Challenge 2: How do you handle missed opportunities?

A common theme running through my own “missed opportunities” is a disregarded potential that comes at the expense of the topic assigned.

In other words, once I start a piece, I stop wanting to write about the thing I’m supposed to write about. Something else suddenly becomes infinitely more fascinating, though I find myself reluctantly ignoring this potential for the purpose of the assignment.

This is definitely a feeling I recall discussing in class conversation, though it wasn’t until I addressed this prompt directly that it became clear how much it resonated with my own experience.

While enrolled in my Travel Writing course at DIS Copenhagen, I was instructed to write about a travel experience from the few weeks I had been abroad, with a focus on scene descriptions and settings. I chose a focus easily enough, highlighting my trip to Edinburgh, during which I had gone on a run through Holyrood Park, only to get stuck in the rain. The highland landscape, sudden onset of rain, and subsequent rainbow (Scotland was really doing *the most* in that moment) made it a simple choice for an assignment on scenery, and I began writing easily enough.

As I began writing, however, I found myself unable to stop thinking about another part of my experience–the fact that I was completely alone.

I began to think about my reaction to the scenery, and the eventual rainstorm, in the context of my own solitude. Was I scared that I was all alone in the middle of the dramatic highland landscape? Did I stop to really appreciate the scenery, given that a massive rainstorm was about to hit? What would the experience have been like had I been with another person? Was I so scared that my fear somehow evaporated and left me a wandering, soaking wet tourist in the middle of sweeping hills?

These were the questions that intrigued me. But, I was instructed to write about the external scenery, not the internal shitstorm of emotion that was brewing in the moment. I wasn’t able to address the complexity of my own solitude in the end, something I look back on with a bit of disappointment. I can’t deny there is mind anger as well, given my frustration that not every writing class can have flexible deadlines and (cautiously) encourage redirection of focus.

As I look back on the past few months of Capstone, and the remaining weeks to come, I feel grateful that this class has provided an environment for redirection and reinterpretations. I consider my initial proposal, in addition to where my project has landed, and feel a sense of pride and excitement that my own mind has been able to bring me this far–though not as quickly as I (or Ray) would’ve preferred, probably. And while my initial project proposal would have produced work that I would be proud of, the ability to react my topic’s differing potentials has been immensely more rewarding.

 

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