Thoughts on Being Ousted

Definition of OUST

transitive verb
1 a : to remove from or dispossess of property or position by legal action, by force, or by the compulsion of necessity b : to take away (as a right or authority) : bar, remove
2: to take the place of : supplant
Ousted from a commercial art gallery this past week,  I am exploring some ‘stuff’ on a Sunday night.  Now, I don’t mean that I was being ‘a crazy’ in their midst and the owner had to physically disarm me and boot me off the premises; I mean I was ‘let go’ in a most insipid fashion.  I continue to be represented by the most amazing people at The Edge Gallery in Canmore, Alberta and I have to say that I’m so honoured to have my work showing with such artists as they represent! You will never find two more professional people.  But, given the ousting, I am at a place in my life where I am left to think about everything that ‘that’ means.  There is a particular place in the ego where one relishes the attention of being represented by a gallery.  If you’re a writer, I imagine that it is the same thing once published.  For a dancer, it means that you’ve been chosen for the solo part.  In theater, you have the lead in the play.  Galleries have as much difficulty ‘getting attention’ these days as artists do. 
So….just recently, I really HAVE been thinking about two notions…firstly, that of ‘being ousted’ and secondly, what is it with a world where everyone is competing, not only in the area of the fine arts, but in all areas of life, to ‘get attention’?  I’ve googled the words, “getting ousted” and following are the first ten stories that came up.  If you peruse these stories, you will notice that one of the concerns that comes up for those being ousted is the notion or fear of being replaced.  From what I can understand, this is just another nuance of what was known in the 1920s as the Age of Anxiety…today, most of us do not fight a war in the literal sense, but we certainly do face a battle of identity each and every day.  We are afraid that we can be replaced.  And, in fact, we can be replaced.  The helpful way of viewing this is, ‘so what’.  It is such a liberating process to unhook from the expectations that others have always had of you and especially from the identity that was your facade for, sometimes, decades.  Now, I’m not suggesting that this is easy; I am only saying that it is, in fact, an opportunity. 

Ousted Profs People's World February 4, 1949.

Image borrowed from Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project.  The University of Washington fired three tenured faculty members after the Canwell committee called them Communists. (People’s World January 28, 1949)

Leaping down past my initial google search results for ‘being ousted’, I am going to explore this need, however briefly, that we have for ‘getting attention’.

Dream Retreat

My Daughters: One Whizzin' By and the Other Standing Still


The three of us went down to the Retreat Center of the Faithful Companions of Jesus on the weekend…an exploration of Dreams and a good foundation to the work of Carl Jung.  It was interesting that I was just at the completion of my novel, Pilgrim by Timothy Findley.  Apparently, the novel Pilgrim is the inspiration for a contemporary opera, The Dream Healer, composed by Lloyd Burritt, with libretto by Christopher Allan and Don Mowatt.

I really treasured the experience of getting away with my girls and sharing in a learning experience with them. 



Now here you go again
You say you want your freedom
Well who am I to keep you down
It’s only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat… drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost…
And what you had…
And what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say… Women… they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean… you’ll know

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and…
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness…
Like a heartbeat… drives you mad…
In the stillness of remembering what you had…
And what you lost
What you had…
And what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say… Women… they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean… you’ll know