Dear Applicant,

Thank you for your application to the 2024 Creators Lab Farm Retreat. Because of a web server error, only 13 applications were submitted to our organization this round, and we had 10 available slots. And yet, you somehow failed to secure a place in the program!

If there was ever a year for you to slip through and get this relatively prestigious residency, it would have been this one. Any applicant, regardless of how utterly awful they were, had about a 77% chance of writing that next play at a spacious picnic table in our blueberry patch. Or eating exquisitely prepared farm-to-table meals in an aggressively rustic, yet comfortable, rural setting. Put it a different way: you had the same likelihood of networking with a diverse coterie of your fellow arts professionals in the Vermont countryside for a week as the average person has of catching the common cold in a given year.

Let’s dig into the statistics a little more, because this really is very funny. You had a three in four chance of getting the professional opportunity that just about everyone who’s anyone in your field has taken part in at some point. Hannah Arendt had this residency. So did James Baldwin. Toni Morrison has a cottage named after her, and wrote half of Beloved on our sprawling grounds. With the same statistical probability of an average patient recovering from minor surgery without complications, you could have been a participant in our famous “Giving Circle,” where residents share feedback, and present each other with handmade items they’ve created during the week.

If you meet a person, you naturally assume they’re right-handed, don’t you? And it makes sense: about 75% of the human race is right-handed. Likewise, if you met the same person, you’d naturally assume they could secure a place at the 2024 Creators Lab Farm Retreat when a server glitch had erroneously thrown out 98% of a typical applicant pool. But in this situation, you’re left-handed or ambidextrous—i.e., you’ve somehow beaten the odds!

And the quality of our applicant pool? Piss poor, I have to say. One of the accepted applicants misspelled “New York,” and wants to do a Gesamtkunstwerk about “neurodivergent Irish identity.” Another accepted applicant is still in High School, and yet another is a likely-sexual predator who was very publicly fired from a not-even-prestigious University. We took them because, in spite of potential legal issues that may or may not crop up vis-a-vis the predatory professor, they were still head and shoulders better than your absolutely appalling application.

We want to thank you for the hours of endless amusement your feeble attempt to secure a residency place afforded us—it’s likely that years from now, we’ll still be splitting our seams at various in-jokes and even nicknames that have been derived from your application materials. Also, we want to show our appreciation for the research into basic statistics that your failure to secure this career-boosting opportunity inspired us to perform. For example, did you know that you had about the same chance of walking the same grounds that Mark Twain once strolled as a random person has of successfully negotiating a wage increase?

Now if you’ll excuse us, we have two other hilarious emails to write.

The Creators Lab Farm Retreat Committee