I would like to go to Venice. My novel is set in Venice, and I am determined to visit and absorb the atmosphere and make sure I imagined everything accurately before I publish. What's more, I am determined to be funded to go. Plane tickest to Venice are astonishly expensive, and I don't expect prices to drop once I show up in the city. Having been in academia in one way or another for a while, I know that there is always money floating around somewhere if you know where to look. I suspect it might hurt my case a little bit that in order to support my scholarly endeavor of writing a novel, I need to go somewhere so darn beautiful and fun. (Hey, wait: I think I've stumbled upon something. Maybe I should set the next one on a tropical island...)
Here's why I feel so fortunate. I asked if I could meet with the people at the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to see if they could suggest funding sources I hadn't thought of. Three people met with me. They suggested three funds through the school as well as a few national foundations. They offered to do more research and get back to me. I am blown away. You sit there on your couch, chunking out your 500 or 1000 words, trusting that the dream of this book is beautiful and putting in the work to get there, and suddenly other people are willing to help you make it happen, just because you asked. Of course, I have to write the application and get accepted, etc. But still. I feel so fortunate.