It’s not Perfect

The thing with having finished a book and knowing it’s at the printers is the little worm in my ear, who keeps trying to burrow into my brain – “it’s not perfect…” he reminds me…(as if I didn’t know)  “you should have…. and you forgot to…. and WHATTHEFUCKDIDYOUPHRASETHATSENTENCELIKETHATFOR? AREYOUILLITERATE?” You probably have one of his cousins hanging out in your oricular orifice!

Like every creator, I have to try to let go of where it could have been better/different/perfect and embrace it as it is.

This is much fucking easier said than done, and the reason why most of us creatives go a bit mad in the head… and why sane people would rather gnaw their own leg off than put their creative work out in public. IT IS SCARY!

As I go through it now, writing articles (for The Mother, Studio Mothers and Rhythm of the Home) and picking out extracts (Rhythm of the Home, Wild Sister…) I see sentences that I wish I could cut or rephrase, things I know now that I did not know then, ways of connecting ideas based on further insights.

The same is true with my paintings, especially every time money is just about to change hands.

Very often part of me feels like asking can I pay THEM to take it away from me!

Although with both there is a time when you feel reasonably at peace with it, when you know it is as done as it will ever be… there is always a stroke you wish you had made differently, a bit you hadn’t painted over, an eye that doesn’t quite look right…

But the magic of creativity is in learning when to let go, when to launch your work, rather than obsess over it and overwork it. To let some of the original inspire spark shine through the crack and illuminate the imperfect whole from within….

This goes totally against our culture of superficial perfectionism, which tries to tell us that surface is all. But there you have it!

The same is, of course, true of our children. We dream of perfect kiddies – polite, friendly, kind, and attractive… But what we get are little human beings, with quirks – tongue-tied babies who struggle to breastfeed, hair that stands on end, a callous disregard for rules and night time sleeping… and at some point we have to let go of our need to control and shape them into perfection, and celebrate their uniqueness and quirks in all their glory.

I KNOW this.

But meanwhile that little worm is a-whispering in my ear – “They will judge you on your failings, on your oversight, on your ignorance, on every last thing that they don’t agree with… they will judge you, and hate you… and publicly say what an idiot/ mad’un/ flake you are…”

It doesn’t get any easier four books in!

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