17 Days

From start to finish, it took me 17 days to raise the money I needed to attend the Fusion Artist in Residency Program. When I first launched it, I was terrified that I wouldn’t get anywhere close to my goal, that I’d be derided, that the underlying message would be, “Who are you? What makes you think you’re a writer?”

But instead, my experience was one of an almost constant outpouring of love and support. I raised over 65% of my goal in the wake of publishing the story about my disapproving friend (just 4 days ago, I might add) as though my colleagues and loved ones wanted to show how very much they disagreed with the assertion that asking for help from one’s community was in any way wrong.

And I’m just so grateful and humbled and overwhelmed that I’m having a difficult time articulating myself. So here is a list of my thoughts and feelings right now, unfiltered:

  1. Holy shit, I’m going to Italy.
  2. I know the best people in the world.
  3. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou. The words “Thank you” do not get anywhere near to expressing the depths of my profound gratitude.
  4. I better finish that book and it better be amazing and it better get published because otherwise I will let everyone down.
  5. I better also finish that play and it better be amazing and it better get produced because otherwise I will let everyone down.
  6. Wow, I’m really scared to travel by myself.
  7. That’s stupid, Jenny, you’ll be fine. You’ve been abroad many times before.
  8. I’m going to miss Jon while I’m away. I don’t think we’ve been apart for more than a few days in the year and a half we’ve been together.
  9. Holy shit, I’m going to Italy.
  10. What if my passport doesn’t get here in time or I lose it while I’m abroad and I can never come home again?
  11. That’s stupid, Jenny. Take a Xanax or something, Jeez.
  12. Realistically, how little can someone eat and not die? Will I die if I only eat pasta for a month? What do I want more: coffee or museums?
  13. I can’t believe everyone made this happen for me. How did I get so lucky?
  14. Can I buy everyone I know a present in Europe? Will I have enough space in my suitcase to buy everyone I know a present from Europe?
  15. I have friends that will be in Europe at the same time as me! Isn’t that insanely amazing? Incidentally, that should clear up my anxieties from earlier (see item #6).
  16. I get lost a lot. And also I don’t speak any Italian.
  17. What if the other artists in residence don’t like me?
  18. Psh, they’ll love me.
  19. Or they won’t. Whatever. How is it that I ricochet between self-confidence and self-doubt with such celerity?
  20. I’m so excited I’m so excited I’m so excited!
  21. I swear, this time I will not overpack.
  22. That’s stupid, Jenny. You always overpack.

This morning, I sent an e-mail to the residency director, formally accepting my invitation. I’m going to Italy, because you believed in me enough to send me there.