I was disappointed to discover yesterday that at the turning point of heading into middle age (yes, dear readers, I am to turn 35 this year in November) I am too young to enter the CAL Scribe Fiction Prize. Designed for authors over 35, entrants must be 35 by the closing date of the competition (15 September 2010), and that means ... not me.
Now, usually, I'd be delighted to be told I'm too young for anything. I'm the kind of girl who coos proudly when I get "carded" at a nightclub (an event which happens all too infrequently now, mostly because I'm more likely to be found in a library than a club). Parts of me feel positively ancient at times (particularly the grey matter this morning after a Friday night that was derailed by several glasses of white wine and a lot of research into creating ePub documents). But the Scribe Fiction Prize is a different matter.
You see, the dirty thirties (as people often colloquially call them — probably because we 30+ writers are reluctant to sacrifice our writing time to shower, eat, sleep or do anything else that might be considered "dirty", rather than for any other reason) are an interesting time of life. While awards and competitions abound for young writers, once most writers reach 25 they are expected to be able to make it alone.
Forget that writing's few "Cinderella" stories, such as JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer, happened when success knocked at those 30-something writers' doors, by the time you're 35 your dreams of world publishing domination must have come to fruition, right, or been abandoned to the dusty drawer of forgotten dreams ... or not. The CAL Scribe Fiction Prize throws open a window of hope to late starters, mothers, fathers, weary office workers with a dream of something more creative, basically any of us oldies who have several characters inside just screaming to break out. And, because I'm too young, I'm urging all of you who aren't to enter.
Get writing fellow "oldies" and bring your maturity, wisdom (or grumpy middle-aged malaise) to the world. You can download an entry form here.