A few days ago, I attended an awards ceremony for a poetry competition. This was at a very small, private organization and the competition was in-house only. But from the beaming pride on the faces of the winner and two runner’s up, it might as well have been the Pulitzers. I know we’re supposed to write first of all for ourselves, but nothing, I say NOTHING, beats recognition from others, whether judges, editors, friends, or strangers, in validating what we do. It can be recognition and appreciation for our actual published work, the fact that we actually submitted something, or merely an acknowledgement of the huge effort we put in to our dream and the sacrifices we make. We would do it anyway, of course. Yes, I’ll never forget the boost I got a few months ago. I had attended at Sisters In Crime meeting and run into an old friend. He asked me about my work. After filling him in, I remarked on how much better he had made me feel. He said simply, “That’s because someone is paying attention.” It’s hard sometimes for non-writers to have any idea of what we do. So I take my figurative hugs and pats on the back where I can. I cling to them and treasure them. To all those, whether fellow writers or not, who keep providing them for me, thank you, thank you, thank you.