i just got back from that Creative Writing for Children Fellowship and my soul is full of new ideas and renewed inspiration for my dream!
They critiqued my manuscript on "My One-Boob Mamma" and there was quite a discussion on the ideas the story presented, but generally the feedback was affirming; one panelist even said that it is a courageous piece, hitting a deeply felt need rarely talked about, but handled very sensitively and delicately too.
They only wondered how the market will bear such a story, though. There were one or two suggestions for improvement, too, which basically had to deal with my tightening the language and the voice further to reflect the most appropriate age group the story was meant for (9-12 years old pre-puberty stage) instead of the too wide an age group my story draft seemed aimed for (3-6 and 6-9 and 9-12 years old). I am taking their suggestions to heart and will polish the story further for this year's Philippine Board of Books for Young People (PBBY) Salanga Prize.
More than anything else, though, beyond contests and prizes, what the Fellowship has done for me is that it has made me see my dream more clearly, and has inspired me further to go for it, no matter what.
To write stories that children from all over the world will love, stories that will heal and build, stories that these children will take with them as they grow on and grow up to make their own healing and building stories with their own lives.
That is all. : )
And that is enough, for me.