Friday, January 21, 2022

FFT by Warren Bull


My thanks to Brene Brown 

Thanks to Brene Brown for the concept of FFT, which stands for Freaking [insert bad word here] First time. For writing and for every other human endeavor when we start anything new you have to slog ahead through uneasiness and doubt until they eventually disappear. There rocky patches, mud holes and and potholes just like there were when you were a kid learning to ride a bike after the training wheels were removed.  

This applies to little things as well as big things like a change in marital status. We can get so scared of being vulnerable and discombobulated that we start to avoid trying new things. It is easy and comfortable to rely on what we know already. But then we stop growing. 

So what can we do? Brown suggests naming it. Why do my insides feel like bread pudding right now? Oh, this that %$#*^ FFT. The unnamed has power over us. Remember He Who Cannot Be Named? He drew power from fear and by staying unnamed.

Once named, the FFT can be shrunk back into proportion. "Oh, you again. I have met and conquered you before. As long as I keep my expectations in touch with reality, I can get through this nasty passage like I have before. If this FFT is truly a horrible FFT. Okay, it is miserable and... it is as bad as it gets.

My latest FFT was putting together a video of songs I wrote for a Portland, Oregon open arts festival named Fertile Ground. I learned to make short videos because recitals I was in were taped due to COVID canceling live performances. I learned, kicking and screaming because if I wanted to be in recitals, and I did, I had to learn how to get them on video.

Living where I do, I knew I could supply the piano and an audience. That was easy to lock down. But for this horror, I knew I had to find people to do what I cannot do. I needed someone to play the piano, sing the mezzo-soprano part, and film the concert.  

My approach was two-fold. I worried in sequence.  For example, I needed to have the pianist and the other singer before I needed to find a filmmaker. And I decided to do what I wanted to do least as the first step in each sequential task. I tend to avoid unpleasantness because it is unpleasant. Each piece of every task got easier and less bothersome as I progressed. 

I worked through my family members, music teachers, and friends seeking a singer. They all had excellent reasons for turning me down. Really, they did and they offered connections that led to me finding a great singer. Through friends, I had met an underground filmmaker who once cast me in a movie. (My character had no lines, but he did have a name, and the maybe ten-second scene of me waving at some of the main characters is in the movie. If you ever see it, don't blink during the restaurant scene or you'll miss me.)     

The video is done. It is thirty minutes long and actually fun to watch, in my opinion. I still have a Meet The Press moment and a press release to write. When the whole thing is over, I will have another FFT to use for next time.  I might even decide it was all worth it. Eventually.


Jim Jackson said...

Congratulations for having the courage to tackle your FFT opportunities, Warren. Now get cracking on that press release.

Kait said...

Good luck with the project. I admire your courage. The FFT concept certainly resonates.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

congratulations for completing what seems to be a monumental task!

Shari Randall said...

Congratulations on conquering that FFT and for sharing this concept with us. I'm definitely going to think of this next time I have to conquer something new (author newsletter). Like you, "I tend to avoid unpleasantness because it is unpleasant." FFT will be my battle cry ;)

Molly MacRae said...

This is a wonderful piece, Warren. Your many talents - including conquering your latest FFT - continue to amaze me. I'll try to conquer mine, too. Thank you for a new tool for growing and moving forward. Long may you wave!