As artists, we must grow accustom to facing rejection. It’s a natural part of the business. My acting teachers used to say, “Auditioning IS your job.” Booking the part is a bonus. And while we may post audition day selfies to social media, few of us post socially about our rejections. We only post the good news—the best news! It can be especially hard when it seems like everyone around you is posting pictures of their latest successes and triumphs and you have nothing to share but another picture of your breakfast or your (admittedly adorable) cat.
Maybe I’m being uncouth, maybe we don’t post about these things for a reason, but I’d like to two share two bits of news that—while anticlimactic—make me feel really proud of myself. This year I applied to a very selective MFA program. A dream program, really. Tuition almost fully funded, the opportunity to teach undergrad, good people. Lots of support. They only select one playwright per year and while I was not offered the 2019 playwriting slot for this program, I did qualify for an interview, after which they informed me that I was their first alternate. Second choice out of who knows how many. Was I disappointed that I didn’t get the slot? Yes—BUT, I’m also really proud of myself. When I submitted my application this year I never really thought I’d hear anything back. I worked very hard on that application, because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do better than I had the previous year. I wrote a better cover letter, I submitted a newly edited version of my strongest play—Wicked Creatures—and I got really fucking close. So, although part of me is disappointed, I honestly feel happy just to know I made it that far. That maybe I could be the real deal after all. (Plus, on the bright side, now I get to keep making art in a city that I love with people whom I love!)
And the second bit of news—just today I received a letter in the mail. It was from the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center, stating that Wicked Creatures, which made it to the semi-finals for their National Conference, did not make it to the finals. Again, while I am disappointed, I’m also proud to know that I was within the top 20%. That counts for something. It certainly will inspire me to keep trying. (Also, the fact that someone took the time to print, seal and mail me this letter means a lot.)
I may not get to post about my triumphs today, but if I keep trying, there’s a chance I will have something worth sharing in the future. Let’s promise to keep doing our best ok? (Plus Ultra!)