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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sarah Gerkensmeyer to John Jodzio, one Pen Parentis Fellow to another


Today is the day of the changeover - we give a $1000 check to a new Pen Parentis Fellow at the season opener for our Salons. Ten seasons - it's astonishing. We are so thrilled and gratified at the wonderful response that we get from our audiences.  Our 2013-2014 Writing Fellow is John Jodzio, who flew in from Minnesota to read for us.  On the occasion of John's inauguration into our hall of Fellows, last year's Fellow, Sarah Gerkensmeyer, wrote him a letter. I reproduce it here for you...

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Dear John,

Congratulations on being selected as the 2013-2014 Pen Parentis Fellow!  I wish I could be there at the first salon of the season to welcome you to the family in person.  This letter will have to do.  I thought it would be most helpful for me to take a practical approach and let you know exactly how I have spent my $1,000 award.  While I hope the following budget breakdown is helpful for you, I also apologize because this is a selfish act on my part—as these notes will help me think through some of the things I am so good at avoiding (e.g. keeping close track of expenditures for tax purposes).

$457.98………………………travel to promote my new book, attend residencies, etc. (including  
                                                 airfare, lodging, food)
$50.27……………………….several pats-on-the-back of confidence and motivation
$29.34……………………….an astounding sense of community
$49.58………………………..a few late-night delirious moments of: “I am not a strange alien.  I  
                                                 am not completely in this on my own.”
$138.92………………………my first REAL pair of leather boots, for giving readings and talks,
                                                 feeling author-y, etc.
$34.26………………………..the reassurance that this talk of balancing parenting and writing is
                                                 not taboo or strange or petty or inconsequential;  
$99.99………………………..access to a built-in audience of folks who love literature (and
                                                 swanky hangout spots)
$60.88……………………….about two dozen doses of good humor, perspective, and humility
$56.74……………………….networking—I MET KELLY LINK
$22.05……………………….an entire year of stellar publicity for my work
$priceless……………………the amazing, invigorating, bold, inventive, spectacular,
                                                 kind, and imaginative work that Pen Parentis does to support the
 literary arts, and to invite someone like little old me into this wild,   
 wonderful world

I hope all of that adds up correctly, John.  But I’m a fiction writer, not a mathematician.  And even if the figures are slightly off, I hope this budget is enough to show you how amazing the honor of being a Pen Parentis Fellow truly is.  You are in for one beautiful year (and beyond).  So sharpen those pencils and wipe the smudges off the computer screen and get ready to spend big.

Best, Sarah Gerkensmeyer

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You can buy Sarah's book on Amazon through this link: 

1 comment:

  1. Here's the link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/What-You-Are-Now-Enjoying/dp/1932870806

    And here is Sarah's full and most current bio - what a year she has had!!

    Sarah Gerkensmeyer's story collection, What You Are Now Enjoying, was selected by Stewart O'Nan as winner of the 2012 Autumn House Press Fiction Prize and was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. A Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction and the Italo Calvino Prize for Fabulist Fiction, Sarah has received scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Ragdale, Grub Street, and the Vermont Studio Center. Her stories have appeared in Guernica, The New Guard Literary Review, The Massachusetts Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Cream City Review, among others. Sarah was the 2012-13 Pen Parentis Fellow. She received her MFA in fiction from Cornell University and now teaches creative writing at State University of New York at Fredonia.

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