Yesterday at about five o’clock, as I was working on a subplot development in the YA novel, I got a phone call from my friend Gordon. Gordon and his wife, Angie, are professional writers doing corporate work to keep the bills paid. Both of them have been working on their fiction as well, and both Gordon and I applied in June for a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to support our fiction habit.

“Have you got your mail today?” he asked me.
“Yes,” I said.
“Anything from the Ontario Arts Council?”
“Well, I have a letter here…”
“You got a grant!” I said.
“No,” he said, “You did.”

Poor Gordon! Both Angie and I were screaming with excitement, and he had it in stereo.

The novel excerpt I’d submitted for this grant was “The Swan Harp”, the very one I’m working on now. I’m still trying to take in the fact that I can now write for almost a year without worrying about the bills. I can write full-time in peace, a luxury I haven’t had for quite some time. It’s a luxury that I’ll bet a lot of writers don’t get, and I’m more grateful for the opportunity than I can say.

Last night I celebrated with Angie and Gordon. Today I think I’ll have to do pottery just to ground myself a little. Tomorrow I’ll be back to writing.

Most writers who get funded have applied more than once; I believe this was my fourth or fifth application. The demands on the Arts Council are many – this competition had 180+ entries, and only twenty-one grants were awarded.

The money is wonderful. As wonderful as the money is that someone – four someones, because a jury is four people – looked at my work and discussed it and said, “Yes, let’s fund this one to write for a while and finish her book.”

And I’ll be doing that, yes I will. Tomorrow I’ll be back at it, full steam ahead.

For today, I think you’ll just have to let me float around a little, my fingers in the clay and my toes barely touching the ground.

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