The Unknown: The Red Line.

When the Anthology won the National Book Award, it was no big deal for us really.

The Whitney did give us a certain satisfaction, admittedly.

Of course, the Lannan was great, not that we needed the money, but it felt good.

When the MacArthur people finally came through, and declared our writing group one collective genius, we were dimly aware that we had made it, but we were preoccupied at that time with the production of the Unknown movie.

And Dirk made a good poet laureate, I have to say.

And, needless to say, we would never turn down another Pulitzer.

We barely had time to squeeze in the ceremony for the Nobel Prize, but the banquet was really quite good.

We got drunk with the Aer Lingus people. We tried to explain to them that we weren’t Irish, but they took it with a laugh, saying that we clearly were the inheritors of Joyce. I wasn’t sure I agreed, but I drowned my skepticism in Guinness.

They gave us some recognition in France: it was the Prix-de-something or the Couer-de-something. Rod Coover gave us some obscure Beaujolais Nouveau.

We felt bad about that Academy of American Poets prize that was supposed to be for an unpublished writer. We got around the requirements by publishing exclusively in pixels of light. Which was not, at the time, considered publishing.

I may have been the only one of us who felt that I was unpublished. Given what I consider publishing to be. A conception, I confess, intrinsically tied to pulp and ink. I confess.

The Linux people gave us a cool award for our “open-source” novel: we got a giant stuffed penguin. Linus Torvald presented it, and then took us out drinking. He insisted on only drinking in establishments where he knew how to “program” free beer, but, despite all the walking, we enjoyed it.

Bill Gates bought us a round of icewater and tried to convince us that he was just like us. That was nice.

There’s nothing like the Guggenheim.

And the Booker prize was a true surprise, we didn’t see that one coming.

Frankly, I could give or take the Oscar (Best Supporting Author), but it does make a classy paperweight.

But we weren’t sure what to make of the Newberry and the Caldecott. We thought maybe that was some kind of joke.


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