Friday, April 13, 2018

"Fighting The Elements"

The process of writing requires an anchoring even keel. 

That’s why I meditate. 

It steadies my hand on the imaginatorial tiller.

Still, inevitable circumstances arrive, throwing you precariously off of your game.

Issues of health. 

Hovering time pressure. 

Variations in mood. 

A nightmarish president.

And now, the most recent attack to my coveted homeostasis:


Not mine, thank the Lord.  Perhaps once hope endangered my delicately balanced equilibrium.  But these days, I can thankfully keep such daunting distractions in check, my “World View” free of the vanquished

“Why not?”

and filled, instead, with the neutrally reasonable

“We’ll see.”


We are decamping for a three-day family excursion to Disneyland.   (This post was written during “Spring Break”, the Disneyland “Busy Season.”)  Are we going to have fun?  For me, under such circumstances, “We’ll see” serves as a balancing “Best Case Scenario”, countering darker thoughts of, “Just shoot me.”

Meanwhile, others in my peripheral orbit aim exuberantly at the moon.  Which is fine and dandy, sugar candy. 

For them. 

Why, I edgily query, do they have to involve me?

Here’s what has recently transpired.

In just the past two weeks, in a veritable “Tsunami of Optimism”, I have – unsolicitedly – received a spec stage play, a spec screenplay and a self-published novel from writers, ranging along the continuum from “longtime friend” to “cordial acquaintance” to “I barely know them”, all of them asking for my considered opinion on their creative undertakings.

Three talented people with indomitable “Why not?” spirits, taking their (extremely long) best shots, nurtured by the – to me, deceptively overrated –

“What have I got to lose?”

How about disappointment, disillusion and depression?  To name three rejection-sensitive “D’s.”

These folks apparently don’t think about that.  They sit down at their computers, and they write it.

Then they send it to me. 

(Not to say “Look what I wrote and you didn’t.”  But, you know… they did… and I didn’t.  Do I really need that unbidden “stink bomb” jostling my “climate controlled” personal ecosystem?)     

My reaction to their submissions is yawningly predictable.  Whoever writes the closest to the way I write earns with my most positive enthusiasm. 

How’s that for objective judgment?

Although, it is, I believe, quite natural. 

Gauguin checks out a Pissarro:

“It’s good.  But it needs a Tahitian girl in it.”

Exactly how helpful is that? 

Then there’s the unspoken concern: 

“Will this play/movie/novel succeed commercially?”

How would I know?  Did I succeed commercially?  Besides that, it’s an unanswerable question.  Commercial success is a retrospective designation.  Look around.  If you’re in a really big house, you probably did something right.  And even that says nothing about the future.  (So save your money.)

I rain on nobody’s parade.  People respect my opinion?  I’m flattered.  “Constructive criticism”?  By who’s standard?  “Write like you” is the best I can offer.  Everything else is seen through the evaluative “Prism of ‘Me’”, a “me”, maybe envious that you did something and I didn’t.

You see how that gets to me? 

I have faced various adversities and, so far, maintained my ability to focus unwaveringly on the ball.  But that’s the bad stuff.

The question here is:

Can I assiduously “Stay the course” against the buffeting waters of visiting hope?

My best guess is…

We’ll see.

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