Disappointment

18 07 2007

I’ve been away for a few days, a vacation from the computer so you’d think I’d come back in a more happy state, and yet here’s what I’ve chosen to write about: disappointment.

It’s been on my mind for awhile, this feeling of disappointment. It seems a continual state for me personally, and yes, I realize that isn’t the most positive state and sometimes, sometimes I do escape from it, but then it suckers me right back in. It’s on my mind quite a bit today because much of the first half of my novel focuses on disappointment. Disappointment in situations, but more so in people, in people not being as good as you expect or at least hope they will be. Of course this probably begs the question about the intersection of writing and personal experience. Is my work autobiographical? Not in terms of era or situation and there is no character that is me, but deep down, in terms of world views and beliefs and feelings and reactions, well, yes it probably is. All of who I am and what I’ve experienced inform my writing and have shaped the world I’ve created and the people that have come to inhabit that world. So in a way I am writing what I know, though on the surface the world and the experiences I am writing about seem very distant from me.

And how does this relate to my reading? Well, I was thinking of that today too as I tried to decide on what to read next. I’m feeling a bit indecisive about it not wanting to delve into too much since I am eagerly awaiting Harry on Saturday. I looked through my bookshelves – my to-be-read shelves – and feeling (yes, you can see it coming) disappointed in what was there. Many of the books have sat on the shelves for awhile and looking at them now I feel a bit disappointed in them, or rather sense this aura of disappointment hanging around them. It’s just they all seem to have sounded so much better when I bought them then they do now.

And then there’s the books that I did start and which proved (to say the least) disappointing, probably because I was expecting too much. I was also – switching gears slightly – the tiniest bit disappointed in the new Harry Potter film. I realize it’s a big book and there’s lots that has to be cut out, but the 5th book was the one that I had the most invested in (having published a piece on it) and I just felt a bit wanting in the film. I enjoyed it, though it wasn’t my favourite of the films and did not live up to my expectations for it.

I guess that’s the secret to outsmarting disappointment: don’t expect too much. But I can’t seem to get a handle on that. I still go about expecting a lot, expecting things to be better and even though that means I teeter and totter like Humpty Dumpty on the perpetual ledge of disappointment, I can’t help feeling that learning to expect less would simply send me plunging over the other side rather than placing me safely on solid ground.

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