Thursday, 6 December 2012

Why It's Okay to Say "I Don't Know".

Hullo all!

Sorry for the odd posting time - I forgot to schedule anything for today, and seriously underestimated the toll that travelling took on me after yesterday. Couple that with a particularly strange dream regarding potions that require purple frogs being put through a blender, and you can see why I never quite got around to it.

But, here I am, safe and whole and back from interview at St Catherine's College, Oxford.

People have been asking me how it was all day, and none of them seem particularly amused by my answer. But I can't help it, because as pathetic as it is, it is the only way I can express how I felt about "how it went".

I don't know.

There's always a degree of uncertainty about things like this. Assessing one's own performance in something of high importance always leads to more than one's fair share of personal paranoia and memory blurring. Should I have said that? What will that tell them about me as a student? Is the way they replied indicative of their view of me? Am I meant to understand this question? Are they leading me on? Who is that strange figure in purple dancing before my eyes? Who turned out the lights?

To be honest, no matter how often people tell me - and I tell myself - that there's no use niggling away about what might or might not have happened, it's going to keep happening. Because it's important to me, and I know that if I get that rejection letter next month, then I know whose fault it will be. I will have failed, and I'll have no one to blame but my own mistakes.

Something might have felt like a horrible mistake to you, but that doesn't mean it did to someone else. Or that thing you're really bothered over? That might not actually be half the problem you think it was. Or maybe it's twice as big.

We don't know.

And that's okay.

If we knew everything, then life wouldn't be half the wonder it is - especially when it comes to the joys of prodding, poking and meowing at surprise birthday presents in a contest to see if you can work out what it is before opening it.

Sometimes things are, genuinely, in the lap of the gods, and we need to accept that. Especially in writing - there are so many subjective factors that might affect the agent's view of your pitch / the number of sales you get that day / whether or not your editor will spot that one squicky sentence in the middle of chapter three.

We can never foolproof ourselves against everything. Sometimes we just have to do our best, and then hope for the best.

Sometimes the wait makes the end result that little bit more exciting when it comes. What I'd give to see J. K. Rowling's reaction to that one acceptance letter after those string of rejections when she was trying to get that first Harry Potter book published.

W. Clement Stone once said: Aim for the moon, and even if you miss you'll land among the stars.

. . . Anybody want to share a seat in my catapult?

~ Charley R


  1. I'm not great on heights so I think I'll keep my feet firmly on the ground (weird, I know, given how predisposed I am towards climbing) but I will happily continue in my unconscious incompetence!

    1. Bah, if you say so! Personally I find catapult flight rather invigorating. Even when I do crash into things. Like the Enterprise. And the TARDIS.

  2. I'm on my way to the moon. I wonder if you can overshoot so far you find out whats beyond the stars? Hm. Worth a shot anyway.

    Good luck, eh. *I don't know* is the most depressing answer sometimes, but it's the truth and truth counts. Sit tight. I hope you get the answer you really want. :)

    1. I've not tried that . . . . shall we give it a go? ;)

      Thank you! It's all in the lap of the uni now . . . I shall wait and see.

  3. I don't know if climbing in a catapult aiming for the stars is a good idea, but count me in!

    1. "Good idea" is a very subjective phrase. Besides, what could POSSIBLY go wrong?
      I'll make a space for you between the snack and weapons-we-might-need-but-hopefully-won't ;)

  4. I don't know sometimes is very true. Not everyone is mind readers and sometimes they just don't know.

    I hope the wait is worth it and it all goes well for you!

  5. I'll take a gander along with you, if there's still room in that catapult. :}

    1. Plenty of space! Grab a helmet and hop on in!