Elle Brooks on the Emerging Voices Fellowship for writers
SDWI regular Elle Brooks tells you it is not too late to sign up for Emerging Voices in this blog post:
This time last year, I was debating whether to apply to the PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship. The 2012 EV postcard pictured a man diving into the unknown along with the Leonardo Da Vinci quote, “Knowing is not enough. We must apply.”
I had known of the fellowship for years, praised PEN’s support of new writers, talked of their position in the Los Angeles literary community, encouraged others to apply, and battled against young writers’ self-doubt by yelling, “Go for it!” However, I never said those words to my mirrored reflection. After all, I was too old. Too fat. Too foolish. Too inexperienced. Too far away. Too fill-in-the-blank with whatever word of the day, the hour, that kept me small and safe. Nevertheless, the diver from the postcard kept calling me in a voice louder than the demons who toil at the seedlings of my dreams, “You must apply. You must apply. You. Must. Apply.”
So I rallied for last minute letters of recommendation. I questioned a past fellow who had the fondest of memories that made me long to be a part of the EV family, and who, before hanging up, gave me her own version of go for it. I poured my heart into the application’s short answers that teetered at the high end of the word count, except for the one that asked about my previous awards, grants or fellowships. None, I wrote to the delight of my demons. I copied and collated and cursed and cried, and when I was done my husband drove me and my bursting EV packet one hundred and thirty miles from our home in San Diego to the Beverly Hills post office because I had only hours left before the application deadline expired. My demons did not come along for the ride. They stayed behind sulking in the corner of my writing studio.
Emerging Voices Reading: