It’s been a busy week. I’m trying to write a screenplay in a month with Script Frenzy, hold down a full-on day job, and support my amazing friends whose talents know no bounds. Consequently, I have yet again neglected to push ahead with New York plans… but that’s what happens when London gets fun.
This week I’ve been to see Good Cop, Lorna Blackwood and Haiste and Lawrence all utterly entertaining and brilliant in very different ways. A lot of my friends are talented artists and I am in awe of each and every one of them. To hang out with creative people, who know what they want and spend every day in pursuit of their dream is pretty inspiring. I have always assumed they followed their dream because they have no choice, making that classically wanky assumption, that their talent dictated their life’s choices because they simply had to find an outlet. I am now revising this assumption, not because it’s necessarily untrue but because there is a lot more to talent than that. You need passion, determination and a little bit of luck to make a living out of your talent. Sadly many talented people have never succeeded because they lacked one or all of these ingredients, and some ‘less’ talented people have succeeded simply because they possessed them.
I always wanted to be a writer, always. One of the reasons I never tried and took a boring office job instead is because I believed I wasn’t talented, or at least not talented enough. I could never be like Shakespeare or Toni Morrison so why bother trying? (I incidentally saw Toni Morrison give a lecture a few years ago and when she walked on stage… well, I don’t believe in God but if I did, she would be it). What I have now come to understand is the exquisite pleasure that you get from trying, and – what an idiot you were, younger Janey – if everyone thought like that no-one would ever write a word! Maybe this talent idea is a little bit overrated.
After such a busy week, I decided yesterday that the tension in my right shoulder was not going away and thought it would be a good idea to have a massage. I am not a regular patron of the massage parlour so when the lady on the phone asked me whether I wanted aromatherapy or deep tissue massage, I plumbed for deep tissue thinking aromatherapy sounded a bit wet. This train of thought continued when, nearly naked and lying face down on the massage table, the masseuse told me that, ‘My deep tissue is really deep so just holler if you need me to adjust the pressure’. Why oh why did I immediately see this as a challenge? At that moment, I knew there was no way I was going to holler, I was going to take the deepest depth of deep tissue massage she could give me, and I was going to bloody like it. Humph… IT WAS UTTER AGONY! It got worse when I turned over and could no longer hide my intense grimacing and lip-biting from her and had to sustain a face of mild indifference and attempt to ‘breath into the pain’. It was then that I started thinking about determination.
I am not ambitious or competitive, I never had a career goal and I’ll freely admit that I hate games. All games except backgammon, Go Fish, Shithead, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble from time to time, can be banished to Room 101 as far as I’m concerned. But I am determined. I have this fucked up notion that I have to be bloody good at everything I turn my hand to. Not the best, but the best that I can be. Failure is not an option. I’m like the astronauts on Apollo 13.
It is only now, when I am doing something that I actually enjoy and care about, writing, that I realise failure is actually a massive option and more than that, it’s a probability. What surprises me is for the first time in my life I am not running away from it, in fact I am gagging for my first rejection letter.
So, as soon as this pain deep in my muscles subsides I’m going to jut out my chin and march down to the post office to send off some scripts. And when I get that first rejection letter I’m going to watch this, which was recorded during my ‘sabbatical’ last year. Enjoy.