I had a dream the other night that I was working as an English tutor and had been hired by a couple who were their country-of-origin’s equivalent of Hollywood royalty. I could not for the life of me determine what their country of origin was, however, and their native language was one I’d never heard of. Its name contained the letters d, j, l, q … I think I’m playing too much Scrabble these days.
My trip to Los Angeles was excellent (thanks for asking) – and as is often the case when I visit there, I didn’t want to come back. Yet. I got a lot of writing done, for which I’m extremely grateful — basically spent my days writing in my little bungalow and swimming laps (what I lack in aquatic grace and technique I make up for in enthusiasm) and the combination worked really well. I worked on The Novel and I revisited a screenplay that I started last year and put aside. It’s actually got potential. Maybe. Or not.
It’s not laziness that has kept me from completing so many of the writing projects I’ve begun; it’s fear. Fear has gotten in the way of many things in my life, and has kept me mired in situations long after I should have extracted myself. Fear of change, fear of failure, fear of realizing I’m not a writer at all – in which case, what the hell am I? I had great conversation the other night with a writer friend about this very common, unremarkable phenomenon, and also about the fact that if someone is hellbent on having a negative opinion about you there is very little you can do to change that – and more often than not your efforts to do so will wind up reinforcing it. e.g. “You have such a sense of entitlement.” “What?! I do not!” “Of course you don’t think you do – that’s how big your sense of entitlement is.” … or words to that effect. Owtte. So, I suppose, the answer is to know that you know who you are and to relinquish the notion, which many of us have at one point or another, that being misread is a terrible thing. Because it just might not be. We will meet many more people over the years than we have bandwidth to incorporate into our lives. The ones who don’t see us as we (think we) are may actually be doing us the favor of freeing up space for another. Too many times I’ve let others’ opinions alter my sense of self, I’ve believed the negative hype despite the accolades of those with my best interests at heart. This has not served me well. I know myself very well – my strengths and my weaknesses, and I have many of each. I know when I’ve done wrong and I absolutely know how to apologize and how to forgive myself. And so this needs to dominate my self-perception.
This was not the direction I’d meant this post to take. Blame it on the rain. And the Gruner Veltliner. Which is as much fun to say as it is to sip.