I have been doing several hours of the company’s work
every day while I am on my sabbatical here. As multiple demands
have increasingly descended, I realized I would have to spend much
of the weekend working on grants.
Now here’s the thing about grants and work. Or work and grants. As
you know, I am no stranger to loads of administrative
work and I don’t mind it when it is productive. Even
when I would rather spend more of my time on things I find more
I try to find a way to make anything creative for myself. But
after years of writing numerous grants every year, it is hard to
feel stimulated by it. More unfortunate, perhaps is the way I get
attached to the outcome.
It is difficult not to. When we spend hours and hours writing
grants, assembling the documentation, UPS or overnighting things.
Often there is such a feeling of sending things into the void. Most
of the time, we have no idea who is reading the grants or what
other organizations of comparable size may have received.
It feels like a black hole.
So our life ticks away. And we spend countless hours in meaningless
semi-meaningless activity. But do you ever think about how
most people spend their time? Working long hours at menial
jobs, hungry, cold, and sick? Are we happier having the luxury
to enjoy and make art?)
it’s funny, I can spend hours of time in rehearsal
doing body work or improvisation or timed writings without
being attached to an outcome. I see it as investigation. If
it yields something immediately, that’s great. But
it is always useful.
It fires up the synapses. Tells me what I don’t know or
want. And that is as useful in its own way as discoveries of
things I might
use in performance.
So it is time well spent.
Unlike certain grants which feel like an exercise in frustration.
A few years ago, I had an excellent conversation with a funding
officer for Met/Life who had sought us out. He had heard about
The DisAbility Project and was excited about the work we were doing
until he asked about the size of our budget.
Then he told me we were too small for them to consider. His
rationale didn't make sense to me. Five minutes before
he had been singing our praises. I tried to redirect the
conversation, to gently tout our ability to make
a dollars stretch and to show effective we had been in many settings.
It didn’t make any difference. Somehow, with the mention
of a number, his attitude shifted and he lost interest.
When I first began the company over 15 years ago, I knew nothing
about the world of grants.All I knew was that
I wanted to create art and to spend my time with people who cared
about pursuing and expressing deep truths, whether they be
personal or political.
Now I spend a lot of my time—more and more—thinking
about grants and money. It is very disheartening.
Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006