Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Running Away

During the weekend, I submitted my story, 'Sunny Side Up' to Writers' Digest short short story competition. The fee was USD12.

Perhaps I was inspired by that. Yesterday morning, out of the blue, I decided to google the net on writers' competition. Guess what I found? Submission for the Wallace Stegner Fellowship creative writing program at Stanford University was opened till 1 Dec 2008, 11.59pm (our time at 2 Dec, 1pm). It is a 2-year program where a living stipend of USD26,000 and a tuition fee of USD6,800 is provided. The fee is USD60 and foreigners can submit too. 10 places are offered for fiction writers and another 10 for poets. Most fellows tried a few times before they were accepted.

Hence, I spent last night sketching my Statement of Plans. First thing this morning, I wrote it. This was to explain your writing plans and how you see the fellowship contributing to it. A Manuscript of around 9,000 words was also required, this included published stories. So, I chose Chestnut Chocolate Mooncakes, The 50-Sen Queens & Swimming Elephants in Habarana from my book. The first two are the most well-praised, so I reckoned these were safe choices, the third one represents a non-human point of view. In addition, I also sent Nose Job, my new unpublished thriller, something very different from me. The total came to 10,300 words, 40 pages.

After clicking the submit button, guess what I discovered. The payment voucher appeared and I was required to make payment within 24 hours. Bear in mind that they only accept postal order / money order to be mailed over. No credit card, tt or anything. Man! No wonder I only see American names in the previous fellows' list. Also, they all have a Degree or Masters in Creative Writing, though no formal education is required. No age limit either. It all depends on the Manuscript and Statement of Plans. After all the hassle, there was only one way - to send the bank draft through DHL. The courier man came to pick up the document from me, it would still arrive like 24 hours after the deadline though. How much did it cost me? Yeah, another USD60. Man, an expensive investment in total.

When I asked my instructor's opinion, he said go ahead, there's nothing to lose except USD60. But he warned me that it would be tough, they would want to see creative work and I don't have much. He suggested the Iowa Writers' program instead. It's a 3-month fellowship for foreign students only. He could recommend me to the Embassy. Why not, I'd just give it a shot. Iowa sounds more do-able. He also suggested that I concentrate on my book first and try my luck for Stanford next year instead. What? Well, I think he meant that I was not ready. I beg to difer. This year is great. Next year, I may already have a fantastic job, a great boyfriend or something, I won't risk it la. I'd rather lose USD60, whoops, I mean USD120.

The underlying message is also I'm trying to get away from Mr Designer. I'm hoping that fate would rescue me. Oh yeah, I asked him a big question just now. He will email me the answer within 2 days. Let's say I'm already in tears. Man... what is it with this guy? Why so difficult?


Ms B said...

$60 is minimal considering the bigger picture here. If you get it, it'd be a lifetime opportunity. If you dont, you'd probably have written a brilliant piece.

U saw an opportunity and u seize it! that's a good thing i reckon.

Kak Elle said...

Good luck sis hope you'll be accepted and US$60 is chicken compared to what you'll get in future:)

On the otherside of running away from Mr D hehe don't say I didn't tell to do that before....hahaha

Kak Teh said...

Hazia, go for it and that in itself will inspire us all - especially me.I need someone to kick me hard to do something.

The Ceramic Designer said...

both sound like some good new year resolutions.. no, let me re-write that.. both are definitely GREAT new year resolutions..!!

it's the right time to start fresh..

Justiffa said...

The very best of luck to u hazia, in both endeavours ;)

mamasita said...

I just looked into the magicball.It says you'll be having a lot of success and happiness coming your way soon..maybe very soon!You can do it girl!Obviously you have lots of guts and talent!

Hazia said...

Ms B,
Yeah, the benefits will be for life. I'm happy that I gave it my best shot. At least I tried:)

Hazia said...

Kak Elle,
Thanks. With the courier cost, it's USD120, haha. Anyway, it's still a good investment:)

Hazia said...

Kak Teh,
Ow, come on, you don't need a kick, hehe... I'm sure you would have a better shot with your experience and all:)

Hazia said...

Now.. that's an excellent way to look at it. When we first started seeing each other, Mr Designer was keen on welcoming the new year with me. Now, he's looking forward to a 2-week vacation with his family instead. He didn't even seek his partner's consent to take off, he took him for granted.
Yeah, 2009 is the time to start fresh:)

Hazia said...

Thank you:)

Hazia said...

Does this magic ball of yours also say where my love life would be soon?;)
Thanks for your faith in me:)