Wednesday, January 9, 2013

So you fail a little.

Downton Abbey is "crookedly beautiful", it said. It was a reader's comment at the end of a writer/friend's blog about the BBC mini-series.

"Crookedly beautiful." I nearly did a face palm. "That's so spot on. Not a Pulitzer description, by any means, but still great. I wish I came up with phraseology like that. Why can't I think of stuff like that? Huh? Why?"

Then I looked at the poster's name. And it was from me. From a year ago. So then I felt arrogant or creepy or perversely both. I also didn't see the brilliance of the phrase any longer.

 Recently, a couple of very loyal, supportive, and far too compassionate friends asked me why I hadn't been blogging lately. Well....that's a long story. Let's call it a case of over-stimulation. My life underwent far too much change, far too many challenges, far too everything, and, for a writer, processing takes time. We think. A lot. Not really about anything of value, worth, financial gain, or community betterment. Just thoughts like, "Why didn't I ever learn skateboarding? I might have really loved it," or "That guy at the next table reminds me of a classmate who use to sit behind me in History and braid my hair. I think he ended up in jail."

Stuff like that.

 Past all the mental muckety-muck, however, comes the real question: aren't you ever going to put yourself out there and write your own stuff?

Most of the time, when I review my past blogs or books or columns or grocery lists, all I can think is, "Crap, crap, all crap." When I'm tired of using that word, I usually call it, "kacke", which means "crap" in German, "meirda", which means "crap" in Spanish, and "crop", which is saying "crap" but with a British accent.

But as one of my very loyal, supportive, and far too compassionate friends pointed out, "Writers are never satisfied with their work." Then she followed that up by yelling at me in a very loyal, supportive, and far too compassionate way.

 It's that way for every creative, I think. Maybe everyone, too, no matter your industry or field. First, you second guess yourself. Second, you go back to why you create/produce/perform/do in the first place.

As an artist recently asked me, "Is it me? Do I just not have the talent?" This guy has so much artistic talent oozing out of his pores he's going to get a case of adult-onset acne. It isn't him. It's just the process. This is how life is played: with failure and disappointment and beauty all mixed in until you can't separate them.

 Creating is about trying and bombing, winning but mostly losing. It's about skinned knees and black eyes, a chipped tooth and a stubbed toe. Finally, you get a pat on the back and you can't stop idiotically grinning. For that one moment, the pain never existed.

After that, you start all over again and get a skinned knee and a black eye, a chipped tooth and a stubbed toe. But you start. You just start. That's how you create. It's how you find your artistic voice. It's also how you live. If you dare.

What does that mean for me? For my writing? Not sure yet. I'm still thinking about learning to skateboard.

2 comments:

Sarah Jo said...

It's the black eye that gives you something to create. It's an image in life, an experience. Hindsight is 20/20 for a reason, to show us the clear picture of what seemed to be a blur before. From that we interpret, reflect, and create our art.

Tara Lynn Thompson said...

Right on, Sarah Jo.