Grant applications are never simple.
They take long to put together. We have to use a different language when answering the questions. We have to ask friends for letters of support and/or reference. We have to pay for photocopying and postage. (Yes, some granters are attempting to shift away from postage and go ‘all digital’ but we’re in the early stages of this and there are bugs to deal with.)
We have to use our brains in a different way all the while attempting to not let stress get the best of us as the deadline inches closer and closer. We’re giving up time and energy from our creative writing projects. And we all know we get a little smitchy when we’re not doing our creative work, right?
Deep down we know that there’s a high possibility that we won’t get the grant, but our hope and determination squelches out that deep down voice. Because we’re artists. And we may be ‘starved’ for some things, but we’re never not full of hope.
I found out yesterday that one of the grants I was preparing has some fine print that says I can’t reapply. Or I shouldn’t because my chances are slimmer than normal. I decided to stop the prep and shift my attentions to fundraising instead. It’s fine. It’s still a lot of work, but in the end, there’s the same potential for funds.
The other grant I’ve been working on is in its final stages – I’m done the printing/copying and am now into ordering and putting the packages together.
I’ve been working on these grants, and have done so for others earlier in the year, and there are times when I hold my head and think what the eff am I doing this for?
Then I was working on the section for one particular grant that requests book reviews and support of this nature. I had to search the bowels of my emails and blog to find them…but there they were. Pages of kind words from readers. Responses from people I’ve never met who read my poetry and said I ‘changed’ them.
And I hope you can forgive me for that.
I had to crack open my books of poetry – books I haven’t touched in months and months because I was afraid to remember…how hard the last year had been when I was working so intimately with the words…
But there they were too. The poems that spilled out of me – and for good reasons. For release. For growth. For anger. For fun. For sex. For love. For love. For love.
And I hope you can forgive me for that too. I hope I can forgive myself. That the words will forgive me for forgetting.
See, sometimes in my desperate need to fill a hole called ‘good enough’, I forget that there is a heart full of ‘you can do it’. In my weakness seeking validation from others, I forget that there is a soul full of strength from within.
I think my next tattoo should say: WITHIN
I want to get to a place where I don’t have to think about being a creative writer – what that means, how it should look, how it feels, what expectations it desires. Where I just write because it brings me joy. Even if that writing shifts a bit for the form of a grant.
Because I deserve a chance at that grant money. We all do.
‘Deserve’ has been a dirty word in my mind’s vocabulary for a long time. I’m changing that.
If I can make the practice of grant writing be the practice of remembering – the words, the hard work, the joy that comes from reading and sharing and teaching – then maybe it’ll be a better experience. It will elevate to a purely love-based-remembering exercise. Wherein in I am proud of sharing my accomplishments. Wherein in I can write an artist’s intent with ease because I believe in my own artistry. Wherein I can gather and create the best packages for a jury that is my self. And put it into the pile with no expectations.
Silver linings are every where. Even in the seemingly dark shadows of grant writing.