Harriet Boorhem: Youth Today’s Online Diarist


So, Texas is going on 20 days of 100 degree or hotter weather. I think the heat has wilted not only my flowers, but my brain as well. Feels like I haven’t written anything decent that wasn’t a grant since I-don’t-know-when. Been writing fairly non-stop since May, and I’m now dreaming about charts, page limits, double-spaced job descriptions (how stupid is THAT?), Logic Models (totally illogical as far as I’m concerned), MOUs, and fitting 50 pages of narrative into 25, with 12-point font, all double-spaced with 1 inch margins (and if anything is single-spaced, besides charts, the number of lines will be counted and doubled and THROWN OUT if they put you over the page limit)! 

I used to have these dreams that I would show up at school, totally unprepared, homework not done, test not studied for, term paper not finished, etc. At least I wasn’t naked. Then, in graduate school, right before I defended my dissertation, I dreamed that I was in a cage, and all my professors were taunting me, just waiting to open the cage, so they could ATTACK me!  No issues, there, huh?

So, the current dreams include having a grant totally finished, only to see, upon flipping through the RFP one last time, that I have left out a MAJOR component that will add at least FIVE pages to the grant, and by the way, we are supposed to over-night the grant TODAY!!

One would think that after so many years of writing grants, and after having been a grant reviewer and seen just how FEW good grant writers there are in this world, that I would be pretty confident about my grant-writing skills—which normally, I am—but there is something about writing FOUR BIG grants in a row that muddles your brain to the point of idiocy and confuses you to the point of distraction so that you can’t think straight and you certainly can’t be objective about your skills as a grant-writer!

And then, there is the W–A—I—T—I—N—G…the limbo of not knowing that drags on endlessly and gives you plenty of time to second-guess yourself all over the place while you’re fantasizing both how fabulous these new programs would be and how on Earth you’re going to tell staff and board what a miserable failure you are at grant-writing and therefore, we didn’t get one dollar.

Of course I am exaggerating somewhat for effect, but y’all KNOW what I’m talkin’ about here.  Thankfully, I’m finishing my last one this week; unless, of course, something else comes out that fits…then it’s back into Grant Hell.  I really hope it cools off before then.

Harriet Boorhem is the president of Promise House, which provides a multitude of services to families and homeless youth in the Dallas area, and Youth Today's first online diarist.