Songs for the Struggling Artist


Rejection and The Beats

For a while there, in my youth, I was obsessed with the Beat Poets. My preference was for Ferlinghetti but I finally read Kerouac before I went to college. I taped a paragraph from On the Road to my dorm room wall. (This whole Beat thing MAY have been inspired by an incredible children’s book called Suzuki Beane which features a hip child beat poet. Or maybe not.)

My Dad knew I was into the Beats so he gave me a copy of Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson, one-time girlfriend of Kerouac. This book changed everything. I realized who was missing from the whole Beat conversation and who had been included and who had not. I stopped finding the Beats so sexy and found them more sexist. And so, began a lifetime of making work that focused on women’s stories. To go from being Minor Characters to Major. Thank you, Joyce Johnson.

But since there isn’t a Joyce Johnson Minor Characters residency, I had to apply to her ex-boyfriend’s house residency instead. The Kerouac House declined to accept me again.

*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 become a major character

by becoming my patron on Patreon.

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This blog is also a Podcast. You can find it on iTunes. If you’d like to listen to me read a previous blog on Soundcloud, click here.screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-1-33-28-am

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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



Rejections of May, like sweet flowers, Bloom
May 31, 2017, 12:36 am
Filed under: Rejections | Tags: , , , ,

The nice thing about NOT applying to places like the Millay Colony (which is reported to be a place of artistic magic and wonder) is that you can imagine how great it might be if you ever got it together to apply. That’s how it used to be for me.

However, I have now applied so many times, I could buy a couple of weeks worth of groceries with my application fees.

Luckily, my patrons at Patreon make that outlay of cash worth the price of rejection as I now get paid more to get rejected than I pay to apply. Is it discouraging to be so often rejected? Absolutely. Every time.

But on the bright side, if I’d gotten accepted, I’d not be writing this post now. I’d be suiting up to go write at a residency, where I can promise you, I would not be blogging until I returned because I’d be head first into my creative writing. It’s May. It’s Millay Rejection Month.

*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 by becoming my patron on Patreon.

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Click HERE  to Check out my Patreon Page

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This blog is also a Podcast. You can find it on iTunes. If you’d like to listen to me read a previous blog on Soundcloud, click here.screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-1-33-28-am

*

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.

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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



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

*

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



Residency Rejection
April 30, 2015, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Rejections | Tags: ,

I don’t mind the rejections so much when the application is simple, free and doesn’t ask a lot of me. If I can apply in half an hour, it’s a relatively painless attempt and so when I don’t get it, as just happened with the application to a writing residency, it barely bothers me. I applied to this same residency last year and it was just no skin off my nose to reapply and the sting of rejection is next to nothing. There are many other residencies I’d rather go to but I’ll keep applying to this one, too – because it’s so easy.

Basically there’s a direct connection between how much effort it takes to apply for a thing and how disappointed I am not to get it. Grants are killers that way because they are EPIC amounts of work and rarely come through.

If there were an application where I just clicked a box saying I was applying – that rejection letter would be the least painful imaginable, even if it were something I desperately wanted.

I think. I can’t know, though – because I have NEVER seen an application like that.

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Charging Application Fees
April 13, 2015, 11:14 pm
Filed under: business, class, Rejections, writing | Tags: , , ,

The day I published my blog about the math of rejection and patronage, I got a rejection notice from one of those very residencies I’d applied for. The cost of that application was $25.

In the rejection notice, they let me know that around 500 people applied. This is supposed to make me feel a little bit better, to indicate how competitive the program is. I think I’m supposed to take this news and go, “Oh well. It’s competitive then. Okay, I guess it sucks less.”

What I ACTUALLY did with that information was Math. Because what this means is that they made about $12,500 on those applications. On what this organization made from aspiring writers, I could have lived for a year. This makes me feel a little funny.

I understand that the cost of running residency programs is probably a lot more than this – that someone, somewhere is very likely covering the actual cost of the program – and probably all the help they can get helps. However – collecting so much money from people who just want a shot, well, it makes me twitch a little bit.

I understand why people charge for applications. It takes time and effort to read and respond to those things. If I ran a residency program, I’d want to compensate my adjudicators for doing that work. But I’d want that money to come from somewhere besides the applicants.

I also know a lot of places charge an application fee, not because they need the money but because they’re trying to weed out applications. The idea is that you’ll lose the less serious applicants that way, that you’ll get a higher quality of writing by charging a fee. Very reasonable, of course.

But the unintended result is that you privilege the wealthy artists over the poor. By charging a fee, you’re effectively saying “Economically privileged artists only.” Which, you know, everyone’s doing that in some form or another, so, you’re in good company – but it is definitely something I find troubling in a nation that prides itself on giving everyone a fair shot.

It’s not a fair shot. Application fees are a significant obstacle. I was only able to apply to this particular residency program due to the generosity of my Patreon Patrons – but other economically disadvantaged writers were not so lucky. $12,500 is a lot of money to collect from writers. I hope they do something awesome with it, like commission a writer to write something.

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Want to join the merry band of awesomeness that is my group of patrons?

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