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We interrupt this two-part blog entry to bring you a quick note from Frank Haberle, last year’s Pen Parentis Writing Fellow! (It’s the last few days to submit to the 2012 Fellowship! Postmark deadline is April 18th – so get on it! Take it away, Frank!):
Winning the 2011 Pen Parentis fellowship last spring came with a world of rewards, not least of which comes when I’m helping my kids with their homework, and they question my answers. “Excuse me?” I get to snort at them. “Who’s the Pen Parentis fellow here?” I have yet to try it with my boss, or my wife, but this line has such a nice ring to it!
More seriously, entering this contest, and winning the award has jump-started my efforts to balance parenting, writing and working on a number of levels:
1) It’s provided an instant support network. Pen Parentis is a supportive, encouraging community of writers who understand the unique challenges of those of us who don’t want to give up our writing while, at the same time, continuing to do the best we can as parents and providers.
2) It’s a source of inspiration. Pen Parentis brings in a diverse, accomplished group of writers who fought through the minefields of raising children and keeping their writing going. Attending the readings has been an inspiration in itself, but the panel discussions that follow unveil really valuable bits of wisdom.
3) The reading was amazing. One part of the award was getting to read my story alongside two established, wonderful writers (Rebecca Wolff and Sarah Gardener) in an amazing setting, in the beautiful Libertine lounge in downtown Manhattan.
4) The honorarium has been hugely helpful. It created a little cushion of funding that has helped me rationalize entering occasional contests or paying for a babysitter when my wife and I want to go to a reading. In a forward-thinking way, it’s like a contract-I have felt like I am obligated to create time to write, like I’ve been writing much more consistently as a result.
The Pen Parentis Fellowship has been meaningful in two ways: it’s recognition for a job well done, and it’s a mandate to take your creative side seriously- even though the chaos of diapers and laundry and dishes and homework help may be encroaching from all sides. It’s been a real blessing, not only to have won this award, but to have become a member of this community.
Thanks, Frank! We hope all of you consider entering this year – here are this year’s guidelines! As an added bonus, you can have a glance at Frank’s bio and follow links to online stories of his…We are so proud to have Frank as a Fellow! He’s a jolly good one!