Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Story: With the Good comes the Bad

I'm experiencing what you might call "a dry spell." All writers have them. You're doing really well one minute: you finish your second novel, send it off to the agent and she loves it, poetry publications are rolling in and for that brief second you think--yeah, I can do this! Living the dream!

Then something changes.

Your agent can't sell your book. Editors are competing with each other for longest response times. (How long CAN we make Kory wait before she hitchhikes to New York and yeows like a cat through our windows all night?) Then the once plentiful poetry publications trickle to a stop. And all artists know that when the Mystical Well of External Validation runs dry, the muse has a nasty habit of not showing up for work the next day...or the day after, or the day…

So imagine my excitement when I receive an email from Noreen Cargill of the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference. An encouraging note that began:

"Dear Kory Shrum:
I am pleased to notify you that you have been awarded a space as a general contributor for the 2012 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. The Conference is quite competitive: we were able to accept only 26 percent of those who applied as general contributors this year."
"Hoo-boy!" I thought. "I am a real writer after all. I'm in the 26%!" Let's not tell the writer how poor her math skills are, okay? Let's just go with the fact that my mystical well felt a little less dry. Characters that I hadn't heard from in months were whispering in the back rows again. 

And then the hammer comes down--

The fee for the 2012 Conference is $2,725 (tuition, $1,790, plus room and board, $935)." Yow-zah! As the comics of old say "BAM! POW!"

While Breadloaf is an amazing opportunity for any would-be writer, I don't have $2725 lying around. And because the conference is in Vermont, 700 miles away from my Michigan apartment and because my car is as old as I am--I'm going to have to fly there. Hello, additional $500.
And while I am lucky enough to have a job in this poor economy, I am not lucky enough to have a full-time job. During the school year I piece together an income by teaching adjunct writing classes for several colleges, but in the summer, it’s like a desert here with the Fall semester paychecks shimmering on the horizon like a tantalizing oasis.

At first chance, it looked like my opportunity to work with Eavan Boland, Natasha Tretheway and Linda Gregerson (just a few of the fabulous writers/poets that will be at Breadloaf this year) was a no-go.  The characters stopped gossiping, held their breath and waited to see what I would do.
And this is what I’m going to do.

I’m flat out begging you for this opportunity.

If you have $1 I’ll take it. I’m not kidding. Unless you ONLY have $1 and then please keep it or I’ll never be able to live with myself. But if you have some extra money lying around, you know, in the couch cushions, your husband’s wallet, the collection plate (I’m kidding. Don’t steal from God or I’ll never make it to the workshop)—wherever… I’ll take it.

The donation button to my paypal account is at the top of the page.
With my undying gratitude, have at it.

No comments:

Post a Comment