Saturday, October 4, 2008

Laughable Loss

If you're trying to invent something new,
you're going to reach a lot of discouraging points
and most people give up.

Steve Lacy


It's okay to give up. Giving up is fine. Giving up is good. I give up several times a day. When the pen falls on the floor and disappears into the black hole, I give up looking for it. I gave up trying to get my scanner to work so I could post some pictures in my journal. I gave up trying to get my journal started on logspot. Everything I have and I've done I gave up on.

What giving up does is to relieve the growing emotions like frustration, desperation and rage. It enables one to let go of the trash that's gathering at the front door of one's thinking. It then enables one to open the door and let fresh air into the mind. It thumbs it's nose at failure and disappointment. It justifies tears.

But if you don't take yourself too seriously, it also enables you to go back and start over. The air is cleared, the bonds have been removed and the fog has drifted away. It's a splendid emotional cleaning. It can help to turn misery into joy.

This afternoon I watched a friend accidently drop a small piece of her telephone as she was trying to assemble it. It fell to the floor and disappeared. She was angry and frustrated because she couldn't find it. Groping around on the floor in the only places it could be just made her more upset. Finally she gave up. We had a chat, shared a few laughs and she went and sat down. From her chair she could see under a cabinet and there was the piece she had been looking for. Not where it should logically be.

Years ago I was doing a play down south. It was a terrible experience. I didn't like the theatre, the director, the other actors nor the town. I was miserable. I finally made up my mind to leave. I quit the show, left the theatre and went home. It was a long bus ride to get from there back to New York. And all the way I kept asking myself what I thought I was doing. I was walking away from a job, from my career. I had never done anything like that in my life. But there was a quiet voice inside me which kept saying "You're doing the right thing." I wouldn't have paid any attention to it if it had happened only once. But the voice kept repeating over and over again "You're doing the right thing."

When I finally got home I relaxed and went to sleep. When I woke up the next day I started processing what I had done and I realized that I had accepted that job for the wrong reasons. It was a money choice, not an artistic choice. There was nothing wrong with the play itself. It was the production that made me unhappy.

A week or so later I received a call from another theatre asking me to come and play the very same role I had walked away from. A bigger theatre, a better director and a nicer group of people all around; it was a very happy experience. Obviously I had done the right thing.

I spent my life working as a performing artist. Now I'm retired with physical problems. I've given up acting and quit show business. Will I ever work again? I don't know. But like my actor/director friend Jim, I have sung my swan song so many times I no longer take myself seriously .

DB - The Vagabond


Beth said...

It's amazing how walking away from something and then coming back to get a different perspective can work wonders. I think our frustration can cloud our thought processes so much that it obscures our ability to think logically.

Simply walking away, removing ourselves from the immediate source of the frustration, can give us a chance to clear our thoughts and see a new approach.

Wonderful advice, D.

Hugs, Beth

a corgi said...

great post DB!! I've been reading your entries; just haven't commented; I like your new journal!!

take care of yourself!


Rjet33 said...

I can so relate to the physical problems. I swear when I hit my
40's, I started falling apart! I enjoyed reading this entry. I'm sorry your experience here in the south wasn't a good one, but am glad it all turned out very well for you in the end. Thanks for dropping by to visit me!~


Rose* said...

I'm very persistent when it comes to things. I don't like to give up without a fight, lol. My new journal is still a work in progress. I can't decide on the template, yet. Thanks for commenting, DB. Hopefully I will be able to settle into my new place by next week-end, if all goes according to plan.

Alice said...

My first husband used to say that he was working on making his second million dollars; he had given up on his first. Good advice; don't sweat the small stuff :)........alice

Joyce said...

I don't consider myself a quitter but sometimes it's a good idea to walk away for a while. If I feel myself losing my cool while trying to accomplish something, I just walk away and do something else for a while. Seems to work for me.
Hugs, Joyce

Indigo said...

I had to learn to walk away in order to actually accomplish something. I was so afraid of admitting defeat, in the end I would end up defeating none other than myself. These days I've learned to accept some things on life's terms. Nothing in life is perfect and to strive for perfection is a simple folly. (Hugs)Indigo

Big Mark 243 said...

it isn't about 'giving up' ... more of a re-centering ... what ever it is that you call it, sometimes you have to let things come to you and not try to 'make' what isn't happening, happen anyway ...