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Of Failure and Regret

If there has been any one thing that above the rest has inspired me, it would be Walt Disney. Not so much the man, as the legacy, as the idea. Someone so invested in the idea of progress that he could come up with the idea for E.P.C.O.T., yet so very much mired in the realties of the world around him as to embrace capitalism. A lot of Disney’s early rides were very much long advertisements for various brands. The Carousel of Progress was created for the World’s Fair and showed off a range of G.E. technology and appliances. World of Motion was about travel; the future of automobiles and transportation as seen through the lens of General Motors. The core of those rides though, the things that made Disney’s attractions stand out was a certain Optimism about it all. The same optimism and originality you find in the works of Roddenberry or Henson. These were men who through it all, knew what the world was, but saw what it could be.

They inspired me, and even the name of this little slice of the web I call mine is a reference to that. Just One Spark, One Little Spark, of inspiration. What better way to start things off then than with a post about my failures and my regrets.

Don’t misunderstand, Walt Disney had a lot of regrets in his life, and they served as spurs to push him onwards towards his future success. ‘It all began with a Mouse,’ as they say, but that’s not entirely true. It began with a Rabbit, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The story of Oswald is one that makes it clear that failure isn’t the end, and regret isn’t bad, and that’s what optimism is about. It’s not being blind to your failures so much as to not to let them weigh you down. Have regrets, have them for as long as you need them, but the moment they start getting in the way of pushing forward let them go. It won’t be easy, but it’s all you can do if you don’t want to lose yourself to the quagmire of doubt.

Either way, this isn’t about Disney’s failures, it’s about mine. I started this blog to write about NaNoWriMo, and let me say right now that, short of a miracle, I failed at finishing the novel. I started though, and after about 600 words I realized I just didn’t know what I was writing. That’s the problem with High-Concept ideas, they’re high-concept. Building a whole book around them requires time and planning. Neither of which are something I had. I accept that failure, but I don’t regret it. How could I?

The past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time roleplaying. It almost feels as if I’ve never been as inspired as I have been the past month. I’d hardly say I’ve written 50,000 words worth, but I wrote, and I wrote. New characters were given birth to, old characters were refined, and ideas were inspired. I feel I could take these characters and put them to work into a book or a story of some sort. Which perhaps isn’t the best thing to do with your roleplay based creations, but that’s always been my favorite part of the hobby. I enjoy bouncing ideas off other people, seeing how they’d react to situations I didn’t set up. I’m a writer, and Roleplaying is a way for me to write.

I also managed to get the impetus to start this blog, a bit later than I had wanted, I’ll admit, but it’s up, it’s here. Just one spark was all I needed, and though that spark may have fizzled out a bit, it ignited a hundred others on its way. That’s really all you can ask from any failure, and having that success means I don’t have time for those other regrets. They’re there, don’t get me wrong. I regret a lot of things, especially this month overall, but there’s so much more to cheer for than there is to look back upon and sigh.

I don’t really know what the future holds for me, that’s okay. I’ve done more this month than I have in a long time, and that is something I regret; the time wasted before now. I strive so much for perfection that I lose sight of the journey I should be taking to get there. If nothing else I can take that away from NaNoWriMo, embrace imperfection. I can’t promise it’ll stick, but if nothing else, for today, I can say I’ve embraced imperfection. I’ve written this, every error and imperfect wording that lies within. Every part of me screams to come up with a style, to work out a theme, to be consistent.

I’m ignoring them.

I’ll get there eventually, and when I do it’ll be because I took that first step.

I know that today is hardly the Best Time of my Life, but I’m certainly looking forward to a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow. I have Walt Disney to thank for that, and well a whole host of others. Let’s be honest though, when your inspiration comes the wonderfully done songs of the Sherman Brothers, it has all got to begin, with a Walt.

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