About Risk, Eventually

19May10

So I started doing this 750 words business. It’s a bit more strenuous, really, than the 200 WAD challenge, which might actually mean that I do it, or something.  I don’t know.  I’m not feeling particularly committed to it.  What I would really like is to wake up every morning wanting to write, feeling inspired to write, but I have my doubts, even in summer, as to whether this will pan out!  I guess we’ll see.  A student turned me on to the site, and I’m thinking it might be a great way to torture seniors next semester.  Hahahaha, 750 words a day.  Have fun, suckas.

This morning I am sitting in my room with nothing of consequence to do.  I’m done grading; my classes require no further planning.  No one’s stopping by to visit, which is boring and stupid.  I’ve already harassed the counseling department ladies and made small talk with the building secretaries in the front office.  I’ve chatted with the dean; I’ve disrupted the teacher next door’s class.  I’ve sent my dual-credit grades off to the university.  I’ve attempted to thwart the school’s webfilter to access my gmail account and repeatedly, unsurprisingly failed.  I finished a short story recommended to me by “Harry,” published in an SF magazine he lent me (I’ll write about that shortly).  Now I’m burning Rufus Does Judy for a colleague and attempting to write 750 words.  This is a really dull entry so far.  I feel a little dull.  A lot dull!

So the story I read is called “Echoes” and it’s by a guy named Alan Brennert who is apparently a screenwriter and such.  The premise was cool — this person is bioengineered by her parents to be the ideal musician; she starts her life as a designer baby.  As she grows, she begins to see alternate versions of her — other genetic/biological possibilities she might’ve been had the parents made different choices in the planning process — populating her world, and she becomes totally consumed by envy of them, as they are, naturally, better at different things than she is, and in a few cases, better at what she’s good at.  This is, according to the logic of the story, a common occurrence for genetically engineered individuals; they can physically witness all of their might-have-beens, whereas regular folk can only imagine.

The story eventually becomes a clunky treatise on free will, and I think the ending is boring and trite, but the idea fueling it and the handling of the story up to the protagonist’s revelation is pretty deft, I think.  I like the idea inherent in the protagonist’s actions that suggests we are more cowed and immobilized when we measure ourselves against our own unachieved potential than when we compare ourselves to others.  I’ve been whining a lot (in my mind and to others) about how I feel like nobody really told me what my potential was and so I progressed through life constantly doubting myself — I blame the patriarchy in particular — but I think it’s as much an internal problem as an external one.  I’ve always been sort of guardedly arrogant about my abilities in general, and I think I always knew that if I took a chance at something I could probably make a good go of it.  But I was still terrified of the risk, and that, unfortunately, has steered a lot of my professional course in life.

Get me wrong do not: I find myself to be a very adept teacher, and I do not think it is an easy job to be adept at.  I do not consider teaching to be settling, as I think it requires an entirely different skill set and artistry than any other paths that most suggest are related — writing, editing, that sort of thing.  I, however, do think that I felt like failure in this realm would be more acceptable than failure in more artistic or independent endeavors, because failing at teaching high school would probably only mean that I wasn’t particularly good at relating to teenagers, which, who’s going to judge me on that?  Failing at writing, on the other hand, means being branded as a talentless hack, and being a talentless hack who doesn’t already ADMIT they’re a talentless hack is a particularly horrifying fate.  Additionally, if one stinks at teaching, it’s plausible that one will nevertheless find SOMEWHERE to work if one looks long enough, whereas stinking at writing will generally mean not getting work doing said writing.  In fact, NOT stinking at writing STILL isn’t a guarantee of employment in writing-based fields.  Teaching is clearly the safer of the two choices, then.

I do unsafe things sometimes, but I wonder if I ever DON’T calculate risk before doing so.  I mean, I like rollercoasters just fine because there’s this facade of danger in a totally controlled environment, and I’d gladly skydive again provided I were strapped to a professional.  I’m probably going to last FOREVER, evolutionarily speaking.  But lord.  I feel like some freefall is in order.

Advertisements


No Responses Yet to “About Risk, Eventually”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: