I'm Kinda Pissed Off: No MacDowell Colony Residency (Yet Again)

I looked in my mailbox today + this was the letter waiting for me:

March 14, 2011

Mr Jackson Bliss
3*** ************ St.
Apt # 909
Los Angeles, CA 9*****

Dear Jackson,

We regret that we are not able to offer you a residency during this coming Summer 2011 period. Your work was appreciated by the admissions panel members, but the number of excellent applications has grown as has the competition for residencies.

We hope that this news will not discourage you from applying to the Colony again after one year's time.

In the meantime, we send you our best wishes.

Sincerely,

Cheryl A. Young
Executive Director

The first time I was rejected by the MacDowell Colony in 2007, I was bummed. This time, I was pissed. I actually punched the envelope + then threw it against the windshield + screamed. My wife was delighted with my reaction: --The Latino in you is coming out! she said, a look of ecstasy painted across her face.

When I applied for a MacDowell Colony residency in 2007, I was fresh out of Notre Dame with my MFA, I hadn't published a single story in a print literary journal yet, my writing sample was extremely conceptual (but not necessarily tight), I had two rec's from writers that I admire very much but that very possibly the writing committee at the MC hadn't heard of + my application was written in marker. I was very green, to say the least. This time, I submitted a writing sample from The Ninjas of My Great Self that both Georges Borchardt, agent extraordinaire + TC Boyle, the rock star, absolutely loved, I had two recommendations, one from TC Boyle + one from Aimee Bender + I have an actual publication history + I'm halfway done with my second novel. After all that, I still got fucking rejected.

I realize that:

1. Summer is the most competitive season for residencies at MacDowell
2. The MacDowell Colony accepts artists in every medium, so I'm not just competing with other writers + poets, but other composers, sculptors, artists, comedians, architects, maybe a blind-folded grandmaster chess whiz too

And maybe on some deeper level, my ego is really bruised by all the rejection. But on another level, a part of me, a big part of me, feels like I'm exactly the kind of artist that residencies like MacDowell are looking for: I get along really well with people, I'm extremely ambitious, talented + driven, I'm accessible, slightly strange + chatty (both intro + extrovert), I speak multiple foreign languages, am intensely musical--meaning I'd get along well with other artists + musicians. At the same time, I have an insanely good work ethic + I'm a devoted, diligent, ambitious fiction writer, I'm 1/2 done with my project, I know exactly what I want to get done + just as importantly, I know exactly what I want to do with my time. I just don't fucking understand.

Anyway, the moral of the story for me is: Next year, I'm applying for the Winter Session at the MacDowell Colony + I'm also going to apply
for a Yaddo fellowship too. Might as well increase my chances.