It is T-minus-10 days until the Mslexia Novel Competition winner is announced. Having been shortlisted, I now swing wildly between hoping I might win and knowing full-well that I won’t. Having never entered a competition like this before, I can only assume that these feelings are normal; they are, nevertheless, both a delight to me, and a small thorn in my family’s side.
My splendid daughter and I were poring over dance gear on the computer the other night when I said, “Do you know what?”
She said, “Yeah, Mum, you got shortlisted for the Mslexia. We know.”
Clearly I’ve mentioned it at least once too often for her.
My excitement is not confined to my waking hours, either. Last night, I dreamt that I met Jenni Murray and made a speech; not that I haven’t dreamt the former many, many times. I bloody love Jenni Murray! She’d be my favourite cousin, in the same way that Claire Rayner would have been my favourite aunt. I woke up with a smile on my face, and a faint sense that I was being utterly ridiculous.
I feel an odd sorority with the eleven other women writers that were listed, because I can’t help thinking that they must feel as emotional about this as I do. I don’t know who they are, or where they are. I don’t know how old they are, what colour, creed or class. I have no idea what their shortlisted novels are about. I hope, one day, that I will know all of these things. I hope, one day, to kiss them on the cheek, or on both cheeks, if they prefer, and sit down with them to discuss just what this feels like.
If you happen to be one of those women, come and join me for a chat and a coffee, or a glass of something. You’d be very welcome, especially to my splendid daughter, who could then slope off and ignore me for an hour or two.