NEA; the renown NEA. Years ago, when I was studying my undergraduate in Creative Writing with Audre Lorde, I interviewed Fay Kicknosway. Audre recommended her to me because our work had some similarities: surrealist qualities. Fay told me she applied to the NEA 16 times before she was awarded. 16 times, and this award is every other year!
More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs -- all this resinous, unretractable earth.
So, here I am for my first time applying to the ominous NEA and I am in the dark. What do they want?
What do I want? The easy answer is money to write. But, what are the tricks to applying for a federal grant award?
I've not been successful with any of my grant applications yet. I have to say, yet.
They want publishing information. They want addresses and phone numbers. Some journals have no phone number listed. And with online journals there are hardly even addresses. How serious are they about phone numbers? Will they throw my appl into the recycling container?
So like many send to journals blind, I will send an application blindly to grants.gov and most likely will receive a rejection at the end of this year. For writers rejections are frequent and common. We send out our work, we try to learn the journals and where our work might fit. We send and we send. We get used to rejections. Eventually we might have more work accepted. If we don't quit. I've taken time outs but have always come back. I've had lots of help.
Help: poetry groups.
Help: poetry friends on the same path to share accomplishments & learn from.
Help: a supportive partner.
Help: strong belief in one's own work.
Help: to celebrate each acceptance.
Help: to not take rejection personally.
How about you?
I collect quotes to help me stay inspired. I've included two today for you to enjoy.
There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, "Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams." Then they put the box away and bring it out once in a while to look in it, and yep, they're still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, "How good or how bad am I?" That's where courage comes in. —Erma Bombeck