SONG OF THE DAY VINGT-HUIT: Try Again by Aaliyah (Romeo Must Die soundtrack, 2000)
This song reminds me of: Can’t believe it’s been about 10 years since her tragic death! At the time she was my idol and I was depressed for weeks. The 9/11 attacks didn’t make it any better. Fall 2001 was in interesting time to say the least.
Favorite line: “And if at first you don’t succeed (yeah) dust yourself off and try again ( you can…again!)…”
Why: This is definitely one of my favorite songs not only because I like the way it sounds or because I still love Aaliyah, but because the song has a vital message. Every now and then we mess up, but it’s important to realize that just because you didn’t reach a goal doesn’t mean it’s over. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
At 15, I had a 15-year plan. Some of my goals were to be: a Duke alum, a coroner (ehhhh….), married right out of college (yikes!) and a mother of three by 30 (double yikes!!). In fact, at this very moment I should be pregnant with my firstborn…a son (pffft). These days, when I think back to that plan, I grin. As humored as I am by it now, I’m even more relieved that things didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. Obviously at the time, the plan seemed like the only way I’d truly be happy, yet in less than two years many of my “aspirations” were at the very least modified and at most completely reversed.
Thank God life doesn’t go the way we’d like it to. Thank God we get older and (typically) wiser and figure out who we are, who we’re not, what we want and what we don’t want. If I’d known at 15 what I’d go through in the next several years and where I’d be today, I would have barricaded myself in my bedroom for fear of what lied ahead. There’s been some tough times. Not just bad moments—really big disappointments that tendered pit-of-the-valley stretches and left me wondering how and why I should pick myself up and keep going. Some of these low points were self-inflicted. Others were more reactionary and the result of persons who I cared about hurting me deeply. Sometimes I recognized the set back right away and was quick in rising above, and other times I didn’t even realize I was in a downward spiral until I hit the ground. But that’s the point. There was a ground. There always is, no doubt. And there’s no doubt you can pick yourself up off of it. The question is when will you pick yourself up? And in what fashion?
Life is short. When someone we love leaves us, we often lament that we didn’t have more time to share with them, regardless of their age. So why spend any time wallowing in misery or boiling in rage at a misfortune? The answer’s easy: because it’s natural to do this; I would bet that it’s easier to remember negative situations than positive ones (
evolutionary psychology, anyone?). Therefore, we must be intentionally positive. Actively optimistic.
Not everyone will like you. People will hurt you unintentionally and sometimes intentionally. It will be upsetting and infuriating and may shake your world. However, if you realize your worth, you will neutralize your intrinsically negative feelings with positive ones. You will temper your desire to seek revenge by migrating from the hurt and gravitating towards people who are worthy of your trust, your respect and your love. You will kick butt and take names (of people who will help you kick more butt). You will trip on bumps in the road but be aware that you are too far ahead but also too short on time to revert or halt. You will think of past plans that didn’t quite work and you will think of those times or those people who temporarily rained on your parade of life. When you do, hopefully you will smile, sigh with relief and continue optimizing.
Okay I am not the best at summarizing my thoughts so I am not going to even try to summarize 50 episodes worth of stuff involving story and characters. I will however share my thoughts on this word “retool” which was thrown around a lot during the latter half of this show.
Strike That, Reverse It
A story a day. Just one a day. Just one goddamn story a day. It sounds so unbelievably easy, but its probably been one of the harder things I have done in a while. There is only so much creativity that someone would be able to come up with in such a short amount of time. I love to write short stories. I love how they leave you begging for more by the last word, but I have to say that as I have been writing these short stories there have been some that I completely love; ones that I think I would be more than happy to expand on and then others (the most recent ones) that I just hate. I have been trying to squeeze them out just to say I’ve done one a day. I’ve turned into a prompt zombie.
That’s not how I want to write. I don’t want to be known as the girl who just wrote something to write it. If I write, I want to feel like what I’m writing is damn good. My name is on this isn’t it? I don’t want to write you a story that basically is trying to be controversial or trying to be risqué. If I write you a story I want you to feel it, and I want to feel it too. I think it’s been just about a week since I’ve written anything and that’s because I feel like I’m running away from it. Like, I’m forcing it so damn much that its not fun anymore and I think that’s very apparent in my work. I think you’re all seeing that I’m not feeling it. I’m not asking any questions about my characters, I’m not really letting me know who they are. I’m just trying to put words on a page for you and unfortunately they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do.
They’re supposed to move you. They’re supposed to make you feel something other than what you’re feeling right this second. I don’t think writing one story a day is going to get me there. So as of right now, I’m changing everything. One story a week. One story a week will allow me time for edits and revisions. It will allow me time to get to know my work and it will let me bring you something of much better quality. While I do feel like I’m going back on my word I have to ask myself why I’m doing this in the first place. I’m doing it to show myself how creative and wonderful of a writer I can be, not to show you how much I can act like a story machine and produce work that I quite frankly could give a shit less about. I want you all to be proud of what I’m trying to do. I want to bring you emotion and love and drama and pure hatred and violence and innocence and euphoria. But I also want to have time to make that happen. So do I feel like I’ve let myself down? No. In fact I feel like I’ve made a decision that could keep this project going for the rest of the year instead of me shutting it down completely and spending the rest of my life wondering what could have happened if I had just finished what I had started. Isn’t that what life is about? Perseverance? Dedication? Heart?
So let’s try it this way for a while and see what happens. I hope I haven’t disappointed anyone and I really hope you all keep reading. Every ounce of support really means everything to me. I want to do this for you. I need to do this for me.
Thanks everyone :)
So, I was working on the TAVPA comic some more, and I noticed that while I had come up with tons of characters that, in my opinion at least, had good well-rounded personalities that could be used well, it didn’t distract from the fact that it was tons of characters. (and also I noticed that was all one sentence, and it probably wasn’t a proper sentence either. Grammar Nazi friends and readers, please forgive me.) So, I have narrowed it down to one small group. Now, don’t worry, the other characters will get love as well, however, I’m going to keep it more focused on some of the characters I’ve thought the most about.
Oh, and I noticed that some of my drawings didn’t have enough expression, so to help with this problem, EVERYONE HAS EYEBROWS!!!