rejection affectionPosted: 2014/01/15
If you need some encouragement, rejection letters of the immensely talented are always helpful.
Self-help books often advise that the fastest way to achieve success is through failure: failing often and failing up. Even great writers like George Orwell suffered setbacks, like when his novel Animal Farm was rejected as a “stupid and pointless fable” by Knopf Publishers in 1945. So when the Sundance Film Festival asked artist and photographer Taryn Simon to create something to kick off its Free Fail campaign, a series of panels “designed to embrace failure as essential to risk-taking, innovation, and the creative process,” she decided to make a video flip book of rejection letters.
But in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it section between those two bookends is: A rejection letter from the music label Sub Pop that begins “Dear Loser,” a denial from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, and a rejection of a Star Trek spec script. There is also a letter – recently noted by Meryl Streep in her National Board of Review gala speech honoring Emma Thompson and slamming Walt Disney – that explains to one aspiring female artist in the 1930s that women were not welcome to do “the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men.”