Friday. July 25. 2014
we appreciate the time you spent navigating our impersonal online application in the process of applying for this position. we appreciate the fact that you took the time to research our institution, to grasp a deeper understanding of what we do. we thank your for writing a sincere, and passionate cover letter which we may or may not have read.
at this time, we have decided not to move forward with your candidacy. we are sorry-we cannot tell you why. it could be that you don’t have the experience we’re looking for. or maybe it’s because we googled you and didn’t like what we saw. maybe it’s because your references didn’t asnwer the phone. maybe it’s because you’re queer. because you’re black. because we hired someone we knew. i guess you’ll never know.
we appreciate the time you took to complete your graduate degree, the debt you’ve accured in student loans, and the time you’ve wasted on our application. we’d like to wish you future success in fulfilling your professional goals, but we don’t really have the time to care.
last night. i dreamt about my student loans. it wasn’t a nightmare-per say. there weren’t monsters and storms bubbling up in dark skies. it was just me sitting in a quiet bank with baige carpeting, and fluorescent lights. discussing my debt with a loan advisor who happened to be journee smolette (that part i can’t figure out). it wasn’t nightmare scary. that would be too simple. running from saber-toothed aliens or swimming pools full of snakes and scorpions, that would inspire a simple kind of fear. the kind of fear that dissolves when you wake up and realize everything was ok. this was a deep, real fear. money. work. interest. failure. debt. these are the most terrifying monsters i’ve ever met. because they stay. awake, asleep, alive, dead-they stay.
when i decided to get my mfa in film-it was less about learning and more about opportunities. i’d been told before-the film business isn’t about school-it’s about experience. it’s about working on set. i knew that was the best way to learn about film. but. i had a plan. produce a thesis film, learn everything your brain can hold about film, work freelance, get your mfa, get your film into some festivals, then get a job teaching at a university or college-continue producing films while working. yes. debt was a part of the plan. but i keep getting "dear applicant" letters and without the job-my plan doesn’t seem to make any sense. nothing about my situation is unique. being deep in debt with student loans, unemployed and depressed feels like some fantastic injustice. but injustice or not-thousands of folks are in this boat, this shit is not special.
what IS special, i’ve noticed-is TALKING about it. i love instagram. i love allowing images (rather than words) to represent moments in our lives. look at all those sexy selfies. look at that food porn. check out all those inspirational quotes! LIKE a photograph of her with her new boo. HEART his new shoes. LIKE a photo of her appletini. in the social network-everyone’s life is beautiful and sexy and FUN all of the time. It makes sense, i guess. it’s easier to advertise the good times. who wants to take a picture of something ugly and share it with everyone they know? who wants to admit to weakness or sadness? it’s always awkward when someone dies. you post an old photo, and a comment about how much they meant to you. are people supposed to LIKE that? no one LIKES death. but that’s the only button there is. I imagine a doctor telling me i have cancer. i think about what the facebook post would look like. an MRI. a caption. breast cancer. LIKE.
i graduated with my MFA two months ago. and almost immediately i felt depressed, anxious, and WORST of all, for the first time in years-unmotivated. because i’m not making enough money to be a full time artist. because soometimes i perform songs and people don’t listen, don’t care. because i can’t land a job in the field i’m a supposed “master” of. because thoughts of debt and interest stalk my conscious and subconsious thoughts. i tried to think of ways to share my sad. i know other people could relate-maybe even feel better being sad in solidarity. but how? take a selfie of a sadface? tears? post a screenshot of a rejection letter? a picture of my growing belly and comment on the depression weight i’ve gained? post a picture of that frustrated look of a partner who is doing their best to be patient with me? i still don’t know how to share these things. For now, this is my way. It’s funny. being honest about being sad-actually makes me feel a lot better.
last night i drank beer by myself and started writing a song. all of the songs i’ve partially written lately have been shit. but. i think i’ll see this one through regardless of how poor I assume it’ll be. other than that-i’m planning the vow of silence screening for baltimore. i have no idea how to get people there-but I’m going to bust my ass trying. Got post cards on their way. NEED to include DJ, LIVE DRUMMER, INTERPRETER, SPACE RENTAL, BEER AND WINE, into the budget. Need to find my Baltimore LGBTQ family, film family, art family. Thinking i’ll just hit the pavement and hand out cards outside clubs, events. Be that guy.
Maybe I need to hear no. No. you’re not ready to teach. NO. you’re not ready to take on a full time job. i know i could do it well. I know i would enjoy it. and Hell yes, i need the money. but. maybe the spirits are whispering “BE. Today. Right now. be a full time artist. it will be exhausting. you will work harder than you ever and be broke(r) than ever. and it won’t be romantic like the movies. but. somewhere in you, you’ll know it’s worth it.