Dealing With The Failure Of Something You Love

I fell in love with the story for my capstone, The Tome of the Seashore, the same way a dinner plate falls off the top shelf: slowly and then all at once, followed by a deafening crash once it all fell apart. For the past month I've sat with four outlines and a sad recording for the final episodes of Talk of the Tome, and it wasn't until yesterday that I finally mustered up the courage to barrel through recording episodes ten and eleven.

You could say this has been a pretty painful breakup. 

It really doesn't have to be this way. Showing up to a showcase with a product that is basically useless is embarrassing. But I don't think it's too proud of me to say that the story which Timothy and I constructed for our interactive pop-up book deserved far better than the lousy tech demo that I gave on December 4. I left the event wanting to never see or speak of this again. But why? Every time I think about the Sea Monster and his enchanted tomb, I feel a burst of excitement and joy. This is a story that I am proud of and want other people to enjoy just as much as I do.

Here's why I'm ashamed of this project: realizing that they won't -- that nobody ever will -- is killing me.

"I Never Look Back, Darling, It Distracts From The Now"

The rational and emotionally stable response would be to finish the project. Sure, the deadline for showcase has passed, but I could still give the project the final touches it needs to work and prove the value of what I've been doing. 

But for various reasons, that's not going to happen. At least not today. For one thing, the technology and experience of The Tome of the Seashore is really only interesting as an installation. Outside of a showcase, there's really no way to share a finalized version of an interactive pop-up book. It just wouldn't have the same impact as a YouTube video. Sure I could maybe show off the underlying technology, but the technology isn't the reason I started and it certainly isn't what would pull me back.

For another reason, see this section's header.

There is no footage of my project working -- save for a few videos on YouTube of the various prototypes which I made along the way. Never say never, but for now that's how it's going to stay. For now, I'm done with The Tome of the Seashore, the projection-mapped pop-up book that changes as you read, and I'm moving on to other things.

That reads like a postulation in the future tense. In fact, it's already happened. Timothy and I started a new podcast where we are reviewing each episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and we are already five episodes in. I'm writing scripts for a bunch of different projects. Fountain Pen is also starting to get my attention again. I'm like a rebounder that has chosen to replace monogamy with as many partners as possible.

So, basically exactly what I was doing before I committed to Seashore.

I do slightly disagree with Edna's attitude in The Incredibles. The past shouldn't be ignored. It is the lens through which we understand the future. It may not be a perfect lens, but oh well, that's how bias works.

That being said, I can't help but share her enthusiasm for the new and the present. I will be finishing Talk of the Tome very soon, here, and then I will be putting this whole endeavor behind me. Completeness is important, but I have much more exciting things to work on!

We're Sunsetting That Inbox

Recording episodes ten and eleven of Talk of the Tome sucked. After Timothy and I recorded our postmortem for Tome of the Seashore I no longer felt any pressing need to finish the remaining five episodes and I didn't want to deal with the shame of this whole affair anymore so I put it off and put it off until yesterday when I realized how bad this looked. The only reason those episodes are up is because I decided to do the responsible thing and barrel through.

Talk of the Tome is still a podcast I would have loved to have had before starting this project, and I hope it will help other people in the future. I worked hard to make something both entertaining and informative and for the most part, I think I've succeeded. But I also recognize that without any closure, that podcast won't be very useful to anyone. Recording episode eleven felt like pulling out my own teeth, but it's chock full of information and advice that took years for me to develop and acquire. And that's pretty darn sweet. You're welcome.

I hope this never happens again -- both the failure of a project I love and having to talk about it after it's over. It probably will, since that's what happens to everyone who pursues a career doing creative things, but I hope it never does. It's ruining the feng shui of my Todoist inbox. 

In the meantime, I have a podcast to finish, another podcast to edit, an app to finish, another capstone to prepare for, and Guildor to frame for it. I'm swamped.