Benchmark


The Curmudgeonly Lion surprised me with flowers to cheer me up. It definitely worked.

I just finished reading Ken Follett’s “Hammer of Eden” which means that I managed to read six books this July after months of being unable to concentrate long enough to flinish a book. It feels good. It feels like a relief: I was beginning to worry I might have lost the knack for recreational reading, which would have been heartbreaking. True, most of the books I just consumed are bestsellers or written by pop authors, but I don’t really think that matters: life is too short to be judgy about things you enjoy.

“Hammer of Eden” was fine- there are other Ken Follett books I like a lot more. I’m told I should look into the letters of Samuel Beckett next, which sounds like an appropriate escalation towards the literary from the popular. I’ll see if the library branch has them.

I’m hoping that August will be another good month of leisure reading. Maybe even going to the beach to read or going camping and reading beside a campfire. I don’t really have a good sense of how the month is likely to pan out: the only August related headline I was waiting on was to hear the results of the Nicholls Fellowship that I submitted a screenplay to back in March. I had high hopes: I’d submitted several years ago with the very first original screenplay that is ever written and it had placed pretty well. I thought this year’s screenplay was head-and-shoulders better: more polished, better developed, more nuanced. I felt sure that it would be a step up and, I hoped, it might garner a little attention for my writing from representatives.

But it didn’t.

Results came in yesterday: my script was not selected to advanceto the quarter finals and did not fall within the top 20% of submissions. Which means I actually lost ground in my personal benchmarks. Naturally, I’m disappointed. I know it’s not personal. I know it’s not a statement about me as a writer or even about the script: the script is fine. I’ll be getting reader notes in a month or so, which might help shed some light on areas for improvement, but I’m still proud of what I submitted.

I’m just frustrated- mostly with myself for not having evidence of my progress reflected in the wider world. It’s painfully difficult to be trapped between Truth and Facts. The Truth is that this script was a big step forward for me. The Fact is that, according to the Nicholls readers, my first attempt was somehow better. I can’t turn to Facts as objective evidence of my progress for reassurance when I feel insecure and hopeless- I have to rely on my completely subjective and self-interested belief that I am making progress and my scripts are getting better and all this effort and angst will be worth it. Someday. I hope. Preferably soonish.

So, since I’m not about to be swept into my life of wealth and success next month, my schedule has opened up considerably. Maybe I’ll take up macrame.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 26, 2019.

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