BY LISA MARIE BASILE
How is the conversation around whether we get to celebrate our Pushcart nominations without being labeled giant nerds still happening?
All the petty energies expended on downtalking the nominations or defending your own excitement is better spent, I promise. Like on resistance. Or supporting people. Or writing more. Here’s every reason why you should celebrate, tweet, share, and brag your nomination:
1. Because you did something meaningful with your craft. We get it, already. There's a million people with Pushcart Nominations—so apparently that means they're meaningless, right? Last I checked there were a million lit journals, but it's still cool as fuck to get published in one, no? NO ONE gets to decide what is meaningful or meaningless about someone else's success.
2. Maybe some wonderful Pushcart Nominee somewhere came from a small town where there is no supportive literary scene, and suddenly, because of the Internet, an editor ten states away says, "this is excellent." This person from that small town now feels like they do have support. That they are heard and seen. Why can't they brag that?
3. Maybe some wonderful Pushcart Nominee wrote their heart out in an essay about death. Maybe they experienced grief and—after all the exhaustion and pain subsided, or maybe during it—were able to transmute it into something beautiful. And when they did, an editor thought it worthy of a prize. Why can't they brag that?
4. Maybe some wonderful Pushcart Nominee wrote and rewrote their poem ten times (after it was rejected 15 times), but they believed it in nonetheless. And when they did, an editor thought it worthy of a prize. Why can't they brag that?
5. Maybe some wonderful Pushcart Nominee dealt with insurmountable social injustices all year. Or all their lives. Maybe they're fed the fuck up and feeling isolated. Maybe this nomination means there's a segment of humanity who gets it.
6. Maybe some wonderful Pushcart Nominee wrote something incredible. And incredible work deserves to be nominated for awards. Why can't you brag that?
7. Maybe someone somewhere thinks that not everyone who gets a nominee is "equal" because certain editors or institutions are weighted more heavily in the public's eyes. But maybe that someone somewhere should check themselves; gatekeeping and elitism prevent writers from blossoming.
8. Maybe some wonderful Pushcart Nominee is sitting at their desk in a little dimly-lit space without anyone to talk to about their linebreak. Maybe it's nice when someone recognizes it.
9. Maybe we don't need to call Pushcart nominations little victories. Maybe we don't need to qualify our statuses and updates when we say we got one ("Hi, I know this is kind of lame, but..."). Maybe they're actually big victories? Maybe they're whatever you want it to be.
10. Maybe we should celebrate the fact that other people on this planet see and feel something in our work.
11. *Edited to add: Because an editor somewhere took their time (usually unpaid) to read, edit, share, and support YOUR work! (Thanks to writer Laura Tarasoff for pointing this out!)
12. Maybe, Pushcart nomination detractors, your elitism is boring the fuck out of us. Stop.
Please do celebrate. If you want, list your nominations below in the comment. Let's party!
I'll start: I got two nominations this year. Yay!
Lisa Marie Basile is the founding editor-in-chief and creative director of Luna Luna Magazine. She is also the moderator of its digital community. Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Bustle, entropy, Bust, Hello Giggles, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, greatist, Cosmopolitan and The Huffington Post, among other sites. She is the author of Apocryphal (Noctuary Press), war/lock (Hyacinth Girl Press), Andalucia (The Poetry Society of New York) and Triste (Dancing Girl Press). her book, nympholepsy, was a finalist in the 2017 tarpaulin sky book awards.
Her work can be found in PANK, the Tin House blog, The Nervous Breakdown, The Huffington Post, Best American Poetry, PEN American Center, The Atlas Review, and tarpaulin sky, among others. She has taught or spoken at Brooklyn Brainery, Columbia University, New York University and Emerson College. Lisa Ma