I have probably listened to the song “My Shot” a hundred times today, it’s a song from Hamilton, the Broadway musical which was recently released as a film and put on Disney+. I wrote a post earlier today and my feelings about the show (I loved it) but as I listen to the song repeatedly, I find myself thinking about the creator of the play who also played the lead character of Alexander Hamilton during the original Broadway run of the play.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is a forty-year-old actor, singer, composer, producer, activist and a long list of other things he’s fabulous at. I was reading his Wikipedia article and I was struck by something, even though he found success by writing the music for and acting in a successful Broadway play as well winning a Grammy while at it, he didn’t become rich.
He actually had to keep teaching in the very same high school he’d attended as a teen while he continued to create art and sought better opportunities for himself. I wonder how he felt at the time, knowing he was supremely talented and yet he had to keep his head down and support himself while waiting for the big break that may not have come.
What if he gave in to self-pity or something, or decided he wasn’t going to create Hamilton because his first efforts though well received, did not bring him the results he wanted? Instead he doubled down and worked on an idea for nearly ten years and wrote his way to his place in history.
“I am not throwing away my shot”.
The line above starts “My Shot” – the most iconic song in Hamilton, and the song has this energy, this confidence that I cannot resist. However, I have been guilty of throwing away my shots this year.
I haven’t written much fiction this year. To be honest, I still update my blog this year because it’s a way for me to record certain things which are happening in my life as they unfold and because my brother Olu would disturb my peace until I update it.
I cannot share why I am not writing fiction, the reason(s) is/are too silly to be shared. I let the ideas that jumble in my head, sit and wilt and I don’t even make the effort to even record them on the recorder app on my phone (usually the first step if I’m writing any story longer than two thousand words.
However, Lin-Manuel’s story reminded me that I cannot afford to be complacent with my gifts even when there are delays in the process and bumps on the highway to my destination. That even though devastating rejection letters might come (got one two weeks ago and promptly forgot about it), I will still take my shot. Take my shot even if I know I am going to fail.
If all I have is that one shot to use or throw away, what do I have to lose if I use it? Why should I let fear take what’s mine?
So I’m taking my shots, look out World!