Thursday, February 28, 2008

I Hate Diablo Cody

For the two of you who haven’t heard of her, Diablo Cody wrote the movie Juno, and just won the Oscar for best original screenplay. And I don’t really hate her, but I am seething with jealousy. Not because of the million dollar shoes she supposedly wore to the Oscars (which apparently was just a publicity stunt by the shoemaker), but because she has the success I want. I know that’s petty and awful. But Julia Cameron says jealousy can help us figure out where we want to go by pinpointing what we envy, and planning a step we can take toward having that for ourselves.

So what do I envy about Diablo? Her success, her deal to work with Steven Spielberg, and her Oscar, certainly, but most of all, her ability to say her work is good enough, to let it go, and to promote herself. Juno may not have been perfect, was not the best screenplay ever written, but she finished it, and got it made into a movie, a movie that I must admit (begrudgingly) was really good, funny, and yes, well-written.

In other words, I am jealous that Diablo overcame her perfectionism. How can I do that? One step is this blog. If I can finish one little blog entry each week, let it go, and share it with others, then maybe someday I’ll be able to do the same with poems, articles, and the novel.

Paul Gardner said, “A painting is never finished. It simply stops in interesting places.” Julia Cameron, my fairy godmother, writes in The Artist’s Way, “Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead.” And then, “Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough—that we should try again.” I just laughed out loud at myself as I struggled for five minutes over how to use ellipses in the above quote. Ah, perfectionism, my constant companion.

Just yesterday I thought about re-reading my novel from the beginning again, rather than continuing to move forward in writing and editing. Thank God I read Julia’s words about perfectionism, which convinced me to keep moving forward in faith. Because right now, I need to get through the second draft. I hope and believe that once I do, the beginning will sort itself out.

So thanks, Diablo. I might not be a stripper, an Oscar winner, or even a paid artist (yet), but I’m doing the best I can, learning and growing and getting better every day. Is a screenplay my next project? Maybe. Who wouldn’t want to wear million dollar shoes?


Mr. Ackerman said...

I think what separates truly happy people from the rest of us (the sulking majority) is the self-confidence to take risks. Why is it so hard to be a risk-taker? Too often I choose the conservative route, the path of certainty often a dirt road, never paved in gold. I commend your courage! Be a risk-taker!

In his first inaugural address delivered on March 4th, 1933 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated, "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Remember - you will always have your dignity!

Christina said...

i'm always interested in the line between self reflection and self censure. adrienne rich writes about the risk and the imperative of writing, and reading, "as if your life depended on it." She writes, "to write as if your life depended on it: to write across the chalkboard, putting up there in public words you have dredged, sieved up from dreams, from behind screen memories, our of silence--words you have dreaded and needed in order to know you exist."

i also was interested in this idea of jealousy as the ultimate catalyst. cool.

as for me, eh, i can take or leave the shoes.

xox, christina

Mary Carol said...

Okay so I am one of the two peeps who didn't know who Diablo Cody is until now (thanks for bringing me up to date)- who is the other pop-culture-jerk in the crowd?
Thanks also Jewel for exposing me to blogging!

sulu-design said...

Wow... Carl is so his father's son.

Lovely, thoughtful post with an unexpected angle. Love the writing, Jewel.

gman said...

The book "Feeling Good" by Dr. David Burns has some great ideas about fighting perfectionism. I'd highly recommend reading it.

Your mind tricks you into thinking that this trait will help you achieve your personal goals, when the reality is it prevents you from getting anything done. He dares the reader to try to be "average" for just one day. By lowering your personal expectations you are able to complete more tasks. It's easier to start something if you know the end product doesn't have to be perfect. There is no such thing anyway.

I was worrying about what to write next when I realized my post didn't have to be perfect. You can figure out the rest.

elise said...

Hi Julie, I saw your ad in the Ardmore library today—sorry I don't have a teen for you to tutor, but I was very intrigued since I'm a writer in the area. I've been perusing your blog and wanted to say that I relate to so much of it, esp. the Diablo jealousy and the overwhelmingness of it all, the perfectionism, the dream, The Artist's Way, and how important it is to have a writers' community. My name's Elise Miller, I live, mom and write in Lower Merion and it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance!