“His beak is focussed; he is preoccupied,
looking for something, something, something.
Poor bird, he is obsessed!”
- Elizabeth Bishop, “Sandpiper”
Arrived in the mail today a cheque from the Nova Scotia government dating i norge. A jury of writers decided I should have it.
This isn’t a brag, but an expression of relief and gratitude, in that order; relief that I’ll be able to carry on writing my short story collection this summer with some financial ease, and gratitude to the jury who saw fit to approve my work for funding. Also deep gratitude to the taxpayers who supply the $$$ towards arts grants such as this one.
Writers aren’t paid a salary, not for writing, anyway. Most of us hold down non-writing jobs to pay the bills and support our writing obsessions, obsessions which require time, lots and lots of time, if the writing is going to be done right. Of course, there’s the doom-loop: we need to spend time working in order to write, and we need to make time in order to write.
Grants are a crapshoot. Twice a year many of us spend hours assembling applications to funding agencies, with fingers and toes crossed that a grant will result. Usually it doesn’t happen; odds don’t work in everyone’s favour. This time, for me, they did. I’ve been granted the most important thing of all to a writer: time.
It’s worth mentioning the gigantic warm fuzzy that came over me when I looked at the top of the cheque, where someone other than me had typed the title of my story collection. Someone else typed the title on the cheque because, again, someone elsedecided my application was worthwhile.
With the blessing of time, I’ll be able to carry on and try to fulfill the title of my short story collection.