Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Failure Is Not An Option ...

Yesterday was a good day. Yesterday, I shredded a book.

Actually, I shredded two books.

Before you start to think that that's somehow evil, that I may as well have started a bonfire on my lawn and chucked the tomes gleefully into the flames, allow me to assure you that I shredded them for the simple reason that I had written in the margins and underlined passages and having "tagged" said books, I had no intention of giving them to Goodwill or some other outlet.

My musings in margins are private. I don't loan books that contain my thoughts. I'll recommend those books. I might even buy copies for folks, but my copies remain mine.

So, two books went through the shredder. One of which is not germane to this post, and one of which is, and that one was "When Smart People Fail."

Excuse me?

Why did I own that?

I mean, I know why I owned it. I bought it. I tend to use receipts as bookmarks, and the one stuck between those pages dated from 1996.

I was working at the Chicago Tribune in 1996. It surely wasn't my dream job, but I don't remember feeling like a failure.

And yesterday, when I spied it in a stack of books, I was actually offended that I owned it. How dare I be so hard on myself? I'm always espousing the truth of "You're always where you're supposed to be" and if I truly believe that, and I do, then there is no such thing as failure.

Yesterday became the day that I decided that I have not failed. Ever. How's that for hubris?

No failure. Recalibration. That's my new perspective. Course corrections, if you will, life as a GPS device: Overshoot a mark? It recalibrates your route and you still get where you're going. It might take a few more minutes, but big deal. The destination isn't going anywhere, now, is it?

Yesterday, as a matter of fact, was the day that I figured out how the film I'm writing will end. Which may not seem like a big accomplishment, but I assure you that it is. I've been mulling that one over for years. And once I figured out how it will end, I started thinking backward, and realized what the penultimate scene will be, and clink, clink, clink, all the pieces are starting to fall into place.

Also yesterday, I realized that I had two versions of the script, one on my desktop and one on my laptop, one 49 pages, one 59. So printed out one to compare it to the other. They were common for 40 pages and then diverged. So now I have all the pages printed out that contain all the content.

And you know what? I should have printed out that puppy ages ago. There is something very, very cool about holding your own script in your hands, even if it's incomplete, even if is a lot left to be done. Just to see those characters and that dialogue and those directions on the page? Magical.

It's no longer just a jumble of ideas in my head. It is now printed words on a page. A thing. That exists in the world. A thing that can be shared.

And that is no small victory.


Blogger Doreen said...

woooooo whoooooo !!!! Rock on Sister ... Shall I make a sign to hang on your front door that reads: Do not disturb, MUSE IS HERE!!

9:16 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Yes! And put a pentagram on it to freak out all those Jehovah's Witnesses who want to talk to me about the Bible.

:o )

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Mikeachim said...

No small victory indeed. That's the part of the process that is the biggest stumbling block - the drawing of the line and the writing of the word "End".


What's the plan with it now, then? :)

4:33 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

The plan is to finish it, m'dear.

I figured out the ending. I didn't finish the script.

There is still much to be done. But now I know where I'm heading and can write to that.

8:18 AM  

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