This afternoon, my husband and I are setting off on a five-hour road trip to Somerset, New Jersey, to attend a Catholic Writers Guild conference. I'm excited for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I actually lived in Somerset when I was a sprout, from 1960 to 1965 (age 2 to 7), and I haven't been back since.
This is me in Somerset in 1961, standing in front of our house (with my two brothers and my mom, who's pregnant with one of my soon-to-be sisters, in the background).
I wasn't originally planning to attend the CWG conference, preferring to stay home with our youngest son (who's been gone most of the summer and will be leaving in a week to start his junior year at Notre Dame) and our second oldest son (who is moving back home for a year and whose things are still mostly in boxes). Plus, even though Finding Grace has been in print for a year now and I guess that means I should consider myself a real author, I thought I'd feel rather silly and out-of-place at an affair filled with all kinds of well-known and successful professional writers. But then an author e-friend of mine, Ellen Gable Hrkach (who is the president of the CWG, and like me is the mother of five sons!), urged me to attend it, along with my boys and my ever-supportive husband; so I went on-line and registered. It wasn't until after I'd decided to go that I was notified that my novel had been chosen as a finalist for a CALA (Catholic Arts & Letters Award), and that the winner would be announced at the conference at a breakfast on Thursday. So. Win or lose, my husband and I will be there for that. And I'll get to meet some people with whom I've only had the pleasure of talking on-line. It would be wonderful to have e-friends become actual friends! I'll also have my first book signing, for an hour on Wednesday. (Yikes! Gulp. My hands feel sweaty. Etc.)
Oh, and guess what? Today is our 40th anniversary. My husband and I have only been married for 32 and 1/2 years, but today is the 40th anniversary of "Will you go with me?" This is one of the most important dates in my life--because if it had never happened and I hadn't ended up with the best guy on the planet, I don't know where I'd be today. But I'll tell you where I wouldn't be: in a car on my way to my old stomping grounds in NJ. Because without my husband's undying faith in me, his support, encouragement, and love, that book I always dreamed I'd write never would have gotten written in the first place.