It appears I have failed. I conjured no ghosts, invoked no spirits of any measure. I failed to achieve what I hoped I already had. He told me this, my critic, in a public forum* and so mortified, I dug into my repertoire of quotes and pulled out 3 nuggets from the late, Randy Pausch's last lecture: "your critics are the ones who still love you and care," " Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted," and "don't bail; the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap." I brewed a tea from these words and drank it slowly, letting the steam unfurl and dissipate into the air. Then I had a soothing second cup with a quote from Ken Robinson's lecture on creativity:
"...kids will take a chance. If they don't know, they'll have a go. Am I right? They're not frightened of being wrong. Now, I don't mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original... And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this, by the way. We stigmatize mistakes. And we're now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities."
Drinking in the words of others who have gone before me is a fortifying tonic, a tincture against the virus of defeat. This morning, I feel renewed. So, fearlessly fail, I say. Never lose that childlike wonder. Never give up. Creating is playing, playing with ideas, tools, mud and whatever happens to be handy. Sometimes, you hit upon something singular and it resonates, more often you don't. The important thing is to fearlessly CREATE regardless of the results and hope that there will indeed be gold at the bottom of these many barrels of crap. And to remember well that our greatest opus lies in how we choose to shape our lives.
* I, of course, deleted his stronger comments because while 'nays' may be helpful for improving your art, bad reviews need not be pinned to your computer monitor as a mocking daily reminder of your failures.