Withdrawing from the SCKoAs

Posted 28th July 2022 by Sia in Blogathons, State of the Sia / 0 Comments

I’m not sure how many regular readers of this blog were invested in my taking part in the Subjective Chaos Kind-of Awards this year, but: I have officially withdrawn as a judge.

Not because of any problems! There was no drama; all my fellow judges were pretty awesome. I absolutely loved getting to have really thoughtful (and sometimes hilarious) conversations about the books we were reading; I love talking literary critique and dissecting different aspects of a story or writing style, and that’s the kind of conversation I don’t get to have very often. (You can see it in my reviews, sometimes, but I don’t always have the energy to write out all my Thinky Thoughts for the internet void.)

No, the issue was…I am an outlier and should not be counted.

What I mean by that is: my reading preferences did not (imo) gel very well with everyone else’s. I remember right at the beginning, seeing the nominations coming in and feeling anxious and nervous because very few of them were books I was interested in; many were books I’d tried and DNF-ed. But that was sort of the point – reading outside of your comfort zone, your own personal echo-chamber – and everyone was so kind when I expressed those nerves, and I was still seriously flattered at being invited to take part.

So I stayed, and I don’t regret it – like I said, interacting with the rest of the group? A++ awesome.

But the thought of withdrawing was building for months before Round One of voting (this past weekend). Reading the nominees was a necessary evil, a chore I resented more and more. I did not like these books. It’s – kind of that simple. I didn’t align with the tastes of the group. I knew way before the vote that none of my nominees were going to get through – and I want to be clear that I didn’t sulk about that. This is not a middle finger to the SCKoAs or this year’s judges. It’s just…

I’m an extra-special snowflake, I guess. I like very particular stuff, and it really doesn’t matter how much I want to like what everyone else likes: I simply don’t, 99 times out of 100.

It’s pretty lonely.

So there was nothing for me to contribute, really. I didn’t want to be the one standing in a corner going ‘thanks, I hate it’ for every nominee that wasn’t mine. What a miserable downer that would be for all involved! And like I said earlier – I was an outlier. There was no reason to count me, my tastes, or my votes, when they were so drastically different from everyone else’s.

Does that make sense? I don’t know if I’m explaining it well, but I also don’t want to go in circles and keep repeating the same points.

So yeah. C’est la vie. I’m a little sad, because I hoped I’d found a group that loved the same kind of books I do, and that’s not what happened. I’m glad to have bowed out after Round One – everything in me says that was the right decision for me. But I still got to meet some very cool people, and have some really epic conversations, so I’m not sorry I accepted the invite.

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