Friday, May 25, 2007

Rejection! I Can Take it!

I used to write to movie studios with ideas I had for features and I'd get dozens of rejection letters in the mail - I expected it. They came, and I just filed them away. I didn't throw them away, oh no, I still have my 1978 rejection letter from Warner Bros. telling me that my idea about the 7th Seal in Revelations being too religious in content - hello, they filmed it anyway. Not my idea, of course, but the movie. So, I look at my stack of no-go letters from time to time and remember the ideas that survived even if the studios thought my concepts were trash at the time.

Books. I have dozens of rejection letters and e-mails now, having the capability to thwart one's ideas and dreams through a new medium - I read them from time to time and I thank God for them actually. The rejections drive me to the point that I don't stop asking. Someone will be the one, someday will be the day, somewhere will be the right place, and when it happens - peace! Well, not for me. I don't stop working. I think I will - I always say I will, then I look for a college that will hire me for a semester as a visting professor and I write, teach, laugh, and travel just to have something to do, and someone to do it with. When you're the teacher the students all but have to follow you around the campus if you ask them to. I've made students explain art to me, take me through builidings they like on their campus. I've even had them vie for a position of who gets to buy me coffee at the university's closest Starbucks....that one's my favorite.

Rejection is something I saw a great deal of in the business world too. I sold insurance. Still do. Damn, I do a lot of stuff don't I? I teach, I write, I speak, I sell - something tells me I need to take a break - not today, maybe Monday! In the insurance business, or probably most sales positions, the rejection is more or less an objection. If I had the right come back, or the perfect follow up that may explain a benefit, or clarify a cloudy image for a client - BAM! Sales Heaven! That's when you get the referrals too. Same thing goes for the student/teacher rejection. We both do it. I tell kids all the time to do their work over again, not realizing they may take it as a rejection. Actually, I've not had many examples of actually rejecting a kid - just a re-do. I have t say re-do's are the best thing in the world. You're not saying yes, but you're not saying no. Just do it again, this time with a bit more focus or giddyup to it!

Can a rejection be the end? Sure. People can totally freak when they get turned down or turned away. Maybe it took everything they had in the first place to drum up the courage to ask a question, or to show their work to someone - only to be hit in the heart, the soul with a big, fat, ugly "I don't like it", or "That's stupid". Wouldn't it be hilarious if the business world did that to us too? I write in a proposal for a film and the director's assistant tells me exactly what he/she thinks - I could counter with "You know what? You suck!" But that only makes me feel better, it doesn't heal the hurt.

Rejection doesn't have to be the end-all, it can be the beginning. It can be the middle. It can be the upside-down-seeing-it-from-another-angle kind of thought too. It happens all the time, my books get turned down, but my readers love it. What's up with that. I'm praised constantly by my students, but the Dean bitches? I don't get it. So, I've decided - rejection is a creation or a manifestation of the other-guy's point of view, not mine. My (or your's if you're following my thought process) idea is awesome. I wouldn't have offered it up for review if it wasn't...the only thing I need to do now, since the other guy thought otherwise - is to re-do. Mix it up. Keep going...push, pull, plug, and plunk it down again.

Wow - there really isn't anything new under the Sun is there? I've just asked you to be persistant next time. Don't take no. MAKE the yes!

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