Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Literary Aspirations

This is Cary Grant, one of the most stunning men in movies. Speaking of grants. I applied for one. Not an actor grant, an arts grant. It's for money to help research and develop my third novel. It is my fourth grant hoping to do this. I've applied for two and my agent applied for one--all of them rejected me.

I'm hoping the fourth one will be a charm. I didn't know if I wanted to share this information with you, but I think that those who want to lead the writer's life will have to experience this. Sometimes I see writers get grants and think that I'm certainly capable of getting one. I'm hopeful when I apply and just feel the most horrible pain when I don't.

Last year, I applied for the Fulbright. It took months to prepare that application. I had to get letters of recommendation, an invitation letter from a university from the Philippines, write essays on the merits of my project. I waited and waited. Finally, I got a letter of rejection. I got it on the day of my book party for Talking to the Moon. I got that letter of rejection just two hours before I was supposed to go out and be happy in front of a crowd of people.

My family and friends had prepared a party and I didn't tell anyone that I got this heartbreaking news. I doubt anyone knew that I was crushed. I looked into the faces of all those people celebrating a novel I had written and felt so much better. There was still a tinge of remorse, but I felt better.

What made it sting more was how it was rejected. The Fulbright goes through a series of committees. It has to pass the American Fullbright Committee, then it goes to the Philippines Fulbright Committee. It made it past the Americans, but it was the Filipinos who rejected it. Ouch.

I'm truly wondering if this third novel is something I can write right now. It's on the back burner. I've always aspired to have a collection of short stories published and that's taking my focus. I've got five stories that have been published and I feel confident about them. I'm hoping to have ten altogether.


Writer, Rejected said...

Welcome to the world of writers where there is no shame in rejection. We even pride ourselves on it, well, not really, but we bitch and moan a lot and comiserate at www.literaryrejectionsondisplay.blogspot.com If you feel like joining in, please feel free to check it out. Maybe you'll want to post yours with ours. Good luck.

Sundry said...

Well, that really sucks!

I was at that party and you sure didn't show it. It was just lovely how your family was there and how the room was crowded with people who knew you from your classes and your involvement with PEN, and those who admire you for your warm and skillful hosting of readings at Skylight.

Oh, and work on what makes you happy. That's some advice given to me by Braveheart that I cherish.

It must have been hard, but I'm certain it was better than any other way you could have honored your efforts to get that grant.

Best of luck on #4!

thelastnoel said...

Hey, Writer, rejected--how fun! I had no idea that such a blog existed. I'll be a constant reader--LOL!

Sundry, I always appreciate your support. You're the best!

Cheryl said...

Well, if the American Fulbright Committee accepted you, at least you're halfway there! It sounds like an amazing novel, and I'm positive it's only a matter of time before you get a big fat grant to research it.

Peter Varvel said...

Thank you for sharing this. I think it's important to do so. It's easy to forget that those we look up to and admire had to endure their own share of discouragement in their journey to success and accomplishment. It helps those of us with any future discouragement ahead of us to know that it is an inevitable part of the entire package, and that you cry about it a little, and then you get back up and press on.

thelastnoel said...

Thanks, Cheryl. I appreciate you writing the rec. letter. We'll see what happens.

Peter, I'm reminded of Pearl Bailey who said: "Ive been rich and I've been poor. Trust me, rich is better."

I believe being "poor" every once and awile makes the rich times only better.

Don Cummings said...

You are SO RICH! I can't wait to read the next one. Grant, No grant, Cary Grant, however it comes into reality. You'll make it happen---it's just who you are.

thelastnoel said...

Thanks, Don. You da man!

Peter said...

Oh Noel, we're all cheering you on. One way or another, it will come together. Good luck on the story collection, and we'll wait as long as it takes for novel #3!