This morning at 5am, I found out that I was accepted to Tinhouse’s Winter Creative Nonfiction Workshop with Lacy M. Johnson. I applied a few weeks ago without thinking about how I was going to pay for it. That’s just who I am—daring, impractical and stubborn. So, when I found out this morning and looked at the $1300 price tag which includes housing and some meals but doesn’t include the flight to Portland, Oregon or transportation to the Tinhouse offices (where a free shuttle will take us to the hotel in Newport where the workshop is being held) or most meals or… Close to freaking out, my partner smiled and said, “Now comes the hard part: letting yourself be really vulnerable… GoFundMe.” So, here I am, trembling while I write this and ask for your help.
I’m a writer and teaching artist who quit her job five and half years ago to live this writing-teaching dream. I did it as a single mom. (I told you I’m impractical and stubborn, right?) It’s been a hustle and a grind, to say the least, but it’s also been the most fulfilling journey I’ve dared to embark on. While I’m making ends meet (finally), I’m doing so barely and cannot possibly afford this workshop without help.
What’s my vision? I’m currently working on completing my memoir Relentless (I chronicle the journey in this here blog and you can find a recently published excerpt of the memoir here: http://asusjournal.org/2015/12/06/vanessa-martir-creative-nonfiction/). The memoir chronicles my journey through grief since losing my brother Juan Carlos in June of 2013, and everything I learned about love and the world and this heart of mine. My brother was (still is) my Superman. I learned quickly after his death that the loss had the potential of breaking me, so I did the only thing I knew how: I picked up a chair and sat in my grief. I had to let grief kill me a little bit for it to give me life. I wrote through the journey and this is how Relentless came to be. In the book I tackle all the griefs that this grief conjured—the traumas I’d been carrying for so long, including a legacy of sexual abuse and incest, and the weight of being unmothered. Cheryl Strayed said it best in her essay Heroin/e: “It is perhaps the greatest misperception of the death of a loved one: that it will end there, that death itself will be the largest blow. No one told me that in the wake of that grief other grief’s would ensue.”
I’m in a place where I am finally grateful for grief, what it taught me and the healing path it put me on, though I know I’d give it all up in a heartbeat to have my brother back. Relentless is the story of becoming the woman my brother always said I was. It’s time to finish this story and this workshop will help me get there.
I’m raising $2000 to cover the cost of the workshop (including a $600 registration fee which is due ASAP), the flight to Oregon (which in my research today can go for as much as $600), transportation, and meals.
Please know that I am forever grateful for your help. Any amount will get me closer to making this happen.
Here’s the link to the GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/ucdshnn8
Thanks a million y mucho amor, siempre!