April 14th, 2003


achieving perfection

Striving for perfection is the worst thing for me.

No, really. My idea of perfection is just a little too perfect. I could go mad, trying to write the Platonic ideal story; I know I could.

So I don't try. I know it's never going to happen. My brain can always think of something more that's required.

What I do instead is work my way towards perfection bit by bit, story by story, going around and around the mountain by a spiral path, every once in a while doing a little freeclimbing. In the back of my mind as I sit with pen in hand or fingers on keyboard is "this time, I'm going to try second-person present!" Or, "this time, there will be no dialogue without purpose!" or, "this time, I will not go overboard when describing clothes in a static manner!" I go for improvement. Constant improvement.

Sometimes I think, "My God, this story is amazing! I am so brilliant!" but I instantly slap myself down. Because it isn't amazing. Well, it might be, but if I think that while I'm in the midst of it, I'll blow it, being swept up in my own brilliance and forgetting that other people are going to read this story, too. Afterwards is when I can believe it might be amazing, when I can look over it and think, "That's not bad at all." And even then, it won't be amazing to everyone.

There is no perfection. Why would I bother to write, then? We'd all be busy canoodling in a Platonic glow.