Sunday, April 6, 2014


After a while it seems inevitable that I'd write about writing, write about not knowing what to write. Stick a mirror in front of another one and watch that tunnel go. Floundering on dry land, belly full, head empty. Not writer's block, that's too easy. And probably just a ploy, one among many to bask in frustration instead of release. Release happens when expectations are cast aside. Blocks occur when there is an unspoken or unrecognized assumption about a goal.
    I have often though about the perfectionism of others and how I myself was spared this affliction. Just recently I was asked if maybe I was actually a perfectionist. It would explain why I shy away from grand projects, why I talk more than do, why I procrastinate, that I'm idealistic and impatient and happy with piecemeal offerings, short bursts of frenzied activity though I dream of well wrought craft. Maybe I am a perfectionist. Maybe I so want to razzle dazzle that I'm afraid to even start lest I fail. But I do start, and I do release work into the public sphere. I'm no hermit with my art. Sometimes I even approach the realms beyond banality.
    Too often though in this life I would imagine some rigorously executed project, how amazing it would be, this three dimensional glass mandala I would build, layers of nesting stained glass spheres, veined in gold and dotted with marbles, all supported by a hand carved stand of the most exquisite design. Sure buddy, write it down because we all know that's not your deal. It isn't. It has taken me decades to relax into the reality of what I am versus what I could be. I could be anything. Anyone could. But why ? We all have the capacity to explore areas in sport, art, science, thought but we don't necessarily do. We pick our battles. I found out that the great schemes of my youth were simply proposals, it would be great for my glass sphere to exist. It would be great to acquire the requisite skills to build it. I know  I won't. Not left to my own devises. If I were to embark on a project of building something complex and three dimensional it would be building a house not a wicked piece of contemplative art.
    I long ago realized that the book is the perfect vessel for any expression I may wish to voice. Any abandoned childhood dream can be easily rephrased as a proposal and left at that. That twenty foot chrome peach pit I designed, built and sold to the state of Georgia ? Oh, that was just an idea. I'll just jot it down on a napkin and that will be that. My Pixar screenplay ? Well, I may get around to writing a two page treatment but that's about it. I'd love to redesign the stagnant corners of my hometown but I may have to be satisfied with the quick sketch and a few lines describing my idea. We'll see.
    What to write about ? What not to write about ? For now, anything goes. This is an exercise. It deflects perfection and settles for settling. Just string a few words together, snap out some ideas and see how it stands. It doesn't have to be diamond quality. It has to be ok. It has to be for now. The great Canadian novel, the perfect science fiction short story, a great YA graphic novel, a long poem encrusted with my every poetic tendency, the scathingly brilliant piece of conceptual writing no one saw coming, all this and more, throw a rock opera into the mix. Let these beasts crawls slowly out of that first murky ocean and see how they take to firm ground, flippers turning to feet. Let every step be small and definite. Let the masterwork be crafted with occasional spastic gestures. Let perfection erupt spontaneously from naive ramblings and honest attempts. World without end.