Thursday, January 12, 2006

judging my judgement

So, today I was sent a gentle reminder that I have to send in my short list for the Golden Kite Awards. I think agreeing to be a judge was not one of my better decisions. Not only are we tripping over boxes of books, I am starting to feel uncomfortable in my position as judge. I've never won a big award, so I am well used to the envious, self-doubting feeling of the unchosen. That feeling of, "Gee, I wish my book was good enough to get chosen" mixed with, "They chose that?" Then, the panic of "If that book is so amazing and I didn't like it, maybe there is something wrong with me. I'm getting out of touch, I don't know what makes a good book anymore..."

So, after going through these annual feelings, it is strange to be on the other end. Now I am one of those cruel, unfeeling judges that just didn't see the genius.

During my school visits, I impress upon the students that every single one of the books in their library and classrooms has taken at least one year to make. So I do consider the fact that each book I judge is the culmination of a fellow artist's journey to publication. Each book, whether I like it or not, is someone's dream. Having been on the other side, I know the crushing, discouraging feeling of being cast aside. It's hard to realize that I may now be doing that to others.

And because of this, a part of me doesn't want to shortlist books that have already won awards and acclaim. I want to discover the unknown gems that I know are out there, that have not yet been shone in the light. But then, that seems like I am punishing those books that have won accolades. Ah, the conundrum!

Perhaps others don't care as much as all this and, as well as doing some over-dramatic projection, I am simply over-analyzing. It's the Golden Kite, not the Caldecott. But isn't it better to err on the side of hyperbole, if only to soothe my personal doubts?

I'll just pick the books I like. It's quite easy, if I didn't make it so difficult.


Blogger Courtney said...

Hi Grace,

I found your site and blog through Dantat. Great site and your blog is honest and funny. (a difficult combination) I just wanted to say that you sound like the type of judge every wanna-be illustrator/writer hopes to find. So, go with your gut and don't sweat it. ;)

2:14 PM  

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