Imperfect

Ever since I was a kid, I loved reading biographies, from entreprenuers like Steve Jobs to great poets like Su Shi from ancient China’s Song Dynasty. I read David McCullough like the Bible, from his recount on the creator and builder of the Brooklyn Bridge to the 1000-page books on John Adams and Harry Truman…

I studied the successs patterns. I tried to find out exactly what made those people great. And I wanted to “fake it till I was great, too.”

Then, I found the cultural differences between the Chinese and the English versions on the same subject, say Newton or Einstein.  In the Chinese version,  they were almost always so damn perfect.  It was in the English version that I realized that, “Oh, they did have a sense of humor. Oh, they were kids once too.” You might be able to imagine how shocked I was when I read Walter Isaacson‘s Steve Job biography…

To err is human. And yet, it was hard to get that message reading the biographies in Chinese… So, as a teenager, a young adult, I tried hard to get rid of my little foibles, my big shortcomings. It worked for a while, then there was always counterattack.

As I took up writing, it dawned on me that what made characters relatable is exactly their freckles, their imperfections.

When I chose Eddie the Eagle (2015) for my movie buff dad to watch tonight, I ended up watching it with him.

Eddie didn’t look like a pro; he didn’t have the Olympian presence as per the snobbish British Olympic Committee.  But Eddie tried, he failed and fell. He came as last but people fell in love with him and what he stood for – He is our guy. He is the guy who doesn’t care to be perfect. He can’t. He was 22 when he was 16 years too old to begin ski jumping according to the pros.  He can’t change people’s minds, but he sure defied gravity and elevated the founding principle of the Olympic Games:

“The most important thing is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

– Baron Pierre de Coubertin

Most of us aren’t going to be Mozart, maybe not even Salieri. But I’d say this, something plastic surgeons never say, if you are able to feel okay your imperfection in public, I think you’re closer to be the person you dream to be.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Speaking of imperfection, we might be the last few generations who are imperfect. Now those gene-edited babies are among us…

Validation

Picture Credit

Validate:

Recognize or affirm the validity or worth of (a person or their feelings or opinions); 
Cause (a person) to feel valued or worthwhile.

via Oxford Dictionary


We all want validation of some sort.

  • A salesperson wants his sale pitch turn into green notes, so he can claim that he’s a ‘good’ salesperson. Otherwise, he has failed.
  • A parent wants his kids to shine at school, so he can say he’s a ‘good’ parent. Otherwise, he has failed.
  • A friend wants to know if she is being helpful, so she can keep feeling connected and fulfilled. Otherwise, she begins to question if the friend reciprocates her time and endeavor.
  • But a writer, a writer just wants to hear any feedback you have for her story when you ask to read it. Otherwise, why bother?

I email-pitched a feature writing class for the coming Spring Quarter. Then the roster came out, my name wasn’t there, again. Surprise? Nope, I was not. It was not the first “Ouch Moment” since I got into the program. Was I hurt? A teeny bit.

But now I can shrug it off and move on. Just another pinch of salt throws onto my open wound. Now I am so much more thick-skinned, I feel I can take another blow. Why not? Punch me. Punch me hard. Let me see if that’s all you’ve got.

I want to keep getting better. I want to be so damn good, so damn big like an elephant, so the next time you see me, you can’t ignore me. Because you really have to address “The elephant in the room.”


Picture Credit: Zootopia

“I will never let anyone see that they get to me.”


No, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder, literally or figuratively.

I just want to be the best. That’s all.

Writers Write

The Quote I received at the First-Quarter Screenwriter Commencement

For weeks I was tormented by the infamous you-know-who — the Writer’s Block.

The story that I so passionately believed in wasn’t going anywhere. I dreaded writing every day I got up. I even doubted why the fuck I was still in the program. Shouldn’t I just go pack my bags and piss off already?

Then I reread the piece I published here after getting accepted last April. Miraculous, I felt grounded again.

Blinking into the empty blog space with which I originally had so many plans, I felt the urge to reopen shop — no matter how busy I claimed I was.

So this was the promise I made a few days back—

Write and publish something every day here.

For the past ten days, I am coming to realize what a great asset blogging is to get me into the writing zone. It’s like warm up before the real exercise. I feel less tense, and more connected to my words. The bitch in my head gets remarkably quieter after the warm up.

Over time I will get faster articulating my thoughts and feel more comfortable with my words. It all comes down to one thing — persistence. After all —

Writers write.

Here I include some quotes from the great Ray Bradbury to keep me going. A classmate (ye lucky bastard) got one of his quotes (the one on top) at our first-quarter screenwriter commencement. (*Mine is the one above from James Joyce.)

You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.

We should not look down on work nor look down on the forty-five out of fifty-two stories written in our first year as failures. To fail is to give up. But you are in the midst of a moving process. Nothing fails then. All goes on. Work is done. If good, you learn from it. If bad, you learn even more. Work done and behind you is a lesson to be studied. There is no failure unless one stops. Not to work is to cease, tighten up, become nervous and therefore destructive of the creative process.

Raymond Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 — June 5, 2012), American author best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

 

Yours truly,
YZ