Thursday, October 28, 2010

Perfection?!?! Or Wabi Sabi?

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!!!!


Chrissa said...

Great post!! I just took a break from writing (which is really tough tonight) and this is EXACTLY what I needed to read. The refrain going through my head was, "This is not good enough, this is not good enough, there is so much that is wrong with this." Thanks for this reminder! Just write it out and I (plus a lot of other people) can fix it later!

HRJ said...

Go easy on yourself. Get your story on paper. Revise later. You can do it!!
Remeber to have fun!
Be idle.
Feed your soul.
Be kind to yourself.

Wishing you the best!