Congratulations of the most high go to my old friend Ted Worozbyt for his amazingly good news Friday. It's probably the kind that can't be announced yet but let's just say the manuscript for his second book won a really big contest. Which is all the sweeter for the years he spent sending manuscripts out, very literally hundreds of times. And then, boom, his first book, The Dauber Wings, was picked up. And now in short order follows this second, even better, moment. Good for him. It's instructive. Things do turn around.
And congratulations, too, to Dan Albergotti whose manuscript The Boatloads won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. Dan and I, like Ted, have Tuscaloosa ties, though Dan and I were there at different times. He was kind enough to accept some poems while serving as poetry editor of The Greensboro Review.
I've said this before and it remains true: the success of friends means far more to me than my own (though I have to admit the call for Notes was pretty awesome). Back in the summer of 2002, my first book had already been accepted for a couple of months. I was living in Tutweiler dorms in Tuscaloosa, in truly shitty (there is no better word) conditions; I'd had to move out of my only marginally better apartment for the summer due to renovations. I was the only person living in this fifteen or twenty story building. My room was shoebox shaped, maybe five feet across, and filthy. I don't think it had been cleaned in years. Not good times. And yet the phone rang one morning, early, and it was Eliot. He'd won the Cleveland State Press prize. I felt a little light headed and did all that day. We met at the campus Starbucks later and I'm sure we celebrated with dinner that night. We usually went out to dinner, the four of us, for every good thing, an acceptance, whatever. In Tuscaloosa, it was a kind of survival strategy.
Anyway, congratulations to both Ted and Dan. And all of you.