Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Pai Mei

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Douglas Adams

According to people who know about these things, yesterday was the most depressing day of the year. Don’t take my word for it, look here.

But I had a little treat yesterday that lifted my spirits in the most unexpected way. As usual, I’m getting ahead of myself…

To my mind, the worst ailment to afflict the freelance writer is insecurity. Any writer who says otherwise is, probably, a liar. We all work in a vacuum. And variations on the same thoughts flood our heads: “I’m not very good at this.” “I can’t do this.” “My old stuff was better.”

I think I know when I’ve written something good. I’m pretty sure I know when I’ve written something bad. But all creative types have moments when they are convinced that they suck.

Neil Gaiman once asked Will Eisner why he continued to write and draw and tell stories. Eisner answered that he had once seen a film where a jazz musician kept playing because he was still searching for the Note. That’s why Eisner kept working. He was striving for perfection, to finally create something that pleased him, hunting for that Note.

I guess we are all like that. Always looking for the Note, no matter how good or bad we are.

I’ve gone off on another tangent, I know. Bear with me.

In a moment of boredom, I Googled myself yesterday. I make no apologies for this. False modesty be damned! I bet ALL writers with work out in the world Google themselves occasionally.

I found out that a prestigious London university is using the two chapters I wrote for a lovely book that was published last year as course materials for one of their Film Studies degree modules.

Feels a bit weird. Just when I think, "I'm not very good at this writing thing", something happens to convince me otherwise. At least for a while.

Ironically, I could never get onto a Film Studies university degree course when I was younger, and years later, the students are turning to my texts for wisdom. Odd.

The never-was-a-student becomes the not-quite-a-teacher. Wax on, wax off.

No comments: