Fail Magnificently

A project I recently worked on was an audiobook called Majestie, a biography about the King James of the King James Bible .  I really didn’t know much about this particular royal and the book, by David Teems, was written wonderfully.  It made the reading and directing it a bit of a dream.  The book dealt with the conflagration of events and people that came together at a particular time in history to shape not only the Bible in the title but the English language as we know it today. And this was all spearheaded by a misshapen redheaded king from Scotland who had a keen mind and a vision beyond his horizon.  As I was reading the epilogue this evening, in the last few lines, the author comments on how grandly King James thought, saying “when he dreamed, he dreamed big, like a king.  Where he loved, there were no half measures.  Where he failed, he was absolutely magnificent.”

That last part really struck me.  King James so committed to whatever project he did that if it succeeded, it was going to be huge.  Undertaking a translation of the Bible so the common man could understand and read it was no small task when books were so rare and so few knew how to use them. Hundreds of words were introduced to the English language that are still in use today.  It was monumental in it’s scope.  But in doing this he also took the chance that it was going to be a monumental failure and he might be dethroned or worse, as was common in those days, beheaded.  It was a big risk but he took it anyway.

I’m in the process of creating and producing a project with a colleague of mine, Maritza Cabrera.  It involves writing in a form I’ve never done before and using lots of dialogue something I’m unfamiliar with.  I was so panicked at writing my first episode that I thought and thought about it for over a week. I knew what I wanted to say, I was just afraid I wouldn’t know how to say it.  I finally gave myself a good talking to, saying that no one was going to mock and ridicule me, much less behead me, for attempting to write a web series.  At the very least, they would applaud the effort.  At long last I was able to put fingers to keyboard.

Reading those words about King James made me realize that in whatever I was going to attempt, there was always a chance of failure.  But if I hedged my bets, only sorta committed to it, kept my fingers in other pies, I’d produce mediocre work.  If I fully committed, it would be a magnificent success or a magnificent failure but either way, it would be magnificent.  And you can’t succeed magnificently if you don’t take the chance you’ll fail magnificently every once in a while.  I’ll take my chances.