So when you are a playwright and you want someone to give you money, like perhaps a theater, or a foundation, or a wealthy friend, you are asked to submit an artist statement with your application. Sometimes this is a free-form situation. "Tell us why you want this." Sometimes this is a little more specific. "Tell us why you want this, and also how you are planning to change the face of theater as we know it, and also about a time that a hat made you SO angry."
Of course this makes sense. They're not going to hand these things out to any old writer. You need to make a case for yourself, and aritst statements give you a chance to make that case. So I do not mind them, not really. But there have been many nights, many long dark cold cold nights, when I have stared at my computer screen thinking, I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to describe myself in a way that makes me seem smart and clever and talented and ambitious and humble and good-looking and fascinating and good to animals and and and and.
I mentioned my fear of artists statements to a friend who is preparing to apply to grad school (and therefore has many a personal statement in her future). She sympathized. "It would be great if it could be more like answering a Craigslist Ad for a new apartment," she said. "No pets, non-smoker, hard worker."
And she's right. Except in that case, the requests for proposals might start to look a little...
SUNNY LARGE CHEERY FELLOWSHIP IN MAJOR CITY
HIGH ARTISTIC CEILINGS
ALL NEW COMMISSION
NEWLY RENOVATED EXPECTATIONS
INCLUDES BRAGGING RIGHTS
L@@KS GREAT ON RESUME
So maybe we're fine.