There's a strange feeling of elation and bitterness that comes with the revelation that a story idea that's been circling your head for a decade is about to be turned into a movie. Elation from, of course, seeing your thoughts and fantasies come to life, bitterness from the crushing realization that you had nothing to do with it and, inevitably, someone else had your idea first.
I say "inevitably" because the concept that there are no original stories to tell is ever-present on the mind of a writer. The hope is to tell a story in as original a way as possible, adding your own experience and perspective to perhaps improve the old tale. Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" is a favorite example, based on Ovid's "Pyramus & Thisbe". We modernize and adapt, hoping that something in it will pass for originality.
The story that I was hoping to tell was about a librarian with a rather monotonous existence who entertains himself and satiates his need for something resembling a life through fantasy. It was inspired largely by experience (ha) and a favorite quote from Harry Potter: "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." While my story takes it a bit further, little did I know that something extremely similar had been written back in 1939 by James Thurber, now being turned into the Ben Stiller film "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," which I desperately want to see.
It's eternally frustrating because good ideas come so rarely to me, and it's kind of obvious that this was a very good idea. Mine might be different enough to avoid calling it dead on arrival, but obviously it's already being mourned, as my ideas often are. And it's not helping this developing feeling of being stuck. So, for now, back to staring in The Mirror.