What If You Applied For a WCYR Grant?

I am alone. It is dark. I am cold. I am lost.

No one understands.

The ones who love me patiently support my efforts, but they cannot relate to my frustrations. No one gets it.

No one, except for the character I’ve painted with my words on the pages. Sylvie – her name is Sylvie – my fourth novel in a series. She cries for me to be better. I try to bring her colours to life, to show her beauty, the depth that goes beyond my meager syllables. How do I prevent her from fading away if I cannot breathe enough breath into her paper lungs?

I fear that I am failing her. Her colours pale. She needs help, but I don’t know where to turn.

I have no Band-Aid big enough for this. I cannot watch her wither. What I would give, what I would pay to save her. She is my child, the character I have birthed. She’s the breath in my own lungs. I cannot let this part of me wither too.

But cures are expensive; an editor, seminars, workshops. And it’s not just the currency cost that stands in the way. Time is money. I have little of both. I need to allocate my resources carefully.

I am so tired. We both are. Let me put Sylvie to bed for now, suspended in the bliss of sleep while I search for an answer – a cure.

I change the screen in front of me, turning to the friend that’s always there, even in the wee hours of the morning. As usual, the Internet greets me, the blue electronic beacon to light my darkness.

Google/Gmail/In-Box.

Writers’ Community of York Region – Grant Submissions – I wonder…

Another angle emerges, another train of thought, another hint of colour to add to the palate. A flurry of creativity catches my keyboard and I breathe a gasp of hope into the soul awaiting my inspiration. Sylvie blesses me with her sweetest sigh.

If you don’t take a chance, you don’t have a chance.

If you think you can – you can. If you think you can’t – you’re right.

I send my submission. I contact my prospective editor. Sylvie yawns deeply.

A glimmer of sunrise crests the window where I sit. The darkness is fading.

Thank you. I am not alone anymore.

I wrote this piece after I was informed I’d won the grant from WCYR.  I have used the funds to assist with the cost of a professional editor. That portion of the process is complete (or is it?), and now I aspire to find an agent/publisher. My novel is ready, or so I think, for the next phase.

I write about Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2). I have a need to humanize them, to make them real, and to inform Canadians that we too have a unit out there, comparable to Delta Force, Navy Seals or even the British SAS. We are home to one of the top 10 direct-action military forces in the world.

And most Canadians don’t even know about JTF2. I will draw you into the web that I weave around them. My characters and events are fictional. JTF2 is not.

By winning this grant, I am a little step closer to giving a face to the counter-terrorism unit that keeps us safe from the shadows. I give them characters you can relate to, despite their unique vocation. Distinctly Canadian, I wave my flag so proudly.

As one of this year’s judges, I look forward to seeing this year’s submissions for the grant, which are open until April 1. Yes, preparing for it is an exercise, but if nothing else, it helps sharpen our pens a little more. It gives us hope. Breathe deeply, and let your dreams soar.

You are not alone.

Sincerely,

Kris Cudlip w/a M.K. Todd

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