It’s bad enough to be rejected. My short story didn’t win the Toronto Star competition. I console myself with the belief it's more of a train-of-thought monologue, than a traditional story. Fair enough. But mishaps that remove you from the competition altogether are worse. In this case I had only myself to blame although I’ve spent the last two days identifying who and what else might shoulder that burden.
Surely I could find a better word but what comes to mind is ruder and even less explicative. I found an Ontario Arts Council (OAC) package in the mailbox. It was too early for a decision but as I ripped it open I couldn’t help but feel a little excited. My manuscript was included. When last I’d been rejected there’d been no manuscript.
We received your application to the Friday February 15, 2012 deadline of the Writer’s Works in Progress program. However, your application is ineligible because you identified yourself as the author on the second page of the project outline in each copy of the manuscript.
I reread it three times then turned to the offending document. My name was right there, in the header of the project description. Crying, I ran and got white-out and, like it would fix anything or make me suddenly eligible again, I blanked myself out.
So now I get to put into action the theoretical comfort of complaining I wrote about last week.
I’m someone who needs a repository for frustration. I understand punching and kicking things. I threw a tin cup across the kitchen a few months ago, don’t remember what for, and chipped a piece off my new counter top. It should be a lesson. Disappointments and fuck-ups too often result in broken hands, toes, glasses and counters. Why do I withhold forgiveness, refuse myself tenderness when things go wrong? I'd feel terrible if it happened to someone else. Why is my response to heap injury on top of insult?
Blaming technology, while necessary, brings little satisfaction. There are no apologizes. No responsibility is taken. I do it anyway. What’s with the header? Why was my name on page 2 but not on page 1? It’s a fucking header. It’s meant to do the work for you, so you don’t have to type it on the top of each page.
I know. You have to check it. I thought I did.
Next. What do the grants administrators get paid for? Don’t they look at this shit before sending it out to the jury? I was a government grants person for years. That was the job, to review all the applications before they went forward.
It’s my fault, it’s my fault, it’s my fault. I knoooooooooow. And my guess is someone at OAC feels really bad about missing it. They’re busy. They get 100s of these things. I’ll get over it. I can submit for the next deadline. But I’m feeling awfully sad. So sad I had to use the same sad photo for a second time.
I'd like to think it’s better to bang out a blog post than break something but they're not always mutually exclusive.