Saturday, March 14, 2015

Awards! Oy!

I used to be a member of a professional writers' organization. I won't mention the acronym. It was started on the best of intentions and supported with great enthusiasm by many talented writers trying to promote the genre. I was an early member, first as an associate, and then as a full professional voting member.

Alas, as with all such endeavors, the best of intentions could not keep the organization from falling into the routine set by so many before it. Even when the club began to suffer the recognizable faults of other such groups I stayed loyal. Backbiting. Political intrigues. Theft of treasury. And other such crimes and misdemeanors. Along with a lot of my fellow writers, I held on.

At last, though, I had my fill. And it wasn't for most of the other problems that one would guess that sent me away. What finally made me turn my back on the organization was the awards ceremony that soon seemed to become its single reason for being. 

I hate those things (awards). Truly, I do. Almost every award I could name are just popularity contests that have nothing to do with quality, but everything to do with the most basic of political scumbaggery. Over the years I would get more and more requests for my vote for such-and-such a work by so-and-so an author. Even in the early days when it wasn't that bad it was still tedious. But with the introduction of the Internet it became completely reprehensible and intolerable.

It was one thing to get a letter in the mailbox now and again begging for a vote. But with the spread of electronic mail the madness went out of control. I would get hundreds of emails with attachments asking me to read works and vote for said works. Writers with no skill and no talent and no vision would bombard me with their begging letters.

One guy in particular carpet bombed my email box with such entreaties. I knew his work and it was, to put it mildly, not very good. No fully professional market would buy his material, but there he was, asking one and all to vote for him so that he could win the award and post the trophy on his shelf or desk or wherever.

He'll never win, I figured.

I figured wrong.

He was a gregarious guy with a lot of close friends in the group, and by Jove, they voted for him. He was popular, but not talented. When I read his crowing missives about winning his fucking little trophy I finally decided that I'd had enough.

I quit the organization. For good, I initially figured, but later I made the mistake of joining up one more time. To my regret. Because once my name was on that membership list again, my emailbox was clogged beyond capacity with...begging letters asking me for my fucking vote.

Never again.

Dear Award Winner: Kiss My Happy Ass.

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