Winning Is Fun

Feb 26

Marc with Oscar

Speaking as someone who’s been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, American Book Award, Humanitas Prize and actually won a TV set from Bozo when I was seven (in addition to winning the Saturn and Rondo Awards last year), I’ve gotta tell you — winning is fun.

Writing is an isolated pursuit, and it’s always gratifying when people notice you’ve actually been accomplishing something.  And to attend an event with a roomful of folks whose work you’ve admired for years and be able to get up and make a speech in front of them and take home a shiny blunt object… well, it’s a thrill.

(Of course, there are those moments that take you down a peg — such as when I took my Saturn Award to a restaurant the day after I won and the waitress asked me if I’d won it for selling cars…)

And so of course I’ll be watching the Oscars tonight with a group of friends, as entrhalled as I have been since watching it as a kid, back when Bob Hope was the host.

Would I like an Oscar for my mantle?  Of course, and an Emmy too, not to mention a Nobel Prize (they give money for that one).

But at the end of the day, the real prize — the one I most value, and I say this in all honesty — is just being able to sit down and write, to create something I love and believe, to share it with the world, to collaborate with my talented friends who can act and direct and produce and design sets and props and costumes and generate effects shots.  I wouldn’t trade any of that, not one minute, for any award, no matter how sparkly.  The work is the reward, really and truly (at least, on a good day).

Oh, and here’s the scoop on my winning a TV set from Bozo.  I was lying on my stomach drawing, the TV on behind me, not really listening to it.  Suddenly, I looked up and said, “Mommy, I think Bozo said my name.”  My mom called the station and asked to speak to Bozo (which is pretty funny in itself).  It turned out I’d dropped a contest entry slip in a box at the supermarket and Bozo had just pulled my name!

We were poor then and my mom (a struggling single parent) said, “If we have to pay anything, we can’t take it.”  She called her boyfriend Vince — we didn’t have a car at that point — and we drove off to KTLA… where they gave us a 19-inch Admiral black-and-white set without our having to pay a penny.

The next week, Bozo drew my name again.  That time I won five gallons of ice cream.   My friends and I ate the ice cream pretty quickly.  But I had the TV for decades.

As for the photo of me with the Oscar, a while back I was visiting my friend Ray Bradbury.  I knew he’d won an Emmy, for THE HALLOWEEN TREE, but I noticed an Oscar in his room.

“Where’d you get that?” I asked.

“Oh, a neighbor gave it to me,” he replied blithely.

Which I guess returns me to my original point:  awards are nice, but friends are what really count.


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