It was a gold and silver night for ELLE Canada at the annual National Magazine Awards dinner in Toronto yesterday. A big congrats to JJ Lee, who won a gold medal in the Best Short Feature category for his story about the first time he told a woman she was beautiful. Jessica Grant garnered a silver in the Humour category for her playful and magical tale about how she—along with her daddy-long-legs friend—survived Hurricane Igor. Props to other nominees Elizabeth Hay and Tabatha Southey, as well as Denis Desro for his gorgeous floral fashion editorial. When JJ and I first talked about his assignment, he told me he had two goals: (1) to make ELLE Canada readers cry and (2) to be nominated for a National Magazine Award, as Heather O’Neill had done with her ELLE First story the year before. (FYI, Heather won in the same category!) JJ delivered on both counts—with the added bonus of winning. A writing hat trick! When I read his first draft—it did bring a tear to my eye—it also left me wondering how JJ’s wife had felt reading about her husband’s early love and infatuation with Wallace. When we next chatted, I asked JJ how she felt about it. There was a pause on the line…then he nervously laughed and blurted out: “Yes—we had quite an argument about it! She said she couldn’t believe that I was still thinking about Wallace!” But, as we both agreed, no one forgets a first love. The imprint on our hearts is inescapable. I’m happy to say that JJ and his wife made up, but, as I mentioned at the awards dinner last night in Toronto at the Carlu, JJ should spend his winnings wining and dining his beautiful wife.
So, who’s Wallace and why does she have this hold on JJ? Have a read for yourself. Warning: If you’ve never received such a paean from a former beau, it may leave you feeling a little jealous.
For a whimsical chuckle, take the time to read Jessica’s hurricane-survival diary. She combines humour and zany plot twists with insightful commentary on how we can lose power but remain powerful.