I applied in July 2009. The board met in November 2009. I worked up my courage and called the arts board in January to see if I had been recommended, and they told me I was, but it was unofficial until the board met.
Now, it's official.
When I opened the letter I just stood there motionless from a mixture of relief and elation. I'd been waiting so long, and had wanted to tell so many people, but in that moment of having the official notification, I couldn't do a thing except clutch the letter and whisper "thank you, thank you, thank you."
The grant will be used to fund a trip to Ireland this summer to attend a traditional harp festival in County Roscommon and to participate in private instruction and competitions. I'll keep you updated with more details. Right now, I have lots of plans to make.
And some celebratory chocolate to eat.