Summers are always a source of anxiety for grad students (do I teach comp? Do I grade AP exams? Do I work for minimum wage at an indie bookstore? Do I schlepp mocha lattes to IT professionals? Do I apply for some random travel grant for grad students who are of mixed Armenian-Azeri-Turkish descent + also gay, fans of Ayn Raynd, and former wards of the state?). For this reason, summers for me now are diametrical to childhood summers, when simply muttering the word "summer" evoked images of swimming, summer camp, girls in jean shorts, festivals, watermelon, fireworks, cherry pies and gilded skin. Adulthood is nasty that way. But I just found out yesterday that I received an ACE/Nikaido fellowship for this summer (my second one in two years), which will give me enough money to pay my bills, split rent with LB, study conversational Japanese in Chicago at the Japan America Society of Chicago (god knows I need it considering my nihongo still sounds like a babbling 6-year old) + most importantly, spend this summer reading books for my dissertation, revising NINJAS, starting a third novel + writing the critical portion of my dissertation. I don't have a wealthy daddy or a trust fund or leftover cash from a recent stock transaction, but what I do have is institutional support for this summer + next year (when I go on advanced fellowship), so I'm insanely grateful for that. Also, I have a wife who has a real job + that of course helps the most.
On the flipside: My wife + I are going to Beijing in May, which is going to be fucking dope. And I'll have the entire summer to work on my novel + read the shit out of my Asian-American/Pacific Rim reading list for fields. And recently I found out I won the Ace/Nikaido Fellowship, giving me just enough money to spend some time in Japan sometime this year (probably December) to study cosplay subculture. So, some things have worked out really good, even if I didn't end up scoring a goddamn artist residency!