When a new idea strikes—in the shower, during a walk, amid a lively conversation—the moment feels limitless.
You are so adept at fleshing out an idea fully and leaving the reader - not with a commentary - but a new way of seeing. I related your words to love as well. . .how many people choose to stay in the realm of fantasy rather than descending into the glorious "sloppiness" of human love - we stay distant enough to create perfection, or we have affairs in our head because they are constructed just as we wish. But to love, you have to welcome the flaws. You have to make a mess. Thanks for another stellar piece.
This is one of the best posts I've read in a while. It's applicable across every creative realm. I'm extending that realm to an even wider array by including anything that requires any depth of creativity to undertake. As a writer, I deal with imperfection all the time, and yes, it's a struggle to accept. But to not accept the inevitability of imperfection is a surefire way to freeze in their tracks any artist or creative attempting to produce work of any personal value.
Wonderful piece. Brought to mind an oft-circulated quote by Ira Glass that I think about – and offers salvation – from time to time:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Wow Charles, this may be one of my favorites of yours. (I’ve been waiting for a quiet mind to read it, finally found it this morning.) It really speaks to the “suffering” that any creative person goes through when they have that flash or vision of perfection and then must muddle through their flawed ability to bring it to life (this being just how I’d describe how it feels for me). I laughed because I thought: now here’s a piece that could never be written by ChatGPT!
I like the idea of striving for perfection, knowing it’s mostly out of reach. Ignoring perfection may remove stress, but invites mediocrity. Done may trump perfect, but then sometimes I prefer a failed, incomplete piece of art with glimmers of perfection over a completed but merely adequate piece of art. Lastly, your piece somehow called up thoughts of ChatGPT, which many writers and artists fear could put them out of business. But perhaps it will force us to dig deeper into our human uniqueness, enticing glimmers of individual perfection, instead of the adequate but largely derivative offerings from ChatGPT. Thanks for another thoughtful essay.
I really enjoyed this piece. It is incredibly well written. It explores an idea I assume every artist struggles with. And it delivers a message of hope in a poignant and unforced manner. Thank you