Phew! We’re home! The first hour and a half of the trip was good; then the babies started crying, and crying hard. Eventually we pulled off the highway so I could nurse them, and they calmed down. As soon as we got rolling again, they started scream-crying again. But Ted soothed and shushed and eventually they both fell asleep.
I am glad that I went to the conference with Ted and the kids, because that way I could nurse them at night and in the morning. We’re not ready for a longer separation than that. But this was a significant step: on Friday they didn’t see me for eleven hours, and on Saturday it was ten. That’s definitely the longest we’ve been apart from each other yet. They really did fabulously. All three were incredibly wonderful travelers. As usual, they charmed people wherever they went. They were calm and happy in the restaurant, at parks, at the museum, at the bookstore, and at my aunt and uncle’s house.
I am also very glad that I went to the conference. Today I had my first manuscript consultation. This one was with an agent. It was a very positive experience. I came away with a few nuggets I’ll keep in my mental treasure chest to take out and examine as I continue working on my project. Those include the following: I am working on an interesting story which is worthy of further development; my main character has a history and personality that can help drive a compelling narrative arc; I do have the creative ability to write and write well; I can take all the time I need to complete this project as it is more important to do it as well as I can than to do it quickly. I am, nonetheless, going to make a real effort to find at least one more day a week on which to write. I’d like to do more of it.
One of the last things that was said at the very end of the conference was a piece of advice to us all to acknowledge where we are and what we’ve done. At dinner, my aunt also pointed out that I shouldn’t forget to give myself credit for this blog. And that’s important. A few years ago I’d have been beyond surprised to be told that by this time I’d have completed a program in writing fiction for children, attended three professional conferences, had over 30,000 words written of a first-draft YA (young adult) manuscript, and published over 200 blog posts. I am very glad to have taken these steps along a road about which I have always been curious. It is both more possible and more challenging than I had ever imagined. But there are rewards I had never imagined either.