For twenty years I’ve been applying. The first time I applied for a grant to write an epic poem about the life of John Lawson and his Indian guide, Eno Will. Sort of an Odyssey for the New World. Well, I’d published just a few poems and never actually read the Odyssey, so the Council wisely gave the award to someone else who might have a better chance of completing a project.
20 years later, I’ve published that John Lawson story as a fiction piece in my new book Accidental Birds of the Carolinas. And the North Carolina Arts Council has annointed me with the Fellowship. It really feels like that. In the past few weeks, whenever I have heard that machine gun inner voice: “you don’t know what you are doing” and “nobody is ever going to read you,” I’ve had ammo to fight back: “I am the recipient of a North Carolina Writers Fellowship.”
Feels good. Feels like a step has been taken. Maybe some spirit self has moved on the chess board and I’m just catching up. In reality, just so I don’t get a swelled head, I remind myself that it means 3 people read my work and liked it better than other writing sent in. Maybe now more will read my work. That’s my hope!
A writer loves to be read. Thank you, NCAC, for the gift of the possibility of that! And time to read and promote and write.
It is a special time.