Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reed Richards be damned

Typically, I'm not big on quoting people or touting the names of products, however much I like or dislike them (generally because I'm too lazy to look into the vagaries of libel). But I'm going to take a risk today: "the true measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy" (or something like that). And I don't say that to mean that I'm in overly turbulent waters personally (though life has sort of kicked me in the pants, recently), I say that to pass along some advice that I've found useful.

I drafted chapter 20 today of the novel, and was feeling kind of down about how it turned out. Some of my poetry got rejected, and another short story as well (some romantic things went astray also) so those set backs (that's what Dr. Doom calls defeats) tinted my lenses. I could feel the thoughts before I thought them: What's the point, I keep getting rejected, over and over, doesn't that mean I'm doing something wrong; maybe I should take a break from it, or stop altogether. Of course I won't. I can't say why, really, and perhaps that sort of lunacy is the topic for another discussion. More accurately, and objectively, despite my rejections, I've still received more positive feedback from thoughtful, intelligent, honest people than I have negative feedback. It would be in error to judge someone's opinions as more valuable than another person's, I think.

So I got back on the horse. I didn't buy any confetti to celebrate chapter 20, but I did re-evaluate the short story that got rejected, and then I sent it right back out to a different place (the interesting thing is whether or not I actually pull all this off. Success, and it'll be a timely message for tenacity. Fail, and I'll be the next crazy person ranting, bitter). And that is not the last magazine that publishes poetry, so it won't be the last place I submit work to. Related to that, a friend of mine told me once about how some actors do something nice for themselves whenever they audition, because of how difficult and strenuous it is, and how after being rejected, how easy it is to just give up. Much respect to MLK, but if you take anything away from all this piggy backing, please take that wisdom.

And the screen play is moving along, too. I guess. I had the idea to story board it, to think up scenes, write them on a sheet of paper, and then organize those scene physically, rearranging where necessary. That idea hasn't really taken off. Pages of a screen play, properly formatted, round out to be about a page a minute. At this point, I have about seven minutes, and two scenes. And being completely honest, a big problem I'm having is not knowing, literally, what happens next. So I guess that means storyboarding doesn't work for me, because if it did, I'd have written down all the scenes I already had in mind. Guffaw.

And for my last bit of edible quoting, I would like to paraphrase Thomas Edison. When asked about how many times he failed to create the light bulb, a number with more than two digits, he said "I didn't fail that many times. I simply found out that many ways how not to make a light bulb." Thus, rejections or no, the writing commenceth. I go back to work next week, so maybe we'll see about amping up the productivity until then.

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