Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Easy Way

I have got to find a job where there's no rejection associated with it. Absolutely everything I do involves me putting myself in a position to be judged...and rejected.

I had written a number of children's scripts when I got the idea that I should submit them to contests and to publishers. One publisher's comment in the Writer's Market book was: "Don't write scripts. But if you must write scripts, don't write children's scripts..." That was slightly discouraging. One of the children's plays I submitted for a contest was one for children to perform; admittedly, it was not a heavy theme. I got--was it a 0?--from one judge and a 5 from another. Okay then. My script should not have gone there.

I write and submit picture book texts. The picture book market, editors say, is soft. Figures. I once had an editor critique a story and she asked me to email her a copy so she could discuss it with her staff. It was a no-go. A different editor critiqued the same story six months later. She didn't like it at all. All-righty then.

More scripts and picture book texts have gone out...form rejections usually. And let the record show that I AM trying to improve my craft.

We performed a murder mystery that was so un-fun for a customer that she posted it on the internet. *sigh* I suppose she should if she really felt that way. I performed a singing telegram for which someone called later and was so displeased. Okay, actually I've had two displeased calls about singing telegrams. I love performing mime but even from my own grandmother I've heard, "I can't understand a thing you're doing." *heavier sigh* An arts-in-education organization, for whom we did shows geared for elementaries, took us off their roster because there weren't enough requests for us. *heaviest sigh ever*

And yet...and yet...
*Ridge Mill Elementary in New York won a theater contest with one of my scripts. (Personally, I think it says a lot for the directors and their students but still it was my script). A short script of mine was published in PLAYS magazine.
*One murder mystery audience member said after a show, "That was so great, I kept forgetting to say my line!" Another participant decided to get involved in her church theater group after being part of our show; she said she didn't have the courage before.
*A singing telegram customer hired us two more times because they enjoyed what we did.
*After a mime show, one young person said, "Now I'm going to be smiling the rest of the day."
*A principal was thrilled with what we did for his students.

I suppose if I worked in an office someone might criticize me for not being nice enough (we had a friend fired because his co-workers thought that).
If I was a lawyer...well, they make jokes about lawyers.
If I was a teacher, perhaps a parent, the principal, or the nation might tell me how badly I'm teaching (especially if I did things differently--watch "Stand and Deliver," "Freedom Writers," or "Take the Lead")
If I was "just" a mom, I'd be criticized for not "working." (Mostly, I am "just" a mom and I've worked dang hard to be my own children's guide and "childcare provider").

I've never been one to take the easy way. Why start now? Besides, I just convinced myself that criticism comes to all occupations; I might as well not listen unless it helps me improve.

Gonzo: I have a dream, too...I wanna go to Bombay,
India and become a movie star.
Fozzie: You don't go to Bombay to become a movie star.
You go where we're going--Hollywood!
Gonzo: Sure. If you wanna do it the easy way.
Fozzie: (to Kermit, quietly) We picked up a weirdo.
--The Muppet Movie

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