It’s much more fun to win than show or place, but it’s still nice to be nominated. A near miss can teach you a lot, however. I was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize this year and during the interval when I was fairly certain I was in contention I thought a great deal about what it might be like to win. In the journalism world it’s sort of like having the word “Sir” before your name, an honor that follows you no matter whether you deserve it, or live up to its significance. But learning how to accept not getting something you want very much is useful life information too. It focuses you on the things that really matter, the things that are not dependent on the judgments of other people. I’m lucky to do work that I would do whether or not I got paid to do it.
Congratulations to Wesley Morris, of the Boston Globe, who won the prize for Criticism.