Paris Writing Workshop: Personal Statement

The Paris Writing Workshop has long been on my agenda. As any human on our earth knows, time flies and the intentions we set can be abandoned along the wayside.

This is often benign. Life presents us with many paths, each of them worth exploring in their own right. In my experience, however, it has equally been due to indecisiveness.

            The past four years of adult independence have been a process of discovery. Creativity has solidified itself as a centerpiece of my character. It spans my perspective and personality, manifesting primarily in music and writing.

            The Paris Writing Workshop appeared to me through Rolf Potts. Vagabonding found me in 2015, my senior year of high school at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. The book prepared me for a three-month European journey which began mere days after commencement. I envisioned attending the workshop, but decided against it, opting for the open road as I had just recently wrapped fourteen consecutive years in classrooms.

            Paris then slipped from my awareness as I shed personal belongings and repeatedly crossed countries and continents, doubling back to the Midwest every few months where I would stay with friends and family while working full-time. I played in bands, soccer leagues and acting troupes. I crafted cocktails, carved surfboards and cared for elders. I lived, loved and filled journals detailing the adventures.

            Last March, Rolf generously agreed to share a conversation on my podcast. It reignited the goal of attending the course. Unfortunately, I was in no real position to venture overseas. Debt had gotten the better of me and left me somewhat stranded in Wisconsin.

            Fortunately, things have worked out fine. (They always do.) I have been taken in by a great community and managed to save some money, all the while challenging myself intellectually and athletically, living with a group of close friends in a gorgeous house across from a park.

            Currently, I am recording and mastering my first album ahead of its February 4th deadline. The lyrics to it are my writing sample. Taking the remainder of winter and spring to save money, I know I will be aching for travel when summer rolls around. I would like to finally follow through on attending the Paris Writing Workshop. The $1,000 scholarship would help immensely because I am young and poor. Like Hornsby said back in ’86, “That’s just the way it is.”

            Community living is a positive influence for me, so being around other motivated individuals would be beneficial. In my repertoire are two complete non-fiction novellas that need some serious retooling before release. I have little trouble putting pen to paper or firing away at a keyboard, but lack training and need professional guidance.

 I write daily, but seek to refine and redefine my voice, contributing more of it to the world.

Besides, after approximately four years of relatively open roads, I could opt for at least one month in a classroom.

Chance Gilliam