Saturday, 11 October 2008

strikes and gutters

It's been an interesting couple of weeks, that's for sure. Before I get into that, I just want to thank everyone who posted congratulation notes here, on facebook, sent emails and texts. I knew my family would be over the moon, and I knew my friends would be delighted, but for people I don't know or only know through the industry and cyberworld, to take the time to send a message, that was really special and I was genuinely touched.

So it all started 2 weeks ago... when I cracked a disc in my back. It's called a prolapsed disc and it's when a disc cracks, the jelly oozes out and rubs up against the nerve, causing, well, you can imagine - squeamish? It's the third time I've done it, to the same disc each time, and it's a bloody nightmare. It means I've been pretty laid up since, and did not help me enjoy my Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. I was depressed, down in the dumps, questioning anything and everything about what I believe, what I've done, and what I'm doing in my life. A few days later I got the news that I won the award.

Does one ever expect these things? No, probably not. But I can safely say this was totally out of the blue. After I was shortlisted for the RPP, I thought here we go, this is it. This will propel me on the career path. And I failed to get onto the next two schemes I applied for. On this occasion, I discovered that I hadn't made the five person shortlist for the 4Talent Award in the dramatic writing section. Good luck to those that did, but you know what my submission was? The Red Planet script and The Storyteller - so pretty solid work I think! Which just goes to show, you pay your money you take your choice.

This is a subjective business. Success or failure is so often dependent on the opinion of a few individuals. But I think what has been reinforced is that, on spec at least, you write for yourself, first and foremost. The job is then to find other people who like it! Trying to do it the other way around is unlikely to work.

I should have also said that in this two week period came Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. We fast for 24 hours and spend most of that time in shul, praying and repenting for all our sins over the last 12 months. It's intense. If you believe in all this stuff, like I do, it's very intense. And I don't think I have the easiest ride so I often wonder what God wants from me. I don't have the hardest either, there are of course many people with more problems than I. But that is no consolation to me (that would be weird, right? I've always had a problem with the 'there are those worse off than you' argument. Well yes, I know. Am I supposed to draw comfort from other people suffering more?) But as my mate, Toby, said last Friday, "I like the fact that when you were talking about having problems with the Big Man last week, a few days later you get this amazing news." I'm not proselytising! Like I said, you pay your money you take your choice.

So what did I learn, or rather, have been reminded of, over these last two weeks. There are always going to be ups and downs, personally and professionally. Bring on the next two weeks. Like my good friend Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski would say, it's all strikes and gutters.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I sometimes think the weirdest thing to get your head around is the subjective nature of writing. I won't say hardest thing because it's just a case of being prepared to shrug the shoulders and not take it personally. It must be an odd job being a reader because on the one hand they are asked to look at a piece objectively whilst at the same time they have feelings about the subject matter (or not if it doesn't float their boat). In essence what they are making choices for the movie/tv watching public. Tough call.

As I've mentioned before, I never really understood why I got through RRP when there were evidently so many great writers in the blogsphere who didn't. I'd pretty much resigned myself to not getting past the first round. Subjectivity strikes again.

It's tough sometimes. Days when you question the point of keep slogging away and then, bingo, you win a great competition.

RRP was a great achievement when one reviews the stats and it's something I have to remind myself when I get down but this achievment of yours just blows it out of the water.