It is the end of the Summer. I’ve been doing end of the Summer stuff. I don’t feel like talking about writing but, I will say that I noticed, as I was working on something, that I was essentially writing the same story over and over again. I noticed this after watching an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” wherein Eddie Murphy explained that the film “The Planet of the Apes” is really “The Wizard of Oz.”
So, I looked at what I was working on and realized I was telling yet another version of a story I’d already written, and published. I also noticed a familiar theme, a particular scene, that kept repeating in some of my work, and clearly recognized where that influence was coming from. Not to be a tease but I’m not going to reveal what it was that had so embedded itself in my psyche that it kept showing up in my stories, besides, it doesn’t really matter and isn’t the point. The point is, I’d just as soon not be writing the same story over and over again. I think they call that getting stuck in a rut. Ruts be damned. Not that both “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Planet of the Apes” don’t have their own, individual, merits of fabulousness. Then I thought, to myself, “Am I possibly kind of burned out, after publishing eleven books since September of 2016?” ( I pulled one from publication because it wasn’t what it needed to be, and, etc. but that didn’t save me from having done all the work to have published eleven books in that time.) “Am I possibly a little burned out?” I don’t know, but everything suddenly felt kind of stale creatively so I decided to just chill out for a while, give myself a minute. So, I’m doing that.
I’ve realized that I don’t believe in failure. I believe in perspective and philosophy. After all, what is success? I think it depends on who you ask. Is success accomplishing one’s own goals, meeting one’s own standards? Or is success some standard set by the opinions of others? I mean, I think devices, machines, are capable of malfunction to the point of failure, however, I don’t know that such applies to people. I think people are always learning, whether they know it or not, and I don’t see failure in that, philosophically speaking, of course.
“I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” Thomas Edison
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more wisely.” Henry Ford
“Never confuse a single failure with a final defeat.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
Etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum. Then I was thinking about the Wright brothers, what folks must have thought of them when they were trying to figure out flight. Then I was thinking about Nikola Tesla. When Nikola Tesla died at age eighty-six, he was reportedly flat broke, but I don’t think you could call him a failure by any stretch of the imagination. I hadn’t ever thought about it before, but, having thought about it, I’ve realized, I don’t believe in failure. A person can do a bad job, or a good job, at whatever it is, they can quit, or give up, or “make a poor showing”, but in every one of those things is learning, is the experience. So, there’s that. I do believe that employing the ability to think for one’s self is essential in such matters.
I’m reading a thick biography, over seven hundred pages, of President Abraham Lincoln that was written by Carl Sandburg. Lincoln is my favorite president, Harry Truman would be a close second. I read a couple of biographies of Lincoln during my school years but they were the standard fare, how he did his schoolwork on the backside of a shovel and walked miles to school in the snow, things which are partially true but not quite true. What is true, according to Sandburg, who as a boy heard firsthand tales from Civil War Soldiers, is that Lincoln was a voracious reader and a self-educated man who was against slavery long before he got into politics. As a young man, he was awkward about courting, wasn’t afraid to get into a scrap, and he also had quite a sense of humor, occasionally composing poetry as well. Thus far, about a hundred pages in, it’s a fascinating read, painting an interesting portrait of the times like no other book I’ve ever read. Here’s a link to that.
I think I’ve needed to replenish my well, so to speak. I guess that makes for not much to report, but it is no less important a thing than things that seem more important. Sometimes a bit of pointed meandering, pondering, and wandering is all. It’s the end of the Summer, I’m doing end of the Summer stuff.