Did you hear about my friend Mark Fiore (he's the one who got Dengue Fever at my birthday party)? He won the Pulitzer Prize last week. The Pulitzer Prize, people! That's, like, the most colossal and public pat on the back a journalist can get.
I did the voice for this one. It earned him death threats!
I have dealt with my pride and excitement by working the information into as many conversations as possible. I run into a parent preparing snacks in the preschool kitchen and say something like, "Man am I tired; it must be because my really good friend Mark Fiore just won the Pulitzer Prize." I'm out to dinner with some work friends talking about learning to make Chinese dumplings and I say, "That reminds me of my really good friend Mark Fiore, who just won the Pulitzer Prize." An acquaintance mentions she just got back from New York and I say, "Oh, my really good friend Mark Fiore will be going to New York to accept the Pulitzer Prize he just won."
Ahem, I did the voice for this one too
But seriously, I am really proud of him. I tried to make a toast at a party in his honor earlier this week but because of my weeping problem (it prohibits all public toast-making and reading of poetry), I couldn't do it. What I wanted to say was this: I am proud and happy for him not because the Pulitzer is a big deal, super-prestigious prize, but because he was justly rewarded for following his passions.
I got a book when I graduated from college called Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow. This, of course, is the kind of soft-minded pap that makes me dislike Oprah (I jumped off her bandwagon around the time of The Secret). But the first part of the title, the part about doing what you love, has some merit. Mark Fiore has done what he loves, regardless of whether the money was following or taking a totally different route. He worked hard, super hard, at doing it well. He invented a form (the online political animation) and he found success. It's positively inspirational.
Mark helped us build our chicken coop. What a stand up guy.
I was waxing thusly to my dad the other day when he reminded me that talent plus hard work does not always result in success. Lots of people do what they love and find neither money nor notoriety. Lots of good, smart people toil away at what they love in anonymity. My dad, by the way, is perhaps the least sentimental person on the planet. He's also right.
But this doesn't mean I can't get a little lift from Mark's reward. Just because in the end very few of us will win venerated awards, doesn't mean we shouldn't try to remember to pay attention to what moves us, to work hard, to practice discipline, to ignore the bullshit, and to follow what we love. That could be pretty rewarding too.
Congratulations, Mark! Woot! Woot!