Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Present Imperfect

I’ve been reading the posts on imperfection and thinking about my own imperfections as a writer. I don’t know of any present imperfect or future imperfect tense in English, but perhaps there should be. My writing in the future will be just as imperfect as my writing in the past, and my present writing far exceeds past imperfections. I guess that’s progress of a sort.

I envy Tom Rachman’s contentment (which Claire quoted) that the imperfections in his book are “the best imperfections I had in me at the time.” Some days even my imperfections seem imperfect.

If I can’t achieve contentment with imperfection, maybe I can aim for acceptance. All that’s really required of me as a writer is to put words on paper, no matter how inadequate those words. To be, as William Stafford says in WRITING THE AUSTRALIAN CRAWL, ready for adventure.

Most days (except for the ones when I want to pull the covers over my head and pretend I chose banking as a career) I try to venture into wherever language takes me. And once in a great while from those adventurous but inadequate words something emerges that makes me happy, or makes me weep, or makes me shiver. Something emerges that would never have appeared if I hadn’t put my imperfect words down on paper.

Maybe that’s contentment after all.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Phyllis, I smile as I picture you throwing off your covers and heading toward the computer. Wouldn't it be great to have that followed by applause and a commentator saying. "She's up and going, word by word. Not a splash as she entered the water, just pure beauty."

    Igor Stravinsky: "Even when I do not feel like work, I sit down to it just the same. I cannot wait for inspiration."