Like a lot of artists, I’m a perfectionist at heart. I can look at any work, by any person, and pull it completely to pieces. I tend not to, though – unless it’s my own work.
That’s one reason why it took me a while to turn to creative writing. I knew that nothing I wrote could ever meet my own expectations of literary goodness.
I painted, though. And I drew. I wasn’t good to begin with, but I got better over time. There’s still significant room for improvement but over the years I’ve been able to accept artworks as ‘done’ when they’re not perfect – but they were good enough.
With painting, as soon as I sign a work it is considered ‘done’ and I’m not allowed to tweak it. It may not be a masterpiece, but it’s told the story I wanted to tell. With my writing, as soon as it is published, that’s me signing it and saying, “It’s not perfect, but it’s the best I can do right now, and the story is told.”
Besides perfection being impossible, I believe it’s our imperfections that bring something unique to the table. Tight writing is great, perfect drawing is admirable, but to make something interesting we have to do something interesting; we have to explore the unknown and tell our own, imperfect story in our own, imperfect way.
And that’s all I have to say for today. Lofty goals are fantastic to aspire to, but we’re only human (unless you’re not, in which case perfection may be attainable) and all we can do is our imperfect best.