Tuesday, September 11, 2012

conference decline and my dog

In the life of an art historian, in Arkansas, there are times when it feels like taking the path less traveled was the stupidest effing idea you ever had, and you’d like to murder whoever convinced you otherwise.

This leads to numerous attempts at jobs, conferences, grants, etc. Most of these attempts end in disappointment. I know mine do. (Please see the SECAC post where I got some ‘merit’ jargon thrown my way).

One day, my dear friend from grad school Becky Black, whom I think was my sister in a different life, emailed me a call for papers.  I already had an abstract ready from submitting to another conference, so I sent it in.  And literally forgot about it.

It was a week of, “Am I ever going to have the job I intended to have?” “Was getting a Master’s degree really worth it? Especially since I live in Arkansas?” “Did my thesis actually suck and that’s why it’s not getting accepted into any conferences and my thesis committee just lied and thought I was annoying and so they passed me all for the sake of getting me out of Memphis?”
That last one was kind of a run on.  My apologies.

Then I got an email. “see attached” it said.  I looked at the file name and it said, GriffinAcceptanceLetter.doc.
I literally cried. I was having that kind of day, call me an idiot if you’d like but until you know what it’s like to have a paper accepted that you worked on and worried over and fussed about and sacrificed for then you just won’t understand.

It made my day. I called BJ and told him to check his email to look at the forward and then suddenly I wasn’t really excited…I felt dread.

The acceptance letter stated (or rather, this was figured out slowly by me, of course it wasn't plainly stated)  that I’m not offered any discounts on hotel, airline, or even conference fee even though I would be a presenter.  And since I’m not affiliated with a University there wasn’t anyone to ask for funding. (Assuming any given University's art department has any funding left/set aside for travel. This might be a fantasy)

The husband was all about it. I was going and I was going to do great and I was going to see new museums. I love him.

It wasn’t specifically an “art” conference though.  It was a “culture” conference…and that made me unsure at first. And then I decided, “Nah, I’ll pass.”
It was strange telling him I wasn’t excited and I didn’t care to go.  And if I was so indifferent about it, why spent $1,000-$1,500 to not make my dreams come true? So after having my decision reaffirmed by my bff Amy and my hubs, I sent in a “thanks but I am no longer able to attend” ish kind of message.
Stupid decision? Maybe.  Career-wise.  For my personal happiness however it was a fine decision. At least I wasn’t rejected with merit. Jeez.

So my hunt for the perfect job and an acceptance to a conference I care about continues. And with that, here is a picture of my dog.

I went on the deck to see what he was up to, and this is what I found.
He looks earless here. They're just folded back because I'm pretty sure he thought he was going to get in trouble. Nah. That's too cute for trouble.

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