Songs for the Struggling Artist


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.

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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

 



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

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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



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.

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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

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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



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

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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



Hedgebrook Rejection
April 22, 2016, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Rejections, writing | Tags: , , ,

Twice Rejected now. Hedgebrook is a residency for women in the Northwest. It’s funny because I was never really attracted to women only spaces before. I’ve been a feminist for forever but never really felt drawn to single sex experiences. I didn’t consider a women’s college for even a second. (An option I now think might have been a really good one.) I didn’t go to women’s festivals or go to women’s groups.

But I now recognize that all of these sorts of institutions actually do help advance women’s lives. I came to understand that with the difficulties at hand in making my artist’s life – that there might be a great deal of benefit in leaning into the “minority” status of my womanhood. I’m interested in Hedgebrook, not because there are only women there – but because it exists to help support women in overcoming the cultural obstacles before them. I need all the help I can get in that department. So. I keep applying. And if they keep giving these residencies to people like Eve Ensler, Sarah Waters and Gloria Steinem, I guess it’s not too likely I’ll get it anytime soon. But I support the idea of it. So… it’s already worth a shot. And I would NOT be upset about getting to hang out at a writing retreat with Gloria Steinem.

hedgebrook

*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

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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



You Win Some, You Lose Some
March 30, 2016, 10:37 pm
Filed under: art, Rejections | Tags: , , , , ,

First, the customary news – I got a rejection notice from the MAP Fund. The MAP Fund is hilarious because they have an EPIC application process. The first stage is a letter of intent. (LOI.) In most grants I’ve seen, the letter of intent is just that. It’s a letter you write to say you’re interested in applying. The MAP Fund’s LOI is like other grants’ whole application process. There are so many questions, things to fill out. It is not even close to being as simple as a letter.

 

If they accept your LOI, then you have even MORE application to do. What those things you have to do in the next phase, I have no idea. I’ve never gotten that far.

 

This is one of those grants that, if I weren’t engaged in this accounting of my rejections sponsored by my patrons, I would definitely not bother to do. But if I were to get it one year, it would be super fantastic so I should probably keep at it. Rejections are the norm. Acceptances are the exception.

 

If I were giving advice to someone about taking on this sort of life, I feel like they should know that. That it’s not a win some lose some situation. It’s a mostly lose, and every so often, if you’re lucky, you win one. It’s not even like you get 1 out of 3. You get one out of 35. For me, it’s not You Win Some, You Lose Some. It’s: You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You WIN one! You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You WIN one! You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some, You Lose Some….

 

But I am grateful for the ones I win. The one I got most recently was the Colleen Porter Artist Residency Award which allowed me to go to Montreal for the International Performing Arts for Youth conference. It was a great opportunity, a great experience and also so gratifying to get a “yes.” And an enthusiastic yes, at that.

My spreadsheet of applications and rejections is a pretty solid block of No. The Yes is so good.

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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.

Also – this blog has been turned into a podcast. If you’d like to hear it, click here.

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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



International Rejection
March 17, 2016, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Rejections | Tags: ,

One of my ambitions is to be working internationally. The problem with this goal is that generally, you have to have some success NATIONALLY before you can stumble into an international market. My work generally feels out of alignment with what sells in my country so I’m always on the look out for other ways into an international experience.

 

With that in mind, I applied for a fellowship to attend the Global Arts Leaders conference which happens here in NYC. The fellowship pays for people to come and meet international arts leaders from around the world. I thought it would be great to go and make connections. I also thought that since I live in NYC, I might be a cheap candidate to accept. Others would need airfare and a hotel, I could go for subway fare.

 

But…alas..the rejection notice arrived only a couple of months after my application. We’ll have to keep looking for other ways to achieve the international goal.

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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




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