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rainy night musing

October 30, 2012

Rain-and-wind continues, but so far, nothing monsoon like. Our apartment is on the second floor, on top of a hill, so for us to flood would take a tsunami. Spouse obsessively checks the weather radar, so nothing that size could sneak up on us. And we’ve not lost power at all. Thankfully.

Thankfulness is on my mind tonight. I got the grant application finished and safely mailed 2 days ahead of my own schedule, and 3 days ahead of the deadline (for postmark, not arrival).

I actually took a class in grant writing 5 years ago. A year later, at my then-job, I had to type up a proposal for a huge project my office was bidding on. It seemed very similar to a grant process, and because of that class, I had lots of ideas about how to improve our proposal. Sadly, neither of my bosses were interested in anything I had to say. Our office was not remotely qualified to administer the project, had we been awarded it, but there was never any chance we would get it.

Anyway, it was frustrating back then knowing I could’ve improved our chances, but wasn’t allowed to do so.

One question in this application asked if I saw any benefit to the process, even if I didn’t win anything. I came up with 16 reasons off the top of my head; only 12 fit on the form. I’ve thought of others since then:

  • I learned I could pull together a massive and complex project* in a very short time frame (17 days from start to finish). I did almost nothing else (needing high-quality brainpower) for those 17 days, but if I’d learned about it sooner, I might have spent months on it.
  •  *That is, 7 pages of forms; 25 pages of essays; and lists of essentially every major thing I’ve ever done.
  • I don’t think I’d ever written essays before, outside of blogging. I’d definitely not written essays on topics chosen by someone else. For this project, I had to do 5.
  • My writing’s gotten sharper. I have a better idea how to constructively edit my own stuff.
  • I didn’t skimp on writing whatever came to mind or heart. I felt the emotions, I worked through the issues raised. And then I deleted 80% of it as not relevant to the questions at hand. The last essay took me 7 drafts. And by #6, I was pretty frustrated, feeling like I didn’t have anything useful to say on the topic. Still, needing an entry, I persisted through my discomfort, and that’s when really good stuff started to flow.
  • Writing about some painful topics from my past, I discovered that more healing has happened since last time I thought about them. They still suck, but I can think about and write about them without crying or getting upset. I’m no longer stuck in them. Even talking about them later with Spouse (where I’ve often gotten blindsided by emotion upswelling as I’m talking), my voice and manner stayed even and calm.

I’ve done a lot of really interesting stuff. And my life isn’t over. I have cool stuff ahead of me somewhere, somehow. I even have a better idea of what some of it might turn out to be.

I wasn’t thinking this way 19 days ago.

 

It’s after 2 a.m., and still raining, so I won’t take my usual ‘midnight’ walk. Time for bed.

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