I began my workday at my day job the same way I began most days: by checking my e-mail to see what’d happened since I left the office the night before. But when I read a message from Elizabeth Hastings and Michael White of the Fairfield University MFA Program (FUMFA), informing me that I’d been selected as one of the five finalists for the book prize, I was so excited I flitted around the office, going from cubicle to cubicle, telling everyone the good news. Then I called Chris (my husband) and my mother, my two biggest fans, and told them, too.
A few minutes later, though, as I sat at my desk with a huge, goofy grin on my face, a thought occurred to me: I had no idea which of my manuscripts had been selected. I pulled up the e-mail from Elizabeth and Michael and verified that it didn’t specify. So, I had another dilemma… Should I contact the contest organizers and ask them which novel was in contention for the prize or should I just wait to see what happened. If one of my novels did win—a long shot, at best—they’d certainly tell me which one it was. And if I didn’t win, I could ask the question then. (I’m usually not a superstitious person, but I felt like calling or e-mailing the prize folks might jinx my chances somehow.) So I didn’t call, but just said a few more prayers.