I have no doubt that you have received many qualified applicants for the Playwright’s Lab. Pretty kick ass reputation you’ve got, Sundance. I’m no slouch, but in regards to my chances of making the cut I do feel akin to a snowball in, let’s just say LA over the past few weeks. (I walked five blocks in the valley on Monday, so I have a sense of Hell). Nonetheless, I believe in Affirming To The Universe my worth as a human being by Putting Myself Out There. Sure, I’ll send you my play and $35. However, one aspect of this application gives me great pause: the Artistic Statement. WHAT IS THIS?
Do you think Shakespeare wrote an Artistic Statement? Is this statement writing process how jazz got invented? Did F. Scott Fitzgerald summarize his relationship to metaphors in a letter to Maxwell Perkins prior to writing “The Great Gatsby?” He did write many letters to Maxwell Perkins about it, but as many of us Gatsby nerds can agree, the point of “The Great Gatsby” and every other great piece of “art” in human history can only be found in a person’s relationship to it. In other words: THE WORK SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.
Putting aside these questions, I forged ahead. My heart sank at the words “Artistic Statement” but I nonetheless scoured my brain and history for the most pretentious things I’ve done and said. The list is long, varied, embarrassing and hopefully ends around the year 2001, but maybe not. Yes, I took to Creative Writing in college. I once placed the classic quote from MacBeth that begins with “Tomorrow, tomorrow…” before a story because I thought I had discovered it. Ah, youth…
Frankly, I’m not sure I can find a way to do this that doesn’t read like something written by a pretentious ass. Also, I can’t imagine the degree of douchiness this kind of thing might attract. Frankly, I feel a little sorry for you, dear reader, sent to weed through everyone’s dissertation on experiencing discrimination for being dropped off at school in a Ford Escort or having no nanny. Ok, so I’m being judgmental here and assuming that 90% of your applicants are, if not white, hardly came from humble means. Am I wrong? I mean, we can’t raise the minimum wage, protect abortion rights, or guarantee that 9-year-old Guatemalan refugee who has survived abuse can be guaranteed asylum in the US. In the grand scheme of life, an Artistic Statement is the equivalent of a teenager’s journal about her unrequited crushes.
What is a Artistic Statement? Well, Wiki can show you how it’s done here. Wikipedia says (and they KNOW) an artistic statement “is a written description of (the artists) work. The brief verbal representation is about and in support of, his or her own work to give the viewer understanding.” (This sentence sucks.) SINCE WHEN IS THERE A CONSENSUS ABOUT UNDERSTANDING ART?
What is a “Statement?” The Internet Dictionary (another valid source) defines a “statement” as “a definite or clear expression of something in speech or writing.” Definite and clear? WHEN IS ART DEFINITE AND CLEAR? I’M WRITING IN CAPS NOW BECAUSE I’M MAD. I SAY WE WRITE ALL ARTISTIC STATEMENTS WITH CAPS LOCK ON.
If there’s any statement I can make it’s the desire to not make statements. Politicians make statements. Scientists make statements.
“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.” – Anton Chekhov
What he said. THERE’S MY STATEMENT.
P.S. Please choose me.