I can't fucking believe it. i won the sparks prize. i really did, i won it. i keep telling myself this over and over again cuz i don't really believe it. for those of you not at notre dame, the sparks prize is a competition open to 2nd year MFA students in notre dame's creative writing program and the winner gets 20k and has no committments except one public reading of his bip (book-in-progress) in january. it's the sweetest deal ever and i never thought i'd really win it cuz it's so unpredictable.
Unofficially, i'm planning on moving back to chicago, and coming down for some of the Lula readings, some of the guest fiction readings, and some of the football games. i most def. want to have a stronger presence on campus than the past 2 winners--no disrespect to them at all. and i think chicago is a perfect compromise: it's close enough for me to still be part of notre dame but far enough that i get breathe in urban culture, eat thai food more often, and--imagine this--possibly date again.
Perhaps even cooler than this prize, is just the love and encouragement from my fellow writers and friends. when coleen called me, i thought i was having an out-of-body experience. no, for real. i think i almost stepped out of my body i was so stoked. coleen's excitement was so touching, i almost started crying right there. and then when some of my peeps wrote me, and told me "jackson, you deserve this," god man, that moved me so much, that almost meant more than anything else. i mean, if they approve of the prize in any way, then i feel like, hey, maybe i do deserve this as much as anyone else.
Today is the antithesis of yesterday: yesterday, it was 73, i was wearing a t-shirt, and i found out the JET program rejected me. today, i was wearing my winter coat, it was 37 degrees, and i found out i won the sparks prize--the complete reciprocal image of yesterday in every possible way. wednesday has always been the day of change for me, a period of transition between energy fields. but i enver expected it to work out THIS way. not in a million years. a humdulilah.