Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thoughts: On Awards

I was just granted the Honest Scrap award by Fence Postings. I am not sure what to do with it. This is not a problem I have with her or the award, but it simply brings up an issue that bounces in my head from time to time when one of these hits.

On the one hand, I am generally very honored when I get one. It means something I have written touches someone enough that they think my words are noteworthy. What could be more of an honor than having my own little inspirations touch someone else. That's why people publish things (at least this person), in order to touch people in some way. When someone elaborates on why I in particular got the award, or shares a sensitivity in particular with my writing or with me, then I am particularly touched and honored by it.

But there is a part of me too, that has a hard time saying so. I was raised to work hard and try to do well and then, when someone notices, I get all "gee shucks" and bashful about it. Is it bragging to show the awards? Or is it in appreciation and gratitude? I go back and forth.

There was a time when I had a whole wall in my office full of framed awards. I had/have a bunch of them from all over. In time though, it felt like bragging. Anonymous people I didn't know decided I deserved a plaque or a title. I was honored, but still... Today, I just have my diplomas up on my office wall, because they symbolized something I worked for, for me, and achieved. Awards....

But on the other hand. I work at my writing. I want it to be good. I work at my photographs. I want them to be good. I write to get things out of me that I can't say well in ordinary life. And I publish them because I think there are others who have trouble saying the same things in ordinary life and hope perhaps my words will also touch people in their lives. (For the most part, after all, poets don't get rich and famous.)

So I go back and forth. Back and forth. And as you can see, I don't have any displayed at this point. But I am thinking I may change. Because someone cared enough to award them, connected enough with my words to award them, and showing the award might be a way to honor them and their feelings and thoughts.

So..... you can see I am a little conflicted on this. Any thoughts from my readers? I know some of you show awards, and some don't. I'd like to know your thoughts. And to Fence Postings... Thank you, I am honored and appreciate your kind, kind words.


PS, the picture is of the Mill Mountain Star in Roanoke, Virginia. My son and I were up there taking in the fall colors a couple of weeks ago. You can click on it for a larger view.

PPS - I'd urge you to go see Fence Postings listing of other inspirational blogs that she gave the award to. There is some good reading there!


willow said...

When I started blogging in 2008, I was very flattered to receive my first award from a fellow blogger and proudly displayed it on my sidebar, and dutifully passed it on to the specified 8 or 10 bloggers. But, during the course of the year, it got to be too much; half my blogging time was spent awarding and posting. I had to make the difficult decision to not participate in the award process. I am, however, still very honored every time an award is passed my way. I consider my readers' comments my reward.

Tom Atkins said...

Certainly a good thought. I am flattered myself, but might some of the people I send something to find it a burden to do that passing on thing? I know I struggle with that too.

Tom Atkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fencepostings said...

Ironically, I had and still have the same conflicting thoughts about these awards too. In some respects, it feels very much like a chain letter type of thing, which I typically delete.
The doubting side of me sees a "blogging award" and assumes that the poor person must have run out of people to tag/name (bless their hearts!)

This time my reaction was different because it was from someone who comments often (and therefore must read it occasionally) and it didn't have a "badge" to post on the site...which is good, since I have yet to figure out how to do that anyway! :)

The other side of the coin is that I loathe sending it to other people (making the "rules" a moot point) because I don't want to burden someone else with the tagging process, no matter HOW much I love their work! Particularly when its not a personal friend, but a relative stranger whose work I sincerely DO appreciate and integrate into my life (such as yourself).

You DO inspire and encourage me with both your words and your pictures. Please don't allow the burden of the "rules" to dim the glow of satisfaction that any artist feels when their work touches another.
Seriously. That would just be silly! :)

Derrick said...

Hi Tom,

I have a short string of awards displayed on my blog and was pleased and proud to get them. I have passed some of them on (rarely to the specified number) and others I have not; but never with any obligation for the recipient, so I don't worry about the rules!

I have noticed that some folks keep their awards all together in a separate place; others have a statement identifying their blog as an award-free zone. All of which adds up to each person doing what they feel most comfortable with. You have said thank you. That's the most important part.

FireLight said...

I have learned this of you:
You think deeply, reflect deeply, care deeply, love deeply, pray completely, and hence live completely! It seems to me the very fact that you have wrestled with the issue tells each of us that we really matter to you!
And Tom, you matter to us! Don't stress....just keep writing and taking your photos and sharing them here!