The blight of Perfection

First off, the workshop went well, I guess, or I’d say. Sometimes when I’m talking to my kids I can’t tell if I’m boring the shit out of them or what. Seven out of the 13 original teens submitted their work. I have no idea what to do for the next two weeks now that the submissions are over, not to mention most of the time the school forgets that I’m even going to be there. Oh god, I need to be creative here and I just can’t think of what to do. I have a couple of days.

ME ME ME and MY book

I finished changing all the pronouns of the main character from third to first and I’m back to the beginning again and suddenly I got scared. I have to make a lot of changes to fit the new perspective. I found some holes as I read through it again, holes that need to be filled and there is more fleshing out to take place. As I went through with this last stage of changes I could see where things needed to grow and change, I noticed patterns which are good and some inconsistencies which are bad and I knew that this draft I’m about to start is a very important draft, but, I also got scared to start. I’m afraid of messing up what I already have. It’s a good story and it’s not. I am a pretty tough critic, with my own work. Most of the time I am never satisfied nor do I think its much of an accomplishment. I’m quite aware of this negative perspective that I carry toward my own work, but I can honestly say that the criticism I have toward Zizkov is from the eye of the reader. Meaning I have been able to see it as if I was not the one who wrote it. I’m not being hard on myself with my current thoughts as to what work needs to be done to make the book, not only better but to bring it more to life.

I used to draw a lot when I was younger. I had a natural talent for it as I think many kids do, but I guess I was better more “gifted” at it when I was younger. I won some contests things like that. But then as I got older drawing became more specific, you had to create drawings that looked real, that looked like a photograph. Art slowly became painful for me, I couldn’t get it perfect. I would have a fit if something was off and completely destroy my painting in a rage, tearing it into pieces and I would end up crying over my inability to be perfect to be the best artist. This thing that was so natural and real and fun became oppressive and a reminder of my imperfections. In high school I had done a drawing that I loved (It’s long gone now), but my teacher had given me a B because he said the lines around the women’s bodies were too dark. I was furious because I had worked on it so long and put so much into it. I now was at the point were art was graded talent was graded and my lines were too dark. I quit drawing. In college I tried to go back to drawing because the philosophy was different. It was about being free to change your work. When you’d get to that point where you were afraid to make changes to your painting is when you needed to make the change, to not be afraid to make a mistake. The mistake could become the art, let go of the need for perfection. I couldn’t, I couldn’t let go. I quit again.

Now that old familar feeling of perfection is back but in a different medium. I want and I know that I need to change the book, I need to fix the inconsitencies, fill in the holes, flesh out the relationships, I know its potential is truly beautiful. I think I have a lovely book on my hands, but I’m so afraid of fucking it up so bad that i’ll just tear it up or quit. I’ve never encountered this in writing before, but honestly I’ve never taken myself this far in writing before. I’m at the quiting part, I’ve been here before, with art with theatre and now as a writer.

I wonder if other writers feel this, or I guess artists in general since I have been here before but through different expressions of art. Why is it so frightening to do what I love, what I feel I am meant to do to be? Is it really so terrible to fail? And will I really fail? What does it mean to fail? Does it mean that every single person who reads my book is going to tell me it is terrible? Does it mean that I will never share it because I’m too afraid? What does it mean? It’s just a book, its just a drawing, its just an audition, why is there fear? It really is just a book, its not me. I as a person am not perfect, and thank god for that right?

Is this silly?

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