Process : Proposals

I was afforded a bit of tumult and relief this month in the realm of submissions and proposals that is typically both the bane and life force of a contemporary artist’s existence. On one hand, I’ve done the dirty deed of selling myself so many times over, appropriating my intent to fit the needs and desires of arts presenters. The other hand, now duly washed, has happily waved goodbye to the tedious task of exposing my soul in the hopes that it may be interesting enough to make some cold hard cash for somebody else.

Case(s) in point:

I’m officially vehemently opposed to exposure of the words “however” and “unfortunately” (the former more than the latter). It is commonplace for writers to loathe certain words for one reason or another – particularly because of spelling or phonetics (heightened even more so by polyglots). These aforementioned atrocities are derivative of that necessary constant onslaught of rejection that comes from accosting resources with which to show your work.

We appreciate the opportunity to read your work. However, after careful review of all submissions, we are unable to include your piece in our Spotlight series this year.

While we loved reading your play, we have decided not to move forward with it as part of our series. However, we would be happy to consider your work for future productions.

HOWEVER, your work has been deemed as “very promising”; we would love to acclimate you to the Festival and the panel as an attendee.

I want to flip the bird at the word.

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There’s so much work and research (and disgusting mathematics) that goes into writing a proposal that you are so exhausted afterwards that you feel as though the grant or opportunity or residency or whatever it is you’re applying for should be awarded to you just for the amount of extraneous effort you’ve exerted. But that is not ever the case unfortunately.

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At the beginning of the month I received a record 5 rejection notices within the span of 48 hours. It wasn’t that devastating of a blow considering the fact that I made a consorted effort to spike the number of proposals I would draft over the past few months in order to broaden my chances of getting produced sooner than later.

This was also cushioned by a rather favorable acceptance letter into the long running LGBT HOT! Festival at the reputable Dixon Place in lower Manhattan, a famous arts incubator that allows a platform for works-in-progress. I’ll be doing a staged reading of another twisted horror play of mine entitled The Prize come July 20th.

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I was also informed that the Hearts on the Wall Artist Collective sponsored by Dark Matter Productions recently gained a residency at Dixon Place – and after being accepted into their program during their inaugural event where I did the first staged reading from my The Annals of Sharon series (an episodic theatre piece about polyamory), they invited me back to do present another work.

It was a nice break to bypass the whole proposal process – another feat I was afforded last month when I was asked to once again take part in Exquisite Corpse Company’s Drunk 24. It’s a fun festival where writers are paired together, given a theme and the directors and actors have 24 hours to stage each play written – and furthermore, the audience has the opportunity to offer shots for the actors that they must incorporate into their performance. I had already written a proposal for them this past fall and worked on a piece about witches, this time I co-wrote a period piece melodrama dealing with the theme of “water cooler confessions.”

As much as I adore persuasive writing, I very much look forward to making a name for myself so I’m invited rather than trying to make a list. No longer will I have to make grandiose statements that attest to my abilities such as:

My dance composition inspiration stems from the techniques of Erick Hawkins, Merce Cunningham, Matt Mattox, Alvin Ailey and Bob Fosse. Fluid old school Jazz and Modern Dance is juxtaposed with contemporary technique, utilizing extensive isolations and lateral movements and stretches. Combined with natural movements inherited from autonomic reactions to changing environments, vaudeville inspired sexy burlesque, “club style” dancing (with special attention to voguing motifs), my choreographic works tend to be relatable and innovative in their execution, revealing the pith of the story at hand. Elements of my quirky style also include animal movements to depict the overall themes associated with the carnal topics I love to embrace. Having a background in theater and writing, I enjoying using text along with movement indicative of the work of Pina Bausch. Domestic violence, racism, sexuality, discrimination, stigma, bigotry, misogyny and the marginalization of class/social systems are frequent themes of my dance theater work.

I recently visited an old friend (a painter) who was amidst another artistic breakdown – tears running down her face and she explained to me “No one understands.” She eluded to the fact that she was having so much of a hard time trying to get her non-artist friends to understand her turmoil, how not easy it is to create something wonderful on a regular basis and how impossible it can be to believe in yourself let alone rely on the acceptance of others.

I said, “When we are ‘successful’ and we create a good work of art, we don’t ever allow ourselves the chance to enjoy it. The SECOND it is finished we wallow in that chasm thinking to ourselves that we’ll never do anything again and that nothing we ever did mattered. We live in that pocket of uncertainty when we are not creating – and it is a wretched place. Never do we celebrate or become optimists about the things we’ve done or are going to be doing – it’s only when we are in the moment is our time well spent.”

She shook her head and cried some more. “See! You know exactly what I’m talking about!”

It’s been a gift to be accepted with having already proven myself. These last two presentations I felt free and unfettered by the whole am-I-good-enough clause. They knew me, they wanted me, and they celebrated me for me. I got to spend more time with the work and the tremendous talent I’ve been fortunate enough to solicit, making sure the merit was intact the way it was intended, and that is worth everything to an artist.

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