Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pursuits of Perfection

"Writers don't make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don't work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck's book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch face down and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man's stupid words. And for this, as I said before, we are paid a dollar. We are worth so much more."--Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller)
This is my life. What I love about writing is the freedom of expression. I feel like I say way more in an intensely more profound way when I have scrawled the words, even if only in a haphazard outline, across a scratch sheet of paper. I have the ability to erase what I've said (or backspace as the case may be). I can correct my grammar. Writing is a perfectionist's dream. 


Editing is the perfectionist's nightmare. In high school I used to press the print button and take my carefully worded pages to my English teacher, sight unseen, to turn in. They often came back bleeding with red ink (my college professors use green, I think it's so much nicer!) with PROOFREAD in big bold letters across the top. I nodded in agreement, but never followed through on their advice. Until college. Now I edit my own papers before a final turn in. I cringe in embarrassment when I find a stupid typo or clearly awkward phrasing. Why didn't I catch that before? Why isn't my mind trained enough to not make these silly mistakes? But then again...that's why I'm here in the College of Arts and Sciences. And that's why spellcheck is the savior of A Very Lucky Girl. 

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