Those who witnessed my speechless reaction Saturday night knew I never saw it coming when Mark Stevens announced my name as the Jasmine Award recipient for 2012. In the shock of the moment, I found it difficult to think much less express my thoughts to a crowded banquet hall that had erupted in boisterous applause. Worse, I’d just come down off the high and adrenaline overload of conducting the Colorado Gold Writing Contest Awards when this unexpected rush of emotion lambasted me. I kept thinking, “Me? What did I do to deserve a Jasmine?” Now that I’ve had time to regroup, the answer is obvious. I simply volunteered.
Anyone can do it.
I recall how I’d started off small, helping out at conference: the bookstore, driving editors and agents to and from the airport, and moderating panels. Soon, volunteering became a lot like saving money. The more I saved, the more I wanted to save.
I volunteered to run a critique group. I volunteered to judge the contest. Eight years later, Susan and Jeanne asked me to take over the contest. I agreed, became a board member, and falling back on my 36 years of experience running my own company, I decided to upgrade the Colorado Gold to all electronic. The board backed me. RMFW entered the 21st Century.
And then came the website. I had plenty of complaints about how it didn’t work. Worse, I had no idea how to make it work. Mark and the board challenged me to fix what I could and work with our webmasters to fix what I couldn’t. I became their website liaison, and due to our efforts, not just mine, the website has never been in better shape.
And I can’t forget about Chiseled in Rock. I blog here most every Thursday. I design the monthly mazagine cover (spelled mazagine deliberately) to highlight upcoming blogs. Gusto Dave should be flogged for challenging me to participate, but I do it because I belong here.
So now looking back fifteen years, I see how my love for and dedication to RMFW went unnoticed only by me, not my fellow board members, not my fellow writers and friends. The standing ovation from my peers proved that while I was doing my thing, you were taking notice, just like we’ve always done throughout the years. We appreciate each other’s service, to wit, the Gold Nugget Awards and the long list of Jasmine Award recipients, to which my name has been added, humbly and thankfully.
RMFW is dependent on its member volunteers to take care of the business of supporting writers, honing skills, and bolstering careers. So volunteer. Get involved. Give back. Your service, sacrifices, and commitment will not go unnoticed, unrewarded, or unappreciated. This I know, for I have lived it and never saw it coming.