Officially the Princess of the Kingdom of Poison and Flame.
This is so hard to write. I've literally started this post eight times, and deleted it every time, and started over, trying to find the words I want. Words are usually something that I find pretty easy—sometimes too easy, as my tendency to never shut the hell up can testify. Not right now. Right now, the words are very hard. So very hard.
I spent most of this year's WorldCon in a cheerful fugue state, throwing myself into things as hard as I could in order to keep from thinking about the Hugo Awards. Jeanne, Cat, Rob, Liz, Paul, Mondy, Jay, Shannon, John, seriously, thank you so much, because if you hadn't been there, I would probably have spontaneously combusted. As it was, it was occasionally difficult not to ask how people could be so damn calm when the votes were in and there was nothing we could do and why couldn't we just know already?
Sunday, Jeanne, Gretchen, and I descended on Cat's hotel room to get ready for the Hugos. Cat met us at the door, and ordered me to close my eyes. I am a trusting blonde; I closed my eyes. She led me into the main room, and let me open my eyes, to find myself facing a bed covered in tiaras. Covered in tiaras. "Because," she said, "your friends wanted to be sure that no matter what, you went home with a tiara."
I love you so much.
Susan came to do our hair. We put on dresses and makeup and nail polish and smiles, like nothing about the night mattered...and to a degree, right then, it didn't. We sang along to "Firebird's Child" and "Ship Full of Monsters," and the Night Kitchen in Seattle filled with people watching the live feed and sending all their love across the sea. We were together, and the world was full of magic, and we went to the reception and drank free champagne and had people tell us how amazing we looked, and it was amazing. (Cat and I managed, totally accidentally, to acquire dresses in basically the same colors. I felt like I should have brought her a corsage.)
Then we went to the actual award ceremony. Cat and I sat in the second row; Gretchen and Jeanne sat right behind us. The order of the evening was "opening speech, video presentation, First Fandom Award, Big Heart Award, Campbell Award." Jay Lake and John Scalzi presented the Campbell. They took the stage together, and explained the tiara, and read the nominees, and I clutched Cat's hand like the audience was an ocean and I was going to go under. Kathryn Daugherty came out, holding the award, name turned toward her so no one could see it. John opened the envelope.
"And the winner of this year's John W. Campbell Award for best new writer is..."
And they said my name.
And I sat there, because the room was spinning and I could taste sounds and they couldn't mean me. And Cat pushed me to my feet, and everyone was clapping, and I walked to the stage while the Buffy: the Vampire Slayer theme played and the room spun and tears made everything blurry, and I just said "Oh my God" over and over again, because there was nothing else in the whole world that I could say. And Kathryn gave me the plaque, and John and Jay gave me hugs, and they put the tiara on my head, and you guys...oh, you guys...
I am the Princess of the Kingdom of Poison and Flame. I am the 2010 Campbell Award winner. I am the first urban fantasist to win the Campbell Award. Because they said my name.
I will be more coherent soon. I will write about my acceptance speech soon. I will stop gasping a little every time I see the tiara soon. But oh, you guys.