When I applied for the 2009 Clarion West Workshop, I had no idea how I would get there. The only thing I was sure of, was that if I got accepted, I would somehow find a way. My husband didn't hesitate to point out the realities to me, but I told him that if I was accepted, I was not going to concede until we had tried every possible means to get me there. If I got accepted, I would definitely go.
When Neile called me with the good news of my acceptance, she told me that she was sending in my application to the Carl Brandon Society and I would just have to wait for the verdict. She also told me that if I didn't get the scholarship, they would look for a way to help me to get there. It was a rather nerve-wracking wait. For one, getting a loan turned out not to be as easy as I had imagined it would be. I suppose it would have been easier if we were a family with two incomes, but I had opted to stay home and take care of the children, and what little extras I earned from giving piano lessons couldn't really be considered as far as loan application was concerned.
As the days passed, my Clarion West dream seemed to be moving farther and farther away from me. So, when the news came that I had been chosen to be the Octavia Butler scholar for 2009, I couldn't help but feel very emotional. I cried because to me that news meant much more than the financial freedom.
It's quite fitting that the symbol given to Butler scholars is that of an owl with wings stretched out as if ready for flight.
To me, being given that scholarship was like receiving word that there were people who believed in me and in the stories that I had to tell. There were people who believed that what I had to say was something worth saying and something worth listening to. This knowledge inspires me even now that I am far away from all the beloved people who inspired me and who continue to inspire me. Each time I sit down to write, I think of the people who support the Butler scholarship and there aren't enough words to say how thankful I am for you. You may not be aware of it, but in my darkest moments, the knowledge that you believed in me has kept me here.
When Tempest contacted me about the fundraiser for the Octavia Butler Scholarship, I didn't hesitate to say "yes, I want to be part of this". I want to say my thanks to those of you who have supported and who continue to support the funding of this scholarship. I want to say thank you for letting us know that our words, our stories matter, and for letting us feel that we too may see our dreams come true as we try to find our space in the sky of the fantasy and science fiction world.
If you would like to support the scholarship, there's still time to purchase your tickets for the fundraiser. :) And to each one of you, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your support and for letting us know that our voices matter too.