Dear my dear blog readers over the years… <3

kwelijournal
At the Kweli Journal Writers’ Conference in 2014

Hello dearest blog readers over the years:

I am writing to share happy news, but also to ask for your help. In all honesty, I am someone who struggles deeply when I need a helping hand. I’ve spent my life struggling to keep my familia–my husband/partner and me–afloat, and I feel like struggle, the Middle English word (struglen) from the 14th century (most likely an imitate word from “frequentative”), feels like the most poignant word that embodies my life for the past five years–maybe even from the past 27 years of my life.

I briefly wrote about my lifelong struggles in this lyrical, nonlinear essay, “What Comes from Silence,” which was recently published in Midnight Breakfast (so much thanks to Editor Taylor Palvik for his powerful, powerful edits.)

I usually hate asking for help–I am so stubborn sometimes. But, over the years, I’ve learned to ask for help when I sincerely need it.

First off, some good news: I was accepted into a work exchange residency at The Lemon Tree House in beautiful Tuscany, Italy. I’ve never been to Europe. When I was an undergrad at USC, I ended up not studying abroad in England (even though I was accepted into UEA’s program) for personal, familial, and financial reasons. This residency makes my dreams of going to Europe finally come alive… I’ve always wanted to see the foothills of Tuscany, taste the pasta of Rome, and apparently I am 3 percent Italian/Greek (according to my Ancestry DNA results), so in a way, I am going back to a country that has a slice of me, somewhere I can learn so much of myself (and maybe watch more Fellini), calm my mind, and just write.

Second, I was just accepted into the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the oldest writing conference in the nation, off of an extremely competitive wait-list. I wasn’t expecting getting into Bread Loaf. I knew the odds, and I knew being nominated by a wonderful writer I highly admire did not make my chances any better. I had applied for a work study scholarship, and even though I did not receive one, I feel I am in need of an emotional and spiritual awakening… After getting so close to two fellowships this year (and I was also a finalist at a consulting job I wanted so much), I have personally struggled with my own bouts of failure and perception of failure. I hope by attending Bread Loaf I can absorb, grow, and become the writer I’ve always wanted to become…

But, in all honesty, I simply can’t afford to attend both without help.

This is why I am hoping to ask for your help to attend the Lemon Tree House and Bread Loaf.

[ SEND MELISSA TO BREAD LOAF & ITALIA ]

I hope you can read a bit of my story. On my crowd-funding page, I write a little bit about my first book-in-progress, what I plan to work on at the residency and Bread Loaf, and who I am as a writer, teaching-artist, and community activist.

I am asking for $4,500 to cover the costs of my flight and travel expenses to Italy in September and the $3,050 tuition/room-and-board for the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.

If you could donate, and any amount would sincerely help me, I can’t thank you enough. But most of all, if you could share and spread the word, I would be so, so grateful.

—————— ——————

Lastly, I’ve decided to write a poem
(it might be corny or silly!) for everyone
who donates to my campaign…
It is the least I can do for your generosity and love. <3!

—————— ——————

With all my heart and thanks,

Melissa

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