Thursday, March 08, 2007


To my fellow wanna-bes:

I feel your pain. This purgatory is exhausting; the afterthoughts, the hindsight, the lamentation of saying “only if” and “but”. The rolling eyes, the wondering what and how…the never-ending waiting on that final green light for careers, schools, book proposals, auditions, slots in congress, what have you.

The internet is supposed to make our lives easier. We understand this in a cerebral way but not in application. Not when we can refresh our inboxes multiple times a minute. Not in application when it comes to checking applications.

If you, like me, are waiting on acceptance (okay, that just sounds hilarious), you may be using the internet in bad ways. You may be perusing message boards; you may be hearing many tales of fabulous applicants getting slammed. Kids, you believe, far better than you, are currently being turned away in droves. There is more than one story circulating of a fantastic, published writer who sent out nine MFA applications only to receive nine unceremonious rejections. So what chance does that leave us hacks?

I can’t help but, in the middle of this, draw on a college experience.

The film my roommate and I shot our senior year centered around two pretentious kids making the worst movie ever (not to their knowledge of course) to get into film school (I won’t name which one).

Their movie was an extension of what they loved about their own artsy tendencies, their own trade-in-the-grass-for-city-dreams. A birthday cake was a sushi platter with candles. A fake beard was involved. A lamp stalked through campus with a knife. All the while, one of the main characters shrieked poetry: “Sideways I walk, sideways I learn, sideways I fall, and my womb burns! Womb burns! Womb burns!”

In the movie, my movie, they got in (the committee thought they were being ironic).

Art imitates life imitates art.

There is a newly minted MFA student to a top-top-program whose writing consists, and I kid you not, of the following sentiments: black rain, sleepless poetry, methamphetamines, the life of a writing implement.

I’m not saying this kid doesn’t deserve to get in (not out loud), but I am saying that’s one less spot. And subjectivity is so much. Maybe the writing sounds genius to you (my thoughts have been way off the mark before), maybe it sounds idiotic, but regardless, the spot is gone from someone else, who in another’s opinion is something different, something more important. That someone else could be you (thankfully, I didn’t apply there, so it’s not me).

The point is this. External praise does not character make. Prizes, promotions, a bold-faced name, these things don’t feed what is really important about being a human being. Loving something, helping something, molding something…these are more worthwhile causes.

And if what you set your sights on did not work out at one arbitrary given moment (who says you have to be x, y and z before you hit 30? I'm guessing it could just be your inner voice that you can't squash), kick back, enjoy another period of making yourself better for the next round, and do it again. Don’t get discouraged over this, over anything. So much of breathing is reacting, maneuvering, flowing over the rock. Don’t think the end. Think Zen.

You will find a way. To get that brass ring, to fuel the motivation for chasing your dream. If you’re waiting to hear right now on some decisions that you’ve laid the groundwork for and now it’s in someone else’s hands, take heart.

You are good enough, you are smart enough, whether people even like you or not.

So fellow writers, grad students, first jobbers, life-changers, almost activists, reachers-to-become famous/adored/validated, those looking for boyfriends and girlfriends, pets, anti-debt, and everyone unsure, stay in the game. Look around. See if what is freaking you out is as important as you thought it was two months ago.

Wherever you’re supposed to be going, you’ll end up there eventually. Relax and let it flow. Believe it.

I will if you will.

Haven’t heard from anywhere important yet…and starting to not mind if I ever do. In the meantime: Om.


Anonymous said...

thanks so much for that!

Cheetarah1980 said...

I needed this more than you know. Thanks for the pick me up.

Anonymous said...

me too.

Luria Bertani said...

That was really great.

I heard back too quickly from schools and wanted a few more weeks of floating around just being proud of myself for getting the applications in.

So, enjoy it.

Victoria said...

K, thank you.
I've been waiting on results from medical schools, and this is exactly what I'm going through. So what if I don't get in this time around? It's a little frightening that I may be completly free this time next year but... There are so many things to see and learn!

Buffy said...

"Kick back, enjoy another period of making yourself better for the next round, and do it again."

Love. This. Line.

LisaBinDaCity said...

Good advice! I will definitely keep it in mind :-)