robertisenberg

The Dice are Cast: 2

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2010 at 3:03 am

Photograph of the Castle Isenberg museum. Which is in Germany. Where I might spend part of 2012. Maybe.

These are the things I’m applying for – grants, fellowships, residencies, whatever. I find a new one every week. Applying for them has become its own obsession – Lord knows what I’d do if I actually get one. These will all take me in separate directions, so I leave it up to Fortune. As Julius Caesar famously said before crossing the River Rubicon: Alea iacta est (“The die is cast”).

Guggenheim Fellowship: Reserved for the most elite artists in the nation (nay, the world), my chances of earning a Guggenheim are infinitesimal. But hey, why not? My proposal is to write a book about the nation of Laos, the tiny, landlocked nation in Southeast Asia – also known as the Most Bombed Country on Earth. I want to attend the Rocket Festival, which is one of the most provocative cultural traditions I’ve ever heard of. If I earn a Guggenheim, I would travel Laos for several months in mid-2011.

Howard Foundation: Same idea, if I can convince the folks at Howard that I am a “mid-career artist,” whatever that means.

Fulbright: Dead in the water. I found out that I’m eligible for a Fulbright two weeks before the deadline. I filled out all the paperwork, listed all my references, and then it turned out that I had to “have contacts in Laos,” which I don’t. There was no way to convince the Fulbright people that I could make contacts while I’m there, because I’m expert in making contacts. Ah, well.

Hodder Fellowship: Same Laos concept, except that I would have $63,900 and an office at Princeton University to write my masterpiece. Don’t get me wrong: I WOULD WRITE A ROCKIN’ BOOK. Will the people at Princeton believe that I am a “writer of exceptional promise”? Well, why the hell not?

U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program: Due to a recent obsession with haibun (a Japanese tradition of travelogue and poetry), I want to travel the pilgrimage of Bashō, a 17th-Century haiku poet and Zen Buddhist who wandered medieval Japan, risking his life every day, to document his world. He is considered the Shakespeare of Japan, and I want to retrace his footsteps and write a book about it. If I got this residency, I would live in Japan for three months in 2012.

Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship: Virtually nobody knows that I love poetry, I take it very seriously, and I write a lot of it. Since I write mostly about provocative instances in foreign countries, I figured I am a prime candidate for the Lowell Scholarship, which would entitle me to $50,000. Oh, and I’d have to live in a foreign country for a year. Dream come true? Yes.

American Academy of Berlin Fellowship: I have always wanted to write a book about the “Meistertrunk.” Basically, the Holy Roman Empire laid siege to the city of Rothenburg in the 1631. The invader, the Count of Tilly, offered to spare the town if one of the councilmen could drink a 3.5-liter goblet of beer in a single swig. For this, I would spend several months doing research in Rothenburg and Berlin (in 2012).

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  1. Rob, I love how you’re already obsessed with haibun. That was three days ago. Then again I’ve definitely done the same sort of thing with authors and other forms of writing.
    Frank

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