My favourite blogger Mira Bartok has posted a new list of fellowships, grants and prizes for writers: for lesbian writers, poets (gay, straight or otherwise), Romance-language writers, non-fiction specialists (like yours truly) and the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant that I won last year. Check out Mira’s List here. Tell her I sent you!
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Barbara Deming (of the aforementioned Fund), a feminist and lesbian poet, writer, and civil rights activist founded the Money for Women Fund (that now carries her name) in 1975. She died of cancer in 1984.
On her deathbed, Deming wrote a letter that the chair of her foundation now sends its fellows.
The letter moved me to tears when I read it. I plan to keep it forever, since it reminds me to honour those who went before me and to learn from their lives.
“May all be made whole,” wrote Deming. I love that.
Here’s the letter:
To so many of you:
I have loved my life so very much and I have loved you so very much and felt so blessed at the love you have given me. I love the work so many of us have been trying to do together and had looked forward to continuing this work but I just feel no more strength in me now and I want to die. I won’t lose you when I die and I won’t leave you when I die. Some of you I have especially loved and felt beloved by and I hope you know that even though I haven’t had the strength lately to reach out to you.
I love you. Hallowed be (may all be made whole), I want you to know, too, that I die happily.
Bobbie (Barbara) Deming
(Naples Community Hospital. Naples, Florida. July 21, 1984. 6:15 p.m.)
[Photo: philippe leroyer]