Week in Review: Week 40

Reading Time: 2 minutes
“Fall Fields, North Hero Vermont, October 7, 2022. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. I believe the flowers growing into my neighbor’s garden are a native species known as Jerusalem Artichoke, more related to sunflowers than artichokes.

Not much to report this week. I haven’t posted because I’ve been doing more research for two projects. I’m preparing for my interview for The History Channel. Meanwhile, I’m reading through my journals for references to my “Margery” play.

Oh? I hadn’t mentioned The History Channel? The producers of The Food That Built America plan a new series that may include the story of Bubble Wrap. I can’t say too much about it right now. Perhaps that’s just as well. I did say too much about “Inventions That Changed History” on another network and that episode has yet to appear. But these producers do seem committed enough that they’ve booked me into a studio in Brooklyn next week. I’m doing my homework this time and preparing my talking points about The Birth of Bubble Wrap..

I did mention the journals last week. “Harry Houdini and the Witch of Beacon Hill” is part play about Houdini, part memoir about a 40-year case of writer’s block. I’ve reached the point where I need to trace the history of at least three rewrites I made to the play over the years.

Fortunately, I started keeping personal and professional journals in 1978. That’s when I decided to change career paths from law school to writing and editing. Because I started my first rewrites of the play sometime before 1981, I went back to look for references to that play. So far, I’m into the fall of 1978 and have found none.

But before I started the journals, I had a notebook of comments, essays, and even (bad) poetry. And there, in “Reflections Upon Reaching the Ripe Old Age of Twenty,” I wrote:

“[T]alent” is not something one has or finds, but comes with persistence, practice, and positive thinking. One never knows whether one is successful–or can be successful–until one succeeds or fails. One never succeeds by not doing what he hopes to succeed at. Ergo, the “perfectionist” should neither abandon nor despair, but push through with what he’s doing as well as he can, then go on to his other goals, until he succeeds.

Howard Fielding, “Libellus Meus,” 1975

Smart guy. Where has he been all my life?

Observations: Reading my own journals 45 years later is an eye-opening experience and brings back memories I had completely lost. Of course, that church trip to the Holy Land was something I probably didn’t really want to remember. I was sick for most of it.

Interaction: I looked up a friend I had lost track of after name-dropping frequently in the old journals. Unlike about half the people I mentioned, this friend is still alive and well and living in Massachusetts.

Professional development: Reading a few books for review, continuing to listen to podcasts about creative writing.

Next week: Brooklyn or bust!

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