Dreaming the [Seemingly] Impossible Dream, or, To Quit, Perchance to DrinkBy Kimberly M. Wetherell
November 15, 2010
“You have to collect one hundred ‘no’s for a single ‘yes’”
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
“That which does not kill you makes you stronger.”
* * *
These are just some of the things that echo through my ears on a daily basis.
Whether they fall from a friend’s lips in an attempt to embolden me, or are chanted in a mantra before dialing a new telephone number, or the lullaby I coo to myself at night to stave away the tears at the end of another seemingly fruitless day, I find I’ve grown tired of these now-bland adages and I’m starting to ask myself the hardest question I’ve ever had to face:
“When is it time to quit and move on?”
You see, I am trying to raise money. And not just a little bit of money, a lot of money.
One million dollars.
* * *
Next month, on December 20, to be exact, it will have been five years since I penned the first draft of what would eventually become Lullaby.
The journey has been far from uneventful.
The [re]writing process alone has produced 32 unique revisions, 3,800 pages, 570,000 words, 8 main characters, 79 unique speaking characters, 142 non-speaking featured extras, countless background extras and 56 unique locations and has eventually been whittled down to 108 pages, 5 main characters, 9 supporting characters, 15 additional speaking roles, 44 features extras, 100+ background extras and 18 locations.
At one point, I had two producers to help me make this film and we had raised $4 million dollars, but then lost it right before pre-production started, which sent me into a deep depression that took more than a year to overcome.
After picking myself up and dusting myself off, I have cut the budget in half – twice, held public screenplay readings, sent queries, made cold calls, begged foundations, chased grants, courted actors, chatted-up new producers, made a promotional teaser, built a website, started a production blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed. I’ve submitted to countless screenwriting competitions and networked my ass off to get noticed, and when I felt I had exhausted every other possible option, I packed up and moved to Florida to be ‘on location’ and explore what local support might be available.
And I am not complaining.
It’s what it takes nowadays. I know this. Long gone are the days of Patronage. Today it’s a DIY game. With our government officials ignoring the importance of the Arts and our philanthropic organizations teetering on the brink of extinction, you quite simply can’t do the “show” without the doing “business” as well.
* * *
I’ve heard it said: “If you’re not getting rejected daily, you’re not working hard enough” and I’ve read many tales of tenacious resolve and unflagging perseverance and finally breaking through and making that film, or publishing that book, or selling that painting – some with gestational periods far longer than my current (and seemingly average) five years, but what about all of those who couldn’t take it anymore?
At what point do the indefatigable rejections stop being personal?
Artists need a thick skin (another adage I would like to drop-kick in the delicates), but I’ve never found the ability to embrace the ‘Meh’ and move on.
Every single goddamn time.
I still equate people not liking the project with not liking me. Me! ME!?!?!? How can someone not like me, not want to be involved with this amazing thing that I wrote, not be super-charged and simultaneously moved to tears by its message, not believe in it as strongly as I do, not want to eat, drink, sleep and breathe it every minute of every day like I do?
And then I jump on the hamster-wheel of doubt: Is it any good? Am I any good? Am I a “Creative”? Maybe I’m not a Creative. Maybe I should just go back to being “Production” where I’m merely a facilitator of other peoples’ creativity. It’s the Peter Principle at work: succeed until the point of failure. And that’s what I am. A failure. A complete and utter failure. Have I just wasted the last five years of my life? Five years! People have met, fallen in love, gotten married, had children and divorced in shorter time frames! Perhaps it really IS time to throw in the towel.
And if I did, if I really got to the point of quitting, what would I do then?
* * *
I got some feedback once that always strikes me as particularly funny:
“You are clearly a very strong writer; have you considered adapting this as a novel?[…] once the novel garners success, it would be much easier for LULLABY to attract financing and to succeed commercially as a film.”
* * *
I don’t have any real answers here.
I don’t think I have it in me to quit – I mean really quit.
But I do I toy with the idea of giving it all up and opening a little dessert speakeasy.
It would be called “Spirited”. It’d have a plentiful bakery case filled with ‘drunk cakes’ and confections of every variety. With one common ingredient: Alcohol.
And there’d be a bar. With fancy cocktails. A candy store, of sorts.
Guinness chocolate cupcakes filled with a mocha-whiskey ganache and Bailey’s buttercream icing, Key lime mojito pie, Kahlua cream profiteroles, Strawberry margarita marshmallows, DiSaronno marzipan, Bananas Foster brownies, Brandy Alexander pie, Flourless dark-chocolate cake drizzled with a port-wine pomegranate reduction… my list is endless.
And I think I would be happy there in my little bakery.
But it’s also terrifying.
The minute I make that decision, I’m putting a nail in my own coffin; sealing off the dream that I’ve been dreaming of and working towards for (gasp!) thirty years now.
Can I give ‘The Man’ that kind of power? To let the fear of more rejection take away my dream?
* * *
And then again, maybe not.
This breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because talented people like you have to struggle simply to realise their dream. It is naive of me to think this should be otherwise and to wish that this wasn’t so – but without art what is life?
Without talented, creative, passionate people like yourself – what is life?
I can’t imagine the tears and energy you have put into this for the last five years – it is a gestation. It is a baby. It’s your creation and it is precious and I can understand why you take it personally when you are knocked back.
Is there some way for you to incorporate a New Zealand theme? Maybe then you could apply for NZ film funding?? While it is tough for artists everywhere, I am proud of the fact the New Zealand does have a good track record in supporting its arts. We fund film makers from the public purse, we pay artists a benefit so they don’t have to work, we do support our creatives and it makes for a richer society, I think.
Perhaps you should emigrate.
I know what you mean about the bakery idea.. I have been having similar thoughts lately. (not about a bakery but about doing something entirely different) I have to say – there is something about it that appeals. But as delicious as your bakery sounds, I would be sad if you didn’t make your film. You are brilliant and I want to see your name blazing across marquees. In chocolate icing.
Would casting JC count as a NZ theme??
Emigration to New Zealand is a wonderful idea. Then I could serve Flat Whites (my fave!) with the delicious drunken desserts.
Mmmm Flat Whites are the best.
Come on over and I’ll make you as many Flat Whites as you want!
Hooray for Flat Whites and good friends!!!
If you change locations, you can hire Jemaine AND get government money. WIN WIN!
Zara, if she needs some kind of NZ envoy, would you be her champion?
Ducky Wilson! Hello, stranger!
It’s been far, far too long… Im very happy to see your bright little (yellow) face!
Of course, I’d be her champion – I’m very good at that.
We miss you round these parts…
Oh, sweet Zara,
I miss you, too. Believe me. I’ve been knee deep in good, good things, though it has taken me away from my duties here, I confess. But all for the bigger picture, this I know in my heart.
I’m serious about this, Kimberly. Write something for Jemaine, then use the profits to make Lullaby. If you had any idea how many projects I have shopped only to finally put in a drawer, you’d weep for all my lost children. One day I’ll return to them, but for now, time dictates something else.
The great Oprah once said, something to this effect, “sometimes failure is life’s way of saying you’re on the wrong path.” That something else can mean a whole lotta things, though. Could be a bakery or Jemaine, your choice. Always your choice.
But whatever you do, DON’T keep your chin up. You can’t see if the sun is in your eyes all the time. And sometimes you trip over shit on the sidewalk. We’re New Yorkers, after all.
I’m pretty sure you SHOULD MAKE THAT CALL, Kimberly.
You know what I’m saying….
And Ducky – It’s so nice to see you here. I do miss you so….
I’ve never truly gotten to the point of saying “Meh” to rejection, either. Mostly because saying it seems so counter to the full-tilt passion you needed to create the thing that’s then getting rejected. And I like “the hamster-wheel of doubt” description, which about sums it up. But for me, that wheel has lead me to give up entirely, which I’ve done multiple times, only to find that the only thing which provides real solace for me is writing and creating.
Thanks for sharing and commiserating with this funny, honest piece.
Thank goodness! I thought I was the only one! 🙂
I look at people who say they are able to let rejection slide right off their backs and I think to myself: “LIARS!!”
I also like that you say you’ve “quit” multiple times. We should make T-shirts that read “Quitting’s for quitters.”
Those quick rebounders from rejection…. Maybe they exist. Maybe they’re folks who can’t bear to be as honest as you are about how much rejection stings. Maybe their work didn’t come from as deep a place as yours did, and the connection isn’t as strong. Who knows, maybe they’re more “evolved.”
I will never forget two agent rejections I received for my first novel. The very first felt like I’d been shot (seriously)–it was from someone I’d cultivated a nice professional relationship–and it took weeks to bounce back. Many queries later, I got a manuscript request from a big-name agent who read those pages and then sent me a rejection that felt so horrible, so demoralizing that I didn’t know how I could go on. WAS IT WORTH THIS???? But I did go on. I sent more queries. The 60th agent signed me. She was amazing. I got published.
When people ask me how I got published, I often say it was luck and persistence. The latter was within my control and made a difference. Keep going, Kimberly!
What is that old quote? (pauses to Google…)
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” ~Seneca
I’m prepared. Now it’s time to make the opportunity happen! 🙂
Wow – 60 agents! I wish I didn’t know how that feels, but I do. A lot of us do. I hope that’s why this resonates with so many.
The nice thing is – it also resonates with so many of us, because we’ve all been there before and we’ll all be there again.
How amazing to be in such wonderful company!!
Thanks for reading and for piping in, Ronlyn! So glad you found the agent of your dreams!!!
Oh dear, sweet, Kimberly. Your road is my road–the path least taken by so many souls in this lifetime. But it is definitely the road that all us TNB’ers and other artists travel along every day of our lives–the road to make sense and meaning out of our art, and perhaps even a livelihood as well. Is it an easy road? Absolutely not. We know that. Will all who venture down that road become successful? We know that one too–absolutely not.
But should that stop us from continuing down that road? Definitely not. That would be complete soulicide. Still, there definitely do come those times when we stop to wonder whether the struggle is worth it, whether we’d be happier pursuing another road, another livelihood that isn’t quite as challenging or heartbreaking.
That said, one of the reasons I travel down this artistic road, Kimberly, is because I have amazing people like you, other TNB’ers and other dear souls in my life that help to make this journey so meaningful. Without a doubt, it’s really the one and only journey I want to make in this lifetime. Because I know that despite my collected successes and failures, once I reach the end of my road I can look back and say, “Yep. I did it. I stayed on the road and I made it to the end. And I had so many dear and talented friends to keep me company along the way.”
Keep on fighting the good fight, Kimberly. And I promise to keep walking right alongside you, my dear. Maybe I’ll even stick my tongue in your ear every once in a while just to keep you on your toes.
It’s your tongue in my ear that’s kept me going this long. 🙂 I suppose I can keep it going for another mile or two, as long as I know you’re just a few steps ahead, leading us along like the Pied Poet that you are.
Sometimes it’s meh and sometime it’s mwaaaaaaaaaaaah! My plan B was always a bookstore. With a bar of course! Great piece, Kimberly.
Yep. Been at the screaming “mwaaaaaaaaaaaah!” point too! Glad to know I’m in good company with those who have exceptional Plan Bs.
Make sure to let me know which bookstore is yours. I’ll be the first to belly up at the bar with a whole stack of books and baked goods in trade.
Wait! Did somebody say ‘Plan B’?
Ha! I had been wondering what the what all that countdowning was. Now I know!
(And knowing is half the battle!)
“It’s what it takes nowadays. I know this. Long gone are the days of Patronage. Today it’s a DIY game. With our government officials ignoring the importance of the Arts and our philanthropic organizations teetering on the brink of extinction, you quite simply can’t do the ‘show’ without the doing ‘business’ as well.”
Yes. It is true. It is scary.
Don’t ever give up.
Infuriating, isn’t it? Especially when you read Zara’s (first) comment and see what it’s like in other countries where the Arts matter.
And as for giving up, I don’t think I’m *there* there, but there are days, M.J., there are days…
I’m going to finishing reading in a second. But I had to pause to say: The Dr. Evil picture is goddammed hilarious.
You’re one funny lady, Kimberly.
“At what point do the indefatigable rejections stop being personal?” Man, I ask this about dating all the time. **rim shot** Not to make light of how tough this must be for you, because, honestly, I can barely imagine. But maybe it is similar to dating? I mean, both involve the X factor and some sort of cosmic divination and right-place-at-right-time-ness. Dude. Good luck. (And don’t quit. Unless you’re done – like way deep down inside done. In which case quit and then have a nice cup of tea inside your lovely bakery, which you would be amazing at. Or come to Portland and we’ll get fabulously intoxicated together – though I have no answers as to how that would ultimately be “helpful.”
I admire your chutzpah, Kimberly. You know this. I think you’re top-notch.
It *is* akin to dating (by your example, anyway) in that there’s a fair amount of continually ‘putting it out there’ (as opposed to continually ‘putting out’ **ZING!**) and hoping that ‘all the stars will align’ and ‘it’s a numbers game’ and ‘keep your chin up’ and ‘just when you least expect it’, blah blah blah…
I’m just dead tired of the blah blah blah part.
Drinking in Portland sounds nice, tho’. REAL nice.
At least you can do online dating.
Hey!! An idea!! What about an online art pimping site? You can prowl profiles of investors and producers who are “looking” and they can go through and prowl the profiles of artists (of all kinds) who are also “looking.” Oh my god. I’m a frackin’ genius!!
I’ll let you know when the site is up and running.
Also, TNBLE – Portland in late January/early February. Not only would you get to drink beer(s) we me (!!!), but also Quenby Moone, Art Edwards, James Frost, maybe Sean B., possibly Aaron Dietz. Good times, lady.
You will not quit.
You will make it.
I have faith in you!
Thanks for the love, Irene!
The job you picked for your life is not an easy one, but you are good at what you do.
Everyone would do well to have a paying job while following her dream.
I don’t know if you have a job outside your artistry, which is why I said that. Perhaps you already do.
Believe me, I understand disappointment.
I see you as a person who will keep trying until the right people hear you.
I’m sorry if I sounded flippant while trying to buck you up.
I just don’t know how to hug someone on the web.
(Especially someone I like.)
You weren’t the flippant one, dearest, I was.
Check your email for a proper apology.
<3 <3 <3
⇓ ⇒ ♥ ⇐ ⇑
That looked much better before it posted funny.
I can’t even show off right today!
There! I fixed it! (Am I forgiven now?)
There is nothing for me to forgive.
That is a very nice formation.
What I had was: the heart in the middle and an arrow pointing down to it, an arrow pointing up to it, and arrows on either side pointing to it.
Wordpress doesn’t like people to be creative in your placing of things.
Ah! Ohh. Um.
Not sure how to make your fancy formation, but I can see it in my mind’s eye and it’s lovely. 😉
I’ve always had this weird, perhaps somewhat sociopathic disconnect from my work; whereas many of my friends can’t separate a project rejection from a personal rejection, the moment I share something, I seem to stop identifying with it. I don’t know if it was apparent, but I tend to believe my screenwriting teachers realized it, at some level; my first called my very first script “scientific gobbledygook” (though he’d encased Han Solo in carbonite), and my single favorite moment of studying with Syd Field was the moment he said “I mean, with all due respect, Will, it’s just bullshit.”
Of course, they were totally right.
Which I’d wager is not true here. Because I think we all know it’s not really about quality of output anymore; it’s about potential for sale. If either Snooki or Sarah Palin had written Lullaby, there wouldn’t be any funding issues. Of course, they’d spray-tan it and run it on MTV.
Over the past several years, I’ve begun to see the act of rejection as a failure of imagination. It’s rarely estimation or consideration of the work; the fault is often not with the reject work but with the rejecting mindset, which adheres too closely to status quos and bottom lines. The same people who reject are the people who wouldn’t draft Babe Ruth, wouldn’t hire Albert Einstein to teach, wouldn’t stage Shakespeare’s first play.
I will note that the idea that it’s now a DIY yourself game seems to be at odds with worrying about rejection, though. But that’s probably because I know how smart, talented, and tenacious you are. I can’t imagine you haven’t heard of Kickstarter already, but I will note there’s a recent project that’s raised $60K in, like, a week (it’s a fan-made production of Neil Gaiman’s The Price, and yes, Gaiman’s plugged it on Twitter and his blog, so it’s arguably exceptional, as how many of us might get Gaiman’s seal-of-approval, but still).
So, no, no “Chin up, kid.” No “Keep at it, it’ll get better.”
Make your flick, Kimberly. I want to watch it.
Syd’s right – but not just about you. It’s ALL bullshit.
But then again, that’s what makes it fun.
In the meantime, I’ll do what I can for ya, Will. 😉
(And FTR: Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sources are great for smaller projects, but don’t fit this particular investment model.)
Also, I just want to briefly address your “DIY/rejection” comment:
The DIY part is the begging for investors/producers/attention part. No one but Jonathan Caouette can make a film entirely by themselves.
But I get what you’re saying. And you’re right. It shouldn’t matter.
It seems so simple to want to throw quotes and anecdotes at something like this, but clearly you’ve already addressed such superficial fixes. Maybe your bakery is the answer – I don’t know. Perhaps though, the bakery, or any other alternative plan, would end in an even bigger failure. It’s possible that you would suck at it completely. Even if it succeeded financially, you wouldn’t. Not because you’re incapable, but because you’re just not supposed to be a cafe owner.
You are Lullaby. You are a screenwriter. You are the maker of this film. Doing something else will never change that.
So I’m afraid that back into the fray you must go, Kimberly.
A fellow sword-swinger
Leave it to you, Slade, to reply to a failure post with a “Fuck it. You’ll be an even bigger failure at something else” comment.
Just for that, the next time you’re in Tampa (or surrounds), the whiskey’s on me. 😀
You know, I never took rejections that personally until I started writing nonfiction. It may just do me in. Wonderful, funny, painful, thought-provoking reflection on this topic. And that Dr. Evil photo, priceless! I feel that same sense of panic whenever I entertain thoughts of quitting. Then I remember I can’t possibly quit because writing’s the only thing I’m halfway good at. Besides maybe playing “Ring of Fire” on toy xylophone, but where could I go with that?
Do you have a video of you playing “Ring of Fire” on the toy xylophone? I would pay good money for that!!
Kimberly, from what little I know about what you’re doing, it seems like you’re making all the right moves. Don’t give up! Or at least, set that give-up date far in the future!
And keep thinking of new ideas, new ways to raise money–if you only do what everyone else is doing, you’ll only get as far as everyone else. Right? It looks to me as though you know this, which means you’re on your way. You just have to hit the bullseye once. Keep throwing.
Also: any time you wish, I’ll rush down to Uptown and drink a latte in your honor, just to warm your heart from a distance. Or if there’s anything else I can do–name it.
I keep trying to channel Dory from “Finding Nemo” – Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming…
Yum. Uptown. Yes, please! 😉
Kimberly, this damn near breaks my heart!
I have a meeting to go to, but I’ll be back to comment properly later!
Well, there’s truth to all those sayings – there really is. But they don’t put money in the account, and, as I’m really fond of saying, the bottom line is that there is a bottom line.
Although I would be roaming the streets, searching for things to kick if four million clams hadn’t come through. What a kick in the nuts.
There has to be disconnect. Really, there does. If you take it as a personal judgment, you’ll end up killing yourself, because you’ll be throwing yourself, not your work, against the walls.
All I can say is, I’d give you a million bucks if I had it, K-Dub. If I would, so would someone else.
Yeah. My balls still haven’t dropped from the recoil.
… the bottom line is that there is a bottom line.
Now *I’m* going to be fond of saying that too. 🙂
As I said before, this damn near breaks my heart.
Someone once said to me that I shouldn’t be afraid of the space between my dreams and reality. If I’m able to dream it I can make it so. And so can you!
Granted, it’s easier said than done.
”Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~Samuel Beckett
Don’t give up!
And if by chance you do end up opening that café [after you’ve done your movie, of course], I’m available to help you run it because I know you’ll be so famous you may not have much time for “Waking and Baking”.
Ooh! I like that Beckett quote.
And so glad for the help in the bakery! All I know is cooking and customer service – the actual running of one? Not so much.
*hangs head in shame*
Don’t ever hang your head in shame! There’s nothing to be ashamed of! So what if Slade’s right? But then again, what if he’s wrong??
Everybody goes through a “felling-like-a-failure” slump. If it weren’t for the “downs” in life we wouldn’t appreciate the “ups” so much!
Besides I only offered to help you run the cafe so that I could get to taste the array of fabulously fine tasting goods you mentioned. I mean what could possibly taste better than a Key lime mojito pie or Kahlua cream profiteroles or Strawberry margarita marshmallows or…?
I’ve seen your food porn, Kimberly! And I’m not afraid to taste it while watching your movie!!
Dinner. My place. Anytime you like, my dear. 🙂
Okay, there are limitations here. First off, I am not a writer so I have not struggled and suffered as you apparently have. Secondly, you do not know me personally so you can’t envision the intensity I can exude when I say things with conviction. However, I will try to imagine the former if you can attempt the latter.
While Simon is quite right in that you shouldn’t confuse a rejection of your work as a rejection of yourself, only you can tell if this is a “thing you did” or something much more meaningful to you. If the latter…. Do. Not. Quit. Ever. There can be lulls (no pun). There can be tactical retreats. There can be negotiations. There cannot be a surrendering of your soul.
Not. Ever. I don’t give a damn how well you can bake.
Now… we’ll talk more about this once I win Powerball.
You’re right, you’re right. I know you’re right.
But seriously, my flourless chocolate cake can, and WILL change your life.
You win Powerball and we’ll talk tradesies, okay?
My rabbi friend told me the other day
“if you can create without
the need for affirmation
you have already succeeded”
& I thought.
That’s what I get for
having Rabbi friends….
By the way, have you watched
that Henry Darger doc?
Nope. Never even heard of it until right this very minute.
And coincidently (or not…) it’s only available on NetFlix Instant Watch through this weekend. Guess what I’ll be watching tonight??? 🙂
You are a man of mystery and wonder, JMB, and I love it.
And for others who might be interested:
In the Realms of the Unreal http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390123/
Mystery of mysteries
wonder of wonders
That little bakery cafe dream seems awfully familiar…a small diner, just a few tables, somewhere close to the water…ahhh…
Loverly, ain’t it???
Kimberly, you are a vortex of blessed creativity. I haven’t the shadow of a doubt. You’ll make it happen. When I first saw the teaser of Lullaby, I just sat in stunned silence. Nothing with that much urgency in its being will refuse to be born.
All the same, I am so sorry it’s been such a rocky road. For whatever it may be worth, I’m in your corner, and as I see reading comments, it’s a well crowded spot 🙂
I know that ‘nobody puts Baby in a corner’, but I gotta confess, the TNB corner’s the rockin’est corner around! That’s mos def a corner I can get behind.
Merci beaucoup, chou.
btw – running a cafe is WAY overrated. Truthfully, it sucks and you make no money and work all the time and you have to deal with asshole customers. You really want that?
And, like Becky’s post, this is another topic I’ve been discussing with someone recently; specifically, the threatend cuts to the arts going on in the U.K.
At some point during WWII, Churchill was asked why he thought the arts were important. I’ve always thought his response was a classic: “What else are we fighting for, then?”
The arts are the beating heart of a society’s culture, and it saddens me utterly tha they’re getting so shit on in this country. No one wants to go to a play; everyone wants to sit at home and watch the latest CSI clone. No one wants to see a skillfully-crafted independant film; they want the mindless Hollywood blockbuster instead.
It’s only because of people like you (us, even, I suppose) that this society isn’t already firmly entrenched in cultural stagnancy. Keep fighting the good fight, K-dub. It might be an uphill battle, but I’ve heard it said that the view from the top is glorious.
Though if you DO decide to pack it all in and open that cafe, please have a mail-order option, because I want to eat everything on that prospective menu.
Maybe I’ll just write another script, wherein that bakery exists, and then open the real-life equivalent afterwards to draw on the clientele lured in by the movie.
Who knows? It worked for Katz’s Delicatessen…
Kimberly, this is a kick in the gut for all of us who have struggled against being The Man or giving in to The Man.
I’ll spare you all the inspirational sayings that I stare upon all day on the cork board over my desk, but I will say this: clearly you are a writer and an artist. Quitting or not quitting or choosing to bake alcohol-soaked pastries won’t change that. So keep doing what you do, but don’t stake it all on one project. Maybe, at worst, set this one aside and get to work on the next one or three or ten that I know must be kicking around in that creative brain of yours.
Remember — being an artist is who you ARE. It may not even be your best work that breaks you through. So what? Just produce, baby.
I’m not saying to stop advocating for your projects, but remember this, too: sometimes Muhammad goes to the mountain and sometimes the mountain comes to Muhammad.
Shit, there you go. I blurted out an inspirational saying. Gotta put that one on the wall…
So my eyes just flicked to the top of my computer screen, and there, in black and white, is a fortune-cookie fortune I taped up when I first re-committed myself to this project in ’08.
“It is not in your character to give up.”
Once more into the breach, it is then, I suppose…
I tried writing something inspirational, and then something sarcastic and funny, but no words of mine could be as relevant and true as your own:
“And if I did, if I really got to the point of quitting, what would I do then?”
What, indeed? Because I don’t think it’s a café.
But… but … but…
To all you lovely commenters and readers:
While this does not diminish the feeling of inadequacy we all go through from time to time, today yielded many positive things that polished up a bit of the tarnish on my usual silver lining approach to Life, the Universe and Everything.
Maybe a bit of public petulance really DOES make a difference.
(And if you’re not following along on any of the above linked social media network sites, you’ll never find out what that cryptic sentence means, now will you?? *wink*)
I think that if I ever can’t stand the prospect of this now and future reality, in which I scrape around, working jobs I hate to be able to afford to live and come home to a home and write, I will become a lawyer.
Then it would be my job to argue for a living.
And I will have money.
But the schooling would likely kill me, and I think, at the end of the day, my powerful lack of dog-eat-dog ambition would render me a mediocre lawyer at best. I mean, a good lawyer, IF I could ever get anyone to hire me.
That same lack of killer instinct may in fact render me a mediocre writer, too, per your “the ‘business’ in ‘show business'” assertion, which I think is probably correct.
So. You know. Here we are. All of us. Just doin’ it. Just keepin’ on.
“So. You know. Here we are. All of us. Just doin’ it. Just keepin’ on.”
Truer words, sister, truer words…
Kimberly, I am a selfish girl. You know why I am a selfish girl? Because I want to see you fail. How else will I ever sit in that divine bakery and fatten myself up on Bailey’s buttercream frosting and…no – forget the cupcake – just a vat of the frosting. And possibly a side of Brandy Alexander pie. Yes. Perfect. You see, I was on your side until I read that part. I wanted you to get your million dollars. I wanted you to get back on the road and get daily rejections until one amazing patron finally RECOGNIZED your cinematic genius and swept you off your underpampered-yet-adequately stockinged feet. But no. You sent me into a nosedive, Wetherell. NOBODY GIVE HER A DIME, GOT IT? I swear I’ll kick your motherf***ing teeth in.
We should put the power of thought to the test and all spend a month visualising K-Dub with both a million dollars and a bakery.
K-Dub! Photoshop a dream board we can all download!
You are too f’in awesome, Simon.
Here’s my dream board for LULLABY. You are welcome to share it if you like.
All right, all right *panting*. Perhaps you’re right, Simon. She could do both. The money AND the bakery. Or you could skip the bakery and just have the drunk case. You know, if it’s easier.
(I am so glad you guys know I’m joking. Kimberly, you know I adore you and want you to get your funding!!! I wish I were a rich patron!)
I’m also really embarrassed I misspelled your name in that first little, um, outburst of mine.
Typo? What Typo?
I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Please send me your snail mail address, Erika.
Also, I love you. 😀
Aw K… Thanks for sharing; always a treat when your name pops up in my feed.
Another great piece. And, I hear ya loud and clear re: the agonizing toll of rejection, and I’m behind you/WHATEVER creative pursuit you’re about at a given pt in time. xo.
You’re so sweet, other “K”!!
Not to worry: I’m not giving up –no way– merely voicing the idea crystallized the fact that any other possible pursuit was preposterous.
Maybe that’s just the kick in the pants we need sometimes, eh?
I can’t wait to write the companion piece to this – the one where I shout: “Suck it, Rejectors!!” 🙂
We all are in it. One of my rejection notices was served up with a restraining order. Another came with committal papers (which is actually not a funny joke). Former drug addict and criminal that I was, I was at the time the senior creative on the largest ad account in the Southern Hemisphere.
Rejection never stops hurting, and only those in the circus really understand. Tomorrow is the day as Billy Wilder said.
Heh. I’d never heard that Billy Wilder quote.
Tomorrow is the day.
Gonna tack that right up at the top of my dream board post haste. 🙂
Girl, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have to get an investment of a million dollars in order to bring my art to life or the world. It is damn hard enough just to find a publisher to pay to print your book and give you a little bitsy advance or travel budget. A cool million seems beyond feasibility to me, in the poverty-stricken world of indie publishing. I know films cost serious money. I’m so awestruck and impressed with not only your tenacity, but your having the faintest clue how to even go about scoring money on this scale. I mean, I would basically, like, throw a bake sale and if that didn’t yield the money, I’d go cry and take a nap. I am so shitty with money. Yet your screenplay is so wonderful, and it so deserves to be brought to the world. I will keep holding out hope for you, and raising my glass to your immense courage in your pursuit of this project.
I know! I don’t know how I’m doing it either, to be honest. If it were only as simple as a bake sale, I’d have had the money ages ago.
My new strategy? Skipping the schmooze and being drop-dead serious about asking. Fuck protocol and Southern charm, I’m being a straight-up ballbuster this week.
It goes something like this: “I’m going to cut right to the chase here, ’cause neither of us has time to waste. I need money. Can you help me?”
I mean, seriously, what more do I have to lose?
I’ll let you know how it pans out.
First of all LOVE the hysterically funny photo! SEcondly, if anyone can do IT (film or bakery), you can! You are a powerhouse. You are a FORCE. GO GO GO!
You are too awesome, JAB!
Speaking of powerhouses, when’s your new book out? I’m dying to read it!! xoxo
I ditto all the love already sent your way in the 80+ comments before this one and now am going to skip to one thought for getting your project made I don’t think I saw mentioned. Have you sent it out to any actors you’d ideally like to have involved? If someone you want falls in love with it the money to make it will come. (Was that lame advice? Was that, like, the first thing you did four hundred years ago?)
(P.S. Jennifer Lopez has lots of money.)
If I thought JLo had any chance at playing a 78-year-old Holocaust survivor, you’d better believe I’d be tappin’ that.
Yes. We’re out to talent already (see “courted actors” above). And it’s a long and delicate process without funding (attachments vs offers), and not even Will Smith can greenlight a film in this economy.
Too bad. If anyone other than an actual 78-year-old woman could play “Tess”, The Fresh Prince could do it.
I have zero doubt.
xo 2 u 2.
Sorry, I missed that “courting actors” bit — I must have read it and assumed you wanted us to know that in the midst of trying to get your film made you were also having a bit of fun, pursuing some hotties to take your mind off your work. 😉 (Yes, I’m reaching.)
Okay, so no JLo. Makes perfect sense. Even with a big budget for make up/facial prosthetics.
Last pitch and then I’ll let you be — Ms. Elizabeth White. I think she’s 80, so maybe she’s a little old for the part. But seriously, who’s hotter? Or maybe you need to go British… Aw, I know we’re not going to solve it here, but seriously, if you wanted to keep bouncing ideas around I’m an email away.
Good luck, dear Kimberly. And I can’t imagine, and will not encourage, you giving up on your artistic pursuits. Granted, I’d love you to open Wake and Bake so I could come enjoy your delights, but I know/have to believe you’ll keep on keeping on with your work also.
Kimberly, first this is not Rodent; it’s Judy Prince on Rodent’s computer.
Thank you for your fresh voice, your honest and open appraisal of what you feel and where you stand. Your doing all of that helped me so much in this complex wrestle of occupation/expression/commitment/talent/ego/freedom.
Much that led me to writing felt, at the time, like whimsical, fragile “accidental” splurts. Yet they also felt “right” in some ways I could solidly explain to myself……and many ways I hadn’t entirely “got.”
It is natural for us to be creative, to express—–uniquely—–our ways of seeing things. It is not natural for us to be rejected. What I mean is that we express, in our own ways, what we see, think, and feel. We cannot stop doing it. Rejection, however, is like a crooked lid on a pot. It’s not created for anything at all, even the pot it sits on. It is an odd-built thing, an artificial construct-of-the-moment. Our free expressions are the Real Thing formed inside us, nurtured by us as our very babies, and celebrated by our friends, known and unknown and yet to know.
Whatever you decide to do, you will be led by your natural, continuously creating expression. Every moment of what you do will be transformed and translated by you, both unconsciously and consciously, into crystals of your creation.
Hence, your choice is not to be feared. It’s not like a card that you shuffle with others and select from. It’s a live being that you will grow like a Kimberly blooming plant.
(BTW, a baker’s daughter, I totally get your awesome baking creations! Whether you choose to create an internet baking empire, an all-Kimberly-local shop for ‘hoodies, one magnificent birthday cake, or bunches of brownies for your nieces and nephews…..your EXPRESSION—–for others to taste and dream about and remember—–is your and our blessing.)
Judy (c/o “Rodent”)
Thank you for your lovely, perfect comment. I’m touched beyond words to know that it may have actually helped someone, rather than it just being a bunch of useless, self-indulgent, whiny blather.
“Rejection, however, is like a crooked lid on a pot.”
I’ve never thought of it quite like that before, and it’s so fitting.
I’m 200% recharged now and ready to take on the film world once again. Stay tuned for my counter-post. 🙂
The collaborative arts are the hardest. You need so many other people involved, and/or a shitload of coin to get off the ground.
Actors are completely dependent upon scripts. And then they need directors/casting agents who believe in them. And they are forever being told that they didn’t get a job because of how they look, which must be terrible.
Musicians have to invest in thousands of dollars worth of equipment, tour, make albums that no one pays money for anymore, and be forever asking people to come to their shows.
Film, you have a smidgen more control over things, but, as you know, it’s all about the Benjamins. And so many people have their hands on the finished product, it’s almost sure to be compromised.
Artists do their thing, and they only way they can generate revenue is sell what they made to some rich asshole.
And on it goes.
I decided early on to eschew film for novels, mostly because I knew I’d have more control over a book than a movie, and I didn’t have the stomach for fundraising. I was right to a degree, but there are perils in novelwriting, too, mainly that, if calculated on an hourly basis, like lawyers do, you can make more money as a Starbucks barista (and certainly as a Wake & Bake baker).
Being a Creative sucks, in other words. We all should have gone to law school.
But there’s a flip side. Anyone who succeeds in the arts has one thing in common: they did not give up. Period. And if you succeed as a lawyer, great, you’re a successful lawyer. But if you succeed in the arts…ain’t nothing better (or so I’ve read).
I have big faith in K-Dub. You get ’em, sister.
(And shit, your backup plan sounds fantastic…how about locating Wake & Bake in West Hollywood, and using your newfound baker bona fides to push LULLABY?)