thrushFebruary was a busy month for Storyknife.

We were parsing out all of the submissions to our wonderful team of reviewers. Each submission was to be read by three people. We also needed to create a grid so we could figure out which applicants wanted a two-week retreat, which wanted a four-week retreat, and which month each was available. It looked a little like a complicated game of Tetris.

But it was completely worth it. This application period, we received almost seventy applications, each and every one like a gift sent to us by a woman who hoped to have some time to devote to her craft. It’s sad that we don’t have room for everyone. Next Monday, we’ll be posting biographies of the four writers chosen, but know that it was a really difficult decision.

I’d like to update you on the fund-raising efforts for Eva’s House. We didn’t quite make our goal of raising $83,333 before February 14. Recently Patrice Krant donated $10,000 which will be matched by her former employer Coca-Cola, and that has considerably helped us towards our goal. We’re at $47,200, meaning we’re over half, but not there yet. Luckily for us, Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli have agreed to extend the deadline on their $2 for every $1 match on funds donated. If we can reach $83,333 by August 30, Peggy and Joe will contribute the remaining funds to reach the $250,000 needed to build the main house.

In other words, we have six months to raise $36,133. We can do that, right? And by we, I don’t mean Dana and I, I mean all of us who want to see Storyknife built so that we can offer more opportunities for women writers to devote uninterrupted time to their craft.

There is snow on the grounds of Storyknife right now. But underneath the snow, grass is waiting to spring up. The Frederica cabin is waiting for her summer writers. I am waiting for the day when I hear a varied thrush call out from the alders.

In her beautiful book Becoming Earth, Eva Saulitis wrote:

If the coastal spruce forest has a voice, this is it, varied thrush calls sketching an acoustic self-portrait of the landscape, pitched variably to reflect dark spaces, thicknesses, the heights of trees. How did I even grasp time and home without these markers? Varied thrushes are nothing like the birds of my youth. These raspy voices don’t recall the tender swirlings and whistlings of northeastern species like the red-eyed vireo or the shy veery, high in the budding canopy. No, varied thrush songs describe a plainer face: snowmelt rivulets sluicing through brown meadows, mud to the shins, to the axles, ice jams and overflow, spindly spruce trees swaying in a frigid south wind.

Dana and I are asking once again, if you might pitch in and donate toward’s Eva’s House. Let’s get this thing done. Let’s make sure that women’s stories are afforded the respect and unfettered time to unfold that they deserve.

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