Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rejecting rejection

"But always at evening time she cried."

This is a sandwich post. It starts with something happy. Then I whinge for a bit. Then it ends with something like happy.

The first happy. I made more Dragon Scale beads and I made a necklace with some of them.

I don't make a lot of jewelry and even less that I'm happy with, but I thought this one turned out nicely.

A little more happy. Pam has been busy. Or the bead totems have been breeding. Hey it could happen. You can see our awesome collaboration up close at Glass Art and Beads.

Next up, fair warning, is some ranting I did last night because my beads were not selected for an exhibit I had hoped to be part of. It hurt. But I'm over it (she lied). Shrug.

Written on May 29:

I have to admit it. I feel like a balloon that someone just let the air out of. Fsssssssssst.

I want to talk about and I don't want to talk about it. Talking about it is an admission of failure, of defeat.

It's just not what I needed right now, not when my faith in my talent already is so shaky.

I feel angry too. Like there is this club of bead makers whose talent is widely recognized, but it's a very exclusive club and so hard for a newcomer to get in. Even a newcomer who has been making beads for five years.

Or maybe this newcomer doesn't deserve to be in it. I'm not objective. I love my beads, maybe not every single one, but certainly some. The benchmark, however, is whether or not other people love them.

What disturbs me most is how ashamed I feel. Not just disappointed, but mortified and embarrassed to have been rejected.

So why am I blogging about it? Maybe because I don't believe anyone I know reads my blog. The 50 to 60 people who read my average post are mysterious to me. The occasional random comment I get is spam. But that's OK. I write for myself. Plus Neil is at softball and I wanted to talk to someone.

I so admire what another bead maker posted on Facebook.

Didn't make it into one of the exhibits I entered into. Disappointing. I hope I make it into the other one.

So matter of fact. While I'm so fucking emotional. I want to comment, Me either, but I don't want to go public with having submitted my work for an exhibition and not having it selected. If no one knows I entered, no one will know I didn't make it in.

I hate rejection so much. All my life I have held myself back from trying, because if you don't try you can't fail.

Here is the rejection letter I received.

I regret to inform you that your work was not selected for this exhibit. We received some truly wonderful submissions and unfortunately we could not take them all!

So is that exclamation point meant to make me feel better? Is the implication that my entry was truly wonderful too, just not quite wonderful enough to be chosen.

OK. I know it's a form letter, meant to break the bad news in a way that is as tactful and gracious as possible. Of course they can't say, your work was truly horrible, definitely not up to our standards, and we can't believe you had the gall to enter it in the first place. But thanks for the $25 entry fee anyway.

No, they can't say that.

I didn't enter the other exhibition. So I don't have to worry about being rejected a second time in a short span of time. The entry fee was higher and it sounded like the competition would be stiffer. Maybe that was a mistake. I entered the one that sounded easier, cost less, as probably everyone else did.

Water under the bridge now. Or a lesson learned.

It didn't help that today, bead artists were announcing that they been picked for the ISGB President's Collection at the Corning Museum of Glass, juried by the retiring president of ISGB. I don't even know if it was an actual competition with entry criteria, or if she just chose random artists whose work she admired. I think the latter.

A Google search shed no light.

And it also didn't help that my ebay auction of orphan beads ended tonight with the opening bid. That is such an undervaluing of my work. I've been keeping the opening bids low, hoping to stimulate some bidding competition. My strategy obviously isn't working.

I increased the opening bid by 50% on the next auction, but it's still a ridiculous bargain if it sells for that amount. If it does, I am going to double the new opening bid, and just keep relisting them if they don't sell. Better to have the beads not sell at all than to accept a humiliatingly low price. Better to donate them to Beads of Courage.

Well, time to move on, suck it up, get over it. I get knocked down, but I get up again. Thanks Chumbawamba.

Except for one little thing. The last sentence of the rejection letter.

I will be in touch over the next few days to pass on jury feedback. Thank you for your participation.

Jury feedback. Great. Something to look forward to. I hope it's brutally honest because honestly I am sick of platitudes and if they say stupid nice things I will know they are lying liars.

Anything nice they say, good use of color, nice shapes, interesting concepts, will just be fucking ingenuous, because if it was true, then my beads would be in the exhibit.

All right, maybe I should wait and see what they do say.

I still want to cry though. I have a lump in my throat. And I know how pathetic that is, people have real sorrow in their lives. Hell, I've lived through my own hell of loneliness and depression, and now I live an enchanted fairy tale life with a wonderful man who loves me, in a beautiful house, with good health and beautiful children and nothing to complain about.

So why are the tears rolling?

Do I just enjoy crying? Last night at dinner I burst into tears because we were talking about my cat Puck who died in October.

And fuckitall, another bead maker has announced on Facebook that she's been accepted into this exhibition, along with a photo of the beads she entered. And the beads just aren't all that. They're fine. But not exceptional.

I want to end this with something happy. Upbeat.

I know, how about the beads I entered in the competition?

First, the guidelines, abridged.

Awakening the Vision - Creative Discoveries

For this juried pendant show, artists are asked to challenge themselves to rediscover their vision, play with new techniques, and explore unique ideas outside of their normal creative circle.

All beads must be made into singular pendants and need to be strung on something for display. Up to six pieces may be submitted if you are accepted into the show.

And the beads.

OK. I see it now. They are flawed, they are pedestrian, they are unworthy. I can do better, I have done better, I should have chosen better examples. Why can I see that now, but I couldn't see it then?

And how am I going to get better? I work at it, hard, have been working at it hard for five years.

Or maybe the better question is, can I learn to be content with not being great?

Can I learn to be content with just doing my best?

Time will tell.

"Sweet Sir Galahad
came in through the window
in the night when
the moon was in the yard.
He took her hand in his
and shook the long hair
from his neck and he told her
she'd been working much too hard.

It was true that ever since the day
her crazy man had passed away
to the land of poet's pride,
she laughed and talked a lot
with new people on the block
but always at evening time she cried.

And here's to the dawn of their days.

She moved her head
a little down on the bed
until it rested softly on his knee.
And there she dropped her smile
and there she sighed awhile,
and told him all the sadness
of those years that numbered three.

Well you know I think my fate's belated
because of all the hours I waited
for the day when I'd no longer cry.
I get myself to work by eight
but oh, was I born too late,
and do you think I'll fail
at every single thing I try?

And here's to the dawn of their days.

He just put his arm around her
and that's the way I found her
eight months later to the day.
The lines of a smile erased
the tear tracks upon her face,
a smile could linger, even stay.

Sweet Sir Galahad went down
with his gay bride of flowers,
the prince of the hours
of her lifetime.

And here's to the dawn
of their days,
of their days."

(Joan Baez)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz