Don’t Stop Believing…

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.

 

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9 thoughts on “Don’t Stop Believing…

  1. OMFG!!! I LOVE THIS!!! Whenever I am ever going to have doubts about what I want to do I am going to dance with toilet paper too!!! GENIUS!!!

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  2. Janey! Another triumphant exert from a life I am lucky enough to be a part of. You inspire me too my darling and love being your pal. Hoorah for pen to paper! – or finger to keyboard anyhow….. Keep scribbling, we’re all loving it. xxx

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  3. Oh that video is priceless!! 🙂
    Fab writing as always and VERY well said. (When I look back to my creative times when I was younger I now with hindsight can see so many reasons I didn’t fulfill what I thought my dreams were, and most of them were of my own making, and unrelated to the outside world. You are so right about that, I assume talent dictated something) x

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  4. I know a mother’s praise has dubious value but I’m loving what you write. As someone whose life has been blighted by fear of failure I so admire your talent and courage. Just keep on writing, my lovely Jane.

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  5. Again and again. Why does this video make me soooo happy? Your talents are unbounded Jane. Don’t stop. And one day you might be able to sit on the front of that car! You are my hero.

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  6. Failure is not an option, not a choice, its an inevitability. But failure is not the end. Never has been. Its just a step. Keep on failing, don’t stop believing.

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  7. Janey…your writing will take you wherever you need to be…and should all else fail, thought it won’t, take heed, as you’ve got a good second gig to follow through on. Music, great backdrops, a sweet looking little sidekick and some TP can go a long way… I’m sure folks would pay money to bear witness to more performances! No need though, you’ve got it, don’t ever doubt it…just go with it! Lovin’ your blog! xox

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  8. Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant. Can’t believe this is the first time I’ve seen this video. Also, sorry for all my typos and missing words in all of my comments that I’ve left so far on your blog posts. Think I need to go to bed!

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