Life lessons come from the strangest places. One sunny, breezy day, my wife and I walked along one of the streets near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It’s a fascinating place filled with tourists, street performers, and panhandlers.
Most of the panhandlers stood curbside holding signs asking each passerby for money. They held signs that identified them as military vets, homeless, or a dozen other needs. One man held a different sign: “Why lie. It’s for beer.”
I had to admire his honesty even if I questioned his life goals. So let me make an honest appeal.
In planning the 2013 BRMCWC conference I made a goal of being bold; of attempting great things so that our conferees can achieve even greater things. Over the years, first as a faculty member teaching fiction and now as director of the conference, I have seen conferees follow their dreams of publication. One of my greatest thrills is receiving an e-mail that reads, "I just signed a contract," or "A magazine just published my article."
Some of these success stories come from the ranks of scholarship students. We do our best to keep conference expenses as low as possible and still put on the best conference in the country (I know I sound like a proud father. I can't help myself). Even so, the cost of attending Blue Ridge is beyond the grasp of many. What one of us hasn't been there? In need of a little help to chase a dream, to follow a calling?
One of the great things about BRMCWC is the first "C": Christian. As Christians we know the value and the positive result of helping others. We give, not out of guilt, but out of purpose, believing that even a small effort can bring great changes.
Let’s face it, the economy continues to be a challenge. Unemployment in my new hometown of Fresno, California hovers around 15% while the national rate is just below 9%. Every day I receive at least one request for scholarship help. Some come from writers who have lost their day job, others from cash-strapped college students, and still others from people who must use their financial resources to care for family members.
You can make a difference. Back in my pastor days I learned that people working together can achieve far more than a person working alone. That is what I’m trying to do here: lead the many to help the few.
I’ve set up a program whereby folks like you can help others change the world through the written word. By clicking on the DONATE button in the right column of the site you can make a contribution--large or small--to help someone take an important step to changing the world through writing. Every penny of the donated money goes to scholarships. Nothing goes to administration.
Perhaps you’ve been to Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference many times, perhaps you’re part of the faculty; maybe you’re a publisher or agent who believes in planting creative seeds for the industry we serve, you can make a difference in the lives of new writers.
On behalf of the future scholarship recipients I offer heartfelt thanks.
You da best.