The Mark Blog

Bookmark This: Current Emerging Voices Fellow Marci Carrillo on Finding Her Literary Community

In this essay, 2014 Emerging Voices Fellow Marci Carrillo gives thanks for being introduced to a community of writers that have helped support her on her journey. It is finding a tribe of like-minded individuals, she states, that has had the most impact on her of anything she has experienced in the fellowship.
“I took a chance on myself and applied for the 2014 Emerging Voice Fellowship. I took a chance on being a writer.  And after being immersed in it for the last six months, this is what I know: community. It’s all about the community of writers. Writers you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to sit down and drink wine and eat cheese with and talk about the meaning and purpose of being a writer. It was Janet Fitch that taught me that every writer is rejected at first and to never give up.  And it was Samantha Dunn who defended putting my heart on the page, knowing that someone out in the world, someone you’ll never meet, will pick up your book, read it, and see the world differently. Jerry Stahl who had me laughing and crying and challenged me to call myself a writer. David Ulin who taught me how to throw the literary football in a story and be brave enough to catch it in the end. Douglas Kearney who challenged my idea of the written word by putting it upside-down and vertical and calling it poetry, which it was and so much more.  
The other community is my Emerging Voices Fellows. The ones who hear my doubts, who smile at me right before I go on stage and read to one hundred and fifty plus people feeling as if my guts were about to explode all over the audience. Being able to look at one of them in the middle of it and see the reassurance and know I’m not alone is a gift. Aand when it’s all over, we will go to the bar and drink and laugh and cry and I know that we have formed friendships and bonds that will last well beyond the fellowship itself. 
Has the Emerging Voices Fellowship been easy? No. But it's not meant to be. It’s meant to challenge us as writers. Make us hear our words so loudly that we are deafened by them. To be so quiet that we hear our heart beat on the page, to listen with a new understanding of ourselves.  But we do not do this alone. We could not do this alone. We do this as a community, in fellowship, with each other.  So take a chance on yourself and become an Emerging Voices Fellow.  So, at the end of the fellowship, this is all I have to say, ‘Hi, I’m Marci and I’m a writer.’”
Marci Carrillo is a Southern California native. Born in San Diego, she grew up in such diverse places as Pine Valley, La Jolla, and Bakersfield. Marcia resides in Chino Hills with her husband, two sons, and numerous cats. She is currently working on a memoir titled The Woman in the Chimney.
The deadline for the 2015 Emerging Voices Fellowship is August 11, 2014. Click here to apply.
And don’t miss the Meet & Greet on July 20th at Skylight Bookstore at 5pm! R.S.V.P. and share on Facebook here.