This morning we came to breakfast feeling good about our progress. Some of us had killed our babies and made new ones (metaphorically, friends… metaphorically).
Some were nearing the completion of their outlines, one was preparing for a high-stakes market pitch, others were just punching out pages, while yet others took important strides in other ways. On this screenwriter’s bootcamp, writers get stuff done!
As we sat down for lunch, it occurred to us that we were only 24 hours away from heading home. The consensus was that the days had gone incredibly fast, the group had a great dynamic, and we all had achieved a lot.
After the meal however, Jayne suddenly blurted out: We’re all failures, aren’t we?
The response was a mix of laughter and confusion. Jayne was actually piggy-backing off an earlier discussion about how the label ‘writer’ holds strong associations with success, specifically fame, money and publishing deals.
From that perspective it’s not difficult to agree with Jayne. After all, if monetary success is the only expectation the writer – or artist in general – is saddled with in our culture, most of us are bound for failure.
According to Jo and Kath, people don’t understand that writing is a craft that relies on continual writing and re-writing. Roz, Don, and I agreed. Roz added that writers engage in their craft for the same reasons other artists do; simply for the sake of doing it.
This reminds me of an article by 20th century literary theorist Victor Shlovsky. He writes: “Art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things.” The act of writing – societal expectations aside – simply works to keep some of us alive.
Our discussion addressed probably one of the most important questions: ‘why?’ The answer, while some may find somewhat bizarre or confusing, is a sufficient response for the writer; for the artist.
After we finished lunch, we decided we needed to stretch our legs and have a group photo – nature seemed to think so as well 🙂