In the infancy of my artistic career. I was overly concerned about making the 'perfect' piece. It had to be perfect; in fact, I would not show any of my work (writing or art) to anyone until it was PERFECT!
This phase lasted a long time perhaps too long.
Until one day, a college professor who happened to be a former Zen monk, engaged in thought provoking conversation about art (writing/life.) as recounted from the pages of my sketchbook:
- · Know the rules.
- · Learn to apply them to the best of your ability.
- · Marking art is the blending of the soul and pulse of the cosmos, manifested in physical form.
- · Be mindful of what you choose bring into the world.
- · Understand nothing in this world is perfect-everything has a flaw.
Years later, I would come to know what his insights as, Wabi Sabi, which means flawed beauty is a Zen philosophy.
Wabi Sabi is used primarily to describe art but it can be applied to writing. In fact, this philosophy has brought me comfort in my writing process.
I love to write but I must confess it is difficult for me to express myself in complete sentences. From a young age, I had a series of teachers telling me, “you can’t write…. you are not a good writer… this paper is not good enough….”
Not once did any of my teachers in elementary, junior, or high school, sit my down and work with me on writing. I had a love, a passion, drive to do it but I was a not “liked” student in class.
I learned the writing skills I do have from practicing, reading other people’s work, Death Pixies and mentors.
What may take someone a few minutes, will take me hours. I’ve come to realize that I will never have prefect grammar; spelling or punctuation but I do know good copy editors (DP and other people). Whom I lovingly give a bouquet of red pens and tell them, ‘show no mercy.’
My manuscripts are returned looking like a valentine vomited on the page but I don’t mind. I know many of the ‘great’ authors did not have perfect grammar or punctuation, Jane Austin, the Bronte Sisters etc . What they did have was: a strong story; commitment to penning the story from beginning to end; an editor to clean up the page.
The best advice I can give all of you is:
- · Write the story you want to write.
- · Get it all out on paper.
- · Revise to the best of your ability.
- · Have your story critiqued and edited by others.
- · Revise again.
- · Send it out.
- · Let go of perfection.
- · Accept your work for its beauty and its faults.
Best of luck to you all!!!!