Wednesday, 10 December 2008

A Day Of Disappointments

You know I mentioned my absent-mindedness/foggy brain yesterday? Erm, yes, well, it led to a big disappointment today. It was Megan's Christmas play at school. She was Cow 1 and had a speaking part. Nige couldn't go, so he asked me to video the play for prosperity. All well and good, except that I hate filming and I'm not used to the camcorder or whatever it's called these days. I took my mother-in-law along and she suggested we sit on the back row so that I could stand up to get the best view to film. Megan was on the stage and I got a perfect view of her in the lovely cow costume her nanna had made. The play began and I started to film. Then I went to zoom in and pressed the wrong button. Something odd happened. I carried on filming, then my arm got stiff, so I sat down, having switched off the camcorder. After a minute's break I stood up and started filming again. By the end of the performance my vision was blurry from staring at the little screen on the camcorder and my arm felt as if it was about to drop off. Still, I felt I had some good shots of Megan and her classmates. Megan was word perfect, spoke up loudly and clearly, and I successfully zoomed in this time when it was her turn to speak.
My mother-in-law came back for tea and we all looked forward to watching the performance on the TV afterwards. It all looked great on film... for two minutes, then nothing! Blue screen. End of film. What had gone wrong? Nige fiddled around and said, 'Nope, there's no more.' He thinks I'd probably pressed the 'pause' button by mistake, so the majority of the performance was lost. I was gutted. I overreacted, of course. Nige told me not to make such a big thing of it. Easier said than done. This was Megan's last nativity, as she goes into the Juniors in September. It was one of those 'memorable childhood milestones' and I'd missed it. Well, I hadn't really, but it felt as if I had. The one reason I don't like filming these things is that you can't sit down, relax and enjoy the performance. I was there, but I didn't really see or hear what was going on, because I was staring at a little screen, trying to capture the moment. Except I didn't. Aargh! Yes, I'm beating myself up about it and I know I shouldn't. I'm sick of hearing, 'It can't be helped,' and 'We all make mistakes'.
I guess I'm a bit edgy just lately. I feel as if I'm teetering on the edge. Menopausal maybe? I am prone to depression and it's been a battle to remain positive the past few months. Silly things like failing to record the school play, losing Megan's sweatshirt (which has since turned up, by the way) and losing the padlock for my gym locker (the new one I bought didn't fit either!!) add up to make me feel like one big loser in life. Daft, I know, but negative feelings have a habit of snowballing. I know I just have to pick myself up and get on with it, but it's not easy.
I had two further disappointments today. The big brown envelope with my own handwriting on the address label came through the letter box causing me to mutter, 'Not already!'. Yes, it was my story dutifully returned by Park Publications along with the results of their Debut Magazine Competition. I wasn't even shortlisted. Feeling in a more positive mood this morning, I thought, oh well, that's another story I can send out. I don't feel quite the same about it this evening. Then I downloaded my emails and there was one entitled, 'Southport Writers Competition'. In a fit of optimism I thought they were letting me know I'd won a prize, having entered their comp in October. No such luck! Again, it was a list of results and I hadn't even been shortlisted. Oh well, another story free to send elsewhere. Except of course I now have my doubts about both those stories and all day I've been mulling over radical rewrites.
Tomorrow is another day. I hope I'll be in a more positive frame of mind, unless I'm hungover, which I probably will be! I think one of my new year's resolutions will have to be (again) to stop attempting to drown my sorrows. Actually, I feel better just having sat down and written this blog!


Jan Jones said...

Jo, love, you're only beating yourself up about this because it meant so much to you to have a record of your daughter's last infant nativity. But think - how many times over the next 12 years will you watch it? If you're anything like me, about twice.

But you WILL remember this nativity now, albeit for maybe the wrong reasons. I do hope you feel better having written this out. Writing helps us make sense of our feelings so much, as if all the tangled thoughts are straightened out by the act of laying them on a page.

Life goes on and we get stronger.

As for competitions - I gave up on them years ago. They are usually just one person's judgement. And that person may be having a bad day too.


Jo said...

Jan, what a lovely message, thank you. It's made me feel so much better. I think you're probably right about competitions, but they're one of the few places you can send out one's more 'literary' efforts these days. The entry fees do add up after a while and I'm wondering if the amount of time and energy spent on those stories could be spent elsewhere.

Jan Jones said...

You're welcome, Jo. And that's certainly the conclusion I came to re competition stories. If the story is singing to me I'll write it - otherwise it's saleable stuff only. There are only so many hours in a day, sadly.

(Poems don't count. I write them for myself)

Sally Zigmond said...

I hate technology! I always manage to hit the wrong button , too. And I do agree that you miss the whole feel of an event if you're too busy trying to get 'the perfect shot'.

But I do understand how you feel although I also know it won't seem so bad later.

And if you had to choose between losing a recording of Megan or losing Megan herself which would you choose? See? That puts it into perspective, doesn't it?

And as for competition non-wins, don't worry. Just because you don't win a couple, doesn't mean they same stories won't do well elsewhere. It's maddening but not worth getting depressed about.