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dreaming of islands in water

November 16, 2013

Last night I dreamed I was visiting (friend) L at her home on a small rural island in Puget Sound. For some reason I no longer recall, I left that island alone for the mainland. When I tried to return, though, instead of the country road and small bridge back, I could find only a 6-lane highway, leading directly to a major metropolitan area. I caught a ride from a family in their car, who took me to a large communal area. We were conversing in a friendly way, while eating, when L wandered into view. I felt compelled to go with her, even though I don’t think she’d been looking for me, and her manner is rather abrupt. I was half-sorry to leave these friendly people I’d just met.


The dream feels significant, so I’ve been pondering it for several hours, but I’m still bemused.

I have a real friend L — she lives in New Mexico.

I’ve been thinking about Puget Sound for the last year because it’s a large estuary. But I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest.

I like how isolated L’s house was. I liked feeling surrounded by water. There may have been a marsh nearby. That description reminds me of a B&B I found on the Internet — it too is quiet & isolated, on an island or peninsula, with a marsh nearby. But it’s located in Chesapeake Bay.

Both this B&B (because of its connection to Chesapeake Bay), and the idea of staying somewhere in Puget Sound, were elements of the project I proposed for my grant application a year ago.

I was never in any danger of receiving that money. So why now?

I have a new book on grant writing for artists and writers that I began reading, but stopped. Then I recommended it to everyone in the writing seminar I took last weekend. I don’t want to resume reading it until I have some idea of what kind of project a poet might propose to work on during an artist’s/writer’s residency.

Hedgebrook is located in Puget Sound, on an island (Whidbey).  But applications for their writers’ residencies are only open June–September. This past September, I was nowhere near ready to apply to a residency.

Two nights ago, Spouse and I went out to dinner, and I talked to him about how there are several topics that I feel compelled to write about. I first added them into my notebook of Topics to Write About two years ago. I have not yet written about them because I’m feeling a lot of internal resistance — “who cares what you think?” “What of interest do your opinions add to the world?” “Who will even read what you write? So why bother?”

I was hoping for encouragement, but instead he told me perhaps I shouldn’t write about them.

It’s a sign of the progress I’ve made that I dismissed that absurd idea out of hand. Unfortunately I also shut down emotionally. That conversation was so stressful that it consumed all the calories from dinner before I even finished eating it.

I seriously considered applying for a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford this year, even though I don’t feel remotely ready to tackle such a complicated opportunity.

I’m afraid I’m not good enough to qualify for things I want to do.

I’m afraid that my voice doesn’t matter, that no one will want to read what I write.

I’m afraid that I’m not worthy of any opportunity that other people covet.

I’m afraid.


Why would anyone enjoy talking to me? Why would anyone care what I want to work on?

Why would anyone help me?


Foundations award grants, and institutions award residencies, to people whose work will benefit a community.

I don’t really understand “community” — I’ve felt excluded (or ignored) much more often than I’ve felt welcomed.

Or, the communities that I feel entwined with . . . are mostly nonhuman. My watershed. My habitat. My nearest neighbors. If I find a project that benefits them, somehow, will a human organization care about that? How tangible can be the benefits I might provide? I don’t know.

Water calls me. And I want to answer. How can I do that?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue T permalink
    November 17, 2013 16:56

    I seldom comment on your posts, but I enjoy/appreciate reading them. But I wanted to respond to these. Please ignore those that don’t seem useful.

    “I’m afraid I’m not good enough to qualify for things I want to do.” Qualifying for X is different from doing X. Clearly you’re good enough to write [=X] (evidence this blog), plus you’re persistent (required, so I hear). But qualifying always involves writing the proposal/application so I bet you can do that too.

    “I’m afraid that my voice doesn’t matter, that no one will want to read what I write.”
    Well, it may depend on what you write about. You mentioned “My watershed. My habitat. My nearest neighbors.” I live near the Chesapeake Bay and I definitely want to read about those.

    “I’m afraid that I’m not worthy of any opportunity that other people covet.” Definitions of “worthy” I could find online mostly bring up the idea that it’s other people’s opinions that make one (more) worthy. (False, in my opinion, but that’s how the word is often used.) But I liked “suited, befitting” in Wikipedia, which seems to be more based on merit.

    “I’m afraid.” I would be too. Fellowships, eek! But wouldn’t it be fun!

    • November 17, 2013 17:22

      Thank you so much for commenting – you’ve given me a lot to consider & look at in a new light.

      I really appreciate that you took the time and made the effort to share your thoughts.

      • Sue T permalink
        November 18, 2013 18:51

        You’re welcome!

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