Heinlein said it best. You can never pay back the people who helped you when you were first starting out, so all you can do is pay it forward, and try to help those who come after.
Those words, and the sentiment behind them, have always resonated with me, and I have done my best to Pay It Forward. One of the ways I’ve tried to do that is with the scholarships I sponsor — to Clarion and Clarion West, Odyssey, and the Taos Toolbox, to IAIA here in Santa Fe, and through the Stagecoach Foundation.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from one of those scholarship recipients, who had some exciting news to share:
“My name is Isabel Cañas and I was the first recipient of your Worldbuilder scholarship to attend Clarion West in 2018. I said hello and introduced myself to you briefly after the Hugo Awards ceremony at WorldCon in Dublin in 2019. I’m writing with the wonderful news that my debut Gothic horror novel, The Hacienda, recently sold in a major deal at auction and will be published by Berkley in Spring 2022.
I am also writing to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Attending Clarion West is a life-and career-changing experience for many writers; I can attest the same. It gave me the courage to write in new genres and explore my identity as a Mexican-American writer in a space that was both safe and that pushed me hard to improve my craft. I grew immensely as a writer during those six weeks and the months and years after. Without Clarion West, I do not believe I would have been able to write the novel that will be my debut.
In 2018, I would not have been able to attend Clarion West without financial aid. Because of the doors that the workshop experience has opened for me, I now find myself in a position where I can extend that generosity to the next generation of students: I will be funding one Latinx student to attend Clarion West in 2022. Currently, it is a one-time scholarship, but in the future, I hope to be able to follow your example and fund an annual scholarship.”
I was pleased as hell by Isabel’s big sale, and look forward to reading her novel.
And I am even more delighted to hear that she herself will also be Paying It Forward, by sponsoring an even newer writer at Clarion West in 2022. I think Heinlein would have been pleased as well.
((Isabel adds, “If it’s not too much trouble to add a link to your post, I am happy to report that The Hacienda is now on Goodreads, if your readers would like to add it: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57840571-the-hacienda “))
Current Mood: pleased