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.