These people, I'll tell you. They have no idea how they've damaged me psychologically. No clue.
I now feel so scarred that, well, I don't really know what to do. It's times like this I wish I worked at the post office. At least then, I could justify my feelings of anger and betrayal. Because y'know, the mail, jeez, it can make you nuts.
It's sad, actually. I had such respect for these people before. Now, I really don't like them at all. I went into this wanting them to like me too, but now, I think they're just plain mean.
The big, fat meanies.
Now, they've hurt me to a point where I don't know if I'll ever fully recover. I tried my best and apparently, that's not good enough for them.
Which is fine. I can accept not being good enough. But what I can't accept is their attitude.
There's no need to ignore me, is there? What did I ever do to them? Doesn't effort count anymore? Isn't trying your best worth something? Anything?
All I really wanted from them was some feedback. All I got was silence.
Silence, psychological scars and years of emotional baggage.
Now, I find myself sad. Sad and confused. More than my normal sadness and confusion.
Sometimes, like now, I go from being sad to being angry.
Hell, what makes them the end all and be all? Why should they have the ultimate say over good and bad, and then turn around and ruin someone's childhood dream by completely dismissing their efforts? Do they not understand how they've shattered my lifelong belief in myself? Do they even care?
Actually, I wouldn't know. Because I haven't heard a word.
The big, fat dream-ruining meanies.
You see the thing is, from an extremely young age, it was very apparent to the people around me that I was a very talented artist.
Friends, I had skills.
A deft touch with markers. A unique style with pencils. Magnificence with fingerpaint.
Sadly, as the years passed, I let my artistic skills fall by the wayside, choosing instead to pursue other more lucrative and satisfying endeavors:
Writing. Advertising. Masturbation.
Yet now, as I grow older, I find myself once again charmed by the thought of further developing my God-given special gift. The gift of art.
Naturally, since it's been so long since I've created anything, I felt as if I needed a gauge to ensure I still possessed a degree of talent. I felt it was important to somehow have someone with credibility confirm my belief in myself.
Well, I thought, who better to do that than the people who know more about art than anyone else?
No, not the curators at the Museum of Modern Art.
No, not the director of the Louvre.
No, not a distant relative of Vincent Van Gogh.
I wanted real experts.
The people at the Art Instruction Schools.
I'd seen their commercials. I knew the Art Instruction School had a reputation for recognizing talent, because that's what they said in their commercials. And I knew they wouldn't put commercials on MTV looking for people who could draw if they weren't looking for people who could draw really good like me.
I was certain that once they had an opportunity to view my style, I would be one step closer to bringing my vision to life.
And so, after dialing the toll-free number the nice man on TV told me to dial, I soon received my application in the mail.
You can only imagine how my excitement built with every line:
Omigod! I have something in common with Charles Schulz -- and he's dead!
Holy crap! I was only a simple art test away from getting expert opinions about my work!
Soon, I was going to be a professional artist! And I could tell my boss to stick my colored pencil up his butt!
Good luck, they say? Hah, luck had nothing to do with it.
Armed with nothing more than a pencil, an eraser and the blossoming genius inside my head, I locked myself in a room and sat down to take the test.
Hours later, I emerged with my masterpiece:
A combination of creativity, inspirational visions and technical expertise.
This, this was my stepping stone.
As you'll see, on the first page they asked for my first official drawing. And while many people have sent them drawings before, I felt confident that my illustration would make them realize how everything they had ever seen before this would pale in comparison.
I was a one-man art gallery just waiting to happen.
I felt great about what I had done. And I knew that this one drawing could change my life forever. And theirs, too.
I know, I know. You don't even have to say it.
If it were me judging talent of me, I would stop, pick up the phone, call me and say, "Me, you are really good." Then, I'd thank me.
The thing is, though, I've come to realize that oftentimes when you have great talent, it's easy to forget that others don't. Which is why they included a whole other sheet asking for further examples of creativity and illustration style.
Apparently, not everyone can encompass everything the Art Instruction School is looking for with one illustration of a dog like I did.
On page two, they asked the artist to use his/her imagination to finish their beginning sketch. And to be as creative as possible.
Sweet Jesus, could this be more tailored made for me?
The sketch was of a suburban home, with some trees in the background.
I thought long and hard, and eventually, I came up with the perfect scenario that would not only demonstrate my artistic skills, but also my creativity as well.
I know, I know. You don't even have to say it.
Yes, it's true. In one simple scene, I managed to create four unique characters. I told a great story. I built tension and drama. And I created a sense of realism rarely found in art today.
True, many can draw. But few can capture the essence of life and encapsulate drama so succinctly.
"Shut up, Bitch. I've got a gun"?
Keeping it real, baby. Keeping it real.
Finally, at the bottom of the page, they showed some of their "classic characters" from the past, and asked the artist to choose at least one to draw.
I've always considered myself an overachiever. Which is why I chose to draw FOUR characters, each in my own unique style. I wanted to make the people at the Art Instruction School realize not only was I versatile, but that I could do everything asked of me. And beyond.
Which, except for in the bedroom, I usually do.
And there it was. Clean. Stylish. Professional.
I felt fantastic about my submission. And I was certain that they'd call back quickly, overjoyed with their discovery of such a bright, young talent. Or a bright middle-aged talent.
I carefully folded the papers to ensure that creases would in no way conflict with my pencil lines. Then I sealed the envelope, dropped it in a mailbox and dreamt of my future.
Sadly, this is where the story ends.
I've now spent the last two months of my life waiting. For something. Anything.
Every afternoon I run to the mailbox, hoping. But there's nothing other than those annoying eviction notices. Again.
Everyday I check caller-ID, just in case they tried to call, but there are no messages, except for the ones from those annoying cut-off-your-credit people. Again.
Everyday has suddenly become the day after the day after, followed by the day after the day after the day after, followed by Tuesday.
Friends, I'm now getting the distinct impression the Art Instruction School is not going to write or call me back.
I'm typically not a bitter or cynical person, but I've come to the conclusion that the Art Instruction School has cast me aside. For whatever reason, they've chosen to not respond in a professional manner for my request to be evaluated.
I wonder, how many dreamers are going through the same suffering, agonizing pain of hoping and waiting that I am?
Don't the instructors at the Art Instruction School know how sensitive artists are? How painful this is?
Frankly, I'm wondering if the artists at the Art Instruction School are ignoring me because they're jealous that someone with virtually no formal training, someone who has barely drawn anything in the past 30 years, can possess such dynamic skills.
I'd be willing to say there's not a person at their school skilled enough to draw police with handguns standing by their cars. And include reality-based dialogue such as "Shut up, Bitch. I've got a gun."
Whatever the reason, I've now given up waiting for the Art Instruction School to tell me whether I'm good, or whether I should stick to my day job.
Heck, I was going to stick to my day job anyway. I just wanted to know if I still had it.
I'm justsad, that's all. All I wanted was a little feedback.
A little note of encouragement. A word of hope. Anything to make me feel that there was potential deep within me. Was that too much to ask?
And so now, I move on. No better or worse off than I was before I started.
I still feel art is something I can and maybe should pursue at some point as a career alternative. But for now, once again, it's put on hold.
Who knows, though? Maybe one day if I do in fact become a successful artist, I'll be able to carry through with my hope of being recognized for my unique artistic perspective.
Also, if I become successful, maybe I'll buy the Art Instruction School and make sure they're kind and considerate to ALL aspiring artists.
Either that, or I'll turn the place into maybe a Wal-Mart or something.
The big, fat, ignoring meanies.