A strange sense of listlessness is hanging in the air. I have decided to step back just a bit, temporarily, and take things easy on the work front, just this month. I’m finishing up ongoing stories, responding to emails and just staying afloat, not going out on a limb to push work the way I’ve been going at it the last few months.
For a while now, I’ve been looking for opportunities and experiences to push myself out of the cozy nook I’ve settled into. On the one hand, I see myself moving on away from some kinds of work I have become used to, and on the other I feel the kindling of an eagerness to learn. Many recent conversations about work have had me lamenting the fact that I have never received any “formal” training to do the kind of writing I do. I am feeling a little itch to formalise this – either by way of a more solid opportunity with a publication or an apprenticeship of some kind, or any other means of guidance to fine-tune my skills and set me off on a new trajectory. Something to channelise my efforts and take me from this walkabout kind of journey to something with a little more consistency, for the lack of a better word.
I’m feeling the need for the proverbial guru. I feel like I’ve come this far mostly through timely interventions, being in the right place at the right time, a lot of effort, constantly keeping my eyes open, and learning on the fly. But it would be nice to have some fundamentals to go by – and not something I’ve arrived at on my own, the long way. Something to give me a bit of academic rigour, milestones to work for and a sense of accomplishment that doesn’t necessarily have to be a pay-check.
Completely out of the blue, I chanced upon a writing fellowship when I was not even looking for it. I hadn’t even considered exploring fellowships, but the moment I saw this one and had read through it, I instantly had a gut instinct about sending in an application. It involves working across distances, with the founder of a publication I have grown to love and respect, honing my personal style writing in an area I’m only dipping my toes into. I will have to work long distance and I paused to wonder how I might do that given the completely unstable and undependable state of connectivity I live with. But I threw caution to the wind, telling myself that I will figure something out, if and when I need to. We will burn that bridge when we get to it.
It’s a complete shot in the dark as far as I can see, but I was so inspired and taken by the immediate sense of positivity that came over me when I read the call for submissions, that I just wanted to blindly follow through for a change, without over-analysing or over-rationalising this.
I am usually very intimidated by situations that demand a bit of competitive spirit. I tend to cower away from anything that requires even the slightest bit of competing with others to come out on top. But I figured I don’t have to look at it that way, since there is no real contest. I just had to send in an application (a fairly simple one, at that) and leave the rest to chance.
As I put my application together, I realised I didn’t even have to actually write any samples because I finally have enough work to show for what I do. It felt like an affirmation for pursuing this, so I just had to send it off and literally forget about it.
It will be a while before I find out if anything will come of it. But I don’t see the harm in putting it out there – my little effort to manifest this opportunity,talking about how much I would love to experience this. How much I want and will cherish this. To work with a pioneering voice, to gain an academic/professional edge in an area I’m otherwise stumbling through alone, to have the work that will come out of the fellowship be published in a respected publication, and to have a fellowship under my belt.
It’s new ground, and it’s been ages since I have felt this combination of excitement, positivity and confidence about anything. Something tells me it could be the thing that shakes off the energy that see-saws between restlessness and listlessness, that I find myself sucked into.
Universe, if you’re listening, I’d be mega grateful if you could put the wheels in motion and make this one happen for me. I’m willing to trade a lifetime of gratitude for it.
PS: I feel like I must apologise to those of you who follow/subscribe to this blog, for the incessant stream of email alerts that probably hit you over the last two days. As if the daily posts weren’t enough, I decided I must fill in the gaps for my absence over last week. I could have paced it out, and I did, but when I back dated the posts (to satisfy the part of my brain obsessed with sequences and completion) I lose the option of scheduling them. If you were tempted to unfollow (and you did) I fully understand :)