The One That Got Away

  • Posted on: 13 July 2014
  • By: Shawn DeWolfe

I have no shortage of tales of minor woe. The great company that got scuttled through in-fighting. The great novel that no one will read. The great website that no one with visit. The great artwork that no one will buy. What's the deal? I'm the deal.

People love Jack Kennedy. It was so sad when he was gunned down. I think he's the most memorable president of the 20th century. Why? His slim margin of victory? The Cuban missile crisis? The Bay of Pigs? No: I think the nostalgia comes from his missing 4th year in office. We fill that bucket with wishes and magically forget that could have been a year of scandal or political quagmires. The mundane is the enemy of the memorable.

All of my cool projects that crash before the runway are tales of the ones that got away. It's a lot more interesting to talk about those cool projects, full of promise and zing and flash. But the cool projects become mundane after they cross the finish line. I have worked at places where all of the cool is gone. Well, I usually leave quickly after that realization comes. That's why it's cool to talk about the fantastic things that didn't happen. I am not lying, I'm only dreaming. I look at the cash projections from the car site and the property management software. Astronomical numbers that can be attained, but between here and 8 digits of income is a lot of mundane foundation building.

This was why I thought I would cack out before the release of my first honest WordPress plugin. I had to come up with the concept. I had to code it, test it, give it some documentation, and even some marketing love. That's a whole lotta mundane stuff to work out. I begrudgingly use SVN. I had to give myself a refresher course on that to release the plugin into the wild. There were so many points where giving up was the best solution. When it's all done and released, it will sit there in the stark light of day. There will be no narrative of "but it couldn't get released because of (the reason)." The conflict in the tale of release was surely Man vs. Self. In releasing even a tepid and potentially unlovable application, I made a little triumph. I also removed another obstacle in my running lament: "if only I could get stuff out there."

I have raged at the world for being my opponent. Look at this demand; or heed that demand! They're holding me back! Nope. This is still Man vs. Self. I pull roadblocks into place. I strap on too much load to bemoan the bulk. I break the connection before the call is completed.

I no longer have the luxury of petulant failure. I need to succeed. I know how to succeed. I just have to change the story from Moby Dick, to my own version of Beowulf.

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Last updated date

Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 01:20