Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The end of Doctor Who, a temporary reprieve, and a much-needed reminder

All things that live must die, so the universe has decreed. And never has a show brought that home to me more than Doctor Who. I just finished Season Four last night (via Netflix Instant), and while I'm waiting for the last special featuring David Tennant to come in via DVD (why is it not on instant, WHY?!?), I'll have some time to ponder. There are some shows/movies/books/stories that stay with you for a long time, that subtly shift your interaction with the world around you, that change the way you feel your feelings. Some people may look at the show as a purposefully cheesy throwback to the sci-fi shows of the 60's and 70's (where it originated), but I appreciate it for the genius storytelling of Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat. Of course, calling these men writing geniuses is like calling DaVinci a good painter; it really doesn't do them justice. The life and struggles of the Doctor have crawled into my mind and eaten away at what I thought I knew about accomplishing goals and telling a compelling story.

Why am I sharing this (aside from the obvious urge to gush)? Because watching the show has done two things for me as a writer:
1) Showed me what really really really really (insert to your heart's content) good storytelling can do
2) Urged me to leave a legacy worth remembering

So when this post came around, I was ready.You should really go read it - it's well-written and inspiring, and more than a little butt-kicking - but in essence it says: stop wasting your time with stuff that doesn't matter and focus on writing a good book. Mixon's post has to do with social networking, but I extrapolate it to my whole life. Sometimes I get so caught in the nitty-gritty of a day that I fail to step back and look at the big picture: why am I doing this? What's the point? Yes, I know that being hit over the head with the idea of mortality (one of the main themes of Doctor Who: he's constantly losing human companions) makes me a little shaky about doing something HUGE and LASTING with my life RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND, but that takes time. Time that I'm depriving myself of when I watch TV or read too many blogs or whatever else it is that I do that wastes so much of my damn time.

And on a non-sequitur, I got my first real feedback from a beta reader on my current WIP yesterday. It was only the first 25K words, but I was still terrified that she would come back and say "I read the side of the cereal box to avoid reading your manuscript" and that I would get dejected and give up and live in a spiral of despair for the rest of my life. But she actually liked it, and the feedback that she did have was so constructive I couldn't even feel bad about it. Sometimes the axe doesn't fall as hard as we're expecting, and I don't mind a little nick here or there if it saves my head.

P.S. Sierra Godfrey is talking about living in literary worlds over at her blog today, and for the record I would totally live in the world of Doctor Who, but only if I could be the companion that actually stayed around for longer than two seasons. I'm too important for that, people.


Lydia Kang said...

What a great post. That post about social media sucking your life away is a great reminder to get back to writing!

I hear you about the beta stuff. When I want constructive criticism bc my WIP needs a lot of help, I adore the feedback. When I think I have something good and then I get criticism, it hurts so bad!

Victoria Mixon said...

Oh, thank you for mentioning me and Dr. Who in the same post. I used to watch him all the time, back in the 1970s when he was Tom Baker. I had no idea they'd revived that wonderful series. I still can't look at a British telephone booth without expecting someone trailing an endless scarf to come out of it.

And thank you for your kind words. You are absolutely right about mortality. I have been with three grandparents and several loved ones at their deathbeds, and there is no question that life contains two questions and two questions only: "Are you alive?" and "Do you love?"

Live your life for the love of it.

Lisa and Laura said...

Ok, so I really need to watch Dr. Who, don't I?

And congrats on the feedback! Isn't that the best feeling?