Good news

Yesterday I heard from Hambidge, an artist residency program in Northern Georgia.  They hadn’t promised to notify before July, but for some reason I had expected to be contacted by now, so naturally I assumed that since I hadn’t heard yet I was being rejected.  What a wonderful surprise to get my email yesterday afternoon with the first line “Congratulations!” 

Hambidge dining room

I’ve been awarded the month of November, which was my first choice, so I’m thrilled.  I’m not a big fan of Thanksgiving (I’m a vegetarian and hate to cook) and I always like to have somewhere to be so people don’t feel obligated to invite me for dinner and I don’t feel obligated to endure the family dysfunction of non-family.  There’s nothing worse than having dinner with people you really like but wishing you were in some back room spending time with your keyboard and your characters.

I’ve mentioned before what a gift it is to receive a block of time with nothing to do but write.  What I haven’t mentioned is the lift you get from that acceptance email or letter.  Rejection is such a huge part of the writing life, and with enough rejection it’s easy to start feeling little prickles of self-doubt.  When we have a story accepted for publication, though, or are offered a residency, we have proof that someone out there values our work.  And that’s possibly the greatest gift of all.

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