After I settled into the squeaky wood chair pulled tight to the kitchen table, I opened my email and read my third rejection note in one week. Two rejections were from juried shows I submitted photographs to and the other was from a film festival (this one was a bit of a stretch, but I tried anyway) I entered. Naturally, I’m invited to attend the shows and in one, my work will be archived.
I stared out the window across from me. All I could see was a bright blown out square of light. The sheer curtain swayed with a soft breeze. I poured a second cup of coffee, determined to wake up after a night of strange dreams. Maybe I shouldn’t read cookbooks before bed since I’m left groggy and unwilling to part from sleep, however fitful it became.
Beyond the swaying curtain, light fell across a chair. I wondered Am I really cut out for this sort of work? After all, I am a sensitive artist type. Do you know that King Missle song? I listened to them in college and liked their self-deprecating honesty in their music.
By cosmic law, I’m required to laugh at myself. To not take rejection seriously. Just look at Apollo (Greek god associated with light, truth, and the sun—along with music, healing, plague, prophecies, and poetry), he slayed dragons and inflicted a plague upon the Greeks. He also mastered the lyre and had a romping good time while doing so. What does this mean for us mortals?
It means, get tough. Make more work. Study. Reflect. Find what is true and slay your internal critic, at least during the early drafts, shoot plague arrows at said critic if necessary, do whatever it takes to find something true to say or photograph and then offer it to the world. Eventually the stars will align and the yeses will rain down upon us.
In the mean time, I’m listening to Brenda Euland’s advice on writing which applies to all the creative arts as far as I’m concerned, “Be careless, reckless! Be a lion, be a pirate! Write [or make art] any old way.”
What do you do when the rejection slips come pouring in?
p.s. My friend Marie of Food Nouveau invited me to write about my favorite Edible City as part of her ongoing series. You can read my piece on Waiheke Island, New Zealand and olive oil along with all the other Edible Cities on her blog, although you’ll probably want to hop a plane to Ho Chi Minh City, Positano, Budapest…maybe that’s just me.