A stunning thing happened to me recently when my landlady passed me a letter.
A letter? I never get letters! And it’s not even from the bank too. What a novelty! I was ready to celebrate.
Then my heart skipped a beat when I saw on the envelope, someone had written the initials ‘AIF’ – Apprenticeships in Fiction.
I suddenly went Ohmygod, ohmygod. I didn’t want to open it, which was silly I know. Five minutes later, that litany still beating in my head, I tore open the envelope.
I got in. Holy cow, I got in! I freaked. Yes, I did.
We are pleased to inform you that your application for the Apprenticeships in Fiction scheme has been successful. This year we have offering five apprenticeships:
(Then my name listed as one of five applicants selected – all of whom are women – along with the name of my novel ‘A Malaysian Dark’)
Ohmygod, ohmygod! I’m not crazy after all!
And then I plunged back to reality like Luke Skywalker flushed down the chute – the apprenticeship has fees attached. When I’d sent the submission in late May, it had mostly been on a lark, fuelled by wavering visions of The Dream. It helped give me a deadline, something to aim for – and it motivated me to write much more of my novel. It does sound like a fantastic apprenticeship, with opportunities to refine the novel under a mentor and by the end of the year, possibly be introduced to someone who might represent me.
But I realise now, with still no job and no means to support myself, I cannot afford this apprenticeship. Unless I get funding. My visa does not allow recourse to UK public funds, however, and as for Malaysian grants…I was told there was a private one whose last deadline was on Aug 31, 2010. No such government funds for literature.
So for various reasons, I think I will have to turn it down. Hey, at least someone was supportive about my synopsis and story outline, which is always encouraging. Must get my priorities right, must keep aiming to finish Malaysian Dark next month!