Songs for the Struggling Artist


Rejection Season Has Begun
May 5, 2017, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Rejections | Tags: , , , , ,

It’s that time of year when rejections pop up like pansies.

Four rejections* to follow..

 

Residency Rejection

On the application, it said something like, “This residency is for emerging artists. What is your definition of emerging and why do you identify as such.” (I’m paraphrasing. I don’t remember the exact wording) Now…I’ve written about Emerging Artist stuff before. And if you’ve read that, you know that I’m not so keen on being called an Emerging Artist.
However, this seemed like a great writer’s residency through the auspices of a writer’s advocacy group so I had to fill out the application.

I struggled with how to answer this dumb question. Because why are you asking me, Writer’s Organization? It doesn’t matter how I define it, since in order to qualify for your little prize, I have to fit YOUR definition, not mine. Why don’t you tell ME how YOU define Emerging Artist and THEN I can tell you if I qualify? If I don’t, I can save my time filling out your silly form.

I knew I was being asked to do some sort of explanation of my own emerging-ness. I felt like I was being asked to first define my lowliness and then sink into it, to somehow ingratiate myself to a panel. I’ve done this before. I have bent to the sense of the question. Tried to frame my answers to the likings of artistic committees. I do it all the time, in fact.

But because they so directly asked this question that I have answered truthfully and honestly for myself of how I define an emerging artist and whether I identify as such, I couldn’t resist just putting in an edit of that blog. The one in which I stated how definitely I do not like to be identified as an emerging artist and what I think it means. I just – laid it out. Because fuck it. I wasn’t going to get that residency anyway – and rather than just stop my application half way through, I thought – “Ah, what the hell. Maybe a little cold water truth telling in an application will feel good.”
And it did.

The rejection notice came a couple of months later. And maybe it was just my perception but that rejection letter was one of the most ingratiating I have ever seen. The two things are probably unrelated. But it somehow pleases me to think they are.

 

Nancy Quinn Fund Rejection 2017

 

The very first grant my theatre company ever applied for was this one for $500 and we got it. The restrictions of this grant now are such that you can only get a small percentage of your budget with it…so 16 years later, if we’d gotten this grant, it would have been less than the very first grant we ever got. It’s also one of the most extensive applications.

 

Why do I keep applying for these? Well I often don’t. But – it’s the sort of grant people ask you if you’ve applied for when they’re trying to be helpful. In a way, it seemed easier to go through the reams of paperwork than to explain to people how not worth it it was going to be. I figure, if we got it, it would be a good seed grant for others. We didn’t get it.

 

 

Edward Albee Residency 2017

 

I’ve been doing this rejection project long enough now that I have several annual rejections. It would be funny to mark time by rejections. Like – this isn’t April, it’s Edward Albee Residency Rejection month.

 

Another Residency Rejection

 

The rejection notice seemed to beg us to understand that they received 200 applications so we’re supposed to feel bad for the people who had to make this decision because they had so many things to read, I guess?

 

Anytime I read a rejection notice that tells me how many applications they received and how hard it was to make the decision, I just laugh and laugh.

 

Really? I’m supposed to feel better because 190 other people get rejected too? I’m supposed to feel less rejected because it was hard for you to do the rejecting? Please.

 

Imagine this were dating. And a person you asked out said no. And then they said, “I had 199 other people ask me out so you can understand that I had a hard time when there were so many other more attractive people than you.”

 

Um. Thanks?

 

This is not news, I’m sure, but almost every rejection letter I’ve ever seen is designed to make the person doing the rejecting feel better, not the rejectee. It’s logical. But it still sucks.

 

*Wondering why I’m telling you about all these rejections? Read my initial post about this here and my patron’s idea about that here.

 

You can support me through the season by becoming my patron on Patreon.

 kaGh5_patreon_name_and_message

Click HERE  to Check out my Patreon Page

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Writing on the internet is a little bit like busking on the street. This is the part where I pass the hat. If you liked the blog and would like to give a dollar (or more!) put it in the PayPal digital hat. https://www.paypal.me/strugglingartist



Lark, Drama League and Loose Ends Rejections
March 19, 2017, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Rejections | Tags: , , ,

In a climate wherein it feels like my entire worldview has been rejected, writing rejection posts hasn’t felt like quite the priority it once was. However, one must go on.

‘You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” 

Thanks Samuel Beckett. Here’s some rejections:

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Despite my generally agreeable personality, I may be a little bit of an iconoclast. I mean it’s not NEWS necessarily but I hadn’t quite worked out the depths until recently. As an artist, I’m already on the edges – at the periphery of the culture as a whole – but I’m also at the periphery of the arts culture. There is a way to belong within the medium – to be at the center of an arts community. I do not fit in there either. I’m a playwright but I’ve never received a single acceptance or acknowledgement for my writing. Am I a lousy writer? I don’t think so. I just don’t write the kind of plays that get selected for writing groups and writing retreats and writing development programs.

Which – when I think about it – is fine – because I’d much rather develop my work myself. I’m not really interested in fitting in to the establishment. So it’s logical that it does not accept me. Anyway – this is the most recent Lark rejection. There have been a lot of them. As there are for many playwrights I know.

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And because I feel bad posting a single rejection, especially one I didn’t have to pay to apply for, this post has been waiting for subsequent rejections before I felt I could post it. Somehow, I hadn’t received a lot of rejections between this Lark one in November and now. But – rejection season is now upon us. And then I received one from The Drama League. Now, when I got this one, I had NO MEMORY of applying or even what it was. But in search of some text to use for a recent application, I discovered the Drama League application and discovered that it was for funds and assistance in developing a piece. Which I could have absolutely used. But alas.

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Additionally, in looking at my rejection spread sheet, I’ve discovered quite a few things I’ve applied for that I never received rejections for but for which I was clearly rejected, as months, and sometimes years, have passed. So – in the interest of being a rejection completist – here are all the things I’ve applied for since I started keeping track that I just got no response from.

LMCC Workspace, Left Tilt Fund, Center for Fiction, Nancy Quinn Fund (2016,) Purple Rose Theatre Company and the Kevin Spacey Foundation.

 

*Wondering why I’m telling you about all these rejections? Read my initial post about this here and my patron’s idea about that here.

You can help me weather the storms of rejection by becoming my patron on Patreon.

 kaGh5_patreon_name_and_message

Click HERE  to Check out my Patreon Page

*

Writing on the internet is a little bit like busking on the street. This is the part where I pass the hat. If you liked the blog and would like to give a dollar (or more!) put it in the PayPal digital hat. https://www.paypal.me/strugglingartist

 



New Victory, NYFA and a Space Grant Rejections
October 17, 2016, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Rejections | Tags: , , ,

I’m tending to cluster these rejection posts these days. I figure they’re less overwhelming in groups. So here are three

New Victory Rejection

Whenever I make a show, people tell me “this would be great for children” and so I apply for things that help support making Theatre for Young People. One time, this worked out. But the one venue that would make the biggest difference in this arena in NYC has never accepted me. I apply and apply. But, alas, no…again, no.

It’s alright. I understand. Award-winning Broadway director/designers apply for this same thing and of course they are accepted. See also, why people give awards. It is a bummer, as ever, to be rejected – particularly from the place that has the potential to make the biggest difference, not just for me in the city, but worldwide – as the New Victory has a reputation for leading in the International Performing Arts for Youth community. But no. The answer is no. Again.

SPACE GRANT REJECTION

It was probably greedy to apply for another space grant when I have one already. But the one I have is such that I can’t actually use it enough to really make a piece – so I needed a supplemental space grant that would not require additional staff funding for the venue (a cost that is more than renting rehearsal space) But probably the fact that I already HAVE a space grant elsewhere did not help my case when applying for this new space grant (which, in case it wasn’t clear, I did not get.) I will say, though, that there are companies who GOT a space grant who have their own spaces, like THEIR spaces…so maybe I’m not the greediest applicant.

Also, side note from those who DON’T make theatre in NYC – a space grant is a gift of theatre or rehearsal space. It’s not a GRANT in that it’s not money but it is a gift of free rehearsal or performance space, depending on the grant.

Given the difficulties of securing rehearsal space in this city, they are tremendously important.

NYFA

I’ve been doing this Rejection documentation project long enough now to have multiple years of rejections of the same thing. This Fellowship I just got rejected for is one I have applied for in multiple categories – fiction, playwriting…maybe even something else and I just, of course, like 99% of the people who applied, got yet another rejection.

Are we bored of rejections yet everyone? I am tired of writing about them, I know that much – And I have failed to post as many as I’ve written. That’s the thing. It is a grind to get rejected again and again. One does cease having interesting things to say about them.

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*Wondering why I’m telling you about all these rejections? Read my initial post about this here and my patron’s idea about that here.

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You can help me weather the storms of rejection by becoming my patron on Patreon.

 kaGh5_patreon_name_and_message

Click HERE  to Check out my Patreon Page

*

Writing on the internet is a little bit like busking on the street. This is the part where I pass the hat. If you liked the blog and would like to give a dollar (or more!) put it in the PayPal digital hat. https://www.paypal.me/strugglingartist



Henson Rejection and also a Residency
September 27, 2016, 11:43 pm
Filed under: puppets, Rejections | Tags: , , , ,

For the I-don’t-know-th time, I got a rejection from the Henson Foundation. The first applications we ever filled out as a company – almost 15 years ago – were for the Henson foundation. We were so sure we were going to get those. (We did not.) I have a bit of nostalgia for those applications – the ones we poured our hearts and souls (and drawings and writings and so on) into because we were 100% sure we were going to get them.

I can never apply for something with that sense of surety again. Even when the acceptance is a given, I am still not 100% sure I will get it. Even if it’s already been offered to me. This is not because I am inherently cynical. I’m not. I’ve just been offered things that were then rescinded…so until the acceptance letter is in my hand, or the check, or I’m standing in the space, I don’t fully believe any artistic offer.

But I did once have so much belief in my own ideas that I was 100% sure every one would be accepted. That first one was for the Henson Foundation. And it was also the first rejection. And the most recent!

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And a French Residency…

Residencies used to not really appeal to me. The thought of extracting myself from my community, taking myself out of a work loop, with no way to make money in the interim…it all just sounded like more trouble than it was going to be worth. I don’t have too much trouble making time for writing in my daily life – so I didn’t think I needed a retreat to do it.

That was before I wrote a novel and then tried to edit it. Turns out I can write in my daily life but I cannot edit. I can make myself edit a play when I have a process or production on the horizon but my fiction…well…I need to go AWAY to deal with that. The novels are just too easy to ignore, to let languish. So the LNAF residency in France seemed like a great solution. Beautiful. Focused. International.

Got their biggest pool of applicants ever this very year. Of which I am, shockingly, not among the accepted.

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*Wondering why I’m telling you about all these rejections? Read my initial post about this here and my patron’s idea about that here.

dolls-373469_1280

You can help me weather the storms of rejection by becoming my patron on Patreon.

 kaGh5_patreon_name_and_message

Click HERE  to Check out my Patreon Page

*

Writing on the internet is a little bit like busking on the street. This is the part where I pass the hat. If you liked the blog and would like to give a dollar (or more!) put it in the PayPal digital hat. https://www.paypal.me/strugglingartist



Rejection for a Residency and Academic Jobz
September 6, 2016, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Rejections | Tags: , , , ,

Three rejections in one… for details about why I’m detailing my rejections, see my note at the end of the post.*

Rejection 1

There must be more people applying for the Albee residency as their rejection letters are getting less and less personal. Or maybe they’re hating my work more and more. This is my third rejection there and the first one was one of the nicest rejection letters I’d seen. The second was still nice – but not QUITE so nice. This one was pretty perfunctory.

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Rejection 2

(First of two academic jobz. I’m calling them jobz because it makes me take them less seriously. At first it was a typo but now I love it. )

I applied for a job in Colorado. I really didn’t want to move to Colorado but I was so bizarrely and uniquely qualified for it – and it was very specific and I figured they maybe needed me. And I figured I needed some practice interviewing for an academic professorship. But they probably just had someone else in mind who was even more bizarrely and uniquely qualified for it than me. Academic job descriptions are often written to fit the person they want to hire and I’m guessing that this is one of those. I mean, one of my recommendations came from someone friendly with the people doing the hiring. I feel like that alone should have gotten me an interview. But I got a rejection notice.

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Rejection 3

Oh Academic Jobs! You are such a pain in the ass to apply for. You take so much time and effort. You make my colleagues, friends and mentors write new letters in support of me. You sometimes even make me re-type my CV into your format. I’m also not sure I want you. I mean – it seems like it would help my artistic life to have a steady academic gig – but your environments tend to be toxic and the ones that are available are not convenient to my life.

 But I keep applying. The latest rejection was for the Devising position at SUNY Purchase. A job I could do….in a place that would be inconvenient.

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Rejection Declaration

I’m pretty sure I’m done applying for academic jobs. So unless I get some rejections for positions I don’t remember applying for, these should be the last academic rejection posts.

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*Wondering why I’m telling you about all these rejections? Read my initial post about this here and my patron’s idea about that here.

still-life-1205288_640

You can help me weather the storms of rejection by becoming my patron on Patreon.

 kaGh5_patreon_name_and_message

Click HERE  to Check out my Patreon Page

*

Writing on the internet is a little bit like busking on the street. This is the part where I pass the hat. If you liked the blog and would like to give a dollar (or more!) put it in the PayPal digital hat. https://www.paypal.me/strugglingartist



Cool Rejection and a Job
July 31, 2016, 6:11 pm
Filed under: Rejections | Tags: , , ,

Cool Rejection First:

There’s a “cool” theatre space that does “cool” shows in the city. We rehearsed in the theatre for our first show back in 2001 – before it became the “cool” space. And that’s the last time we were there, except as audience.

Over the years, I’ve applied there for many things – performance slots, festivals, development processes and have never once been accepted. I’m not surprised. I recognize that “cool’ people aren’t necessarily my audience, being not particularly “cool” myself. I mean, I’m cool. No doubt. But I care about stuff a little bit too much to be “cool.”

This year, though, they were doing a festival that a show I’ve been trying to promote would have fit quite easily into – so I went ahead and gave it another shot. Cool or not.

We didn’t get it.
I’m not shocked.

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And, now –  two, two rejection posts for the prices of one!

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University of Cincinnati Rejection

You guys. I do not remember applying for this job. It must have had some really exciting aspects – like maybe it was a Devising position or a Shakespeare one – or I don’t remember. But I do know it must have had some good qualities because I don’t PARTICULARLY want to move to Cincinnati.

Though now that I think of it, I do remember thinking that Cincinnati might not be so bad. A whole bunch of folks I knew moved there right after college – started a theatre company there and were generally cool. I think some of them are still there. I think I may have even done a little search-a-roo to see if there were enough arts in town to make it live-able. It must have been that there were. And if I’d gotten an interview for this gig, I’d have gone – because it can’t hurt to explore these kinds of possibilities.

But – luckily, I don’t have to worry about it. For the forseeable future, I will be here in unaffordable sweetly exhausting NYC, which, of course, I love – even when I hate it.

raspberries-1494081_1280*Wondering why I’m telling you about all these rejections? Read my initial post about this here and my patron’s idea about that here.

You can help me weather the storms of rejection by becoming my patron on Patreon.

 kaGh5_patreon_name_and_message

Click HERE  to Check out my Patreon Page

*

Writing on the internet is a little bit like busking on the street. This is the part where I pass the hat. If you liked the blog and would like to give a dollar (or more!) put it in the PayPal digital hat. https://www.paypal.me/strugglingartist



Rejection Update: Awards Named After People
July 24, 2016, 9:58 pm
Filed under: Rejections | Tags: , ,

I don’t think I’d want a scholarship or award named after me. At least not one that people have to apply for.

I just got rejected from one of these – and have been rejected from it many times before – and when I got my rejection letter, I confess to swearing a bit at the letter. Like, if, theoretically the award was called the Frankenfurter Award (it’s not), I’d be like, (And please cover your ears for the next few lines if you’re sensitive to swearing) “Goddamn it, Frankenfurter! Screw you!” or “Oh, the fucking Frankenfurter Award didn’t fucking go to me again. The Fucking Frankfurter can go fuck itself.”

So – I’m not sure it’s such a great honor to have a scholarship or award named after someone. One person a year benefits from Frankenfurter and loves Frankenfurter and thinks Frankenfurter is the best thing ever but at least a THOUSAND people a year REALLY resent Frankenfurter and feel like they wasted their goddamn time again.

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*Wondering why I’m telling you about all these rejections? Read my initial post about this here and my patron’s idea about that here.

You can help me weather the storms of rejection by becoming my patron on Patreon.

 kaGh5_patreon_name_and_message

Click HERE  to Check out my Patreon Page

*

Writing on the internet is a little bit like busking on the street. This is the part where I pass the hat. If you liked the blog and would like to give a dollar (or more!) put it in the PayPal digital hat. https://www.paypal.me/strugglingartist




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