Saturday, June 25, 2011
No Crying in Baseball or Over Spilt Milk...
My week started with the disappointing news that I, among many who applied, did not receive a NY Foundation for the Arts Independent Artist Fellowship once again. I was so disappointed for any number of reasons and frustrations, not the least of which, the leg up that $7,000 of unrestricted funds would have provided at this point in my life. But the other significant disappointment was the artistic let-down, the competitive fear factor of not being "good enough" to warrant the award. That doubt preys at the back of my psyche, nagging in a raspy whisper, while logic attempts to talk louder, reminding of the crap shoot, the numbers game, and how many colleagues with bigger "names," tenure track teaching positions, and impressive publishing deals are also not receiving fellowships this round.
I indulged my perch on the pitty pot for about 24 hours of lingering pouts, several hours of really mourning the death of my hope. Then I got busy with next steps.
It was still a productive week in moving forward. I have a support team of colleagues who believe in me and I am taking steps every day to push the course of my career and my writing along in a positive direction. I have concrete action items to complete as I strive for the national recognition of the work I do independent writer/educator, as well as a collaborator with Quraysh Ali Lansana and our work with Our Difficult Sunlight. I am blessed in countless ways to be surrounded by the astounding talent and generosity of my friends and colleagues; I search for ways that we can work together to support and foster each other's successes.
I also have skills to share. I teach workshops, I help friends edit their materials and creative expression, I connect people who need to know each other, according often to my intuition more than anything. In the dry time of summer for my work, I will likely have to turn these skills into temp work because the bill collectors don't care about my community networking.
The end of the week, when I was just about resolved to my fate of no fellowship, I received notice that I did not get the adjunct position I applied for, again a stretch and a hope in even applying. I indulged my place on the pitty pot again for about an hour, and now I am back at the next phase of "Okay, what next?" This is the resilience that is required of any independent artist, teaching artist, contractor, consultant, and/or entrepreneur.
This resilience is a necessary armor. And when all else fails, loud rock 'n roll and r & b from back in the day, ignoring the phone, avoiding any email or text message provide the rebound. Lou Reed says it best, "Some people like to go out dancing; there's other people like us, we gotta work...She started dancing to that fine, fine music; her life was saved by rock 'n' roll..."