“Don’t be afraid of failure, be afraid of failure to begin!”

-Adam Grant
I watched “the Princess Bride” last night for the first time. Wonderful movie; now, of course, I wish I was writing THAT.
It has a lot of great moments, the very greatest starts out in front. Pete Falk’s classic delivery – “In my day, ‘television’ was called ‘books.’” Profound. And from 30yrs ago!
There’s no guessing at what the theme is, “True love conquers all!” One of the best messages, if not completely unbelievable as we cross over into adulthood. It even had a few twists and turns, which suckered me right in because I had no idea what was coming.
Like “Secondhand Lions,” on top of its main play, it has a little of everything. There’s a lot of “violence” and there’s some actual blood, a few curse-words. In a twist, though, some of the heroes are scarred and maimed and “anti-hero” during parts of the story. Granted, these are devices to build sympathy (ethos) and I don’t have any problem with horribly disfigured heroes (see Justin Lehman). It’s also odd that it starred adults exclusively, save for the one kid in the beginning.
The success of this story, I think, is a nice piece of proof that I don’t have to follow a “linear path of instruction” to produce a “perfect work.” I can do what I want…, my originality will shine through in whatever ways it will.
For some weird reason, “paruvappeyarchichikkȃṭṭu” is in my auto-fill option. If I type “par…” it’ll fill in the rest! Obviously, it’s some Tamilan word, but for what? I can’t waste the time to search through all my notes.
That said, I don’t have a central idea to write about today, either. I have about 50mins to figure it out.
Yesterday’s “worry” was that I won’t be able to become “original” enough to create something worth talking about, which is really the same horrible thought that anything I create won’t matter. But, that’s normal, really. It’s self-doubt, which has been a huge problem of mine… forever. The entire process of writing a book will be about overcoming that.
I can’t teach that lesson, either. It isn’t even a lesson that can be taught, it can only (eventually) be understood by the person going through it. It’s very similar to the sort of “reckless abandon” that causes one to put themselves intentionally in harm’s way, often for no reason. You can point out this behavior (example – putting bare hands in oven all the time), but until the individual wants to change, they won’t.
Similarly, it doesn’t matter how many times you point it out, when self-doubt comes along, it’s … well, it’s up to that person. The good news, you can help that person by giving them strength, which is very hard to do, apparently. My bountiful exuberance won’t be contained, however!
There’s a lot to do today before work. Of course, it’s freezing outside, so thankfully, I probably won’t make it to the grocery store, even though I have a huge list of crap I need. I have the goal to spend a “few minutes” on my theme of imagination to really understand what I know about it. If anything, which I’ll also have to admit.
Worse, I thought I’d end last night by reading about the technicalities of imagination and … well, it was boring. It was the least imaginative (jargon) way to describe a wonderful process, which makes perfect sense. It’s funny that way, a small, even underlying, show that the universe has a sense of humor.
But, I know the universe has a sense of humor… because humor exists. I mean, we think of some of our traits as being “human,” but isn’t that limiting? We couldn’t have created humor without some kind of crazy thing to base it on. I’m sure in the “old days” Grugg fell down into some mud and the village smiled at him. They smiled so loudly that it involved the whole body and it spread from person to another, creating sensations that would echo until now.
Except for Grugg, he’d have to wait until the 1980’s for “America’s Funniest Home Videos” to air it. But what caused Grugg to fall? A gentle push from a gust of wind, or whatever. It doesn’t matter. If you pay enough attention, you can probably just laugh all day at all the cosmic tomfoolery. (see Justin Lehman)
I also want to write out a letter or a story or something to the real “Greta” since there’s some things there I want to “get out,” but I don’t want to share that particular thing. Either way, what Greta taught me is something valuable (how to talk!), so if I can work that up and find the lesson(s) in that, it might make a good parallel for “Justin” to learn in the book.
After a day, I kinda like the idea of the school ‘n’ animals for the book, though I haven’t even seen a children’s school in thirty years. I did also learn that the top three problems that Americans think American children are facing are (in no order): “emotional/mental well-being*, education, and bad parenting.” (Source American Humane Society Study, 2015)
* – This includes food, but not poverty. Poverty didn’t make into the top concerns, which I find odd. And not heartening.
But this information is misleading, since it was survey study and it wasn’t “fill-in-the-blank.” That means they were given a pre-set list of problems and they had to rank them in order of concern, …or in some cases whether they agreed or disagreed (and how strongly) with the given statements. There were a great deal of issues mentioned, from the common “new” problem of texting while driving to the “ancient” and “exotic” problem of trafficking (which means all the stuff you think it does).
As much as I hoped to be moved by learning that stuff, it did rekindle the desire to teach -something-. Other than watching cartoons, I don’t have any specialized knowledge and even my general knowledge is kind of broad and wavy. Like I learn in a sensory way, which means I just steal it from the air as it travels on the right-brain path.
Ah, but these nagging thoughts are normal. If I was baseball player, I’d have them, too. As an artist OR an author (< as in “authority!” >=D), however I want to see myself, it is a sad part of the natural creative process. And that’s today’s theme exercise. If I can’t find a few positive messages in that sort of thing, then I’m going to switch my focus to some of my “back-up” themes (some of which are animal-based) that I’ve also had the ideas to work on. I mean, this particular part isn’t a crisis by any means, I just want to make sure that what I’m “saying” is what I want. And that I can.
I made the bold step to ask to accompany Grandma to the library the next time she goes so that I can get a library card. Oh, and several kids’ books. What an embarrassing check-out that’ll be, but free research is free research. I love “short bursts” and that’s the kinda crap I’m supposed to be writing. I don’t know, because it isn’t written, but I think even just a basic story of a cat saving a family is going to be some epic.
I’m not really concerned about that, it’s an excuse. Everything is and I understand that and I’m forcing myself to work through it, which is exactly correct. It isn’t easy.
Worse, as introspective as I am, perhaps to the point of psychosis, I have this fear that I’m going to go to find something new and scary in there, in the depths of my non-sensory output. I don’t have any rational reason I should feel that way. It does make me feel BETTER because I could only have this thought if I possessed a decent bit of imagination. I’ve often said, for years, “People who are afraid of the dark have great imaginations.” I probably also said it a different way, the point being that I’ve been “on this subject” for a while.
I don’t think I’ve overcome my fear of the dark, either, I’ve just become more comfortable moving in it. Aren’t we all a little afraid of the dark? Dreamers and philosophers might say that cities themselves were invented to keep that fear at bay. Safety in numbers, central glow of a community fire, where the food is, where the families are, where the spirits stay.
But who really knows what’s in the darkness? It’s undefinable, I think. Is it space? Is it “pure universe?” Is it the absence of light? (< And to what degree?) You can see the two-dimensional trick of “infinity” by closing your eyes for a moment. Even though the backs of your eyelids are millimeters thick, the space behind them extends infinitely… and is it really empty? Is that the screen your own imagination plays on, or can it run constantly in the background like mine? It’s an uncontrolled monster that creates a lot of my fears and it strikes at me with self-doubt, even now.
I don’t understand how something that is my only strength could also be my worst weakness. As a logical idiot, it just doesn’t make sense, unlike the completely clinical (and thus ironic) description of the process of imagination.
Ah, and that’s my time for today. But maybe that’s the real quest. It’s not to overcome fear, but its source. Through understanding, somehow. Instead of an uncontrolled monster, it’ll have to become controlled. Can I do that? And how much? Will it “work for me” or can we be friends? Monsters should stick together!
-j.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s