Friday, June 03, 2011

Gone Bamboo

Yesterday an email popped into my inbox. It was the fourth such email in about a month or so - "While we did not select your project to be funded, we want to thank you for..."

The kind decline.

As an artist for over two decades, I am very well familiar with the kind decline. Also the abrupt decline, the silence that means a decline, and the rude rejection. It is part of the deal and it rarely needs to be taken personally, if ever. Indeed, most of the places where I was applying were choosing something like 60 projects out of 4,000 applicants. Seriously. You would have to be even more delusional than I am to believe that there was any specific personal message in not beating those odds.

And yet. And yet, there is still a sting, a little moment of ouch. Yesterday, to get the fourth in a row of said emails and to get it in the middle of a time when I am seriously and deeply considering how art will occupy my life in the coming years, well, I have to admit, I wallowed in that sting for a bit.

After a good dose of "nobody wuvs me", I decided the right and proper medicine would be to go out in the backyard and dig up the bamboo that has been taunting me for the past couple of years. Eradicate was my watch word!

Surely the combination of sweat, dirt and hard labour would dispel any lingering notions of self-pity.

(This picture is included only to sort of illustrate how bamboo growing inside of my compost bin caused the top to lift off completely. I begin to suspect that bamboo is possessed of some other worldly spirit...)

Unless, of course, the bamboo itself were to cause a sense of deep despair and hopelessness. But that couldn't happen. Right?


OfTroy said...

2 thouhts:

(the bad) bamboo grows from a rhizome (a root stucture) even 1 small piece can grow a new stem, and then regrow a forest.

(the good) bamboo shoots (the small onion like bulb at the base of the rhizome) is edible (well some varieties of bamboo are edible.. Is yours? forget weeding--HARVEST!

(and forget weeding, when it comes to really invasive pest plants, cut down, (use a loper) and cut each new spout as it comes up. again and again. and at the same time dig up roots. (it will take you the rest of your natural life!)

Jan Morrison said...

I was rejected twice last month. The second time was fine - I didn't care - it was a huge playing field and I liked getting my entry ready - it helped the manuscript and set me off in a different and useful direction. But that first time laid me low for several days. It was local, I'd been a judge on the contest before, and I really and truly thought I'd make the short list - heck, maybe even place. But nada.
Oy - on top of the other shite that has happened of late I nearly took to my bed. I thought 'I'm not a writer, I've been wasting the last eleven years (the time I've been focussing on novels instead of poetry and plays). I should just stop and knit and play with the chicks. But I just took it to the cushion and worked with it and I'm relatively OK today. Sting is exactly the right word.
As to your bamboo, I lived in a house that had Chinese knotweed - a form of bamboo I believe. GAAAAAAAH! You could watch it grow - it was like triffids (scary alien plant from book in the fifties). It came up through the concrete in our basement. Yes it did. We lived on a hill and eventually realized if we were successful in our desire to kill off the weed - our house would fall down the hill.
yep. true dat.

Robyn said...

Jan, it is very true that sometimes just the act of putting together the application is the most valuable part of the whole endeavour. As I reflect on what might have been better, I am realizing that somewhere in there I myself lacked some conviction in what I was proposing. And with those odds, you have to be 100% certain that you have an excellent, solid idea. I know this from past successes as well as failures. It is, ultimately, very helpful because it feels like it is confirming something that I have been hesitant to admit, which is that my work is taking a big new turn...but to what? I don't know! XOX