I was offered a writing residency. I applied a couple of months ago, and got a call on Tuesday congratulating me on my acceptance. This is HUGE news. I’ve never been chosen for a writing residency, never had anyone offer me this kind of luxury, this kind of yes-we-believe-in-you. The fact that I’ve never been awarded a residency before is exactly why I started creating my DIY writing retreats. I had decided not to wait for other folks to give me writing vacations, that I would make my own. And that was great, and will continue to be great as I continue to plan them … but it’s also great to be chosen, and for a residency that is just about 100 percent paid for.
I am surprised, and I am thrilled … and I also feel … kind of … “Yes, of course.” And that isn’t normal for me in any way. I know exactly where the feeling comes from, however. The application I wrote for this residency was the best I’ve ever written. And it was more than the best I’ve ever written. As I responded to the questions, something “clicked” in a way that hasn’t happened with other attempts. It was as if, for the first time, I actually understood the questions, understood what it was the selection committee wanted to know about me and my work.
I’ve applied to a bunch of residencies — not nearly as many as I could or should have, but a good number all the same. And I have struggled with the questions, with the artist statements, with all of it. And then suddenly, on this application, I didn’t. I am curious to understand what it was that fell into place this time, and I’m also hoping that it happens more often than not, as I will be applying for more of these things.
And I will puzzle over that at some point. For now, however … I GOT INTO A RESIDENCY!!
I was so happy on that call. I know I sounded ridiculously giddy, but that pleased and amused the woman who was delivering the news. I laughed, I said nonsensical things. None of it inspired her to rescind the offer. After the call, I laughed some more. I cried a little. And it was still true that I’d gotten into that residency. And I laughed again.
Yes, this is totally a Sally Field moment: they like me, they really like me. It’s also a shit-just-got-real moment. Someone is about to spend money and time to accommodate me and make space for my creativity. Me. Mine. For real.
If it isn’t entirely clear yet, this is meaningful to me. Meaningful because of the luxury of a residency, of course, but also and maybe especially because of the Sally Field-ness of this gift … which can also be called by another name, but its true name: a firm, unambiguous slap in the face of La Impostora. (For anyone new to this blog, “La Impostora” is my name for Impostor Syndrome, who raises her stern and unforgiving head far too often as I try to work, to create, to live my life.)
That felt better than good, and made me laugh a little more and stand a little taller. I don’t know if I’ll ever vanquish her for good, but each time I silence her, push her to the side, smack her down, I feel that much stronger, that much more capable, that much more.
My residency starts on my birthday, which couldn’t be more perfect. That’s half a year from now and is an excellent gift to have waiting in front of me and to work toward!
It’s March 1st, which means it’s time for the Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! Never too late to join in the fun, or to head over to TWT and see what the other slicers are up to. As my badge says, I’m an original slicer, so this will make my 12th year … I’ve been slicing as long as I’ve been blogging! Both of these facts are a little staggering to me.