The Thing About Perfection

It occurs to me that I’ve been trusting that my ideas for the new novel will deliver their messages without me having to spell out or rehearse my lines, so to speak. I begin to think that might be impossible. The only thing that really bothers me at the moment is that I’m having trouble getting the lead out. I know I’ll have to rewrite and rewrite this one. It has to be pretty much dead on perfect. Not my forte. Anyone who knows me knows I have a problem with perfection. I never seem to achieve it, and stuff goes back in the box for a few years while I wait for another gust of wind to carry me back to that place. I deliberately stopped doing that when I hit 40. I don’t want to find myself returning to my old habits.

The MO for me over the last five or six years has been to create a thing, fix it up as quickly as I can, release it in its imperfect form, rinse, repeat. It’s not ideal, but I decided to take this path because I feared I would die before any of my work would get out, and none of it would be complete. I figured, if I stopped sweating the small stuff, at least I wouldn’t be leaving a broken legacy for my wife to deal with. It is my ambition to finish everything I’ve been sitting on before I pop my clogs. Maybe the new stuff will have o get in line. I don’t know. But the stuff I got into this gig to do must be put to rest.

That too is a problem. I’ve been stocking ideas for decades. I’d slowed to a crawl for a while, but that list has grown to something I think I can fairly guess is about 200 titles long. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again now; if I never have another great idea, I’ll still be writing well into my 90s, if I get there.

So where does that leave me now? With piles of work, both around me and inside of my head, gasping for air, and getting relatively little support from anyone I know who might be able to help. Meanwhile, friends of mine are moving forward, breaking free of the woods, hurtling off down the road. What is it about my particular brain that forces me to idle with a dozen concepts rattling around in my head at any given time. It’s such frustrating bullshit. If this is genius–and I’m not saying that it is–you can have it. Mine’s broken.


Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think, now.


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