I started writing a story about twenty years ago or so this month that I haven’t ever finished.
Could give you a list of reasons why ranging from tales about the characters being particularly difficult, changes in plot ideas to circumstances getting in the way of completion.
There have been a bunch of times when I figured I ought to just let go of it because it wasn’t developing and the lack of progression bothered me.
Hell, at times it didn’t just bother me, it hurt like 10,000 paper cuts that had been coated with some kind of spicy sauce.
Yet every time I made the decision to throw it away and start over something happened and I figured I would give it another look.
Told myself that I was as dumb as a rock to keep going and laughed because I am famous for attacking walls and other objects with nothing more than my bare hands.
Sometimes ingenuity went along with it, sometimes frustration and a bunch of anger. It accompanied me during times where I was alone and apart and times when I felt like I was at the top of my game.
One time when I felt like the wall had won and I had absolutely nothing left I swore this time I was really going to let go and then I had a breakthrough.
“That was unexpected.”
Take Another Look
Almost 54 of years of life coalesce around a variety of challenges and experiences that remind me I have beaten every bad day I have ever had.
Several of those are highlighted by an ability to take the punches and to keep going. It’s really that simple.
And after one such beating I realized that I had missed looking at one particular situation from a different angle.
The realization made me laugh and smack the table because it should have been obvious but sometimes we get so wrapped up in situations we miss that which is staring us in the eye.
“Take another look Wilner. Take another shot.”
So I did and I determined there was an opportunity I hadn’t seen. Shrugged my shoulders and sent out a silent thank you and request to the universe.
“Give me an opportunity to spend real time exploring. Give me an opportunity to figure out what things look like now and maybe that will include another way to write the twenty year story.”
That is the funny thing about stories, sometimes they want to participate and would gladly run with you if you let them take a turn tapping away at the keys.
So that is what I did, I held out my hand and waited for the plot and characters to intertwine their fingers into mine.
Shared much of who I am now and offered a chance at intimacy, albeit with some hesitation because you have to be vulnerable.
But that is a big part of writing, you have to put yourself out there and risk being slaughtered by the critics as well as praised.
Chances are you weren’t only get one, you will probably get both but sometimes we forget because writers tend to be their own biggest critic.
Kind of funny to put it on paper again and remind myself to take the advice I give to the kids. I always tell them to have faith in their abilities.
I tell them not to be afraid to fail and to accept those experiences provide education and opportunity too.
Take A Chance
Getting ready to take on one hell of a week. There are some things coming up that could be exceptionally challenging and the pinballing around my head.
Feels a bit like I am being given a sword and shield and the task of holding off 10,000 men primarily by myself.
Got a few other resources that I can tap, but they are limited and I can’t rely upon them to do more than give me a chance to catch my breath.
Reminds me a bit of a moment from about forty years ago or so. There was a situation with a kid at school and dad told me to make sure I didn’t throw the first punch.
“As soon as he hits you I want you to unload upon him. You finish it. Don’t start it, just finish it.”
I told him I was worried about whether it would hurt to get hit and what might happen.
Dad smiled and told me I probably wouldn’t notice it and that anticipation was worse than anything that would happen.
He was right about the anticipation, my imagination is active and vivid. It is not uncommon for me to remember dreams.
Fast forward to the present, anticipation is still playing a role but experience helps. I have beaten every bad day and I intend to beat any that show up this week same as I did last week when I wrote Maybe It is An Uncertain Certainty.
Figure I’ll do some more work on fleshing out that 20 year story too, got some real ideas.