Writing Class Moving Expenses

$3,205 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 34 people in 2 months
Hi friends. Story time.

I won a writing competition and thus will be dropping everything in my life to move to Portland OR next month to take a writing workshop with Chuck Palahniuk. I’m one of 16, chosen out of ~200 applicants, to spend 3 months workshopping some writing with Mr Palahniuk. I was in complete shock when I read the email, posted the news to Facebook, and a huge amount of support and generosity came from friends, family, and old acquaintances posting, texting, and calling me encouraging I set up a GoFundMe to make it happen. I feel a little weird about this, and the only thing I have to give in return is writing, but here we are.

The current and future state of my employment is super unclear, but my employer knows that I am going regardless of if they will take me back or not when I return. What’s most scary about that is not knowing what kind of financial mess this may leave me in come springtime, but, my outlook on the whole thing is simply this.

Lucky, the only debt I have is student loans, and I have enough money in my emergency fund (this counts as an emergency, right?) to cover those bills while I’m away. So I’m only worried about paying for rent and food. I’ve spoken to a bunch of folks on AirBnB, found a good deal and I’ve got a small space to stay.  Anyone wanna help me sell a kidney? That should cover everything.

Backstory:


I submitted to the application pool on a whim, because I thought it’d be nice knowing my favorite writer spent 30 seconds reading something I wrote, fully knowing I don’t live anywhere near Portland so I had no expectation for this to go anywhere. In the email telling me I got in, Palahniuk said my writing was 'exceptionally unique', and I could not get that nugget of overwhelming emotion out of my brain until it hit me that there is no choice but to go. Quit my job, sell my shoe collection, secretly live in the Portland library, whatever, it’s happening.

(Left, 2011, Right, 2016)

In 2011 I drove to Philadelphia in the middle of the night to stand in an ice storm outside of a library for a few hours with strangers while we waited for them to let us inside to start the line for a book signing. I was second in line, got my 30 seconds with Chuck, and then on my way home spun out in a snow storm in the middle of nowhere on a trucking road in a blizzard and ended up stranded-ish. (I called my dad and he helped me find a hotel and talked me though driving in the white out, it was a nightmare, he loves telling the story at parties.) In 2014 I drove out to upstate New York for a small reading and again was seccond in line to meet him. In 2016, I camped outside of a bookstore from 2 a.m. until the signing at noon so I could be first in line to greet him. When I graduated with my Master's in writing, I wore a dress I hand made out of fabric I custom made to be the pages from one of his books. I sound obsessed, but there’s a reason I’m so wide-eyed about the guy:

I didn’t learn to read until much later than most kids, I'm dyslexic, and I never read a book cover to cover let alone enjoyed it until I found his writing. It completely changed my perspective on my own writing and creative worth and I wouldn’t be where I am today without that, so to be chosen for this is something I have to pursue at whatever cost.

I have talked to my superiors at work about a potential leave of absence, but I don’t know if that’s going to be approved and I’m not super optimistic about it. I love my job, I feel very supported and encouraged by everyone in my department to create worthwhile meaningful work, and so I’m extremely hopeful I'll still have a position when I return in the spring. But being gone for 3 months is a lot, and theres precedent involved, and I get that, so there’s a good chance I’m going to have to quit. But right now the powers at be are discussing and will go over it with HR and we’ll just have to see what happens. As much as I love the place and what I do, I’m only 23 and I can start a new path if I have to. It’s a risk, a big honkin gamble, but I’m ready.



(Left, highschool grad cap, right, undergrad grad cap. All Palahniuk book quotes.)


Lastly, all I have to give in return for support is writing. Any dollar amount 10 and over gets a poem or short story with one word per dollar. ($10 = ten word poem, etc.) I don’t think I can write a decent piece in less than 10 words, so any amount under 10 gets a hug, high five, a doodle, I dunno I’ll figure something out.


In 4th grade I wrote crappy poems from random prompts I’d pull from a box Ms. Bozack would pass around. These days, I’ve been able to publish a piece of writing every few months for 5 straight years. If I didn’t have the support of you folks, the spaces you provide for performing, the encouragement and challenges, the borderline harasment to set this page up, I wouldn’t be planning an entire lifestyle flip around to go workshop my stuff with my favorite writer.


Thank you.


If you want to read my writing, some of it is on NJTPoetry.com. I should be reading at The Gerund  a few more times before I leave, too.


(The graduation dress made from Diary I wore when I got my Master's in Writing)
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Update 3
Posted by Nicole Turner
3 days ago
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Hi! Quick update / request, can yous guys do me a favor and answer two quick questions and save us all the time of me asking everyone individually? Thanks :)
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PQVRYLS
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Update 2
Posted by Nicole Turner
1 month ago
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Hello all! I just wanted to say thanks again, I'm floored by this entire thing and am so grateful. I feel so humbled. My rent is now paid in full, thanks to all of you wonderful people. I've started writing your thank you poems and stories, though I don't expect to get any of them out until I am returning from Portland and/or towards the end of my stay. If anyone would prefer a short story rather than a poem, or vise versa, let me know. And again, thank you.
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Update 1
Posted by Nicole Turner
2 months ago
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Hi all, I am overwhelmed with gratitude, thank you SO much for all of your contributions. I’ve got a lot of writing to get to, and can’t wait to send it out to y’all. I’m still not fully convinced this is real life, but I have really great news—I get to keep my job! I don’t know the full details of how it’s going to work out yet, but, things right now look really good and in light of that I’m going to reduce my “goal” quite a bit and ultimately close the campaign once I get the final word from my boss. I wouldn’t be able to do this though without you all, you’ve collectively paid for my first month of rent, so thank you a hundred times over. You could have spent this money on a dinner out, a new hoodie, a tank of gas, a sick puppy who’s fundraiser is far more pressing than mine, but you chose to support my writing, and man, that means a heck of a lot. Thank you.
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$3,205 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 34 people in 2 months
Created January 18, 2017
TY
$50
Tim Young
1 month ago
1
1

Good luck!

KF
$300
Katherine Foster
1 month ago
1
1

Let's put you over your goal

JL
$50
Jeff Lynch
1 month ago

Good luck Nicole!

SS
$45
Sarah Schomp
1 month ago

Nic,this truly is inspiring and so fantastic. Your courage, strength, and perseverance are admirable to the point of envy. You deserve this experience and I look forward to seeing how your writing evolved from your hard work in this intensive workshop. All the best!

$50
Tara Holt
1 month ago

Good luck...write on! :)

CD
$35
Cam DeWallace
1 month ago
JS
$25
Jonathan Swenson
1 month ago
$10
Caroline Milch
1 month ago
DS
$15
Dan S
1 month ago
1
1
GT
$1,000
GoFundMe Team
1 month ago
4
4

We’re excited to be able to Give Back to campaigns that have touched us here at GoFundMe. We wish you the best, - The GoFundMe Team

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