. You are not invisible.