Donation & Support Opportunities
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”
“Words were power for the ancient Celts, and it was the cast of the Fili who wielded them with supernatural efficacy. They were bards, yet better. Historians, storytellers, and genealogists. Poets, diviners, and seers. Their calling was a familial inheritance, something in your blood.
The highest rank of master poet, the Ollam, was equal in status to that of a petty king. They enjoyed the freedom to wander, carrying messages between kingdoms and presiding over legal matters. A retinue of 24 men, a cliar, followed them on these journeys, where doors opened, hearths were warmed, and hospitality was always offered. For they were not only the holders of records and accounts, they were also the holders of mystery and myth.”
- By Molly Murfee, a working excerpt from The Adventure of Home
We have come a long way from the time of the Fili and the Ollam, when storytellers were revered and supported not only by the ruling king, but by the entire village. Today we invest our money in fossil fuels and weapons destroying both planet and people. Conversely, the "starving artist" stereotype rises from a true reality—the artist truly dedicated to her craft often is required to make a leap of faith, creating the art before there is ever any income.
Our world is in dire straits. We are, in every sense of the word, on fire. The questions is, however—how will we rise from these ashes? I want to be a part of this conversation, a voice for the re-creation of a culture that is more respectful to the earth and each other. I feel my writing is timely to the crises we now face. I am trying, with every ounce of my being, to complete my book, The Adventure of Home, to be a part of this rising tide.
It is time to tell a new story. And I need your help to do it. Please join me by pledging your support to one or both of the following donation projects.
Bread Loaf Environmental Writers' Conference
I’ve been accepted to the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference! Founded in 1926, Bread Loaf is known in the writing world as one of the oldest and most prestigious writers’ conferences in the nation. You must submit a sample of your creative writing as part of the application, and the small number of coveted spots makes the selection process highly competitive. I’m thrilled and honored to have been chosen.
Bread Loaf is in an auspicious location, hosted by Middlebury College on their satellite campus in rural Ripton, Vermont in the middle of the Bread Loaf Wilderness. These are the historic stomping grounds of four-time Pulitzer Prize winning American poet Robert Frost, who participated in Bread Loaf writing conferences for over four decades, and wrote much of his famous verse from the area. Other notable authors associated with the conference have been Julia Alvarez, John Irving, Barry Lopez, Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty, William Kittredge, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and many, many others.
Bread Loaf stands as a real “door-opener” for me. I’ll get critical feedback on a chapter of my book from a faculty mentor (a well-known, published author further down the road than myself), and a workshop group of other Bread Loaf attendees. This feedback will help guide the rest of my book, understanding how it lands with people who are not already a part of my readership.
Additionally, I’ll receive a one-on-one, as well as a small group meeting, with a literary agent, a representative of a publishing house, and a magazine editor. This is huge for me. I’ll be able to pitch my book and stories, and make connections face-to-face with people essential in getting my work further out there. As a rural author, I don’t have the networking opportunities writers from the big cities do. This is my chance! I’ll also be able to take writing technique classes from the dozen faculty mentors that will be on hand during the conference to put an even finer point on my craft.
Needless to say, this is expensive. From the conference tuition, to the travel from rural town to rural town, to hotel rooms—this is truly a planes, trains, and automobiles adventure (I’ll have to take all three to get there). Overall, the experience will cost me $5,000 by my conservative estimates.
Donating even just $25 is enormously helpful in launching me into this career-changing conference. Clicking the “Donate” button on the left-hand side of this page takes you to a separate PayPal page to complete your donation. You don’t need a PayPal account to make a one-time donation.
Ongoing Monthly Support for My Book Project
Writing a book takes a village! Just go to the Acknowledgements Page of any book and you’ll see. It is a long-haul endeavor—the marathon, not the sprint; the long-term relationship, not the one-night stand. Gabriel Garcia Marquez sold his car, auctioned off his appliances, and lived on credit to produce his Nobel Prize winning novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. His wife took care of all of life's logistical details so he could just focus on writing.
Writing a book averages about two to three years, more if it involves extensive research (which mine does). I’m in my third year of pushing everything off my plate that doesn’t drive into the book. I’m hoping it’ll be the home stretch, and that I’ll be able to finish it by the end of 2022, and begin pitching it to agents and publishers by 2023.
Along the way I’m building my author’s platform so I am a more attractive prospect once I do begin querying those people. As such I’m applying to grants to help fund the writing, contests to get my name further out there, residencies that give me time and space to really focus on my writing, and pitching book chapters to magazines to collect publishing by-lines along the way.
All of these, when awarded, also help me build my artist’s resume. And they cost. Submissions to these endeavors typically cost anywhere from $20 to $50. Additional expenses include paying for the hosting platform for my website, email services, and blogging capabilities. I am constantly purchasing new books for essential research for the book. There’s printer ink, paper, and of course … notebooks, pens, and pencils. And there is the reduced income, as I’ve viscerally learned writing a book and working over 40 hours every week at a “normal job” do not go hand and hand. Writing a book is in itself a full-time job, unpaid, until your manuscript is published. It’s a commitment, a dedication, a passion. And I am here to tell you it is not for the faint of heart.
This support option is a commitment of a monthly donation to help support these and other expenses. You can cancel it at any time. Therefore, the suggested donation amounts are very low, as they are automatically pulled monthly. You may choose one of the suggested options ($3, $5 and $10), or create your own donation amount. Just click the “Donate” button on the right-hand side of this page and you will be directed to a separate PayPal page. Once there, be sure to click the “Make This a Monthly Donation” box on the PayPal form. You will need to create a PayPal account for this option.