Why You Need to Fund Your Own Writing Residency

I’m currently sitting in Lyon, France in a sweet little apartment in the Croix-Rousse neighborhood. It’s as charming as it sounds. Even though I applied for four different residencies all over the world, and was accepted for two and declined one, I still decided to fund my own trip abroad to spend some quality time with my book. It had nothing to do with a revolt against the system or a declaration that I can do things better on my own. My decision came from an answer to a question that I asked myself when I sent off all of the applications in the first place – What if I don’t get into a single one? The answer – I’ll go anyway.

So I have. Here’s why you should fund your own residency too.

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Who Says You Can’t Find “The One” on the Road?

The first time I met this hunk was in Austria in 2006 and he was going by the name knackerl. Since that time, I’ve looked back on him fondly, remembering the quiet mornings we shared with tea and smoked ham. Grief pulling at my heartstrings in the way we parted that last day. Me, chewing him out. Him, surrendering to my vicious gnashing. Not that he didn’t deserve it.

They say that an astounding number of people meet the love of their life in the supermarket. I had always dismissed this as nonsense until yesterday at Bellecour when I wandered into the monop express. There he was. Waiting. As if he knew our reunion was inevitable.

Of course, he’d assumed a new name in France. I couldn’t hold it against him. Didn’t we both deserve a fresh start? From the moment I put him in my basket, he sidled up next to the saucisson just like old times, and I knew that we were meant to be together. Ah, my little knackerl. How I have missed you.

Best American Essays 2015

It was one of those days. I had slept until noon, lounged in my pajamas until almost 4, and berated myself for most of those hours for not just getting my act together already. Which was all needless nonsense because when the lazies have hit, they have hit, and I have found that sometimes the best counter measure is none at all. I sprawled on the couch resolving to just roll with it. Who cares?! Take. A. Day. Off. Seriously, Type A. Chill.

Well, that was the idea until I got a note from Ann Pryzyzcki at Isthmus telling me that my piece, Diego Forever, had been listed as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2015. While I can’t confirm the specifics of the following events, I have it on good authority that they went something like this…

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