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Channeling life’s little detours into gold

April 12, 2013

Without going into detail, some things happened today that disappointed me. I’m used to disappointment. I root for the Mets and Jets. You should try it some day. It builds character.

Today’s events aren’t soul-crushing. It’s not like a member of my team missed a little roller up along first and extended a 68-year World Series drought for almost two decades. It’s not like I lost the daytime Emmy award for best actress 18 times in a row. I’m feeling a little more like Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda.

And now I’m over it, mostly. You know, except for that whole Mets and Jets thing. That leaves a sting that lingers.

So now, it’s time to sit down and write. What can do I?

  • One thing I can do is to actually write. That’s what we do. It’s sort of necessary for the job description. I’d much rather be a writer than a sit on my butt and watch blooper videos on Youtubeer. Seriously, it’s a disappointing day, but I’m good at writing. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, even when that something isn’t the highest-quality set of words recorded.
  • I can write a scene about disappointment. The moment I referenced up top, Bill Buckner’s infamous error in Game Six of the 1986 World Series, was the jumping off point for an entertaining movie called Game Six that dealt with, you guessed it, disappointment. It wasn’t a box-office champion, but it was entertaining, and even amusing, as it took the edge off that kind of disappointment.
  • I can write a scene about fulfilled yearning. What better way to overcome disappointment than to have someone overcome it and capture their goals anyway? Some of us write because our health insurance has horrible mental health coverage.
  • I can think about that disappointment and the bigger picture it fits in. If I were younger and my kids were younger, I’d think about that disappointment in the context of the awesome and brand new responsibility thrust upon me. If I were older, I might have concerns about my ability to stay employed and find another job at my age. Since I’m just right, it’s mostly the Mets and Jets thing. Those disappointments can spark a deeper theme, though. What about the awesome responsibility of parenthood against a context where increases of work productivity mean increases in hours and stress? What about the possibility that you can lose your job no matter how well you perform and since you were alive during the Eisenhower administration, you might not get another one?

There has to be conflict in good writing, and what better place to start than the conflict in your own life?



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