This month’s entry of Mr. James Bidgood’s friend Biddy’s advice column is appropriately Sundance Film Festival related. A fellow filmmaker writes in to ask Biddy a common question about rejection, eliciting one a lengthy and brilliant response. Read on….
Dear Biddy B,
I’m very upset because a film that I worked very hard on didn’t get into one of the major film festivals that I was hoping it would. I can’t get over feeling bad about myself even though I know that the odds are not in my favor with this festival. Can you offer some words of wisdom to help me feel better?
Well Mister Unsigned, Dahling, rejection is always to some degree quite devastating and often rather humiliating, whether it is via a response from a Guggenheim committee or loitering at the urinals in a men’s room. In both instances a glimmer of kindness might make the cold shoulder less glacial but what care those with notions stuck in the ice age. No one hits only home runs and some of us strike out every time we reach for a bat or whatever!
Wait a moment——I think I just heard something like the rustle and rattle of several closed umbrellas! No. No, I am mistaken. Perhaps I should explain. Mrs Blatterboutum went missing for a week and for several days now, since her return has been in a somewhat comatose state and plopped down on my vestibule oriental, her legs splayed straight out from her person, straight out as such bowing allows, her back stiff against the hallstand a certain Salvadore Dali once designed for me. If she doesn’t stir soon —I will have need to contact my decorator and request a slip cover be made. Perhaps something in a Schumacher print!
This mischief began a few hours before Mister Richard Clark commenced his annual counting down. As I recollect we had only just finished a light supper when in the midst of clearing up, Mrs. Blatterboutum made known her intention to ride into this year 2012 positioned a top the descending Times Square crystal ball and with that said, she swung round and boldly staggered out the front door, a Dom Perignon tucked securely under the one arm and the soiled Flora Dancia perilously balanced on the curve of the other. There has since been to the best of my knowledge no mention of so grotesque an occurrence in any of the news media —however, judging from the sudden appearance of a geometric pattern of indentations just above her brow, and a certain incandescence that defies explanation considering her benumbed demeanor, I would venture to guess the Waterford crystal more than likely ended its journey lodged somewhere between her nose and that pitiful wig she wears. I might add —-there is no sign of the two Royal Copenhagen place settings other than a bit of gravy on the one lapel.
And so it goes—whenever one looks too forward or hoists ones head above the hordes, one chances being struck down by plunging balls of Waterford—- or worse, Dahling.
My close friend, Miss Winfred Scruggs, like so many, has been unemployed since even before this current and seemingly endless recession began. I believe it was sometime mid summer, perhaps this past August she was summoned to be interviewed for a position as receptionist for a seventh avenue manufacturer of reasonably priced ready to wear. Wanting to look her very best she chose to show off a fairly new white Chanel suit acquired for one of her countless aborted weddings. And with head held high and very nicely accessorized in various pastels, she ventured forth, a shining if rather desperate countenance about her, a look of great expectation.
She was already behind schedule, not because she wished to appear fashionably late but because she is extremely interested in so very many things and quite easily distracted. As she scurried along a cross town street in an area designated our garment district, some decidedly disgruntled employee of a firm occupying one of the higher floors, hang his bare arse out a window and defecated, nearly burying dear Miss Scruggs who was as fate would have it passing directly beneath. Poor Dahling! Sad to say she remains unemployed and has developed a dreadful fear of traveling mid-town or too near any high rise and ever since wears only earth tones.
No matter the time and effort you put in what comes out is always unpredictable. For many years now I have been the relatively good friend of a very gifted fellow, a Mister James Alan Bidgood who was a photographer and filmmaker a half century ago . He wrote me only this week about the very same subject and I quote him here—–
“I would never recommend that anyone casually pursue a career in the arts or any pursuit that involves enormous creativity because of its similarity to giving birth. There is as much maybe even more labour, pain and pushing involved and parenting can be extremely hurtful and wearying and far too often leads only to heartbreak. My own child was seven years or more in my aesthetic womb and ultimately was prematurely torn from my body via a cesarean which caused my prodigy to be born disfigured —malformed. It is only in the past ten years it seems to have overcome some of its shortcomings and has been making many new friends.”
I will not relate the friskynesses contained in the remainder of his conversation, however I would like to continue with his correlating the borning of ones magnum opus and becoming preggars directing your attention to those unpleasantries that must follow, for instance the perpetual near noxious diaper changing and the incessant upchucking are quite the same as when one becomes a mother —-bringing the following to mind, however remote it may be. The former film-star Jamie Lee Curtis some time ago designed a new type of diaper, for newborns (at my age one needs to qualify such things) with several handy wipes somehow cleverly attached. She also “regularly promotes a yogurt substance which she claims will ease ones` binding. I have no idea nor can I offer any reason for her being so focused on bowel movements. It may be something subconscious with reference to her film acting career but who’s to say. She does for her age appear to be almost annoyingly energetic, however the source of such amazing enthusiasm on that coast is always somewhat suspect.
I might conclude my reply to your request by saying you must weigh whether you are able to stand the heat of a the kitchen if you plan to continue the making of buns in your oven, but such could seem careless of me. No matter how empathetic, there is nothing I or anyone can say that will not fall on deaf ears—only time and distance can cause this bruising of your self-confidence to be less tender and only triumphant acceptance in some other competition —-only winning elsewhere will undo the damage done.
Good news. I believe I heard the commode being flushed which could mean only one thing— Mrs Blatterboutum has recovered from her catatonia and I might add, survived her lamentable although indeed electrifying undertaking intact, if intact ever exactly applies to Mrs Blatterboutum. if only she were as ambitious and imaginative when fluffing the powder room—or more appropriately whenever she is the occupant—the rest room.
I must apologize to my readership, although I doubt one exists other than the few friends I bully into reading these rantings. I apologize for the tardiness of my column this month but holidays are not the best of times for me. Beyond it being yet one more provocation to keep up with the Jones —it makes very little sense to me that we should need to set aside a special day to proclaim our affections and give gifts evidencing the devotion one feels for family and friends. I would think that such sentiments should be embraced as many days as you are blessed enough to have those you love still with you and that one would lavish gifts on those so cherished as often as circumstances allowed—-as often as one takes a breath if such were possible.
Nor do I need a day be allocated for the nationwide slaughter of turkeys to express my gratitude for whatever good fortune I have experienced—-or to give thanks for being or having been loved by another. I thank the greatness every morning I wake for every day I experience and am allowed to discover more of life’s wonders and I give thanks for every laugh I laugh and every tear I shed.
Nor can I appreciate all the incongruities involved in the December celebration of the Christ child’s birth and the attendance of those gift bearing wise men while aware said child was born instead either in September or March two or three years before B.C — was circumcised and delighting one and all with his terrible twos by the time the magi arrived. It seems quite inappropriate and having little to do with those miracles it is meant to celebrate.
It is a season I am made aware of so many bothersome and as yet unresolved puzzlements. Do you think it ever occurs to the republicans that Christ was a progressive and a bleeding heart liberal? Do you think Jesus would be opposed to universal health care? Might Capitalism and Christianity not be the best of bedfellows? And when those of you who drop the quarter in the pot before lighting a stub of candle that will somehow better enable your prayer be heard by whomever—Oh and here’s Mrs Blatterboutum at last——Yes, Mrs Blatterboutum, you are quite right —in these modern times said candle has been replaced with an tiny electric light bulb and you are also correct in pointing out the expected donation has more than likely been increased to three or more quarters—not unlike those machines in a laundromat!
Whilst shelling out these many times twenty-five cents, do you ever consider that participating in such a transaction might not be considered all that kosher, Dahling? I have in mind those particular biblical passages relating how Mister Christ upon entering the temple—- the temple being somewhat a kin to St. Pats only I imagine far less ostentatious—- discovered some tradesmen and what have you there selling and buying oxen and sheep and doves—- not exactly Neiman Marcus you understand which might not have seemed near so demeaning and indecorous. And did I make mention of the money changers, Dahling, from and into what I have no idea—nevertheless, Mister Christ immediately overthrew their chairs and tables and caused quite a ruckus driving out those aggrieved and astonished merchants saying and I imagine his tone being that of a rather irate person—“Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise! My house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves —-a robbers den!”
I am always reminded of this Sundays when I see those tables of colorful religious plaster tchotchkes set up out front the two Spanish churches located in my vicinity. Perhaps something has been lost in translation.
I will close quoting from another pithy portion of the afore mentioned communique I received from Mister Bidgood—-
“Do you recall the morning the Trade Towers fell? Do you remember as a part of our world died that day, a kind of brotherhood was born as our legs went weak beneath us, sickened and uncomprehending and we held each other erect screaming to God and we were tall and wept together and were one—for all the rest of that day. The next morning everyone was again as petty and distant and behaved as hatefully as they had before. They seemed to have already forgotten, as if what they had witnessed was only televised fiction. And my heart broke again. If only that moment of shared reliance, that holding of hands would have continued. If only we could all of us pull together and be everyday like one world family —-maybe there would be no more fallen trade towers. If only this seeming preference for distrust wasn’t always so easily explained away by some shared cynical understanding. If only—-if only. If only we were wise enough to embrace what is naïve. If only.”
Might I suggest that keeping this perhaps impossible dream in mind is quite the most sensible way to begin this or any new year. Until we visit next I remain your longwinded friend, Biddy B.