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The Life-Lifter: A Wronged Writer Chooses Forgiveness
It was every writer’s dream, followed immediately by every writer's nightmare. The phone call: You’ve been nominated for the National Book Award! I imagine my response would be the same as Lauren Myracle’s: “You’re f***ing kidding me!” The best-selling YA author told Vanity Fair that when she watched the live stream of the announcement of the nominees her “heart was so happy.”
Then a few days later, she was told that there had been a mistake. A clerical error. The intended
nominee was not actually her book Shine, but another novel titled Chime.
(As an aside, how on earth does this happen? Does the National Book Foundation
communicate via tin can?) She said she “felt gutted. I felt embarrassed, and
ashamed that I had the gall to believe that this book was worthy.”
In the end, Myracle stepped down herself rather than forcing
the National Book Foundation to revoke the nomination. It was an undoubtedly
classy move, and letting go of
anger and hurt with such an open spirit sets a good example
for the kids reading Myracle’s work (and the rest of us). As she put it, “I guess I would have to say, just like any bad breakup or any
awful thing you go through, if I could go back and have it not happen, I would
have it not happen. But some really good things have come of it.”
Actually, she's the one who made sure that some good came of the whole debacle. Since her book is about a violent hate crime against a gay youth, Myracle asked the National Book Foundation to make a donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. She described this as "the one unsullied good thing that’s come out of this for me. And that’s more tangible good than a shiny gold sticker any day.” Doesn’t that give you chills? I’m trying really hard here not to make a terrible “myracle” pun, but this lady’s generosity of spirit seems like a bit of a...okay, fine, miracle.
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