This past April, I applied for a Lambda Literary fellowship. It seemed like a good opportunity to interact with other queer writers and the like, although I genuinely didn’t expect to be accepted. As a quick scroll through the bios of former fellows will tell you, most of them have master’s degrees from fantastic universities and hefty portfolios to match.
Meanwhile—let’s be real here—I am a perpetual college dropout living in the land of spit tobacco and ain’t-got-nones.
As usual, I was confusing my lack of a degree with my talent. A few weeks ago, I received an email from Tony Valenzuela (head honcho over at Lambda Lit), letting me know that I was accepted! I guess this goes to show you that ignoring insecurity is worthwhile.
While I am humbled and ecstatic to have this amazing opportunity, money is a big, fat issue. I make enough monthly as a server to qualify for food stamps, and what I do earn goes directly to rent and utilities. My only relative is 71 years old and is living on a tight Social Security-based budget, and while my circle of friends are supportive, they are also penniless. This is just the reality of being a fledgling creative person in America right now.
Fortunately, Lambda Literary gets this. In addition to a partial scholarship for my residency, I was supplied with a DonorPages account to help me raise funds.
Now, this is the part at which I suck: If you’re reading this and are financially able, I want to encourage you to donate. It’s not every day that something like this happens to someone like me. I am not a person of privilege and I do my best to use my talents to give back. If I’m trying to get somewhere and I do eventually succeed, you better believe that I’m throwing a rope down to those struggling to climb up, as well.
I have to raise $350 by June 15 to secure my spot in the residency. Then, in addition to the $825 goal, I also have to then pay travel expenses out of pocket. (If you are interested with helping me out with the latter, please email me at email@example.com).
I am in the process of creating a zine or chapbook to send to donors. I will keep everyone posted!