“Congratulations,” the e-mail read; I got accepted for a writing fellowship to the 48th National Writers’ Workshop, scheduled for next month at Silliman University. Those weeks I spent locked up in my room writing on an empty stomach, those days I spent roaming the streets looking for a story to tell, those mornings I fell sick, and those evenings I typed furiously and desperately, came down to the letter from Silliman. That it meant something more than just taking a potshot at a pipe dream (I love the pun). In a small way, I’m a step closer to realizing my dream of becoming a writer.
I’m not a writer. To be a writer, my name has to be on a book. My room has sort of become a wreck of books with the names of writers I admire; writers like Jorge Luis Borges, Alexandre Dumas, Upton Sinclair, Emile Zola, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Joseph Conrad, the list goes on. To call myself a “writer” would be to put myself on the same league as they are. I like to think that I’m an office worker who happens to have a fellowship, an opportunity to learn from – and to learn with – some of the best writers in the country. That’s kind of a big thing if you’re an office worker whose sole goal in life is to write just one book. That’s kind of a big thing if you’ve got wrecked hands from writing every day.
That’s kind of a big thing if that’s what you always wanted to do, if that’s the one reason why you’re so far away from home. Why you’d sacrifice a lot of things, if not everything, in the name of the written word. That, and the promise it holds.
For the first time in quite a while, I’m at a loss for words. I don’t know what to say, or what to write down in the way of epiphanies.
Somewhere there, though, are people who believed in me when I became my own best non-believer. To them, I offer my sincerest thanks and appreciation. Those who encouraged, those who inspired, those who pushed and shoved to make me do what I have to do, even if it hurts. Those who believe can now count me in.
I can be a writer. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…