Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Give Up

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 computer started. I gave up trying to finish the painting .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 its 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 accidentally 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 or 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 I've given it up so often, I could give it up a few more times.

DB - The Vagabond
Never give up


It's a long, hot, sticky summer, so here's a hot, sticky question for you. Don't let the recent New York State decision rob you of your thunder.

Same sex marriage. Should it be legal or not? If so, why? If not, why not?

7 answers so far.

You have until the last day of summer, but don't dally.
I eagerly await your answer.



Geo. said...

Thought-provoking post, DB., but I'm not sure the analogy ends where you left it. When I drop something on purpose, a coin or nail, it just lays there. But if dropped accidentally, it is possessed of supernatural energy --escapes and skitters unbelievable distances. I suspect this is a mystery of the universe, of energy and matter, our lives are staged to settle.

Ken Riches said...

A different perspective often works wonders.