Friday, December 31, 2010

Liminality

One of my favorite holiday films is the 1947 classic The Bishop’s Wife, starring David Niven, Loretta Young, and Cary Grant. It doesn’t get the same amount of airplay as A Christmas Story, but it always turns up on the TV at least once in the season, and this year it was on Christmas Eve on TCM.

Cary Grant’s character Dudley, an angel, has been sent to provide guidance to a bishop. The bishop (David Niven) more or less dismisses him as a meddler, so Dudley occupies himself with taking care of the needs of the bishop’s wife (Loretta Young,) who is being neglected because of the bishop’s obsession with building a cathedral. In the process, Dudley begins to fall in love with her. In one beautiful sequence, Dudley - whose true nature has not been revealed to anyone but the bishop - finally confesses his love to her, in the most roundabout fashion possible:

I'm tired of being a wanderer. I'm tired of an existence where one is neither hot nor cold, hungry nor full.

I can sympathize - not in being a semi-divine creature capable of working miracles, but of feeling trapped in a strange, liminal state. It’s sort of how I feel about my rather singular status in the hobby: in it, but not of it. Neither well known, nor unknown. Influential, but rarely acknowledged.

Most of the staff at Reeves knows me, or knows of me. But on the flip side, I still get hobbyists asking me for references, or questioning my authority on topics I sometimes, quite literally, wrote the book on years ago. (Ever have a conversation with someone, and realize they’re talking about you in the third person? The first time it happens, it’s funny. The third through seventeenth time, it isn’t.)

Part of it stems from some personal issues: I’ve been on tenuous financial grounds for some time now (partly by choice, partly not) and because of this, I’ve been unable to pursue projects that would have made me a more "visible" personage in the hobby.

The structure of the hobby is also to blame. I don’t quite understand the hobby’s tendency toward rigid hierarchies: a small handful of hobbyists are designated as BNPs within their respective categories, with little room for anyone else in the Treehouse of Awesome.

(You see it not just in what I do, but in every aspect of the hobby. It’s particularly bad in the realm of customizing: you have a tiny handful of designated "superstars," but everyone else? You’re lucky to get more than body price for the pieces you labor over.)


The arrival of my Diamond Jubilee - on Christmas Eve, naturally - really drove the point home. I had briefly considered entering the Diamond Dreams Contest, but aside from the logistical issues, I’m not sure that I could. My stories and my "voice" are known quantities, familiar (if not immediately recognizable) and therefore dismissable.

Ironically, the more anonymous prize model competitions of BreyerFest are still somewhat open to me, and I’ve had a little success there. But, like Dudley, I tire of being stuck in this strange state of being, especially as the New Year approaches.

10 comments:

Julie said...

Rather vague entry, this time around. I understand what you're saying....to me it boils down to elitism....and I can not stand to be in the same room with someone that thinks their love of models/real horses is better...etc...or that they've been in the hobby for so long....that's not the point of the hobby! I could go on on but I won't. [all I'll state is there is a reason why I don't buy customs...I own some but I didn't buy them.]

As for the Diamond Dreams Contest, as long as you don't officially work for Breyer/Reeves you could still enter. However the entry has to be postmarked Dec 31st.

Please continue to explain where you're coming from. :)

Leah said...

When I was first collecting models as a kid I remember how insurmountable everything seemed, and it left me dissatisfied. Now that I've returned to the hobby I've vowed to participate only for myself- making my own definitely-not-LSQ customs, my own tack, etc. Mostly I muck around in my basement alone, gleefully, and haunt internet sites for inspiration and entertainment. I can't and won't keep up with all the insanity that full on participation in the model horse world entails. At my only recent live show I sat next to a woman who told me seriously that she was only in it to win. WTF.

I think you provide a fresh, feisty, humorous, down to earth, and Treehouse-of-Awesome worthy approach to the whole world. I don't collect OF but I love your blog for it's originality and insight. Keep up the good work.

Stockstill Stables said...

I am a nobody in the model hobby and it doesn't bother me. I am in it for me and I am happy.
I do not watch but only a couple of model blogs, Yours is the one I check most(almost every day in fact). I really enjoy reading your posts and insights. I wish I knew as much as you do about the hobby.
And as for what Julie said, I agree with her.

Anonymous said...

What does it matter who recognizes your knowledge or not? Those that value your knowledge and insight will recognize it and acknowledge it, and those that don't, don't really matter to your life, right?
You need to be happy and proud of who YOU are and what you contribute to this hobby. Don't worry about what others think.
"Be Content in ALL Things!" I try to live by this thought....life is short...be happy!

bubbasmom said...

That's a good mantra, @Anon!

And now, OT, I have a question. In Nancy Young's book she lists the QH "gelding" as having 2 SRs back in the day. There was a matte bay one and a red chestnut one. Can you give more info on these? I'm curious because according to Mr. Eighmey, very few exist in the original finish as he had most flocked and turned into mules. I'm confused about the chestnut one because the picture looks exactly like the two I have from Penney's (??I think??).

I realize there have been a lot more SRs on this mold, but I'd like to know more about these old ones. Besides, this is my all-time favorite, so if there's a grail or two out there I'd like to hear about it:^D

Happy New Year!!

Anonymous said...

You were somebody enough that someone from another club altogether went out and got a Diamond Jubilee for you. This is a very nice person who doesn't even drive. I've known her for several years and she is always doing things for other people. We all want to be noticed and appreciated for the things we do for other people. Just because you sometimes feel other people don't notice---it would shock you to know how well known you are and how your opinions count with those of us who aren't elitist. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

If what the previous poster said was true, and some one gave you Diamond Jubilee, you didn't exactly sound thankful.

plastiqueponi said...

Actually, Andi *bought* that Diamond Jubilee shown in her blog. How do I know? Because *I'm* the one who picked it up *for her* and shipped it to her. And I have the DC and insurance slip to prove it was delivered on christmas eve day. So you owe her an apology pronto since you don't know the story of that particular model.

If there is another one on it's way to her, that's lovely, and I'm quite sure she'll appreciate it. And you may have spoiled a surprise by posting here.

Or maybe you're just out to cause a made up ruckus. If you are, shame on you.

Anonymous said...

^That comment seemed a bit harsh (not the same anonymous here).

BreyerRose said...

Whenever there is "showing" where winning depends on a judge's opinion rather than performance, politics raises its omnipresent head. I have only been to two live shows (as a spectator, never an exhibitor) and I was blown over by the quality of the artistry, but baffled by many of the judges' decisions, until I realized that model horse shows are just as political as live horse shows, dog shows, cat shows and even vintage car shows. Guess that's just human nature. The hobby is great as long as it isn't a competition.
:) LOVE your blog, by the way.