This email was in my box earlier:
Thanks for your postcard on “In a Place Where Pigs Fly.” I have bad news for you. The jurors did not pick your work for the L**** W*** Grant. Let me know if you have any questions about it. Overall, the jurors had a hard time to understand the boxes as an art object rather than a loose collection of images. A letter and a press release about the grant recipients is in the mail to you.
When so downed, I like to read this poem by William Stafford, a favorite for years (since I am so often let down):
Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and
there are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.
The letter and press release soon followed the email:
If you’ve never seen or gotten a form rejection letter, this is what they all look like. The sentence, “We received many well-qualified applications, which made the selection of just three recipients extremely difficult,” is in each of them. In this particular letter, they didn’t change the recipient’s address, so the address on top is the person whom the letter was addressed to before it was addressed to me.
I’m not sure whether I’m a dumb-ass or just suck, but either way I’m living much of my life somewhere I don’t belong. I spend too much of my life fooling myself, trying to convince myself otherwise. If often seems ironic to me that I teach art. Invariably, each year a student asks me about “being an artist,” or “surviving as an artist.” I typically give a canned response about figuring out your own way, and it’ll be different for each person. The truth of the matter, however, is that I simply don’t know. Despite 9 years of seeking and applying, I’m about 0-147 for grants, residencies, and publications. I don’t even remember the last time I sold a print. It’s been at least 6 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever sold anything at a real price. Typically, I lose thousands of dollars each year pursuing my photography; it’s a labor of love, or maybe an addiction. I’ve had two galleries take on my work, but both dumped me. I make pictures everyday that time and money allow, but aside from that I don’t know a thing. I have nothing to work for or with except my own love of pictures.