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Monday, March 1, 2010

We All Live in the Soviet Union

I'm sorry, my fellow U.S. citizens, but we do not live in a country where any non-self-published published writer--whether rich or poor, whether Mac owning or PC owning--can apply for a literature fellowship.

It is not fair, and I am outraged.

This is because it is impossible to create the required PDFs of one's poems without the latest, spiffiest computer software, software that cannot be downloaded on even the newest Mac. It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

I thought we lived in a democracy, but guess what? Right at this moment, we are all living in the Soviet Union before the Wall came down. We are all that poor guy in The Lives of Others who refused to snitch on the artist he was supposed to turn in, so now he's steaming open envelopes in some dank, bureaucratic basement, spying on his brothers and sisters. We are all him, and we are all that playwright who cannot make art unless his art is in the service of the State.

But listen, all you out there in Washington, DC, I am going to beat this thing; I am going to find a way to get this application submitted if it kills me, to quote a poet friend who rocks it in the perseverance category (thanks to you, dear, I am not giving up).

If you still haven't applied, the deadline is March 4, 2010, but the website makes it clear that they can't guarantee any kind of support in the process (or guarantee that your application will successfully submit) unless they receive it 10 days prior to the deadline. (Could someone please explain to me how a deadline could actually not really be the actual deadline?) But warning, you need to find a computer that will allow you to read and create PDFs, or you're in the same living hell I'm currently stewing in. Have fun!


Susan Rich said...

My Mac makes easy PDF's happy to do them for you tonight if you would like. When you save a document instead of selectiong a .doc you can scroll down to a .pdf -- Send them to me and I will be home late tonight and can do this for you...

Martha Silano said...


You give meaning to the cliche "That's what friends are for." I am just now waiting for my PDF-created attachments to magically land in my in-box, direct from another poet friend. If they somehow screw up, I will be emailing you, though. Thanks!!!!

Joannie said...


I was going to throw my help into the ring--but it sounds like you've got it covered.

And good luck with the application.

Martha Silano said...

Joannie: You are a dear. I am so lucky to have people like you in my life. Thanks for being ready with the bandaids and duct tape!