A Little Help?

Like anybody has time on their hands and no place to spend it “¦

And like people don’t have more compelling concerns “¦

But.  I am trying to get projects up and running, especially those that involve developing ideas about sustainable language and nature writing.  This is tricky because my role as primary caregiver for a special needs child keeps the home environment unpredictable.  I’ve tried to develop projects, meet deadlines, and get out there, but eruptions of need at home have grounded me before I got much lift.  I could use a little help.

I wish to pursue two courses.  One is to promote nature writing among the LDS reading and writing community.  I see in the church a rising tide of concern for and interest in stewardship.  I would like to help create an environment where LDS writers of nature literature could begin meeting the narrative needs that will arise naturally from this growing concern.  This project is pending and waits in the wings.      

The other course is the swifter, in some ways more challenging one, a whitewater run of language exploration.  It’s here especially I could use some assistance.  

What I need help with is writing a proposal for grant money to fund travel in the desert, the Colorado Plateau in particular because that’s where I live.  The grant’s purpose is to help a writer get out to the desert to develop a sense of place and then produce literature mapping his/her explorations.  Through non-fiction narrative and lyrical exposition, I will develop concepts regarding sustainable language, especially as it applies to nature writing. My main thrust is that efforts we make to improve our behavior toward the natural (or any) world ought to include efforts to improve behavior in the natural environment we call language.  This project is not Mormon-centric, but I hope that one way or another Mormons will be involved.

The problem: I know nothing about writing proposals, and while I could certainly learn, my time is limited, my situation unpredictable, and the deadline two months away.  But even if I don’t get everything ready on time for this year’s deadline, I’ll be that much closer to meeting next year’s.  And if nothing else, I’ll have spent quality time working on my sustainable language project.

I’m looking for help from anyone having experience with proposal writing willing to guide me through the process.  Interested persons need not be enamored of nature writing, but if you are, that would be cool.

Need more details?  Contact me at P.Karamesines at Gmail dot com.

5 thoughts on “A Little Help?”

  1. Patricia:

    The word “sustainable” is bandied about today by sooo many people, and there are hundreds of different contextual meanings for that word. I am curious what your definition of “sustainable language” might be?

  2. I’m interested in your project, but lack the expertise to really be helpful.

    Some queries/suggestions:
    * Just what is “nature writing” anyway? I’ve always loved reading narratives of people who engage with nature in various ways (Jean George, Farley Mowat, Gerald Durrell), but don’t know if this qualifies as “nature writing” as I hear the term used in the literary sphere.

    * You mention the increasing interest in stewardship among Mormons. What kinds of resources exist out there that serve this need/interest? E.g., is there a place where Mormons who want to be environmentally conscious can talk about that? If not, then it may be getting ahead of things to try to create resources that support nature writing among Mormons in general. It might be better to promote the general cause/interest, and use that as a jumping-off point for the writing project.

    * From my own experience with writing grant applications of various kinds, the best advice I can give you is this: Look at the requirements sheet, and use it as your blueprint for your proposal. If they ask for four things, give them four sections–labeled with the same language they used, just so they KNOW that you have answered their questions.

  3. Bradly, good question. Probably, you can get a fair sense of what I mean by “sustainable language” here.
    (Last four paragraphs.)

    And here.
    (First five paragraphs, and yes, I misspelled irvine in the link title.)

    Also, here’s a blurb from my unpublished paper, “Why Joseph Went to the Woods: Rootstock for LDS Literary Nature Writers,” which I presented at last spring’s AML meeting:

    “To borrow from conservation rhetoric, any stewardship effort, including writing about nature, ought to strive to achieve sustainable language. Sustainable language is creative, productive, proactive language that makes it possible for others to care about what you care about. Also, it enables those who read or hear it to create choices for themselves. Through uses of rhetorical figures and tropes like metaphor and especially irony–irony in its highest forms, not sarcasm or cynicism or sardonic language–sustainable language creates a range of meaning so as to provide the raw materials for a creative audience to make something of their experiences of it. It opens possibilities rather than uses high rhetoric or limited options to bait others or use readers’ fear, depression, anger, sense of loss, guilt and so forth to channel them in particular directions, as bad writing in any genre or form is apt to do.”

  4. Jonathan, thanks for asking your questions. Let’s see if I can answer them

    1) Re: What is nature writing? I address this question in a secion of the paper mentioned in #3 above, but here’s the note I end on:

    “Certainly, aspiring LDS nature writers have many reasons to rejoice. Nature writing has acquired greater narrative diversity, with many avenues that are kingdom-building friendly. New forms in the genre allow for the development of Mormon spiritual themes; in fact, any and all of the narrative pathways opening up rely for their effectiveness upon various manifestations of spirituality. Nature writing cannot be said to be this rhetorical creature or that one, but rather many creatures differing in habits but bearing striking resemblances.”

    IOW, there’s a full spectrum of writing that qualifies as nature writing from Moby Dick to Terry Tempest Williams’ musings. Writing about your garden can qualify as nature writing, as far as I’m concerned.

    2)Resources. I was going to save this for another post, but some LDS bloggers and Internet communities have opened up discussion:

    LDS Earthstewardship. The website appears inactive right now but I think they still have an online discussion group. http://lds.earth.stewardship.googlepages.com/home

    There’s this guy, The Mormon Organon.

    This guy, Green Mormon Architect.

    And miscellaneous others. If any of you miscellaneous others are reading and would like to give a shout out for your environmentally friendly blog or website, by all means do so.

    Hopefully, more Mormon blogs and websites will appear to provide talking zones for Mormons interested in Earth stewardship.

    You wonder if I might be getting ahead of things trying to create resources supporting nature writing among Mormons. Maybe I am, but I’m not moving on this phase of my interests till next spring at least. However, good stories, essays, and poems that take nature to heart can provide just as good of a jumping-off point for sparking interest in becoming environmentally aware as becoming environmentally aware can provide a jumping-off point for the writing of nature lit.

    But if I start something up and no one picks up the conversation, I’m very good at talking to myself.

    Thank you very much for the grant application advice! I will put it to use.

  5. Okay, some kind individuals have stepped forward to help. I feel like I’ve got matters related to the grant proposal covered. Humble thanks to everyone who expressed interest.

    Feel free to continue discussion about nature writing and sustainable writing, if desired. I’m always up for that discussion.

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