July 19 2013 update: The names have been changed because we don't have to remember these things forever.
I always wanted to go to that gallery. The only reason I wanted to go was because I tried to go there once and couldn't get in. There was no sign saying where it was. The only advertisement for that gallery was a postcard stuck in the arts walk brochure. I like to know about every gallery in town. So this one seemed mysterious, no sign at the door, no hours listed. I have to admit the postcards they put out did not really have very appealing art on them. It basically looks like a grey smear. So this Friday's art walk I found it. As the Middleburg Art walk brochure says: Look for the pink boot, more than 30 venues. It was in the marble works. I saw the black balloons. And then going closer I saw the pink boot. So I went in.
It looks like a condo apartment building. The main door opens into a stark many doored hallway. I saw no sign of a gallery but another woman who looked like she was also looking for art just walked in. She is dressed in a black leather camisole a short black leather skirt with a shammy wrapped around it, and her body is painted and tattooed. She is young and beautiful and looks very familiar to me.
"Are you looking for art too?" I said.
"Yes, hi Pam, you were my teacher."
"Oh yes, hi."
"Do you still teach at Silverdale College?"
"No." I told her, and we did a little catching up with each other.
We were still looking all over for the entrance of the gallery. When suddenly I noticed a postcard stuck on the bulletin board on the wall it was one of those grey smear gallery postcards with ballpoint pen scribbled across it reading "Gallery G. third-floor" There was elevator right next to the postcard but neither of us wanted to take the elevator. Turns out my former student was dressed that way because she's a fire dancer. She is going to dance with fire outside of the Kabob building across the
parking lot from Crocodile Creek Used Books, that's where I'm going next to see her fire dance. So we ran up the stairs and end up almost in someone's apartment there's a little lobby first which is apparently part of the "gallery" I should mention at this point I'm about a foot shorter my student and I'm dressed in tan baggy silk shorts that come down to just above my knees and a blue cotton sleeveless collared shirt. For shoes I have blue dress crocs if there is such a thing as dress crocs. So we walk in together and the person who is obviously the host walks right over to my friend, my former student, introduces herself, begins to talk with her as if they're best friends, and offers her a nice cold drink. She completely ignores me. Even though I have been looking for this gallery for months and I am very thirsty. I cannot make eye contact with, her she always turns away. She is always talking to someone else. Even though I stare at her and move closer. I am really starting to get pissed off about how she's ignoring me.
So I've had it I'm not gonna be treated like this I can at least get a drink. She is standing right by the drinks and yet doesn't offer me one or talk to me. So I take a nice glass just like my friend got and I start filling it up and I just keep ladling in more nice mint tea until my cup is full. And then since this woman is standing right next to me completely ignoring me, and I am trying to get her attention just to get the answers to some simple questions and just to feel like we are polite people living in the same town. So lightly with the back of my hand as if I was knocking on a door which I expected to be opened and which I didn't really need to knock at, I tapped her upper arm and said, "Are you the artist?"
She said, "No." And pointed to another woman "She's the artist I'm the gallery owner."
She said, "It's open by appointment and on Friday Art Walk."
"What are the hours of this gallery?" I asked.
"Oh." I said and took my drink and went to examine some of the artwork in some of the other rooms. I tried to enjoy myself looking at art disregarding how this woman was so rude to me. Trying not to let this interfere with my enjoyment of Friday art walk. Meanwhile, Josephine, that's what her name is although she didn't tell me her name she told my friend her name anyway meanwhile Josephine continues talking to people in suits and continues talking to my friend whenever but always she ignores me even though I'm standing right next to these people and even though I came in with and left with this person that she's talking to constantly. Whatever.
As we left I guess we went down a floor too many and ended up in a very strange place, a small square room with doors everywhere but the kind of doors you really didn't want to open. "I really don't like to be in certain kinds of spaces." I confessed - then there to her - not only that I was really uncomfortable in this kind of weird space but also, "I am really pissed off at that woman for ignoring me."
"I know what you mean," she said, "atmospheres can be very invading. It was so pretentious up there. I really felt on the spot when one woman asked me why I was dressed like this, and what 'tribal' meant to me."
Now I felt like this woman who moments ago had been a former student who I didn't even recognize at first, now she felt like a friend. I felt a lot less insane for having confessed at how angry I was to be ignored. And why was I singled out to be ignored while other people were given attention? You know what? It is really very dangerous to ignore someone like me because at times like this I really understand Hitler. Hitler was an ignored artist, he painted little postcards. Maybe he wasn't a very good artist maybe he deserved to be ignored, but there's a cost to ignoring someone wants who attention!
And there is a certain amount attention that everyone deserves. If you don't give it to them there could be a war. What gets me is what a nice person I am. As I left I said, "Thanks!"and "bye" to Josephine, and you can bet she did not say it was nice meeting you. I don't know why I didn't just say fuck you. I'm not really good at cursing or expressing anger. I don't know if I'm really super bad at expressing anger, I'm not sure, but I definitely am not really good at cursing, but I could've given her the finger.
The thing is I find anger supremely embarrassing. Oh yes when you act out of anger you make this mark on your reputation that everybody remembers and it is not a good one, especially if you are a small woman who really shines best when she's just being nice. So it really pisses me off when my niceness is totally ignored and not rewarded in anyway what so ever.
So I have an unpublished novel out there. It kind of feels like my novel is being ignored. I mean it's not as bad as Josephine, but it's little things like being ignored by people like Rachel in a gallery that brings out the real anger about the important things, like my novel. It's not easy having an unpublished novel. I know it's not the worst thing in the world. I mean at least I've written a novel. A good novel.
Update: Most agents do not ignore my queries but answer them respectfully. I have interest from an agent and I am revising with certain feedback in mind. The process of getting a first novel published the traditional way seems to be very long. Meanwhile we are busy building a honey house, and then a house to live in, and it seems my house on the islands has finally sold. I am getting used to long processes.