Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Throwing in the towel

There are days when we all feel that we've had enough. That throwing in the towel and getting a real job seems like the better option. When what we create seems to have no meaning for anyone else and is fast losing its meaning for ourselves. A few years ago I found myself in this kind of deep, dark, abyss. I found myself doubting the merit of my work and, well, what was the point any way? Maybe it was time to quit.

Earlier in the year I had submitted an application for a Saskatchewan Arts Board Individual Assistance Grant. On a day when I was feeling particularly blue and depressed, I received notice that another grant application that I had applied for, for our provincial Ceramics Association, Sask Terra, had been turned down. So I called Doug Townsend, Visual and Media Arts Consultant, to discuss what we could have been done to make a better proposal. At the end of that conversation, I broke down and asked about my own submission. Doug's reply was (something along the lines of), "You haven't received your notice yet? Well, they always send out the unsuccessful letters first." My reply was, "You mean I got my grant?". Followed by, "Not only did you get it, you got all that you asked for." My reaction was not what I imagined that Doug expected to hear. I literally broke down in tears on the phone. "This is just what I needed. (sob) I was about to give it all up and get a real job. I really needed someone to believe in me and my work."

That news was exactly what I needed at that time. The grants are selected by a jury of your peers based on merit. It was the vote of confidence that I needed to continue pursuing my artist vision. I would like to think that I had the fortitude to plow on, grounded in the certainty of my abilities. Unfortunately, I suffer the frailties of humanity. So, I guess the moral of the story is, never give up.

On another note, the next time I saw Doug I'm sure that I saw fear and trepidation in his eyes... Would he experience another emotional outburst?

I am grateful to the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the jury of my peers for believing in me.

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