I applied to the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival last September. By the first weekend in November, I received the results of my application: Wait-Listed. At that moment, I was cautiously optimistic. It was not the acceptance that would have given me a surge of Serotonin plus the confidence of a big show on my calendar a full five months later. But, it was way better than a full rejection after which I couldn't be considered for a spot. It seemed likely that by the middle of the following April, they would have cycled through the artists who wouldn't want to do the show, get to my name and offer me a spot for which I would gladly pay. Through the winter, I slowly made my way from #7 to #4 to #3. Last week, a full week before I would need to leave for the show, I called and said "I'm ready, willing and able to come to the show so please call me day or night." Surely, there would be some movement.
Here I sit, at home, still. I've now gone though the stages of Wait-List status: reasonably excited, optimistic, full of angst, hopeful, resentful, ambivalent and certain. Certain that I'll not be in Fort Worth this week and for another year. I'm at peace with it. I shouldn't want to turn my household upside down to suddenly haul myself and everything required to do the show, down to Texas, on very short notice. That would come after writing a check to the show for $600. and finding some last minute lodging, which is often not ideal. A spot coming up in the waning hours means that another artist encountered some kind of difficulty: vehicle, health, family situation that would force them to give up their paid-for spot in the show and NOT receive a refund. The show would get two fees for one booth. Maybe if the rules allowed for an old fashioned "sublet" it would be palatable: I give a cancelling artist the six hunnert and they leave me the keys, so to speak. Doesn't work that way.
A couple of years ago, another artist recounted to me his response to a show director after a discussion about his being Wait-Listed: "If you want me in your show, then invite me." Why should he be the show's insurance policy? Why should he be happy with an understudy role when he needed to plan his business over the course of a year, in advance? At the time, I envied that confidence. I wondered what it would be like to be assigned the status of "Wait-Listed" and promptly decline it, closing the door and not having to go through the uncertainty for months on end. I think I'm ready to do it. The hours spent imagining and planning the possibility of being present at a show in Fort Worth this week, which is not going to happen, are ones that I didn't spend focused on what I should: making art.
How long or how often do you let someone put you on hold, before you hang up?