Friends have been asking if I’m going to Mississauga. They saw the local newspaper article about my work being in the running for the 2018 Word Awards to be presented there on June 15.
What they may not know is what happened a year ago, when my first novel, The Silver Suitcase, was in the running. To go or not to go, that was the question. It was exciting to entertain the idea of donning my first-ever evening gown and hobnobbing with authors and publishers, maybe even receiving an award. But how silly is it to buy a plane ticket for Toronto for just one evening, when you don’t know whether you’ve won? My mind torn, I could see four possibilities:
1. I would not go, and I would not win. (In which case, I’d be glad I didn’t go.)
2. I would not go, and I would win. (In which case, I’d be bummed I didn’t go.)
3. I would go and not win. (In which case, I’d be bummed I went.)
4. I would go and win. (But I’d be there without any of my loved ones to share the big moment, lonely, and a bit bummed.)
It became obvious that only one of these scenarios resulted in my not being bummed: the first one. So I stayed home and weeded my garden. Deep down, I think I secretly hoped my fairy godmother would appear at the last minute, transform me into a princess, and sweep me off to the gala in a magical coach.
She did not materialize.
By the time I learned my book had indeed won the historical fiction prize, the gala-goers were home in their jammies and I was showering off garden dirt, mosquito repellent, and Cinderella dreams. The win seemed as fictionalized as my book until weeks later when a package arrived in the mail containing a certificate, a check, and a heavy glass award. (No, it’s not slipper-shaped.)
That’s when I made a decision. By then, I knew I’d have two books eligible for this year’s contest. I would enter them both, and if either book made the short-list of finalists, I’d attend the gala no matter what.
In January, I entered Maggie’s War and Bleak Landing, along with a short play in the Scripts category, and two of last fall’s newspaper columns in the Column Series category.
On May 9, The Word Guild released its short-list. My column made it, along with two other contenders. In the Historical Fiction category, only two books made the final round. I wrote both of them.
What can I say, it’s a small pool? I’ll never know how many other books competed, since each entry must score 80% or higher to make the short-list. But now my two books are competing against each other. Like any parent, I hope they’ll be good little children, that the winner will behave graciously, and the runner-up won’t pout.
So yes, I am going to Mississauga! But that’s not the best part. My precious daughter, whom I see only a couple of times a year, is flying there from Calgary to attend the gala with me. It’s the best-case scenario of all! Even if they tell me it was all a gigantic mistake and the only award for me is in the Ugly Stepsister category, I will still be anything but bummed.
Who needs a fairy godmother? I've got a very real GOD, a loving Father, who makes all things possible!