The Essex County (NY) Arts Council awarded me with a Sunburst micro-grant so I can attend the 2023 HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers.
Grants are gifts and I’m sooooo happy I’ll get to attend this conference during my summer break.
The whole process reminded me of applying to college all those years ago…I came home to the house on Brown Road and read the congratulatory letter from The College of New Rochelle…in January? February? Maybe it was already May? How could I wait that long? I think the kitchen was recently redone (my brother says he distinctly remembers our mother crying softly as she opened and closed the new glass-door cabinets) and my father was still wearing his high school English teacher outfit: button down shirt, tweed sport coat, and khakis as I handed him the typed letter. Now that I know what the end of a teaching day feels like, I see clearly my dad’s shift from work to home to the reality of my going away and how the hell to pay for it as he gazed at the letter. He’d pushed his hand through his hair, took a deep breath, and congratulated me on that afternoon, whenever it was.
This grant application round, I kept refreshing my personal email on November 1st, the day ECAC said they’d deliver a decision, from 6am until the end of my school day. No email. I came home to a thick envelope in “my corner” of the kitchen counter.
I’ve been rejected from Hippocampus Magazine a couple of times, but no matter. I found homes for those essays, and I’ll get to luxuriate in Lancaster, PA with J. and elevate my CNF game.
The sun’s out. Write on.