Fuck. Failure. Again. (a note on rejection)

I got rejected. Again.
This time for an artist residency that I got as far as an interview for.
It seems to hurt more than the others. Even though I got further along in the process and I know that they liked my work, it seems more personal.
Perhaps it is the shared disappointment, in that others know about my interview and now will know about my failure.
I was never any good with other people’s sympathy.
Perhaps it is that I have gotten used to filing away the written letters from anonymous faces.
This time I met the people who are turning me down. They were so nice!
I started this blog, in part, to deal with the lonely anxiety of rejection.
It is difficult to talk about face to face.
I find myself putting on the smile that says I didn’t care about it anyway.
That is not true.
I found a blog where an artist posts her rejection letters, allowing them to serve a purpose.
It made me feel a little better, to see someone else’s trials.
If you need the same, take a peak here.
Reading hers was different than reading my own. It allowed me to see them in a detached way. They really are funny things. They range from the highly personalized to the stock, tick a box, letter. It is often difficult to tell what each one means about your work and your process.
Or if it means anything at all.
I have included a few of my own. Most have been emails and I choose to erase those so that I am not reminded each time I open my inbox, but these were sent by mail and filed away.
I hope they help and that the letter senders don’t mind too much.

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4 thoughts on “Fuck. Failure. Again. (a note on rejection)

  1. I know. Do you remember that Trimpin documentary, and his file cabinets filled with years of rejection letters? To some extent that’s inspirational, but at the same time… do I really want to invest that much time, while not knowing where I will be 2 months from now, 6 months, a year, 2 years, and not being nearly as brilliant as Trimpin? It’s a very existential problem, it sort of has to be personal. My least favourite part is the wait between the submissions and the rejection letter, not being sure what else you should be applying for in the meantime, and too often not being informed of when to expect an answer. In this way, a rejection letter is like a sigh of relief – “ok, time for something else”.

    1. yes. I like making work, but I seem to spend more time putting together applications that are ultimately rejected. I just want some way to get by. I feel bad relying so heavily on the hubby for everything.

  2. The trick is to keep applying for more and more things, so that when the inevitable rejection letters arrive, they are overshadowed by the hope of all those that are still out there. It’s a horrible process, with pathetically small results, and it doesn’t get much better as you go on. . . . . however, it is important to remember that success, as an artist, is simply being able to keep being an artist. In that sense you’ve already won.

    1. Thanks Daniel,
      I do have many more applications out there. This one just got so close and it has been a year of it. At least I’ve had the time to make new work. Now just to find somewhere to show it.

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