Writing the end of your story

Posted: January 19, 2011 in Creative Inspiration
Tags: , , , ,
Hey there creative peeps.

What’s the happy-happs? (<-Donald Faison from Scrubs… Turk… Turkelton? No? no-one? Scrubs was a good show dangit! Ugh! Just TiVo it.) I Hope this post finds everyone well, in good health – and preferably not looking like the frozen Popsicle stick I myself had resembled after a recent grueling walk through our latest New England snowstorm. If you’ve not gone out there yet, you’re lucky. Stay inside and be creative, trust me on this one – it’s hostile out there – Burr!Anywho… I figured, being that this is our special 17th anniversary post  and all – yes I remembered, and I bought you a star in the sky for a gift (It’s the bright one, like practically at your zenith, look it up) – that I should break format a little bit today, and slide you a special slice of life, directly from my own kitchen, right on across the table to where you’re sitting. Be warned, it’s lemon-meringue; bitter at first, but ends on a sweet note – just wait for it.

Good creative people, as this blog evolves – as all good things must do if they plan to stay on top of their respective game – I will undoubtedly run out of inspiring quotes, fancy pictures, and timely videos. That inspirational side of me is not easily exhausted, but, well… what can I say? It happens. It’s simply the nature of the beast. You can only give, so long as you have something of value in your possession. As much as it sucks: Life, and the subsequent living of it (at least as it pertains to the exposure of things which might inspire), unfortunately comes with a price tag.

Some days, like today, I will find myself simply defunct of the very empowering foodstuffs that I normally have in ample reserve. Some days the words I attempt to regale all you with, so that you may nurture your own creative ideas, and ideals – in hopes that we all might grow as a community – simply called out sick to work (and it was totally a fake cough when they phoned). Some days, I get down. Some days I run out of luck. Good creative people, today was that day…

Today started out just like any other. I had done the MLK post the day before in honor of the holiday (and a great man of the past), so I didn’t have to worry about churning out a blog. I had a promising interview lined up, to be in a forthcoming film (which legally I can’t name), that would seriously help my hemorrhaging bank account, biding me enough time to perfect the edits on my premier novel, submit it to publishers, and start a wondrous fresh new journey in another creative aspect of my life.

So it was that I walked to Kaufman Astoria studios with high hopes this morning, wearing a suit too thin for the weather (and showing up looking like that Popsicle I mentioned earlier), to stand in a room alongside a good hundred or so of similarly looking individuals, only to be told at the end of the day… that I didn’t get the job. Great.

But wait, it get’s better.

After walking home through equally abhorrent conditions (where the cheap $2.50 umbrella that I had purchased – not but three hours prior – turned inside out on me and blew away to become one of the elusive NYC tumbleweeds), having come from not getting the job that would be my financial saving grace, I arrive at my warm apartment in solemn hopes of saving the day by spending the rest of the afternoon draining a pot of coffee, working on the 2nd Novel in my series, and intermittently (when I get burnt out), taking breaks to polish my query, ladder pitch, and synopses – 3pg and 5pg alike… So I sit down to my trusty computer, with a sentence or two held at bay, raise the lid, thinking up a new promising plotline, wiggle the mouse, and consider ordering some food to keep me, and I’m greeted to… Nothing. A blank screen.

Huh??

I close the lid again, wait for it to fall asleep, raise it once more (aren’t I an expert troubleshooter?), and, once again… nothing. A quick check on my cellphone’s internet informs me that I have a bad inverter; something like a $200 fix at a repair shop. I can’t afford that. Seems like misfortune’s catching these days (did I mention that the day before my heat just stopped working? It came back today inexplicably. Cant wait for that one to come back around and bite me in the…). A little more snooping around the ole’ interwebs, and i discover that the part I need can be had for only $8 dollars, so long as I do the delicate labor myself. Oh and I might destroy my LCD if I’m not careful. Wonderful. The part wont arrive for 3-5 business days (wish me luck), so now I cant even work for that long. Glorious!

All I wanted to do was curl up into a little ball and die. I can’t afford the installation of an inverter at a shop, much less a new laptop if I botch the job while doing it myself. Speaking of jobs – I need one – lest I go completely broke and end up running this blog out of a Starbucks. I want to start submitting my book to publishers, which might eventually bring in some revenue, but I have some important edits that need to be done first (I have to make the best impression possible), and currently the thing is out to pasture, in the delicate hands of friends and family ranchers, who will, after tending to the beast, tell me all about how it behaves, so that I might flog it into shape accordingly. At this point I knew, despite my overactive brain’s fearsome denial of the fact, that my most prudent course of action; was to wait.I have to wait the 3-5 days for the part before I can continue working on my writing. I have to wait for my friends and family to complete a sci/fi book that I wrote (no pressure or anything…), before I finish editing, and submit it to a publisher. I have to wait to hear back from another job I went out for, to see if i got the part, so I might be able to pay my rent. I have to wait and see when my heat will crap out again. I have to wait, I have to wait, I have to wait…. It’s enough to drive a guy mad!

As if this all weren’t enough to be concerned over, my brilliant mind thought that now might be a good time to flood my every waking thought with the promise of failure. The dastardly creeping fears of uncertainty worked their way into my brain like a sly vampire hell-bent on sucking me dry (we spoke about this once, didn’t we?), and before long had me convinced that: my life had been a waste, I had been traveling down the wrong road all along, and that, most likely, I would have had a more promising career in life had I merely chosen to be the guy who scrapes barnacles from the sides of boats. I still knew where I wanted to end up in life, and was/am working hard to get to that foregone conclusion, but it’s all this stuff in the middle that’s getting me down! How can I ever hope to get where I’m going with so many obstacles in the way?

This is why I love family

It was at this point that my phone rang. It was my Uncle Steven. He’d started reading the book. He likes it so far. He tells me that my style reminds him of Douglas Adams; the author of the wonderful Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy trilogy (hello boost to ego, nice to make your acquaintance), which are great reads – all 5 of them (yes there are five books in his trilogy). He want’s to know how I’m doing. “Well”, I tell him, knowing full well that I’m about to hit him with an airliner full of baggage, “I’m broke, I lost a 5 day job to an interview – which I didn’t land – my heat’s out, my computers messed up, I ruined my dress shoes by walking in the snow, and, as I was trying to resolve some plot points in my new novel, I hit a complete brick wall – I know where it ends, but i have no idea how I can get there.”

There was a pause on the other end of the line.

All i could think was: Oh god, I’ve killed him with my contagious depression. Then, rather than feeding me the customary, “Don’t worry, it’ll be alright’s”, or, “the night is always darkest before the dawn’s” (neither of which would have been the least bit of help to me), he simply says, “Write the end of your story”.

“I read a lot of fiction,” he says, “and if I like an author I read about them too. Oftentimes I hear that authors know where they’re headed with a plot, and they certainly know where they currently are, but have no idea how to fill the gaps in the middle to get them to where they need to be. So, my advice to you, is to write the end of your story, and the rest will find its own way to happen.”

Then it struck me. My uncle was right. I had to write the end of my story.

It was so simple, so obvious: write the end, and fill in the gaps later. Duh. Just make sure that you know where you’re headed, and eventually you’ll find your way there. Wow… I had been weak. I hadn’t been thinking clearly. I had obviously let my emotions get the best of me, and now i knew them for what they were: emotions, nothing more.

There will be work. Whether I have to get a waitering job, or scrape barnacles: I will find a way to pay rent. The computer will be fine (right now I have it hooked up to a tv so that I can continue to create), and if it’s not, I’ll work at a library. The heat will warm the house, or it wont, there’s always throw blankets and bathrobes. All these minute issues had added up to become the sum of all their implicit nuances combined: I.E. a fearsome thing. But, in the end, they meant next to nothing, and it would be a severe waste of time to dote on them. Even though they were (and are) legitimate fears, which have to be handled, I couldn’t let them dominate my attention. I had to find a way to get past them, if ever I wanted to get back on track toward achieving my goals.

Good creative types, I think that sometimes – when life get’s particularly overwhelming, when we feel helpless, when we feel lost, like I did today – that it’s all to easy to keel over and give up. To throw in the towel. To raise the white flag. Problem is, the only person that’s suffers from this loss in the end… Is you. This is why it’s so important to always bear in mind the end’s to our own stories. For how can we ever expect to get where we’re going, if we don’t know where we’re headed?

We can’t

Today good creative people, might be a rough day. Things might not have turned out quite as you’d expected. Maybe it’s your power that’s out, perhaps your dog had a mishap on the new white carpet, or, possibly, your daughter came home with a tattoo. Today it just might feel like the world is plotting against you. Like what you’re creating doesn’t matter – or never did – and neither do you. Today, you might be convinced that you’d never had an ice cubes chance in hell to succeed in the first place…

Well today – creative types across the globe – I’m here to tell you all: you do have a chance, you do matter, and what you’re working on is worthwhile.

Heck, giving up is easy. Lots of people can do that. But working through issues, hardships, and misfortune: these are things that only a select few will have the fortitude to be able to overcome. These obstacles are, and will always be, the tests that creative people need to pass if they ever expect to achieve in life.

Be the achiever. Succeed. Find a way.

As for me; I’m still working despite it all, I’m still waiting for that inverter to come in the mail, and I’m still holding my breath till I hear some feedback from my friends and loved ones about my novel – but I’m not quitting. That would just be too easy.

If anyone has a good story about a way in which they triumphed over the hardships of life to succeed, that would be a nice thing to share with the class 🙂

As always be observant, never judgemental, stay creative, and never give up good people. I promise you I wont. See you at the top 🙂

~J

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Comments
  1. Hen says:

    Yo, that was inspirational bro!- I read that and even thou the yellow smiley was an infulence, it was a read that really made me happy. Good write man! Keep up the good work. They make us say five words after every jiujitsu class- Gratitude, humility, perserverence, courage and self control. If u turn those words into a phat blog entry, it would be this one.

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