Saturday, 18 August 2007

Fat, fed up, and fundless!

I've been waiting by the letter box for ages. Months in fact. I've been waiting, and eating - but not smoking - so I'm now half a stone heavier than I was and feel enormous.

But I was waiting in the hope that a letter would arrive from the AHRC (that's the Arts and Humanities Research Council) and that (hoping beyond all hope) it wouldn't matter that I'm getting old and fat because I'd get funding for my PhD and everything would be then be hunky dory.

Except (you guessed it and I knowed it) I got the letter and the letter was crap.

Boo bloody Hoo.

Apparently my application that had to squish 5,000 words into the space of 500 (with references) was not good enough. The letter said, "The standard was, as ever, extremely high and many good candidates have been disappointed." It went on to say that I had scored, "Good application, priority for an award, Grade 4." So a pat on the back but no cigar. Not that I'd want a cigar, you understand, cos I don't bloody smoke anymore (and so can't even drown my sorrows in tobacco (or alcohol cos booze makes me ill)). Jeezuz ah needz a vice!

So am a tiny but fed up. Take a moment to savour the depths of my understatement there. No funding. No £12,000 a year to do my PhD. Nope. Nada. Zilch. No money. Ni una puta duro.

On the plus side I suppose it means that I can stay part time for my PhD which given the current rate of progress can only be a good thing, and it also means that the pile of crap I wrote on the application about hybrid novel forms and short story sequences, can go to hell in a paperback shredder for all I care. I am now free to write whatever comes out. So there.

And while I'm trying to look on the bright side, I am still going to have two glorious weeks in Spain in which to do some serious research for the novel I am determined to finish now that I've got this far (and sod the funding). And even better than that, on Thursday I went out on a hack to the beach.

To the beach! And oh it was soooo wonderful I can't tell you. It was the most superb thing I've ever done, galloping along the sands at the water's edge, the wind and the sea spray. And the speed. Oh lord. I'm an atheist I know, but I was shouting Oh My God in head, and was thanking the great whatever for being alive all the way back to the yard.

So thank the great white spirit for horses, and beaches, and Spain, and f*** being fed up, fat and fundless.


Jon M said...

Oh dear for funding. Yay! for horses on a beach!

JJ said...

Hey, you did the beach ride. Did your horse run away with you?

I'm sorry to hear about the dosh. Bummer. But as you say, at least you can do as you wish now.


hesitant scribe said...

hi jon and jj - yes the beach ride was fabulous and no, the horse remained in my control at all times (how wonderful am I???!!!)

Bummer about the funding, yes. Still kicking the table and frowning. A lot. But hey. I am freed up now as you say (and I said?!) to write whatever comes out. That is a good thing.

Have also just been on the phone to Spain to book an apartment and it went ok. Apart from the fact that I am too out of practice to trust taking bank details down, so have had to resort to email. But at least I'll have somewhere to stay! Hurrah!

Jen said...

I'm a great believer in everything happening for a reason... and to be given free rein (no pun intended!) to write as you please is very liberating.

Spain sounds heavenly - am jealous that you're escaping this grotty, dreary summer.

hesitant scribe said...

Jen - yeah, you're right. I know. Still wanting to cry over the loss of £12,000 - that's twelve grand!!! But hey. As my eldest so sagely pointed out - I didn't lose it because I never had it. She said I only wanted it, and that doesn't count because she wants a million pounds but that doesn't mean she lost it. Okay okay, I get the point, child! said I.


Angela Young said...

I found you on Harriet Devine's blogroll - and I found her through Stuck in a Book and Cornflower (don't know how to do html link-biz on a comment, otherwise I would ... p'raps you can't?) - but I just wanted to say, even though we haven't been properly introduced, how foul of the ARHC not to give you that grant and how I love your novel chronometer (how DO you do that?) and I just wanted to sympathise with a fellow writer.

AnneH said...

Think yourself lucky re funding - my AHRC funding application was sent back as having incorrect documentation - my Uni had insisted that they would handle the collation of all the paper work - I just had to write the 500 words (JUST!!!!)and get the refs in order then pass it all over to them (Research Office). To say I was absolutley livid - having spent weeks on the bloody thing, bored my friends, family and myself rigid with it - would be a tad of an understatement. The Uni have apologised for the mix up and hope I understand - I bloody well don't actually - so I have a place to do the PhD and no funding - withou the funding I'm afraid I can't do it - so I'm just gonna WRITE THE BLOODY BOOK. They'll be sorry! Won't they?

hesitant scribe said...

AnneH - Hmmm - not sure if lucky is the right word given I didn't get the funding cos my application wasn't good enough, but take your point! In fact, you could at least convince yourself that you would have got it if your uni had done its job properly!!!

I think in many ways it is easier to just get on and write the book because to be honest the whole PhD thing gets in the way of the writing big time. Best of luck with it all!

Anonymous said...

Heh, I just got the dead same letter. Chin up, etc. Reapply next year, they apparently appreciate it if you show them you're a glutton for punishment.