handling the rejection letter: spider and moth

I took the time to cradle two moths in my hands. One by one, I escorted them outside. Normally I assume their delicate wings will simply crumble with the terror and flight of capture, so I get it over quick and whack them dead with a dust cloth. And…I’ll be honest. I kill to save time. This is a suite, I have guests coming, I can’t dilly dally being all PETA with insects. But today their delicate hope, pressed against the window pane, moved me.

“The outdoors is there. I can feel it. I can see it. Perhaps if I wait patiently enough and am still enough, the window will deliquesce with the spatter of rain and I can slip my slender wings through its dissolve and be free.”images

I do not offer this grace to spiders. I rescue entirely on the basis of good looks.

Once the clean was done, I came upstairs. My daughter was still fixed to a chair, furrowed brow, puzzling over her essay. Her long slender legs were tucked under her. This isn’t school homework this is “Mommy” homework I’ve given her. She asked me to teach her how to write a good essay. She chose her own topic. I was thinking it might be tap dancing or bunnies, but no. She wrote her essay on: how the BC public school system has failed her while trying to operate under severe budget cuts. She is now tired of this essay. She is tired of the re-writes. The subject is depressing. She still doesn’t quite understand essay structure and she just wants to go outside and play.

I cradle her soft little cheeks in my hand, give her a kiss and let her go.

For now.

(we are going to finish that essay so help me God)

I open my email and read another significant rejection letter. I’ve had some doozies lately. Well, I know it’s not because I’m a bad writer. So…hmm…it can only mean that the artistic community at large has decided that I’m a nutter. Thirty years of me and they’ve had enough. I nod my head and brew my tea. Yes. Makes sense to me. I continue to build a case against myself, thinking of every possible thing I’ve ever done professionally that could cause people to not want to work with me. Then I fantasize about dying tragically and unexpectedly. At my memorial, colleagues say things like, “She was eccentric but she had her heart in the right place.”

This thought makes me chuckle as I pour home-pressed almond milk into my tea. It leads me to think of some of the moments throughout my career when I’ve come across someone who completely lost their coconut. Well, every tech week. Nearly everyone has a bizarre ritual, an emotional outburst, a snarly dog moment, an over-indulgence, an odd default. Some start to talk about themselves incessantly. Some get very quiet and start using aroma therapy and do many deep stretches in odd places. Some become a sexy comedian and try to start up a romance. Some just get sick. Literally sick. Whatever it takes to get through the pressure of the long days and the vulnerability of opening, largely to a house full of peers. I would work with all of these brilliant beautiful nutters again. Of course! In an instant! Even when I think of the worst artistic experience of my career, I would work with all those people again. I’d just watch my back with a couple of them.

And then I thought of the truest thing all day: the NO I received in the mail today has nothing to do with me. The YES went elsewhere. That’s all.

How to capture the YES. That’s a much better way to look at this. It’s something I can do instead of wondering what I should not do. “Keep calling those producers! They’ve been absolutely lovely so far, all of them. You’re on the right track.”

As I write this, literally, a huge spider crawls up the side of my window. (the outside, thank God) She’s massive. I don’t know how those gossamer threads hold up her big fat belly full of desiccated flies. No waiting against the glass for her. No sir. She sets up shop right where she is.

“Come to me my darlings” she waves to passing buzzers with a fuzzy arm.

Oh yes. I wanna be the spider not the moth.images-1




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  1. Ian

    “And then I thought of the truest thing all day: the NO I received in the mail today has nothing to do with me. The YES went elsewhere. That’s all.”

    YES YES YES, that is so, so, true. This was one of the biggest lessons I learned from my time as an AD. And it was freeing. No, it doesn’t eliminate those fleeting feelings of jealousy, frustration or niggling self-doubt. But it does help to put them into a wider perspective. There is so much that is out of our control in this sort of decision-making process: so why waste our valuable energy worrying about them?

    Your gifts are bountiful and a blessing to so many. Don’t sully them with uncreative energies.


    1. Lucia Frangione

      Amen to that my friend Amen to that!

  2. Medina

    In the Arabic culture, moths are believed to be spirits. Glad you saved them. x

    1. Lucia Frangione

      ahhh beautiful!

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