Rejection!February 25, 2012
The truth is, I have a lot to be thankful for right now. I’m lucky to be staying in a safe, cozy apartment with a roommate who’s kind, outspoken, and hilarious. I teach seven piano students on Wednesdays, and for the next three weeks I’m also covering someone else’s Saturday lessons, which means an extra 12 students. I have a favorite grocery store, the laundromat I patronized last week is the least sketchy I’ve ever seen, and the bartender at the place on the corner has a lovely accent and a knack for good conversation.
I still have some terrific friends, with whom I have played Skee-Ball, watched dozens of episodes of Bones, visited the Jim Henson exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image, enjoyed great theater, and dabbled in terrible jazz. Friends who, when I despair that no theater will ever hire me ever again, remind me that not only am I good at what I do, but also I’ve only been here three weeks and I’m not allowed to be discouraged yet.
But right now I am a little discouraged, anyway. It seems true that things move faster here, and that means sometimes I can rack up two or three rejections per week, and that’s not counting the places I apply to that never write back. This week I wasn’t hired for a college production of Sweeney Todd for which I felt extremely qualified (I’ve done the show twice before), and I’m pretty sure I blew my audition to music direct Company, which I’m really unhappy about because the group putting it on seems like they’d be wonderful to work with. And because while learning “Another Hundred People,” I was astounded by how perfectly the accompaniment — essentially four separate lines that coexist, all moving in the same direction, to form a solid palette of sound without ever really coalescing — amplifies the lyrical content. Guys, I am finally on the Sondheim bandwagon after years of respecting but not loving the man and his work.
I want so badly to dive headfirst into this show, to tease apart all the musical secrets, to figure out the best instrumentation for the space and the budget and the director’s intentions. And I will be really surprised if I get to, because I played so much worse on their nice baby grand than I do on the out-of-tune spinet in my sublet. All those separate lines that I worked to bring out, choosing fingerings that would boost my accuracy while highlighting the most interesting parts of each phrase — none of that happened in my audition. I got through the piece fine, but it was muddy and indistinct, lacking the colors I had gotten so excited about while practicing.
I know I’m supposed to believe that I’m missing out on these and other opportunities because God has something even better planned. Sometimes I do believe that. But also sometimes I wonder if I’m just not good enough to be worthy of any of the things I want. Which is stupid, because whatever about me is or isn’t “good enough” comes from God too. Even the desires of my heart, small and misdirected as they may be, reflect the things He has created me to want, to thirst for.
I know what it feels like to be in exactly the right place, using my talents and fulfilling that thirst. Right now it just seems like so long before I’m in that place again, and who knows how long I’ll keep fumbling for the right chord, the right thing to say to the right person, before I find it. Or it finds me.