As the child of two artists, I know that a big part of being in the art world is criticism and rejections. I've always prided myself on having a thick skin, but I've got to admit - the constant wave of rejections is getting hard to stomach! Maybe it's because the stream of recent rejections has been topped with constant criticism from my thesis advisor and sprinkled with disappointment from freelance clients, but I've been feeling more dejected about my writing than ever lately.
Mary Karr wrote in The Art of Memoir, "Some students in our three-year MFA program come in defending every word; by mid-term second year, the more determined ones find themselves in despair at their own pages. Through reading and thinking, they've raised their taste beyond their skill levels. So when they stare down at their pages, they can no longer superimpose what's in their heads onto the work." I think this is where I am at at the moment. Sadly, I am past the "mid-term second year" point in my three-year MFA program so this passage actually makes me feel double despair. Hopefully it'll change before classes start up in August? I've written 2.5 essays since summer break began. One of them may actually be good. That's something, right?
All I can hope is that this wave of constant rejections will eventually pass. Maybe my next freelance client will love what I write and insist we not change a thing! Maybe my thesis advisor will give me one tiny little compliment on my next essay. One can only hope! What I most hope, however, is that Mary Karr's other statement about MFA students comes true: "By third year, though, most seem to grow muscles to maneuver in that armor."