When I pick a topic to write about I like to do a little research before I throw it to the cyber-winds of online media. I want to know who, when, where, and what others are saying about the same or similar things I’m talking about. In other words, in who’s collective lens will I first and foremost show up. So much of what we do online is about context.
Case in point is the title of this post: Rejection is not always a bad thing. I did a little Googling on the subject and the top hits were mostly blogs about writers getting rejection letters from publishing houses, then followed rejection by lovers. The ‘lost love’ angle I naively didn’t think about but I gained some real insight. I stumbled into another universe and discovered several very gifted young women who can tell a wonderful story and speak their truth with humility, insight, and humor.
I changed my title a few times and tested the search results. Turning a simple little phrase that included ‘rejection’ got very different results that influenced the one I ultimately chose to use.
My topic was to share a story of rejection. One that was disappointing at first but led to inspiration and a very cherished memory. One of my dreams was to create music for films. The early 80’s was a prolific period for me and I cranked out a lot of music in the studio. I had a list of my favorite movie directors and very systematically sent them tapes with letters on a regular basis. (I know, old school.)
Rejection takes action. It took longer back then but regardless I created something, I delivered it with communication, they got it, and they took action and communicated back to me. Maybe I didn’t like the answer, but something happened. "Thank you for sending your stuff. We don’t want it, but thank you for trying." I’d rather get that communique than be ignored. Never knowing is harder to deal with, I think.
A favorite film director/producer of mine is Stanley Kramer. I loved so many of his movies, The Pride and the Passion (1957), The Defiant Ones (1958), On the Beach (1959), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), and of course the unforgettable It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). Kramer moved here to the Pacific Northwest in the early 80’s and lived in Bellevue, Washington.
Don’t ask me what I was thinking. I was just a young guy on fire going for it. I sent him several of those packages and he actually took the time to write back. One day several months later his office contacted me. If I could be at a certain restaurant in Kirkland on a particular day and time, I could meet him.
When I arrived he was just finishing up a meeting at his table. I got to talk to him for about 15 minutes. A very gracious inquisitive person. We talked about film making and music, authors, actors, and living in the Northwest. He gave me encouragement to keep going and complimented my work.
I never made it to Hollywood as a film composer, but I did do the music for a couple of independent short films out of Seattle. I’ve smiled so many times over the years about those letters and our meeting. In hindsight, my music was in all probability something he would never use. Yet he made time for me to listen, respond, converse, and encourage.
Rejection is not always a bad thing.