26 December 2006

Lost (not the TV show)

About a month ago now, I mailed entries to two composition contests by way of Priority Mail. As always, I availed myself of the USPS's delivery confirmation option. This service provides no indemnity coverage, but it does tell you when your stuff was delivered...if it was delivered. That's where the story gets interesting, for it appears that according to both the delivery confirmation (or lack thereof) and the people administering the respective contests, the envelopes were in fact never delivered.

One contest had a December 1 postmark deadline, so unless the original envelope turns up and makes it there before they start the judging, that one is a lost cause. No big deal; I threw that one together just for the hell of it and wasn't honestly expecting anything to come of it. The other one is a different story; I wrote the piece especially for it and was hopeful of at least turning someone's head on the committee. The deadline for that one is not until sometime next month, so I should still be able to enter...that is unless this is part of a larger plot by Kinko's to get all of my money from making x number of copies of my pieces. Or perhaps it's a sign from God that these contests aren't worth the trouble, which if I believed in God would be very thoughtful of him to say to me because he'd probably be correct. Of course, even without a God, there's still the blogosphere to tell me this, but as an uncompromising autodidact with no teachers to advocate for my work and very little hope of getting anything performed by anyone but myself, what else is there to do but force someone somewhere to at least see my name flash before their tired little eyes before they glaze over for good, leading them to throw the rest of the entries in the recycling bin and name their cousin the winner?

I do remember overhearing one rather distinguished comp professor say that students should enter as many contests as they feel inclined to because only good things can come of it. Well, kind of. That's only if your magnum opus actually gets out of the damn neighborhood post office. I would normally say that it's always worth it for me to enter these things. I'm very competitive by nature; the satisfaction from winning (it has happened a couple of times somehow or another) is too much fun, while being pissed off at not winning gets me about as motivated to write as ever (sad but true). But having my entry lost in the mail? That pisses me off in a much more counterproductive way, the way that makes me not want to even bother sending the damn thing again even if there's still plenty of time. "It probably sucks anyway," or "I'll bet everyone entering is out of my league" are among the thoughts crossing my mind. Of course, I will do it one way or the other just so that I can look forward to being doubly pissed of when I don't win jack, or going totally ape shit when I'm crowned the winner.

BUT...if they lose my stuff again, expect the next entry to be a Cage-inspired work for fist and postal employee that will get more performances than any previous work of mine. Anyone know of contests for works that eventually land the composer in jail?

(If there's one thing I've learned from communicating via the internet, it's that thanks to the few of you out there who are argumentative literal minded dopes, I ought to say overtly that the last two sentences constitute a classic example of sarcasm, a time-honored literary device that is easily lost over a computer screen. In other words, it was a joke guys; you can't sue me. But seriously, if you know of a comp contest for that kind of thing...)

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